Did CMU abandon Panda3D?

but I’m talking about CMU to maintain just the website, the community (you above all) is already putting work into - isn’t actually so or is a my wrong feeling? why you actually see CMU like an anchor?

Does anyone here have contact with CMU? Can we obtain their ‘official’ reply to this thread (if possible)?
@astelix: I don’t think maintaining website is enough. Volunteers like pro-rsoft generously donate their time and efforts, but it is not possible to do it forever on enthusiasm alone. All of us have something else to do since we grown up people in the middle of society. Having a couple of men doing something from time to time is not the same as having one full time maintainer. To live as community-driven project, Panda will need much bigger community then we have today.
I don’t know, maybe we can ask Blender Foundation how they get financed…

for as far as i know blender gets pretty far with paypal donations.
maybe company’s that use blender in their movies donate some…


well depends on what you expect this project will be - if you’re searching here for an alternative to, for example, unreal engine I guess that a community 3 times larger won’t be enough either and also, I recon the big impact from ppl like pro_r to the project but I also guess that their efforts aren’t just for pure generosity and enthusiasm but because they need it for themselves and they understand the importance to join a project like this - free and open - 'cos they are benefiting from other open source stuff like linux, blender, and hundreds of projects like that. This is why I said that but of course I know that in a situation like this we won’t never be on pair with the latest bleeding edge 3D scene - but I’m not here for this reason.

astelix: I think both is true.

At least as far as I can say it for myself.

I am doing the P3DP stuff because I want to give something back to the open source community and because I think P3D is worth it.

However, its a bit selfish to say “hey, he is doing it without payment atm - so its because he needs to do it to contribute his share.” - Some people just want to help.

I am not saying that he doesn’t benefit from it. But its something different to actually make a living out of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am also not saying that I ever dream of having enough donations to have full time programmers, but we should think about easing some things regarding the current situation.
1.) Maintaining this website is a pain. We don’t even have all needed admin accounts to keep everything up to date.
2.) CMU is officially in the position to provide a maintainer - what isn’t the case
3.) pro-rsoft is putting too much work into the project. This won’t work forever. He should either be just the maintainer or only a code contributor. We are expecting too much of/from him.
4.) We have no way on how to decide things regarding Panda3D generally. We have no path how decisions should be made. Website, advertising, new milestones, financial management - choose whatever you want. Currently we are relying on CMU and hoping our best on all other points.

So as long as CMU isn’t taking over the full responsibility asap, we need to do something to keep Panda3D not only alive, but active.
Having Panda3D being like any other more or less inactive project is nothing I would want…

Regards, Bigfoot29

I hate to be the one to say it, but now that Josh is gone I really think that Panda is doomed. Even if CMU wanted to continue maintaining and developing Panda, this would require having a programmer with an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the engine, and Panda is a huge engine to learn.

Remember that Josh had to pummel David with questions for years before he really started to feel comfortable developing the engine, and even then it seemed that there was still a lot that he didn’t know.

By the way, does anyone know where David has been? Could his absence have something to do with this?:

T Rex, I wouldn’t want to see it that drastic. - We currently HAVE a maintainer. But we should heavily consider taking away a lot of work from him to allow him to concentrate on other things too (its called real life…)

Dunno where David is - but there is also something called real life that could have happened… Illness, holiday… think of something. :wink:

Regards, Bigfoot29

@astelix: I don’t think you’ve quite understood the issue. First of all, development is not the same as maintaining. Disney is still the #1 active developer on Panda, but they don’t do maintaining - and with maintaining, I mean updating the site, planning the releases, getting them out in time, making sure everything keeps running well, and more importantly, coming towards the community’s needs and wants in terms of bugfixes (this is the most important thing) and requested features.
CMU already opened up by giving us website access - which is great, but Panda is in need of some active support (besides some passive support).

Right now I’m developing and maintaining Panda fulltime, and as Bigfoot29 said, I want to have time left for other stuff, including real life and my own game project. I want to get back to just developing Panda rather than maintaining it too.
On top of that, I’m not a windows user. The windows port of panda3d is severely lacking and a pain to maintain.

@T Rex: I don’t think we should abandon all hope yet.
But you’re right, employing a new guy at CMU will require a lot of training. We (as community) could of course assist him in that - even though that could take a lot of time, I’d rather see slow improvement than no improvement.
Or they could employ someone who currently already has experience with the engine (someone from the community or so.)

Not at all - he’s on a vacation. He’ll be back within two weeks.

ok now I have a clearer idea so let sum up the situation: we got cool active developers, we haven’t to worry for a web facility therefore the problem is circumscribed to maintain the releases and the website.
Then is just a matter to find ppl to help you out to ease all these task that suck your time and distract you from the main tasks - I suggest to start to put up a sticky post with an help request on specific issues, you name them, and let’s wait to enlist volunteers, what do you think about?

