Dahlia Trimble’s fix earns bounty

Scripted hummingbirds follow the avatar around.

Scripted hummingbirds follow the avatar around.

OpenSim developer Dahlia Trimble has won a bounty for her work on fixing llLookAt, a function useful in making objects move better.

“Fred Beckhusen has tested the code and is happy with the result,” said Talla Adams in an announcement today. Adams, who is the moderator of the OpenSim Virtual community, spearheaded the crowdfunding effort in January.

The following people pledged to the project:

The funders will meet tomorrow to discuss the disbursement process.

“Dahlia Trimble has fixed llLookAt,” said Beckhusen in a post yesterday. “It works beautifully and is very low-lag with a modified sensorless script she gave me to test with.”

To test the new functionality, Beckhusen wrote a script for a hummingbird, Fleta, that follows an avatar around, as in the video below.

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Talla Adam

    You should have buzzed me, Maria. $2000 was the target sum pledged. Final bounty will be agreed at a private meeting of the pledge makers tomorrow and we expect to go ahead with a public meeting this weekend to hear proposals and debate them. At the last meeting at Opensim United region at 3rd Rock we agreed to hold a meeting on the last Sunday of the month. Where it will be held we will decide at the private meeting tomorrow. there will be an announcement at G+ Opensim Virtual on Friday this week and the bounty settlement will be stated then. You might correct the article to allow this and remove this comment if you wish.

    • Thanks for the correction — I took out the dollar amount from the headline and the lead.

  • Michael Sietz

    I was happy to pay the DWG portion of the bounty today. I really believe this may be the way forward to get fixes and features that the OS community really wants. The old saying “put your money where your mouth is” rings true here. Sitting and waiting for “somebody” to do what only a few can do, has not been effective. I am looking forward to the community choosing more and greater issues to tackle.

    • Shaun Emerald

      On the other hand, you’ll all be promoting the idea, to the developers, that bugs shouldn’t be fixed until someone decides to pay for it. Knowing you can get paid to fix bugs, doesn’t encourage good coding, either. Bugs should be fixed because they are broken. Now, developers have to eat, and pay the bills, like the rest of us, so if you want to pay for something, pay for new functionality that neither Second Life nor OpenSim has, but not for bug fixes. I really think that sets a bad precedent.

      • lmpierce

        Really? I’m pretty sure the programmers at Adobe and Microsoft and Apple are paid to fix bugs, as well as write new code.

        Look, creating and fixing bugs is as much as part of programming as writing the code that’s fortunately perfect in the first place. In fact, ‘bug’ is a catch-all phrase for a much more complex issue. For example, writing a new subroutine can impact other subroutines in ways not foreseeable – a ‘bug’ is created, but is, in a sense, inevitable.

        Some ‘bugs’ are, or course, outright mistakes, but again, that’s all part of writing code, especially for an application that is over a million lines of code.

        And let’s not forget that most of the code for OpenSim has already been written on a volunteer basis. I think it’s ungracious to begrudge programmers that work further on that code a measure of fair remuneration. I could go on… what if the programmer fixing the ‘bug’ is not the programmer who wrote the original code? Even if a draconian system existed whereby programmers had to fix every ‘bug’ without pay that they ever created, to keep their job, would the next arriving programmer on a project be required to fix the previous programmer’s work for free? But again, in our free market economy, at what company do programmers work for free, even when fixing ‘bugs’?

        Large software companies charge a lot of money, so when they pay their programmers to fix ‘bugs’, it doesn’t come across to the consumer that the software costs extra for these fixes. But in fact, those Adobe subscriptions include a percentage for development, bug fixes, tech support to people who can’t follow directions… the list goes on, and it’s all paid for by the customer… you, me and everyone else pays a part of all that.

        I don’t agree that a bad precedent is being set here. Rather, I think this is a rather positive turn of events. Until recently, users wanted the developers to improve OpenSim as a labor of love. Now a more realistic ethic is emerging that recognizes everything we want has a cost and it’s fair to contribute to that cost.

