Tag Archives: opensim

Ohio Linux Fest 2009

If you had told me the biggest community Linux event in the United States took place in Columbus Ohio, I don’t think I would have believed you before this last weekend.  But Ohio Linux Fest blew away all my expectations, with 1100 in attendance, it was a truly phenomenal event.  There were many great stories from the event, but I’ll just drop in a few highlights.

OpenSim Presentation

My main reason for being out there was giving a technical presentation on OpenSim.  I’ve done this presentation in a few other places, so this information I was quite comfortable with, and even had a bit of live demo.  Because I had a last minute tech issue with my laser pointer I wasn’t really paying attention with how full the room had become once I got started.  I must have had at least 200 people in that room, and 250 is probably not an unreasonable guess.  Compare that with the 15 I had a Linux World last year, and you get a sense of how much more committed people are here to the tech agenda.

I had intentionally kept the content light and short, as I’d always run over in the past, and the OLF folks are very strict on time keeping (which I highly appreciate as both an attendee and speaker).  With my talk going from 4:00 – 4:55, I had slides, then a live demo, then figured I’d open up with questions.  The slide portion went over ok, but it was hard to guage where the audience was at, when I got to the live demo at 4:25, things seem to perk up, and as I’d already gotten a quick audience question when starting up OpenSim I decided to go for broke, and just end the demo after 10 minutes and open up the floor for questions.  Leaving a 20 minute question gap was a gamble, because I’d been in a few other presentations that only got 1 or 2 questions at the end, but I figured I could always go back to playing with things if it got really quiet in the room.

It didn’t.  I had questions from all over the floor, must have answered at least 10 of them in that 20 minutes.  That even included a question from Doug McIlroy, the evening’s keynote speaker.  After the talk I had another half dozen folks follow me out and ask more questions out in the hallway, always a great sign.  I couldn’t have asked for a better audience, and really appreciate what the organizers of Ohio Linux Fest are able to pull off year after year.

The Guys from NOOSS

Before I left for the event I was found internally at IBM by on of the guys from the Northern Ohio Open Source Society to do an interview with them on OpenSim for their live all day podcast.  That was a great time.  Even though I’m becoming less active in the OpenSim project now, I’m hoping this push to get the word out on the project helps further grow the community.

As we wandered out from the after party the NOOSS guys had moved their recording setup to the lobby, and enticed us with some Great Lakes Brewery beer and Scotch to hang out on the NSFW portion of the podcast.  Don’t go and listen to that unless you are a brave soul.  It did however let me put in a plug for my Brother In-Law, Andy Tveekrem, who has recently left as brew master of Dog Fish Head, once was the brewmaster of Great Lakes Brewery, and is planning on setting up a Brew Pub in Cleveland next year.  I’ll have to get word out to the NOOSS guys once they open, because their impecable taste in beer means I’m sure they’ll find a home there. πŸ™‚

It’s worth the 11 hours in the Car

There were so many other good times, too many to retell here.  Joe, my driving companion, took some video on the trip, which we may manage to cut down to something reasonable for posting online.  It took us 11 hours each way to get there and back.  Before the trip I was really concerned that it was going to be a lot of driving for not much.  But this event was definitely worth the drive, and I’m already planning on going back next year, speaker or not.  It was a really great event.

Moving on from OpenSim

This has filtered a number of places, but I figured I should post it out on my blog as well, which will hit the OpenSim planet in the process.

I’m moving on from the OpenSim project, for now.  I got involved a little over 2 years ago as part of my role in the Linux Technology Center at IBM.  Over the past 2 years I’ve made incredible friends, and seen the OpenSim project grow from seeds and ideas to wondrous function.  A really community exists around this project, one that is unquestionably going to change the world.

My official daytime activities are changing to something very unrelated.  You’ll still see other folks from the IBM team working actively in the community, Kurt, Rob, Arthur, Alan, Suzy, Zha, Dirk, but for now I’m going to disappear as I deep dive into my new work, and stop being such a slacker on some of the volunteer work I’ve let slide the end of this summer.

Good bye’s are weird on the internet, because no one every really goes very far.  But given how visible I’ve been at times on OpenSim, I figured I owed it to folks to say something instead of just disapearing into the ether.  As I’ve learned in working with other open projects, good bye’s are never final, so I hope to get engaged again in the future.  Until then… keep on planting those virtual worlds and letting them bloom.

Talking at Ohio Linux Fest

As it turns out I’ll be giving 2 talks at the Ohio Linux Fest, coming up on Sept 26th in Columbus Ohio.

OpenSim: Open Source 3D Worlds

For OpenSim folks seeing this in the planet (or elsewheres), I’ll be giving an overview of OpenSim at Ohio Linux Fest.  A little bit of history, a little bit of architecture, and hopefully some live demo (if the wireless holds out).  I’ve done this before, and it’s quite a bit of fun, especially when folks in the audience figure out the build tools for the first time, and the in world presentation gets a bunch of random things building in and around you.  If you are within driving distance of Ohio Linux Fest, you should come out for it.  And if you do, please come up and introduce yourself afterwards.

A Decade of Linux at IBM

I was asked today to fill another slot, with a talk that’s become called a Decade of Linux at IBM.  I’ve been part of the LTC for 8.5 years now, since near the inception, and part of some of the underground Linux movement at IBM before that.  Starting in early 1999 I began running Linux as my primary desktop inside the firewall, and never looked back.  I managed to sneak Linux into the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and was lucky enough to move into the LTC as it was starting to spin up in early 2001.  This talk will be a mix of history and tech, with hopefully a couple of fun annecdotes from the early days of Linux at IBM, through to modern day, highlighting a lot of what we’ve accomplished as a group along the way.

