In the summer of 2007 I was sitting in my office at IBM wondering what to do next.
I’d recently spent a year planning out a feature only to see a change in plans make that effort completely irrelevant. This was extremely frustrating – I wanted to spend my finite time on this earth doing something that helped the world, not just wasting my time to collect a paycheck.
And so I was looking for alternatives. I considered academia but what I really wanted to do was get my hands dirty building real systems. I wanted to write code, not just think about writing code.
The safe course may have been to change positions within IBM or even to change companies. But instead I was captivated by OpenSimulator, first as a hobby within IBM’s own OpenSimulator group and then quickly as a full-time self-employed consultant. What could be more fun than helping to create a super-complex 3D virtual world system at a blistering pace? And a system that mattered to real people out there who you could actually talk to, not indifferent enterprise customers behind a million layers of bureaucracy.
Now, 11631 commits and eight years later, the wheel turns again. OpenSimulator (and the Metaverse in general) has been an amazing journey but, as they say, we have grown apart. For whatever reason the area doesn’t fascinate me as it did. For better or for worse, that’s crucial for me to feel happy in my work.
I’m not disappearing completely but very likely for the immediate future my involvement will be at a low ebb (mainly answering mailing list questions and the occasional bug fix). My new field is quite a bit different (data warehousing for genetics and synthetic biology) but I will always have a soft spot for virtual worlds and the idea of the Metaverse.
Huge thanks to all the people I’ve met over the years – you’ve made it an amazing experience. Thankyou to all the people who helped me sustain it financially, whether through consulting contracts or donations. I also want to thank all the people at Avacon for helping put on some amazing OpenSimulator conferences and for being great personal friends.
Finally, a huge round of applause to everybody who has contributed to OpenSimulator. Of course, that’s not just code, it’s all the equally hard work of characterizing bugs, helping others use the system, writing documentation, etc. A system as complex as OpenSimulator is a huge team effort and utterly impossible for an individual or even a small team to produce alone. And the great thing about open-source projects is that they can carry on unperturbed as different people get involved and others (such as myself) move on to other things.
I wish you all the best for the future and I’m sure I’ll see you around on the Internets :).