KirstenLee S20 (38) Release Review

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KirstenLee S20

Today KirstenLee announced putting out the standard release versions of the S20(38) viewer. The post precedes posting of the download files. The various platform downloads will appear today as they get to them. Windows, Mac, and Linux versions will be posted. See: S20 Build 38 – ReleaseAs I write this the windows release is up.

KirstenLee has begun providing optimized versions of the viewer for specific hardware. There is a single download. To take advantage of the optimizations one must rename a file in the install folder. So, may be I should say they providing optimized versions of OpenJPEG.dll. Kirsten is now making versions of the file with SSE2 and 3 optimization and some versions only run on dual core2 Intel CPU’s and higher end graphics cards.

Linden Lab and TPV Dev’s build viewers for the majority of people and target the lowest ‘common denominator’ type machines. Their goal is compatibility over performance. When one moves away from maximum compatibility they are free to use many of the optimizations available for specific hardware. This means some people will be able to take advantage of speed enhancements for their newer hardware.

New Stuff

The release notes are accessible from the download page. Several features probably need some explanation, which follow.

KDU Speed Up

There is a render problem with the Kakadu (KDU) decompression component. Linden Lab licenses a proprietary package to use with their viewer. The task of KDU is to efficiently decompress JPEG2000 images, which can extract multiple images from a single image. The process literally tells the server to send smaller copies of the file to speed up download and reduce bandwidth use. Then on the client side constructs the image for use in the render engine. TPV Dev’s use OpenJPEG in place of the proprietary KDU. OpenJPEG is not as well optimized and is about 40% slower. Kirsten is providing 3 copies of OpenJPEG with the (38) version; Safe, Normal, and Extreme.

Because of licensing issues with KDU and some apparent mistakes on Linden Lab’s part they have over compensated in their interpretation of the license. Some are speculating that that this over compensation is an effort to avoid getting sued. Some of the developers have interpreted the license differently and see no reason that the llkdu.dll file (the actual KDU part of the viewer) cannot be used with TPV’s. However, Linden Lab has insisted that TPV’s be rewritten to avoid use of the file. Until now TPV’s would look for llkdu.dll and if not found, fall back to openjpeg.dll. Now the look-for and fall back feature has to be removed from TPV’s.

Essentially, TPV’s will now be a bit slower. HOWEVER, there is a work-around. One can take a copy of the llkdu.dll file from a Linden Lab viewer and place it in another viewer. One then has to rename openjpeg.dll to something like Then rename llkdu.dll to openjpeg.dll.

Each one has to make a decision whether they think reuse and renaming of the file is acceptable or not. A big point in deciding is remembering most of the issue is about how the KDU file is distributed and is an agreement with LL. If one has a copy of an SL viewer they have a legal copy of the file. Then the issue becomes what you can do with files in your personal computer.

Install Experience

I see in the forum several people have had problems with the new install. For others it works well. I suspect some of that is people not paying attention to which version they are using. The Normal install is optimized for SSE2, which should work for 3 and 4 year old computers and newer.

Others that appear computer knowledgeable can’t get it running. Several are recommending a cache clear with any new version install. I typically have a problem with the first login when I run a new Kirsten version. I tried the Preferences->Settings – Reset cache before trying to login. The viewer was horribly sluggish. It was a PITA getting the cache cleared using the viewer. It did clear all the files out but a 104mb file named data.db2.x.7992 was left behind and the viewer was still ridiculously sluggish.

Next I cleaned out all the files and folders in the cache folder. When the viewer opened it still was horribly sluggish, taking  45 seconds or so to open the splash screen. Before I even try to login the program is using 50% of my CPU capacity. It bounces between 47% to 57% and averages 52%. I decided this was never going to work. So, I uninstalled the viewer.

The uninstall does not remove all the S20 files. About 8mb and 1,100+ files are left behind. So, I manually cleared out the program folder. C:\Program Files\Kirstens S20

I found the C:\Program Files\Kirstens S20\fonts folder set to read only. Ok… Right-click the folder and select Properties to change the Read-Only status.  Next I find it has special permissions and I still cannot delete the files. Grrrrrr. This is a typical Vista PITA. Google Vista or Win7 you don’t have permission.

After completing a reinstall, the viewer is still unbelievably sluggish. Even getting my login ID typed in was a pain. I tried logging in. This version seemed unusable on my machine. I crashed out and tried once more. On the second login the viewer was much more responsive. It was much easier logging in. But, once in I was only getting 0.6 to 1 FPS. After a few minutes I was up to 10 to 12 FPS. What a pain.

Next I tried one of the optimized versions. I renamed openjpeg.dll to openjpeg(Normal).dll and tried a login. This was the third login and it went smoothly. The viewer opens quickly and the region renders quickly. I can’t see any real speed difference. But, I again start out at .5 to 1 FPS. After 2 or 3 minutes I was back up to 10 to 18 FPS.

Turning on Lights & Shadows causes a reset of some kind and pulls me back down to 0.6 FPS and the world view area goes black. After a couple of minutes it still does not recover. A relog does not recover either.

Form my perspective, this version is broken.

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