Hey Folks, Please Get a Sense of Humor

There has been some interesting and amazing “outrage” by a bunch of people today of the OpenSim April Fools joke, which was:

  • non destructive change of avatar appearance (no data on disk changed)
  • temporary
  • never put into any release version, or stable tag
  • only in the unstable upstream raw subversion tree

Lots of people got bent out of shape over it, many throwing temper tantrums on the opensim lists. 

I’m very glad that so many people feel so entitled that they should be able to run unstable code that the core team says “never run this in production, ever, only run it if you want to help test”, not follow any dev discussions, the commit list, or irc (where many people were happily point to the patch to change this), and if anything is out of the ordinary someone owes them.  But that’s really not the case. 

This is an open source project that a lot of people put a lot of love into, and it’s also an open source project in a technology space that is defined in most people’s minds by flying purple penises.  This violent reaction to a small amount of fun in trunk is just crazy.  I do hope that everyone who is outraged wrote nasty letters to youtube, google, cnet, and the rest of the internet today.

I we had changed this in a release version, I would consider that over the line.  But trunk is fair game for all manner of experimentation, on April 1 or any other day of the week.  Sometimes fair warning is given, sometimes it isn’t.  I was personally responsible for a 5 hour outage on osgrid because the Asset migration that I didn’t think would be an issue, and I’ve broken trunk my fair number of times.

Before you get self-righteous about “you people that have, for free, provided a viable, commericially friendly 3D engine, decided to do something in your unstable tree that doesn’t hurt my data”, think about the fact that people are doing this on their spare time, and for the love of it.  The net effect of all this grumbling isn’t changing whether or not there is an April 1 next year, it’s mostly changing whether or not people feel there is a fun loving community here that they still want to support.  Fortunately there has been more user support for being fun loving than against, so the whiners aren’t ruining it for everyone, at least not completely.

It really reminds me of a great picture that Roo Reynolds took at the Rails Conf a while back:

Now really, “why so serious?”. πŸ™‚

9 thoughts on “Hey Folks, Please Get a Sense of Humor”

  1. well people like to strut bravado and getting upset is how it manifests. if your biggest problem in life is having your avatar temporarily stretched, well you have an incredible life

    channel your energy towards those issues that should make you angry (and mobilize) such as hunger, the treatment of girls in may countries, war, etc.

    for OpenSim and April Fool’s day, take the chance to smile and forget some woes for just a moment . . .


  2. completely off topic but . . . Sean, who would I speak with about using screenshots of the OpenSim viewer in a textbook? like menus and the like. this is for a publication already solicited with a target audience of elearning developers and college multimedia classes. Been going back and forth with LL since November trying to get an answer. OpenSim is probably more viable than SL is for this topic because of the ability to have it on your own box and the obvious price difference. Just a contact would be great if you would know. it’s to publish what is going on at subquark.com (lol, LL’s answer so far after involving 2 biz peeps that i personally met, M Linden, George Linden, and some emails from a department is to have every screenshot reviewed. so if it takes 5 months to get an answer, imagine what a 100+ imaged book would take to review!)

    anyway, great answer to all the backlash out there, holy cow, my life is amazing i guess! =D


  3. when i learned about this year’s april fool’s day, i personally thought it was pretty funny — i can however see the point that it might screw business use of OpenSim.

    while it’s true that OpenSim trunk is advertized as not being ready for serious use, we also have to admit that usually trunk works better then release-tagged versions — as trunk is where the action is taking place and i guess OpenSim development is almost too good for its own self in that respect, so i can also understand people running of trunk (or sailing close to trunk).

    and, yes, the BSD license attaches no guarantees, so use at your own risk. however — there is a kind of social contract involved here: our users judge us by our past behavior and by how we respond to their feedback and also, of course, by how well our stuff (OpenSim) works. based on our interactions and our behavior they give us their trust (and we get cred, feedback, and bug fixes). and the fact is, we don’t usually pull these stunts, april 1st seems to be the exception, but that requires that you’ve been around long enough to know about. so, this “joke” was for most of our users completely unexpected. add to that that it touches the presentation of the user in world, its avatar, and the fact that no matter what one argues about it being just a blot of colored pixels users to rather quickly identify themselves with their avatar, it becomes apparent that this “joke” broke the trust relationsship many of our users had/have with OpenSim. trust relationsships are (at least partly) what makes up a community. so the statement “MIT == i owe you shit” is in my view wrong when we are talking about a community.

    as i said, i thought it was funny but did not realize that it would touch on sensitive spot with many of our users.


    1. After fielding reams of “you owe me” yesterday on IRC and email, I think it is important to be clear, that we don’t, because apparently there is this really massive expectation that by downloading the source code, never talking to us, and running unreleased code, the dev team is responsible for people’s businesses, is really insane (go check out the opensim-users list). This is done for the love of it. We take our best to not do any permanent damage to anyones data. As the person that spent a lot of time building the data migrations system to ensure that people could seemlessly upgrade between revisions (which has been working more or less a hitch from r5000 to present), I take that very seriously. The April 1 code did no permanent change to anything in the environment, and required a 2 line patch to disable. The 2 line patch was being handed out very readily in every communications forum for OpenSim yesterday, irc, email. I never turned anyone away from that answer if they asked me yesterday.

      If you lost a business deal on April 1 because you were running unstable code, and your avatar looked funny, I am truly sorry. But that was a pretty razor thin deal if that’s what it hinged on. And, the opensim dev team is a friendly bunch. Had you asked any of them about anything you should watch out for in advance of said deal, all of them would have immediately given you code to turn this off, in a heartbeat. I personally let the stick bug run in the IBM systems all day long, because even people in a big company like IBM need to be reminded of their sense of humor from time to time.


  4. A joke is allways a joke, and when it is on April 01 we must have sense of humor even if we are the vitmin of that joke.
    But maybe I’m to old and I see the life with other vision.
    Have fun. Like people says in Brazil: ” Life have only 2 days and Carnaval have 3 days”


  5. cheers to all the dev peeps working on this code! these guys are part of the reason the web rox so much.

    tireless, independent, smart, unselfish, and passionate. wow, that kinda sums it up and makes me teary eyed

    thanks all of you for poring your hearts and souls into this.

    you can stretch out my avatar anytime (lol, that sounds dirty!)


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