Uru Code Release - Partial

Request: Proposal To Offer Fan Assistance To Cyan Worlds For Uru Operations

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Nalates
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Re: Uru Code Release - Partial

Post by Nalates » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:47 am

I've never liked waiting.

While we have the KI code, is there anything we can do with it? ...beyond, read, study and learn... Could we actually put a revision into use on the client side?
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Christian Walther
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Re: Uru Code Release - Partial

Post by Christian Walther » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:55 pm

Nalates wrote:The MOUL thread does some good speculating and from a programmers perspective it is probably what needs to happen. I think it over looks the kids, novice, and amateur programmers that have no clue what version control is about.
I disagree. If you are a novice programmer and have no clue what version control is about, then this gives you a perfect excuse to learn it. Collaborative software development is no fun without version control, so the sooner you become aware of its existence, the better. Version control is a help, not a complication. Generally people who like programming also like learning new things, so I don’t see the problem here. (Admittedly, I’m speaking from the perspective of a professional programmer here – hearing the thoughts of the concerned would be enlightening. Would you classify yourself as an amateur programmer and felt overlooked in the discussion?)
JWPlatt wrote:And we can used something very basic, like the KI code to get started. There really isn't much at face value about the KI unless Cyan is actually going to commit resources to approve and install the code any time soon. That does seem out of order from providing rights to build test platforms first. Rather, the KI code, or any further code released in bits, can be used to establish the flow of things. A little at first, even ridiculously simplistic, then more. There needs to be a repository or distributed system, and rarified has already set up CI here for anything out there. So we (the community) can just start small and get the machinery moving. When and if Cyan gets some momentum, they can hook in and define their main trunk if they coose to. Looking at it from a distrubuted point of view, there's little need to wait.
You lost me here. Are you saying that there is anything we can do right now with the released KI code (apart from studying it, as Nalates notes)?

That we can do any serious development on it, without being able to run it? There may be a few people who are capable of that, but I am not (or at least don’t find fun in it).

That we can publish it and modifications of it in a version control system, without having a license that allows us to?

This is why I am so puzzled about this release. I appreciate the gesture, but from a practical point of view, it seems mostly useless to me.

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Re: Uru Code Release - Partial

Post by JWPlatt » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:15 am

> That we can publish it and modifications of it in a version control system, without having a license that allows us to?

This is your best point. I didn't think so much about the license because there was none. I'm not really clear on what happens when no license or limitation is issued. I'm sure it's in copyright law somewhere. But what is the default state of code and copyright when any changes are all hypothetical (are not applied). It's not practical, as you say, but educational. Can we take a copyrighted paragraph from Harry Potter, pass it around, and see how aspiring authors can write it better? What if it's a teacher in a classroom? As long as it can't be implemented (e.g. sold), it seems like fan fic (or fan dev) to me and a simple practice repo could introduce a wider world to how things work.

The point of putting it into a repo and exercising changes upon it now is what you mention in your response to Nalates - learning and establishing how things work. You or the GoW might not need it, and it might be a waste of time for them, but it makes for a nice little proof of concept of larger things to come.
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Re: Uru Code Release - Partial

Post by Nalates » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:43 am

Christian, I'm not opposed to version control system. I believe we will have several. What I'm trying to get across, especially in the MOUL thread is a perception and actual process problem when we may have a large number of novices. My point is mostly moot, if novices don't participate.

Your point about the type of person that would likely participate is probable. I had not looked at it that way. I think of the people I help with programming in SL & OS and while Uru fans they may not represent the group that will be interested in Open Uru.

My experience is the novices see programming as formidable. Adding another process to it increases the barrier in their eyes. While it seems too obvious to any that work in the field, novices often don't get that they can work outside the system. Knowing that they can, we tend to forget to state what seems so obvious.

