It is hard to keep up with the Linden Lab viewer. We do not see lots of changes in the user interface nor are there lots of new features being added. But, there is lots of stuff happening behind the User Interface.
It is not like there is any place where the Lindens are talking about the viewer. Esbee disappeared long ago. While still at the Lab, I never hear a peep out of her. I hear far more from Runitai Linden that leads the Shining Development Branch. He attends various groups and we get information from him. But, it is mixed with the context of the meeting.
The Lab has a number of development repositories where they publish code as they develop the viewer. One of these is the Viewer Development Branch. It is in BitBucket. If you code in large projects, you have some familiarity with code repositories, repo’s. For those of us that work with small short term projects repo’s are mostly over kill.
If you don’t write code/scripts, the whole thing probably seems rather geeky and mostly Greek. It is. Understand that the repo’s are typically where those writing code pass on notes, information, and their code to people that know what’s going on. The notes and descriptions they write are very much like notes we intend to only ever be read by our self. They are not overly explanatory.
Reading them and figuring out what is meant is frustrating for outsiders. But, asking programmers to write lengthy explanations just slows the development process. So, we’ll likely never see a change.
In any event, reading the repo comments on the code commits is not my favorite pastime. But, there are not many choices, if one wants to know some of what is happening with the SL Viewer. Even reading the repo I’m not sure exactly what is happening, just sort of what is currently being worked on.
SH-2791 – Use request class constructor/destructor for keeping track of concurrent requests instead of unreliable increments/decrements sprinkled around the code. You will likely find you do not have permission to read this item. That does NOT mean they are keeping it secret. Sometimes they are. But, the nature of the JIRA is that some projects set the permissions automatically. Unless the Linden remembers to override the default setting, we get locked out.
Whatever the case work on this item is now in the Development Viewer (DV).
SH-1427 – Fix for spot lights not working properly on alpha objects, and fix for alpha lighting of point lights not matching deferred lights. This work made it into the DV about the 24th of January, but Google did not get around to adding it to my reader until today.
Here is a some of what’s going on. Try not to doze off. Other items (which I just copied from the repo);
- SH-2889 Add visual auto-muting controls
- SH-2794 Fix for bad textures on some hardware when vbo mapping disabled (always use GL_STREAM_DRAW as the usage hint when mapping is disabled as geometry will be uploaded again and again)
- SH-2779 Fix for some transparent rigged attachments not being rendered correctly.
- SH-2885 Add mesh requests pending/processing line to “Show Render Info”
- Introduce two new parameters “CurlUseMultipleThreads” and “CurlRequestTimeOut” for QA to test Curl.
- SH-2904: textures remain stuck in HTP state
- SH-2823 and SH-2824: LLCurl crash inside LLBufferArray::countAfter() and LBufferArray::copyIntoBuffers
- Add more exception handlings for llcurl fix.
- Fix a Mac build error.
- SH-2845, SH-2846, SH-2847, SH-2851: curl crashes and out-of-memory crashes.
- Add debug code for SH-2827: [crashhunters] Crash in LLPipeline::generateWaterReflection()
- SH-2829: [crashhunters] Crash in LLWearable: :importFile() / LLOverrideBakedTextureUpdate: :LLOverrideBakedTextureUpdate()
- STORM-1799 Object doesn’t appear in Block list if trying to block from Remote object inspector.
- STORM-1798 ‘Block’ menu item title isn’t changed after blocking item in object inspector.
- STORM-1796 Preferences->Privacy->Only friends and groups can call or IM me cannot be changed unless Voice Chat is enabled.
- STORM-1788 Clarify wording in About Land->Access and tooltips (and similar Estate panel).
After a time it gets pretty boring. Plus there isn’t a lot of interest unless you are being bitten by one of the bugs being fixed. Fortunately most of us aren’t.
Can you imagine going through all the different viewer repo’s to figure out what’s happening?
Summing It Up
In any event there is lots of work being done on the Linden viewer. It is getting better.
I learned from reading the commit comments that the Lindens do add debugging code and remove it at some point, which is what I suspected. From time to time that could be why the DV is slower than the Beta or main release.
I’m currently using 3.2.9 (248764). It has a crash issue or two. After 2 or 3 hours I often see the viewer poof and send a crash report to the Lab’s servers. I’m not seeing lots of memory leaks, so I have no idea what is causing the crash. I have yet to tie it to single activity on my part. Obviously I’m not interested enough to dig into the crash log.
I do know the viewer slows to a crawl if you open the Roles in a large group. There is something like 14,000+ members in the Firestorm-Phoenix Support group. The first time you open the group’s profile the viewer drops to 0.3 FPS. It takes several minutes to recover and reach a point where you can do anything with the viewer. …oh, and opening a browser to play Backyard Monsters while you wait is a really bad idea.
Word is taking high-rez photos using the viewer’s snapshot will crash the viewer at some point. It takes a dozen or so images to reach the crash point. Others say that once some memory leaks clutter up your computer’s memory FRAPS stops working. Generally a relog cleans up the problems, but you may have to restart your computer.
It seems 3.2.6 has some crash issues people are running into. Version 3.2.8 is in Beta. I had almost no problems with 3.2.8 while I ran its Development predecessor. I would have an occasional crash. But sometimes I ran for hours no problem and other times only an hour or less. If you have problems, shift to another version.
Oh… and remember, Uninstalling a Dev or Beta viewer using the uninstall program can wack your main SL Viewer and erase your chat logs. I recommend doing a manual removal. See my Clean Install of Second Life.