Second Life and WebKit

Webkit™ is a core Internet Browser, sort of. More precisely it is the render engine for the Safari web browser. Until mid 2013 it was the render engine for Google’s Chrome browser on Mac. The Internet Explorer browser that Microsoft uses is powered y the Trident engine. Firefox uses the Gecko engine. A number of mobile devices use Webkit.

In 2005 it was announced by Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet that WebKit would be open source. In 2010 a WebKit 2.0 project was announced.

All this is of interest to us because the Second Life™ viewer uses Webkit to power its internal web browser and Media On A Prim (MOAP). You see it used most by in-world TV’s. I suspect panels like User Profile are also displayed using WebKit.

The problem seems to be the WebKit in the SL and Third Party viewers is out of date. Adding to the problem is how Flash is displayed in the viewer’s WebKit browser, being that it isn’t. This is a complex problem because the viewer, WebKit, and Flash all have to cooperate for things to work. Messing up versions creates compatibility problems. In my opinion Flash is a mess and the SL Viewer is lagging.

The Lindens know there is a problem. Mac and Windows users are reporting YouTube’s warning to users of old versions of WebKit. See JIRA: BUG-4763Youtube will stop supporting Web on a Prim. The same bug is reported in the Firestorm JIRA and you can read it there: FIRE-12642[MAINT-3599] YouTube & Inworld Browser/MOAP: Needs update? If you are running into the problem, the Firestorm JIRA has some fix steps provided by an Adobe engineer. See: FIRE-11057 BUG-3694 – [MAINT-3058] [FLASH 11.8] [MAC] black video screen, but sound is ok – media streaming with Adobe Flash Player version 11.8.800.94, Mac OS X 10.6.

The error message seen is: You’re using Safari browser on Windows that we’ll soon stop supporting…

Apparently there is no easy fix for the viewer’s problem. Monty Linden is looking at what it may take to fix it, as Monty is working on cleaning up the code libraries used to build the SL Viewer and that is where the viewer’s WebKit code is. He seems a bit daunted… or at least dreading the work ahead on this point. But at some point this will have to be fixed or changed out with newer tech. For Monty this problem is sort of feature creep. It wasn’t really in his plans and I suspect is throwing off his timeline.

The current status as I take it is; the problem is known and no decision on a fix has been made.

5 thoughts on “Second Life and WebKit

  1. Hi Nalates! I also submitted a bug report on Wednesday, March 12 ( It was quickly marked a duplicate and closed – but not before I got a comment in (ha!) to ask that the original of my duplicate be made public so that we can track it. As far as LL is concerned, all roads lead back to BUG-3694 ( filed by Teno Theriac on August 21, 2013. (Loki’s isn’t marked as Public, so I’m not sure why the Lab didn’t choose his, as it seems to have been posted first). This bug report is marked as \triaged\ (kind of a misnomer, because some triages sometimes don’t get fixed for an additional year – you’d think the patient would die by then….).

    Harkening back to the days of the Blake Sea protests and black sails, Teno has made free protest signs and t-shirts, and is updating his bug report. I love this and will put several protest signs on my properties to show my support.

    I hope that public involvement will increase the priority of getting this fixed. Streaming media inworld is a mainstay of the educational community. If you prevent your Mac users from experiencing something considered a basic necessity in SL, it gives that community yet another reason to go somewhere else.


  2. There is a webkit update coming on (available now actually) but sadly not the expected one. Doesn’t look good for Mac users – sighs…


    • Linden Lab has decided to abandon Webkit. It will be replaced with Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF).

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