Second Life Server Code Rollout Process

Phillip, at SLCC 2010, talked about how the way Linden Lab develops code would change. Effort was to be made to get changes, fixes, and new features out faster. In that line the server code team is changing how they rollout server upgrades.

There is a Beta Server Team that does Quality Assurance (QA) on the Beta grids. The group is moderated by Oskar Linden. Beta Server Office Hours are on Thursdays at 3 PM PDT in Morris on the preview grid, ADITI.

Oskar and Lil Linden explained the changes in Beta Server Office Hours (09/02). The code is still tested on the Beta Grids, ADITI being the grid most of us know and some of us use. But once it reaches Release Candidate status it gets tested on the main grid, AGNI. Previously they were rolling all the changes into a single RC and rolling it out to the pilot area on AGNI. The Quality Assurance team would try to catch the problems and get back to the development teams.

The change is now each development team has a QA person. Once they feel they have their changes working on the beta grid they move the code to the Release Candidate status. So, rather than have a large batch of changes needing lots of testing going to QA it breaks into smaller, better tested packages. Then the pilot area on the main AGNI grid has been split into 3 areas. This allows multiple RC packages to be tested at the same time.

A pilot area has to run the RC for 6 consecutive days without bug fixes to be considered ready for roll out to the rest of the grid. Any bug fix resets the clock and the 6 days starts over. Also, the candidate making it through 6 days of testing gets rolled into the other 2 candidates, which then have their clocks reset.

The three pilot areas or ‘channels’ on the AGNI grid will have generic names. There will also be public sandboxes in those areas and dedicated sections of the wiki for each of the three channels. A section on the forum is also being considered too. This allows residents to check out the RC change and be aware of the changes being tested.  A blog post is coming about this change and how to stay informed about what is being tested where.

Because updates will be coming faster the regions participating will be restarting more often. The restarts are not limited to just the primary pilot areas. Other areas from the mainland get lumped into a pilot area, so that the Lab has good statistical examples for the test. For now mainland regions will be opt’d in for the RC tests. At some future time others may be allowed to opt in.

One of the issues being tackled now is the server side performance degradation. When a SIM is busy it begins to slow down. Over several days the SIM’s slow and have to be restarted. There is a memory or resource leak they are trying to find. The Office hours meeting was used to run some tests.

Other open issues are: People getting past Estate and Land bans, erratic behavior on scripted rez’d prims set to physical, script error reporting, avatar entering sim or rez’ing object causes sim to freeze for up to 30 seconds, state managers unable to freeze/eject, users sitting on prims, which are set to phantom are not affected by damage, vehicles can no longer enter a region if no-object-entry flag is set, cannot delete contents from no-modify objects, vehicles “Jumping” when crossing prims, script sim crossing bug, cant catch sphere type exact shape with lsl functions, no “accepted/declined inventory” notice, and physics unset on vehicles.

Changes in the Linden Lab process of developing code are turning up in many places. Hopefully we’ll see the impact of these changes over the next few weeks.

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