Viewer Release Pipeline Update

We have a new release of the Main SL Viewer: 3.6.2-279258. If you don’t have automatic updates enabled get the newest version here: Second Life Download. You can find the Second Life Viewer’s Release Notes here. Look for the version with the 279258 number.

Download Page Changes

Download Page Changes

This version got the Vivox updates. Vivox™ is the service that provides voice chat for Second Life™. We cannot see the JIRA notes on MAINT-2696, so we cannot know exactly what changed. My understanding this only affects reliability of the service. You should have fewer problems with voice chat failing. 

There are some known problems with this viewer, mostly on Linux versions. Ones that will affect Windows users:

  • CHUI-838[c]  Opening chat history for groups only works once per session, if at all.
  • NORSPEC-246[c] CLONE – Shiny objects or objects with reflections look shiny white
  • NORSPEC-262[c] Dragging and dropping a normal map onto an object it will apply as the diffuse texture to a single face
  • NORSPEC-267[c] Observing avatar does not see materials updates to object which he cannot edit, but has selected
  • NORSPEC-274[c] Overblown bloom with corrupt pixels on MacOS 10.6.8

I don’t see any of these as being enough of a problem to prevent my updating.

I am still seeing a lot of textures fail to render in certain regions with version 3.6.1-278007. I have noticed that I can leave an area for a few minutes and return and different textures render. I do have to move away farther than the adjacent regions.

In other regions textures render quickly. I have yet to find an indicator that can consistently tell me whether things will or won’t render well. But, once things do not render, they are not going to render no matter how long I wait.

Beta Viewers

Another step in adapting the system to the viewer release pipeline is the change in the Second Life Download page. It no longer has a link to a Beta Viewer. Instead it has a link to the Beta Viewers page: Second Life Beta Viewers. We now have 4 beta veiwer versions and two project viewers.

CHUI Viewer Beta – 3.6.2-279321 – Release Notes – There is a long list of CHUI fixes. If you are having chat problems, this might be a good version to try.*

Google Breakpad Viewer Beta – 3.6.2-279364 – Release Notes – This beta implements Google Breakpad as an ‘out’ process. I am doing some guessing here. Since Breakpad is an error reporting process that resides in the Cloud, I would guess the Lindens are looking at moving to it or they are improving their use of it. Those crash reports have to go somewhere. I’ve never looked to see where they go.

Maintenance Viewer Beta – –  Release Notes – This viewer has the latest batch of maintenance fixes, which includes a particle system selector for muting particles. There are about 36 fixes and 9 known problems. Linux users should be warned this version has Market Place Outbox problems. If you need to select particles to mute a griefer, you may want to try this build.*

Snowstorm Viewer Beta – – Release Notes – I’m not sure what the point of this viewer is. It is listed as:  The latest updates from Snowstorm. Once upon a time there was a group that meet with residents to talk about viewer development and bug fixes. Those fixes went into the Snowstorm viewer, which I think may have been inspiration for the Firestorm Viewer’s name. I have no clue whether that name came from one-ups-manship or from the exuberance of building a better viewer based on user input. That doesn’t help us with understanding the point of this viewer. I am assuming this is probably just a name for another channel of viewer testing.

This version does have several fixes for scripters using the viewer’s script editor. If you do lots of scripting you will probably want to try this viewer and give the Lab feedback on the changes.*

Project Cocoa Channel – – Release Notes – Mac Only – The goal of this project is to update the Mac version of the viewer to use Apple’s current Cocoa libraries.

Project Materials Channel – – Release Notes – This release contains maintenance updates to the Materials viewer. There are lots of updates. If you are working on adding new materials to things in SL, this is probably a must have viewer.*

*WARNING: The pipeline has some gotcha’s. Unless you are experienced in using SL Viewer installs only install one Linden made SL Viewer at a time. Meaning only have one viewer version installed on the computer. You can have as many third party viewers installed as you want. The SL Viewer installs have little if any effect on them.

The beta and project viewers will install over the top of the main viewer and replace it. All your files and generally your settings will be kept.

If you change to another beta or project viewer, it will install over the previous one.

In general, all of these Linden viewers install to the same folder by default. They overwrite any previous install. There is an option to choose your install folder. But, the install program does not seem to be designed to allow multiple viewer installs as in previous beta and project viewers. The registry links that lead your computer to the files needed to run SL are also overwritten. I am finding that over write to be inconsistent.

Pointers to the SLVoice files seem to never be updated after the first install. I have not extensively tested which version and which pointers do and don’t get updated. But, this inconsistency means you can’t be sure which files are being used with which versions, unless you check each install by examining the registry. 

8 thoughts on “Viewer Release Pipeline Update

  1. Couple of points.

    The “beta viewers” you refer to aren’t beta viewers. They are release candidate viewers which are currently sitting in the viewer release channel as cohorts.

    Also, while release candidate viewers will, by default, install into the viewer release folder (or the last folder pointed to during the Windows install process), project viewers do actually install into their own folders under windows, which are quite separate to the viewer release folder.

    • You are right about beta and release naming. Oz is clear on that. But, the rest of the Lab isn’t. They do call them Beta Viewers on the main download page, which links to the ‘Alternate Viewers‘ page. You might notice the word ‘candidate‘ is not used on the linked to as Beta Viewer page, which is titled Alternate Viewers… So, I’m not overly concerned about being that precise about the names. And people are still going to think of them as Beta Viewers no matter what we or the Lab call them.

      Thanks for the tip on Project viewers I was thinking of testing their install process later today. That will save me some time. I am curious if the Project Viewers will keep the stand alone process or get pulled into the Candidate style process. I hope they remain separate.

      • The teminology has been pretty well set. “Beta viewers” are a separate entity to release candidates. In that an emerging viewer can go from project to beta to RC, for example, or it can go directly to beta and then to RC.

        That the download page hasn’t had the terminology updated is really neither here nor there – given that the Alternate Viewers page clearly distinguishes between Project viewers and Release viewers – and up until the move of the Maintenance Viewer from Beta to RC, also differentiated between Beta and Release.

        As to Project / Beta viewer installs – Oz has also been explicit. The intention is for viewers to only get pulled into what you call the “Candidate style process” when they are merged-up to the current viewer release code and become a release candidate. Up until that point, they do not necessarily have to be built using the current viewer release code, but can be built using any previous code base – such as the Cocoa Project viewer being built on 3.5.1. Ergo, it is more than likely they will retain separate install folders.

        • If you were talking to techies you would be making your point…

          For the majority of the SL crowd it makes absolutely no difference.

  2. According to Oz in the new process Beta viewers are supposed to be optional steps between project and release candidate viewers. The fact that the lab is now referencing release candidates as Beta viewers may indicate that the lab is having a welcome rethink on these release candidates that are marked as release viewers but are not. I have complained at the confusion that this causes – so hopefully they are revising the process again.

    • Your point is well made. I too hope the Lab cleans up its use of beta and release to be more consistent with how technical jargon is used in professional circles. Until then it is going to be confusing.

  3. Snowstorm is basically fixes contributed by third parties. One of the examples is the count of groups you have joined and that you can still join (you have joined 2 groups, you can join 40 more).

    It basically is how third party features and fixes get into the main viewer, like spellcheck, for example

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