@astelix: So, if I understand your post right, you are proposing to abandon CMU and make this a community-maintained project?
However, Panda is still officially owned by CMU and they are also in charge of the servers. Also, CMU has the necessary resources and money to do it - we would also need a foundation, as Bigfoot29 was suggesting.

It would be cool if CMU just would do what they were supposed to do in the first place - provide a replacement for Josh.

Having worked with colleges, non profits, churches, and general contractors for decades, let me say that the politics behind the scenes at colleges and what not (and coorporations) are intense and many worthy projects are run into the ground by inhouse politics and powerplays. Especially successful ones that had a bright leader who gets replaced by another.

Ever wonder why Ford can’t keep the same model car up to the same standards as when it first comes out? (Ie consider the Taurus’ history- when it came out it revolutionized Ford and nearly single handledly pulled them out of a slump in the eighties- by the nineties the Taurus had become a joke.) you are seeing that here, nothing intentional, just the way things happen in academic / corporate worlds. When people change positions projects get shuffled, and the new guy’s personal projects naturally move to the head of the list. Not that the old projects weren’t worthy just that they lose priority on the list.

I suggest, In the long run be prepared to turn into a community supported project, but advocate for CMU to meet their responsibilities in meantime. And in actuality Disney should probably be the one to push it if they are the ones contributing the most money and support for the Panda3d project. He who has the money makes the rules, but he who has the product can just shelve it. So prepare for the worst and work for the best.

JB SKaggs

that’s beyond what I meant pro_r - I’m just proposing a way to help to maintain the project, not much more than that.
An that said, since actually you’re maintaining the latest P3D releases, fixing bugs and assisting ppl in the forums (as well as other guys part of the community) and the fading presence of David, couldn’t we say that is already community-maintained? :wink:

Kind of, but remember what I said about the anchor - we can’t keep it up this way forever. We need to cut the knot - either setup a independent foundation behind Panda (like Blender has) and make it entirely community-maintained, or, let CMU maintain it.

jbskaggs’s post makes a lot of sense. But I’m afraid it will take long for CMU to get fully involved again - so if CMU takes over the maintaining again, we’ll still need an interim solution how panda is maintained in the mean time. Probably the release cycle will be slower for a short time, then.
That’s why we should take action now, and not wait.

Perhaps I am mistaken about the freedoms provided by the revised BSD licence Panda3D is now released under, but can’t we do this already? The only provision is that we retain a copyright notice pointing back to CMU. With or without modification, the licence clearly states that all binaries and source code are free to be redistributed. So, what exactly would be stopping us (in terms of “ownership”) from already forming an independent foundation?

The way I see it, if CMU all of a sudden decides to stop shrugging this off, then what’s stopping them from doing their thing as well? Hell, if we the community prove to do a better job, then perhaps they would hand it over in time. If not, then maybe the future will see two branches off the original project, each with its own maintainer. But I digress for that is all speculation and my first point remains. Why hold back when the licence, at least to my understanding, is not preventing us from taking this step, and we can clearly see room to improve where CMU seems to be lacking.

Forking Panda is not an option, because then Panda would lose the #1 developer, Disney. Also, Disney would lose the benefit of having Panda open-sourced.

Some good points in the past messages were made. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Forking isn’t really an option.
1st) We would loose (and hurt) Disney, who trusted in CMU/us making Panda3D available - if we go now, all their lawyers and folks that wanted to keep P3D closed source would have had right.
1st)b) No, I don’t want to kick Disney in the guts for their past and recent help.
2nd) We would split the community - think of it… we barely have enough folks to keep Panda3D up to date with the current userbase. When we split it, this would drop drastically.
3rd) If it IS an open source project, we can (hopefully) “evolve” the current behaviour community driven and keep everyone in the boat.
4th) Loss of reputation. I know that we shouldn’t mention it officially, but hey… currently its CMU and disney we can add as popular supporters. After a fork, we have nothing than a bunch of code.

Forking isn’t an option for me. See it as a mental AND a logical decission. But something has to change. What would happen when pro-rsoft is “out of buisness” for the next years from now to then? There is no replacement. Noone with access to the machine (from the community), no maintainer for the packages itself, no one with access to opensuse for the actual package building… - We couldn’t even update the forums here to keep it running - or repair it in case it gets haxx0red.
So yea, some things that needs to be done:

  1. CMU’s server maintainer should stay more in contact with the community. After some mails “got maybe lost” (because I got no answer), he/she should at least be present here in the forums.
  2. CMU should have a contact person regarding the Maintainance of Panda3D - someone coordinating exisisting ressources
  3. We need a more balanced maintaining of the releases. - No, one doing 80% of the releases is NOT balanced. I have seen people disappearing on Panda3D forums from today to tomorrow. Now think about the worst case that could happen here atm…
  4. We need a way on how to be able to contribute to some of the devs. Wanna know, how the MAC build was built/tested? A dev got a private SSH account on a private Mac (Mini?) to check if the compiling works. Think about how to implement new Renderers or fix current ones… Money for books or at least a small bonus for that. Currently: Not available.