        • Shaun Emerald

          This isn’t a software company. Do users of Apache HTTPD or Blender or The GIMP or [insert long list of Open Source Software] pay to have bugs fixed? I would not be surprised if they have sometimes paid for new functionality, but bug fixes?

          • lmpierce

            So using your argument, if programmers volunteer to create software, and later that software has ‘bugs’ that need fixing, (perhaps other) programmers should volunteer to fix those bugs as well?

            And indeed, this has been going on for a long time, and will continue to do so. There are generous people that will volunteer time to do whatever needs doing, whether it be creating something new or repairing something broken. But there are imperfections in this system, and inefficiencies. Volunteer bounties have arisen as a permissive non-mandatory and open-ended way to address some of those imperfections and inefficiencies.

            In your original comment you talked about setting a bad precedent by paying to fix bugs in certain classes of software. I still do not see how the bounty presented in this article would inspire programmers to write bad code that has bugs; it seems to me an entirely invalid stretch to apply the incentive of a future unpredictable bounty to the likelihood that volunteer programmers will become corrupt in their intentions.

            Rather, I’m more concerned about large software companies that have such dominance in a marketplace that they can charge monthly subscription fees for essential productivity products that include a lot of waste I cannot control, a lack of features that would truly boost productivity but lack ‘market appeal’ (and therefore are not implemented) and an administrative bloat I would rather not pay for. But that’s a different story… my point is that singling out volunteers and criticizing those who voluntarily raise some funds to offer nominal recompense here and there for still largely volunteer efforts is itself a detriment to future efforts.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz)

            This is exactly the mentality that got us into the OpenSSL mess. That free software runs secure communications over most of the internet and the few people behind it are not properly compensated.

            Everyone has bills to pay, even those people that volunteer their time. If you want to see software of any kind move forward it REQUIRES some kind of compensation at times so that the authors of said software don’t just take a better opportunity and forget about their volunteer projects altogether. Until such time as money is no longer required to live, this will remain a constant necessity.

            Some “fixes” can take months or years worth of effort to complete. People have to eat.

      • Geir Nøklebye

        Not a bad practice all the time piling on new code on already broken code is being prioritized over cleaning up what is already in the hands of users.

        I have previously suggested freezing functionality at 0.8.0.4 and invest in a year of fixing broken code and functionality to make a firmer foundation to proceed on.

        New pledge coming up today to fix more broken stuff that has been lingering in Mantis for months.

        • I do like to see time dedicated to secure the foundation. It’s really counter-productive to try to build new features and enhancements without a stable base. In the case I’m most familiar with, InWorldz has full-time paid developers (I’m one) doing nothing but fixing up the foundation, and occasionally hires contractors to provide any enhancements that were absolutely considered essential, without distracting too much from that foundation work, e.g. when mesh was added. So two things here: First, if you really want to get something done, it really helps to pay someone to do it. And second, it’s important that your core development folks remain focused on providing a stable foundation for the rest to build on.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I absolutely agree with what you say, but unless you have paid developers working on foundation it is very hard to get sufficient continuity and focus. Without a bare-bones roadmap and only voluntary resources you get the scrum process from hell where fixes and features are going in unconcerned and nobody has any guarantee that stuff will be fixed.

          • Indeed, exactly. It’s whatever the developer’s favorite pet project that month is, and a burden on the gatekeeper to review low-priority changes. Not to mention drama if the gatekeeper wants to reject something because it’s not a priority and introduces potentially destabilizing changes.

  • Update: the Crowdfunders agreed to pay Dahlia Trimble $1,200, with $800 kept in reserve for if there’s a need for future code fixes and updates.

    Read more about it here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106115943375300299121/posts/ZPrwb1yxnAp?cfem=1

  • Geir Nøklebye

    There will be a follow up meeting on Sunday March 1, at 21.00 CET, 20.00 UK, 3PM EST, 12PM PST to discuss new candidates for such funding. The meeting is open for all at grid.xmir.org:8002:Barcola