You may or may not have realized that most viewers now have the Server Side Appearance (baking) code. Also, the servers have the server side of the code now. This will allow the Lindens to start enabling the code in test regions in the main grid.
There is a Snack RC channel that supposedly has it enabled. But, that is unclear. We’ll likely hear more about this at the server meetings this week.
The Development Viewer is done. That channel is no longer updating. We will only see Beta and Project Viewer as the Viewer RC Pipeline rolls out, which will happen over the next 2 to 4 weeks, probably.
Technically this channel, the current beta delivery process, is done. The Materials Project Viewer is going to be delivered as a Beta through the old channel because it is ready for testing, but, the new delivery system is not. So, this beta is the last being delivered through it.
The new beta viewers will be labeled Second Life Beta and a name. So, if the Materials Viewer were coming through the new channel it would be Second Life Beta Materials.
You will have a new option in the viewer named Willing to Test. I am not yet sure how that will change your experience. I am guessing when a viewer is entering the beta channels you’ll get a notice. There will be a wiki page and may be a change in the download page that will let you select a viewer to download and test.
Once you are testing that beta you’ll stay with that test channel until the viewer version is adopted as the main viewer or dropped. A viewer being dropped is VERY rare. Your mandatory updates will only ever be related to that specific channel.
Because the channel updates touch the login process the Lindens are taking additional time to get things right.
This is an interesting change. It should speed things up. Several SL features are being held up by viewer development. With parallel testing channels things will move faster.
I am looking forward to it.