Without knowing how real the problem is, it may just my zeal to be inclusive and pull people in speaking.
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Christian Walther
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Re: Uru Code Release - Partial

Post by Christian Walther » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:49 am

JWPlatt wrote:I didn't think so much about the license because there was none. I'm not really clear on what happens when no license or limitation is issued. I'm sure it's in copyright law somewhere. But what is the default state of code and copyright when any changes are all hypothetical (are not applied). It's not practical, as you say, but educational. Can we take a copyrighted paragraph from Harry Potter, pass it around, and see how aspiring authors can write it better? What if it's a teacher in a classroom? As long as it can't be implemented (e.g. sold), it seems like fan fic (or fan dev) to me and a simple practice repo could introduce a wider world to how things work.
I don’t know for sure either, but I am operating under the assumption that what copyright law grants us in the absence of a further license is very limited and doesn’t include publication of modified versions. I have never heard of copyright law making a difference for modifications that are “hypothetical”/“not applied”/“not implemented”. The only effect of that distinction I can see is on the likelihood of the copyright holder to sue you (and I think that is the context in which fan fic usually exists – technically infringing, but tolerated due to cost/benefit considerations). I believe the Harry Potter example would fall under “fair use” under US copyright law based on the criteria that it’s only a small excerpt of the whole work and that it’s for an educational purpose, but I’m unsure if this can be applied to our situation (determining what constitutes the “whole work” is difficult already). I think the easiest way of avoiding trouble before going forward with such a project would be to ask Cyan for their stance.

However, even assuming that your reasoning is correct and there is no problem in that regard, that still leaves my other point. I don’t see how we could realistically do development and test, review, and discuss changes, “simulating” the real process that is going to happen later on for learning purposes with any useful accuracy, without the ability to run the code. Once we have that ability, however, we have left the domain of “not applied” or “not implemented” changes and are squarely outside of what we are allowed to do without a license.

We have the very limited ability right now to run those parts of the code that are pure Python and don’t make any calls into Plasma. Contributions in these parts have been posted by Pavitra on the MOUL forum. Others, like OHB here, have posted untested changes. Perhaps you could try to get them on board?
The point of putting it into a repo and exercising changes upon it now is what you mention in your response to Nalates - learning and establishing how things work.
I agree with that goal, but I remain unconvinced that we have the prerequisites to put it into practice right now.

Nalates wrote:What I'm trying to get across, especially in the MOUL thread is a perception and actual process problem when we may have a large number of novices.
Then I guess what we ought to do is address that perception. How would we go about that?

Is it sufficient to have the development process out in the open, so that newcomers can get a feel of what it works like before participating, and try to maintain a welcoming and helpful atmosphere? I recall one such episode during the development of PyPRP 1.6. Tikibear made a contribution, but wasn’t familiar with Subversion and unsure how to get it integrated. So we just walked him through it, and it all ended up well. I think the key part is encouraging people to jump right in, experiment, ask questions, and learn by trial-and-error, taking their fears of having insufficient knowledge of the processes or screwing up anything. Most who are genuinely interested are eager to learn and don’t need too much hand-holding once they step out of the initial intimidation.

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Re: Uru Code Release - Partial

Post by Nalates » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:54 pm

Having the development process in the open would help. I've never tried to create a practice area in a version control system. (cross-eyed emoticon here) It works for forums... a branch for learning to use the system might work.

Once we have some code up and a mod/patch and possibly a branch we can do a "how to". How that is done is where the perception is set.

Without a license, I don't see how we can do much of anything. Do people need to sign an agreement with Cyan? Accept a download agreement thing and click Submit? Or just keep whichever os license they decide on with the software? We don't know.

People are going to want to know:
How to get code.
How to compile it.
How to setup their test bed server.
Then how to add their stuff to the code and test it. (How to keep stuff modular)
Then how to add their stuff to the revision system.
How to handle feed back and make changes and resubmit.

This all probably seems blatantly obvious to those working with this daily.

The OpenSim community is an example of people being interested in their respective parts of the process. They work on those areas and keep them up to date. The new comer is faced with a blizzard of outdated information and instructions. Few people are contributing to the forum. A few people are in the chat. People figure it out. But, if I'm having problems, the novices must be way confused.

I expect things to be similar in the Uru community in some ways. Handling perceptions may be as easy as having a section titled 'For those new to..." I think the community is good at keeping those things up to date.
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