The fate of the Second Life Linux version viewer is now up to the Linux community of Second Life. In the Third Party Devlopers’ meeting Oz Linden spoke about the Lab’s Linux support for the near term future. Basically the Lab is going to provide less Linux support.
There are two reasons; one is the Lab’s limited resources and second the new projects they will be starting in the next months or so, which I take to mean late May or early June.
It seems in the effort to bring CEF (Chrome Embedded Framework) into the viewers to replace Webkit, Linux is a sticking point. There are so few Linux users, the time being taken wasn’t justified. Oz feels he cannot assign the number of people for the time needed for Linux version of the viewer. So, while I think we will have a Linden Linux Viewer, a lot of stuff is not going to work. Currently most of that not-working-stuff is media related.
Oz tells us the Lab is not receiving Linux code contributions. He does get a few complaints about something in the Linux viewer not working, but no help from Linux developers.
This means the Lab is dropping the Linux Viewer… at least their priority for working on it. The Linux Viewer will move into the realm of being a viewer Third Party Developers will have to support and build. This is the general state of Linux in most projects. The user community supports something or it doesn’t exist in the Linux world.
The Lab will provide build services and integration support. But, little more.
It looks like implementing CEF for Linux was the breaking point.
Update: 5/13/2015 – Inara has posted an update with information from Linden Lab. See: Lab confirms open source support sought for Linux viewer development. That headline puts a positive spin on the issue.
The important part of the article, to me, is the Lab revealing that less than 1% of the Second Life users are running on Linux. My blog shows a long term 3.2% of my readers visit using a Linux OS. This past month that has risen to 4+%. My readership is a small percentage of the SL users. So, I’m not surprised the numbers on Linux use disagree.
The Lab posted their statement here: An Update on Linux Viewer Developmen
The Lab will continue to have a Linux version of the viewer available for download. I’ve never gotten it to run in my Mint VM. I may bring up a Linux laptop in the future and try again. But, it looks like the Lab’s Linux Viewer is a bit of an orphan now. And probably will never be that good a viewer. The best Linux viewers will remain mostly in the realm of third party viewers.