Second Life News 2014-15 #3

Viewers

The current main viewer is version 3.7.5-288464. This is the Google Breakpad RC Viewer promoted to the main release viewer. If you dig around in the log files section you’ll find more ‘marker files’ and more logged information. The Lindens have moved the start of logging, no easy task, further toward the beginning of viewer start  up and the end of shutdown.

Marker files are uniquely named and often have no data inside or very little. The purpose of the files is to basically leave breadcrumb trail for the error reporting process to follow. They are written because if the viewer crashes it often won’t be able to log an error. So, at certain points a ‘marker file’ is written so the next time the crash reporter runs, which is before viewer actually starts, it can check to see what the viewer did in its last run and report when it crashed. The marker file gives some idea of how far the viewer got in its process before crashing.

If all goes well and the viewer lives to reach a point where it can report errors, the marker files are erased. So, if you look for the files you will find different marker files at different times.

So far, the reporting from the new Breakpad reporting is showing a 2% increase in crashes. It isn’t that the viewers are crashing more often, it is the reporting system is catching more of the early startup and late shutdown crashes not previously reported.

We will probably see another Breakpad RC Viewer at some point as the Lab works to further improve error reporting.

Viewer Ranking

Oz Linden prepares the ranking used on the Third Party Viewer Directory. Recently the stats used for ranking changed from crash rate to disconnect rates. See: Second Life Bits 2014-13. Oz says he is looking for a better method of ranking 3rd party viewers. As yet he has not settled on a metric to use. He also says until he has a new stats report running he probably won’t change rankings shown in the directory anytime soon.

RC Viewers

The Voice RC Viewer and Merchant Outbox RC Viewer have been merged together. Apparently they both had good performance stats. I am guessing that either of those two or the Breakpad viewer could have been promoted. The breakpad got the promotion as I guess they figure it will reveal solutions to other problems and allow the development process to speed up.

You will find this combination in the RC Viewer list as: VoiceMO Viewer version 3.7.6.288881. I understand this is a good viewer for Mac users with voice problems.

Interesting Viewer version 3.7.6.288879 – This is an updated version of the Interest List Viewer. I believe the server side support for this viewer is still running  on all three server RC channels.

I am currently running this version on my computer. I haven’t been looking which server software a region is running. So, I can’t say this version is better or worse. But, regions with few people render really quickly. In regions with lots of people or even 10 or so in close proximity I get lousy frame rates.

I am also seeing an apparent regression where an attachment detaches and floats at the place I tp in on. I can’t detach and re-attach or attach a new attachment until I leave the region. Even after detaching it, it will still appear at my next tp landing point. Re-logging is a hit or miss fix. Replacing the problem attachment with another attachment and re-logging seems to more consistently solve the problem.

Maintenance Viewer version 3.7.6.288799 – This version is described as Winter’s excellent Maintenance fixes including:

  • Lots of crash fixes (about 54)
  • Performance improvements
  • GPU table updates
  • Multiple fixes to Mac viewer
  • Help system update
  • Fixes in Recent tab, Chat, LSL editor, land management, etc.

Sunshine Viewer version 3.7.6.288822 – This is described as: Sunshine V2 Updates.

  • Stability and performance improvements for SSA: retry logic, removing redundant requests, detecting various appearance stuck conditions.
  • Code cleanup – removed a lot of code related to the old client-side baking framework.
  • Bug fixes, mostly appearance-related.
  • Support for AISv3. AISv3 improvements are mostly related to improving the reliability of outfit changes, so the speed should improve and the failure rate should drop even further once both the viewer and server components have been released. The AISv3 code is currently on all three RC channels.

These versions with their updates from the main release viewer’s code are all considered new. This means the Lab needs time to collect data on the newly combined code. Oz is figuring there will be no new viewer release Monday.

Project Viewers

SLShare2 Viewer version 3.7.5.288424 – This has the new Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter sharing features as well as the Image Filters you can use tp process images going to the social sites. See Whirly Fizzle’s examples of the filters.

Mervoringian (Merov Linden) updated the TPV Dev Group on SL Share. From the user’s point of view there was nothing I would call new. But, there is some interesting trivia and it points to some other coming features.

Merov says the SL Share code is now public. And an RC Viewer is likely to be out before the end of the month, which means 3rd party viewers can release the SL Share feature.

An interesting aspect of this is in third party viewers the SL Share filters may be added to the SL Snapshot panel. The Lab does not plan to do that work. Merov did looking at adding the filters to the SL snapshot panel.

Merov in looking at the Snapshot code decided it was to messy to fix. I take that to mean it would take too much work and time. It would have to be re-written as a faster solution. But, that would still take more time than management had allocated for the SL Share project. So, he can’t take it on.

But, Niran is working on adding SL Share image filters to the Snapshot panel. So, that code may eventually come to the SL Viewer and will certainly make it to third party viewers.

Also, the adding the ability to create/edit image filters is something Merov looked at. Oz says they are open to some one adding the feature. I personally think image filters are black magic spells cast by witches and warlocks. I suppose if one is a Sudoku master they make sense. So, some people understand how they work and do amazing things with them.

Zipper Viewer version 3.7.5.288507 – This is the fast install version.

Oculus Rift Viewer – The Lab is still taking applications from those with Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2 hardware. This version will update once a second round of updates from feedback are added.

Mac Users

We are starting to see a glimmer of light in the distance. Mac problems are slowly getting fixed. WebKit is getting updated. The Firestorm Team seems to be leading the way on WebKit updating. We might even see the update in the next Firestorm release.

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