Now I just need to work on my slides… as it’s only 15 days away!

OpenSim moves to git

Yesterday we completed the transition of OpenSim from subversion to git as our primary source code system.  This had actually been kicked around as an idea for nearly a year and a half, but our gating factor had always been that git support on windows was lacking.  Recent dramatic improvements with TortoiseGit took away that blocking element.

One of the reasons for this move is to make it easier for more people to participate in the project (I’ve written about this in the past).  The OpenSim core team has now grown past 20, and even coordinating changes among ourselves has become challenging.  Subversion is fine as long as only a couple of people are working in a particular area, past that it doesn’t do you any favors in merging in complex changes.  A number of complex refactorings in the OpenSim tree have been on more or less perpetual hold because of some of these svn challenges.  Hopefully this will help grease the wheels there.

With git the hope is to give us some tools that help us in a number of ways.  The first is to make it easier to collaborate on more complex work.  The second is to make it easier for non core contributors to contribute substantial work.  The ability to have an opensim clone with changes in it staged for upstream inclusion, and have a core member be able to directly pull those changes, should be a big help.

All changes come with challenges.  The most visible is the lack of a monotonically increasing version number.  Git changes are stored differently, so the version identifier is a SHA1 hash.  That’s going to be the first big mental change people will need to get past.  It seems like a deal breaker before you’ve used it, but don’t worry, it will be ok once you have gotten used it to.  It’s just different.

We’ve got an ever evolving set of instructions at the OpenSim wiki.  I also expect we’ll spend a lot of time in the OSGrid Office hours discussing the transition.

OpenSim Infrastructure Updates: fresh os, git mirror, and automated release building

Yesterday I upgraded the opensimulator.org machine (kindly provided by Adam Frisby) to the latest version of Debian.  The upgrade went seemlessly.  Now that we are on Debian 5.0 we’ve got some fresher software on the machine to make it possible to provide a few new things as part of the basic OpenSim infrastructure.

OpenSim via Git

We are now mirroring the experimental upstream code (aka subversion trunk) via git.  At least 5 of us on the OpenSim core team have been using git personally with the git-svn bridge for our own OpenSim work (I started doing this nearly a year ago).  Git provides some advantages in making it easy to try things out in a local tree, and throw away branches if things go wrong.  If you read my blog, you know, I love git. πŸ™‚

While subversion remains our main tree, this git mirror will make it easy for developers (or budding developers) to experiment with this alternative source system.  You can use viewgit to see the git mirror, or clone this via:

git clone http://opensimulator.org/git/opensim

In addition, the viewgit system provides a very handy rss feed for changes, which is another way you can keep up to tabs on what’s changing in trunk.  There is an up to 10 minute lag in changes getting into the git mirror from svn, but hopefully that won’t bother anyone.

Automated Release Building for OpenSim

Something else I threw together last night was an automated release builder for OpenSim.  One of the challenges we had was getting all the parts of the release sorted out once a release tag was made was sometimes onerous, and meant that a release might only be an subversion tag for days or even weeks before source tarballs of that saw their way into the world.

I’ve now got a system in place that looks for all numeric tags in our source tree, checks them out, runs prebuild on them, and bundles them up as both a .zip and a .tar.gz.  This means they should be ready to compile with nant or MSVS.  This is running hourly on the OpenSim machine, and publishing all results to http://dist.opensimulator.org.  One of the immediate things you’ll see is that it now gives us a full set of historically populated releases.

I’m hoping you enjoy these extra bits of infrastructure for the project.  Please feel free to drop me a comment here if you have any thoughts or questions on them, feedback is always appreciated.

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™‚

OpenSim Planet Updates

I made a couple of updates in the last week on the OpenSim Planet.  First of, I’m more strictly trying to only pull in the “opensim” tag by various blogs.  This helps keep the planet more on topic.  This pruned out some of the posts that were listed on here previously.  I tried to make it a bit more clear how to contact me, and that I really only want “opensim” tags.

We also got a few new blogs up there including most recently the rezzable blog.  Some good stuff there.

I also decided that the previous 60 entries on the front page was getting a bit out of control, so now that there is plenty of content coming in, the planet will only provide the last 14 days worth of items.  That seems a bit more sane.

I’m also going to try inserting the Delicious blog stream for the opensim tag.  Please let me know if you like it or not.  I’m on the fence right now, but it does seem to surface some things that don’t surface otherwise.

… created almost entirely by a bunch of volunteers

By the late 1980s, the world had many competing vendor-proprietary networking models plus two competing standardized networking models.  So what happened?  TCP/IP won in the end.  Proprietary protocols are still in use today in many networks, but much less so than in the 1980s and 1990s.  The OSI model, whose development suffered in part because of a slower formal standardization process as compared with TCP/IP, never succeeded in the marketplace.  And TCP/IP, the networking model created almost entirely by a bunch of volunteers, has become the most prolific set of data networking protocols ever.

I read this over the weekend in my Cisco networking book (last paragraph on page 21 of the CCENT book).  And it stopped me dead in my tracks.  The timeliness with OpenSim’s 2nd birthday was just striking, and made me even more convinced that we are working on the future Apache of 3D applications.

Happy Birthday OpenSim.  You are a really tallented 2 year old already, I can’t even imagine what you’ll do at 4.