There are a bunch of more things bothering me, but I think that are the main ones that need to be addressed at first.

Regards, Bigfoot29

Having CMU present at the forums is indeed a very good point. Josh used to be active on the forums - now, it’s only some guys from Disney (drwr being the most active one of them).
I think we certainly need someone from CMU to be active in the forums. We’ve had one post from Mike Christel once after months of silence - but he didn’t reply to it again.

As I said, it was just speculation, and you and Bigfoot make good points about why it would be a bad thing. I am not saying we need to fork Panda. I am saying that we can very well take over maintaining it with or without CMU’s approval thanks to the licence. What will happen after that will happen after that. That was all I meant.

And not to seem antagonistic here, but…

Unless someone can not only establish contact with CMU but also convince them that we need more input on their part, pro-rsoft’s “anchor” is still in place. Hey, if someone can get through to them, then by all means, that would be great. Looking through historical threads shows that Josh’s active presence on there coupled with drwr’s seemed very productive. If we can’t, then what?

Even though this is an open-source project I think there should be a “Most Wanted List” we community members could post rewards for certain items being completed and made available to the community.

For example: This is a fictional example guys:

Most Wanted:

Level Editor- $50 reward, a certificate of appreciation, and publishing credit issued for the module.

Criteria: the level editor to be consider complete must meet the following criteria: blah, blah, blah etc

This would bring about a “rpg” style encouragment to seek out needed tasks and compete them. SO that if we need doc’s then have a most wanted task requesting doc’s. Some could be free and some could have rewards. And the rewards don’t have to be financial it could even be something like a free set of custom made gui’s, or a t shirt or something.

But just because something is open source doesnt mean you cant reward people for helping. And the person who posts the reward could set a time frame for submissions and select the best one. The nonwinning one submissions could still be released to the community.

Like for professional fiction writers this kind of thing looks really good on resumes:

(Again this is fictional)
Recipient of the Panda3d top programming utility design award for the JBSkaggs May 2009 competition for the creation of the Live Scene Editor.

Ideas like this wone will actually build community and brings in more active members because they can interact and win things.

I have seen people spend over $5000 to win a $500 prize for best Barbacue before in cooking competitions- they weren’t after the money they were after the reputation.

Most Wanted tasks could have two categories:

Official Panda3d requests: things needed for releases and website.

Unofficial requests: individual things needed by community users.

Remember the idea isn’t to have a lot of money rewards but to try and encourage and reward community interaction.

Nobody would have to participate, but anybody could.

I especially like the idea of a “Most wanted” reward for books (we can print them POD at LuLu.) I like having textbooks laying all over my desk!

For something huge we could have a community created donation pool for that type of reward. But the little rewards could be done by individuals- with the caveat that all tasks will be open source for the community’s use unless otherwise specifically stipulated. Offers for private only tasks would be considered job offers not most wanted rewards and should be hosted elsewhere.

ANyway this is my idea… thoughts.

JB SKaggs

Currently we have two big problems:

  • CMU not maintaining Panda3D
  • pro-rsoft not capable and willing to do it forever.

All other things are side aspects of this. All are depending on it.
When CMU is taking over, they can carry on even with the anchor. They have enough power to “pull it across the ocean”. If not, well, then we need to think about taking things into our own hands which should take a bit more time than we propably have regarding pro-rsoft.

jbskaggs: Actually I do like that idea. There are just a few caveats. 1st: Doing “achivements” means normally that you put your strength into reaching it and then its being forgotten (see the old level editor we have had already). So if one just wants to go for the money or reputation and then forgetting about it, it would not help much.
For the “foundation” it would be hard to publish such achivements, because it means to have something to reward people with. That for we need donations or other income. Something we are lacking atm. User driven “most wanted” are better, but to be honest: how do you want to force people saying they will spend $XYZ for a reached goal when they deny it later on? This might frighten away a lot of people. :frowning:
So actually the “foundation” would need to collect the money before the work could start. Which means that the “quest” starter actually has to give his money even when there is noone wanting to do the work. How long would you want to keep the money then before giving it back?

I like the book idea… we could put some energy into the manual and make that a book first. - With some sort of “stable” Panda3D release where only bugs are fixed or so… (Stable means: at least 2 years so that its worth to actually have a book).

Regards, Bigfoot29