I often use the SLV Development viewer. I’m on one of the version 2.8.3 builds. So, I have a sense of how well it is or is not working. But, that tells me nothing about planning for the viewer. For that information I rely on the Office Hour or as it is now called the Viewer Evolution User Group meeting. Recently that meeting has not been happening. Actually for the last two weeks the Lindens are not showing up. This group was one of the most informative and communicative. Now it is one of the worse if not the worst. So, it is hard to know what is going on with the Linden Lab viewer.
Viewers to be Blocked
Opensource Obscure noticed in the wiki a note in the 2.8.0 viewer release notes about versions of the SLViewer 2 series being blocked. Viewers from version 2.1.1 to version 2.6.8 will be blocked at logon. As the Lindens have promised the 1.23.x viewers are excluded and will be able to login.
I think there are enough code changes and new features in Second Life that one needs a 2.7 or better viewer to get the most out of SL. The blocked viewers are using support services that will likely be turned off in the coming days.
Open Source Mailing List
I used to see Lindens often responding in the Open Source Mailing List. That seems to have pretty much stopped too.
I suppose it is possible the Lindens are returning to old non-communicative habits. Or they could be too busy to talk to residents. Server bumps in the path to mesh have put pressure on and people have been shuffled to assure mesh rolls out on time. There are lots of new features being injected into SL. Lots of things are changing and SL Community Convention (SLCC) is just days away. So, any planned surprises are likely under wraps leaving little the Lindens can talk about.
SpotOn3D is talking about a viewer plug-in for web browsers that makes OpenSim web ready. Is Linden Lab developing something similar? It is hard to know. I can make guesses and add things up. But, it doesn’t mean I’ll get the right answer.
We have new web based profiles and social networking things being added. Would it make sense to have a web based viewer for new signups? I have no idea how many times I’ve seen people asking how to login to SL in the forum. O.O You have to know they got an ID and password to post in the forum. How can they not log into SL? Oh… they didn’t download the viewer. Obviously that person has played too many Facebook games. So, it sort of makes sense the Lab might do something like that.
After the backlash from SLViewer 2.0 they may be afraid to say anything about development of SLV 3.0. We’ll never be sure what they learned from that experience until they release the next BIG change viewer. Is there another viewer in the works? Probably. If so, did they learn user interface changes are a problem? I hope so. Do they think third party viewer development by those clueless about SL was a bad idea? I hope so. Or did they get the idea I think was most import, SL user involvement (wither the user is a Linden or private citizen) is needed to develop a good usable viewer? We can only hope.
Is a Viewer 3.0 far enough along it is pulling Lab resources? Could be. But, I doubt it and think it more likely SLV 2.x features and changes in how we handle social networking and virtual goods are in the works for SLV 2.x viewers.
May be we will know more after SLCC. The schedule and presentation topics seem a bit underwhelming. But, there could be surprises.