You probably know that the server updates come through 3 releases channels; Blue Steel, Le Tigre, and Magnum. This is sort of having 3 Beta versions running at the same time. It allows 3 different sets of code be tested at the same time. The best performing of the three gets promoted to the main channel.
The result is the server code update at a pretty fast pace. In fact so fast that several server updated features are waiting on the viewer to update.
The viewer has several Alpha channels, sort of Alpha. But only one Beta Channel. That is about to change. The viewer teams are going to a multi-Beta viewer plan.
This will mean the Beta viewer now on the Second Life™ download page will disappear. The beta viewers will appear on a wiki page. These will likely be referred to as Candidate Viewers rather than Beta Viewers. Special viewers for specific projects will still be Project Viewers.
This will allow faster development of the viewer. Plus if a project in the tube runs into problems, it won’t hold up other projects. All in all this should be a much better development process.
We often refer to viewers as the Main Viewer, Beta Viewer, and by project channel names; Materials Viewer, SSA Viewer, and etc. That is not going to work so well in the future. When we refer to a viewer we are going to have to give the full 4 part version number for it to be meaningful: 3.5.1 (274821).
Also repository channels that we have used like Development-Viewer are going away. The new channels will be Viewer-Release channels. New repository channels will be made public as soon as the Lab has them working well. Watch for the announcements.
The official announcement of this change is here: A New Process for Viewer Releases.
This change will increase the speed of viewer development. It also creates a passing lane for projects that are easier and smaller. So, relatively simple things like viewer hinting for cache content can get past a more complex project like SSA development.