Firestorm’s 2 and 1: celebrating the highs and lows of a TPV

Firestorm achieved a number of significant milestones recently, all of which are worthy of note.

  • On Sunday September 2nd, the viewer was officially two years old
  • On Tuesday September 4th, version officially achieved the lowest crash rate for any V2/V3-based TPV at just 8.54%. This is even lower than LL’s own 1.23.5 viewer, which although long in the tooth and increasingly out-dated, is still regarded as very stable.
Extract from the Third-party Viewer directory listing, showing the most stable viewers at this time

Also on Tuesday 4th September, the team received official notification from LL that Firestorm has taken over from Phoenix as the most popular viewer in use in Second Life. This was marked by Oz Linden putting out an e-mail through the open-source development mailing list:

“On behalf of Linden Lab, I’d like to extend congratulations to the Firestorm Viewer team.

Last week, Firestorm took over the #1 spot on the list of Second Life viewers in terms of total user time, surpassing its elder cousin, Phoenix. The Phoenix viewer still has a slight lead in number of sessions, but Firestorm viewer sessions are on average significantly
longer – which may in turn be due in part to its substantially better stability.

“The Firestorm team has worked long and hard to support users who want both the latest Second Life features being developed by Linden Lab and the additional capabilities you provide, and this achievement is one you can all be proud of.

“Thank you.

Congratulations to everyone at Firestorm for all the time and effort devoted to the project.

15 thoughts on “Firestorm’s 2 and 1: celebrating the highs and lows of a TPV

  1. It’s great to see LL recognizing value from the open source viewer projects. It’s a good, welcome day when LL can speak with such clear support. Firestorm’s been good for the development scene and for the whole SL community.


  2. Hopefully that’ll lead to the FS team bringing back a good and functional V1-UI, minus the crashes and stuff. I appreciate their V1-skin, but that’s all it is as far as I could tell, not a different UI but just a skin.


    1. Time to move with the times and exercise some new muscle memory. Personally, I find the V1 UI a PITA; it’s limiting, cumbersome and untidy. Then again, it always was; it certainly wasn’t (and isn’t for new users) any more intuitive than V3; we were just prepared to suck it up and get used to it.


      1. I hold the exact opposite opinion it seems. The v3 UI scrambles everything around which makes it cumbersome and untidy to many users (FS might be #1, but V1 viewers hold a few top 5’s still don’t they?), and the only time I was limited by a V1 viewer was earlier in Mesh’s infancy, because Mesh wasn’t compatible with V1 yet, and now it more or less is.

        The V3 viewers had, and possibly still /have/ classes on how to use them. V1 is a bit daunting at first visually, much like any new MMO, but when you look across the bottom, the standard bar is what most people want/need/use. The V3 viewers don’t have a standard bar, and the buttons may not even BE in the logical place at the bottom of the screen when you boot it up. That goes against the grain for almost…every MMO?

        Good luck on receiving IM’s or group chats as well (y’know, one of the biggest features of SL), that little floater could be anywhere and it doesn’t draw attention at all. Plus the chat history box makes no sense and a lot of roleplayers have had to revert it to the ‘old’ style due to excessive spacing between posts.

        Putting V1 and V3 next to one another, V1 still tops across the board in most things in my and my friends book.


    2. If the Vintage mode isn’t enough V1 for you or can’t stand using the really cool FUI interface, you will soon have to make a decision between the last two maintained V1-based viewers – CoolVL and Singularity – because Phoenix will inevitably die. It’s already hopelessly outdated by now and didn’t get any development time in the last 5 months. And one of the upcoming changes from LL will most likely render it unusable for SL.


      1. I only used Phoenix for a little while, and I really don’t like Phoenix ‘mode’ on the FS viewer – Singularity stood out above both of those, and I regularly use it.

        I haven’t used the V1 skin on the FS viewer since it’s first iteration, so my complaints against it may be dated, but it just wasn’t that close to V1 at all, other than the colour.

        Phoenix might be hopelessly outdated, and they chose to do that themselves – They were ready to abandon it when Mesh first came out, but Singularity got mesh, and then Phoenix did, then they abandoned it again. Singularity is still going strong as far as I’m aware, and semi-regularly pushing out updates. Last I checked, Singularity was still a top-used viewer as well. They keep saying the next update might kill V1, but we’re still…almost a year after they’ve been saying that? I know V1 can’t last forever, but it can be mimicked in the new viewers, and until then, it’s not dead yet and don’t really see anything on the horizon that might kill it.


        1. Phoenix was never planned to receive mesh support. It only has mesh support because one year ago Firestorm didn’t fit my personal needs yet and I spent like 200 hours porting mesh in a tedious way over from CoolVL, digging in its latest changesets with thousands of lines trying to find the relevant changes and moving them over into Phoenix. But after Phoenix gave me horrendous performance after a hardware upgrade I switched completely over to Firestorm, so Phoenix doesn’t get any love from my anymore either.


        2. I know…Phoenix was ready to be abandoned like I said before, because it wasn’t meant to get mesh or any updates that keep V1 viewers running smoothly. I wasn’t a fan of it to begin with, and the FS version of it doesn’t do anything for me – So yeah…Nothing much new to say. Sorry to hear your hardware update killed Phoenix for you.


  3. From my POV, while I am glad I made the effort to shift from Phoenix to Firestorm, I would say there is an argument here which is missing their main point.
    Just what is wrong with the Linden Viewer UI?
    What spoiled it for me was the jump from V1 to V2. Linden V1 has a range of colour schemes. V2 appeared in Beta with a rather dull set of colours, which I found difficult to use. I set out my reasons for wanting to see the same sort of choices that V1 had, and when that sort of choice appeared, I found I had to rely on a third-party developer, who had to repeat and test the work every time the Viewer was upgraded by Linden Labs.
    Now they’re on V3, but I’ve never bothered to try it out. The Firestorm crew do a good job, and you can find these guys in-world. They’re people who take the trouble to use their Avatars. There are Lindens like that but, to be honest, I wouldn’t want Torley to be responsible for colour choices in the UI.
    Might not be the UI design… Maybe the question is, why don’t we feel safe with the Linden Viewer?


  4. I agree that it takes some amount of time to adapt to v3 minimal ui (the only 1 that makes sense)
    On that mode, even if i really think and wish firestorm would take Niran’s aproach (its interface is by far the best of the v3 1 and its build user floater the mot easy and best to use, even better then v1!) there is no reason to keep using v1!
    The freedom of having a screen without tabs or filled, one that we can enjoy all of Sl, is what makes me refuse to use v1 interface, even on OSG!
    Firestorm v3 skin is pretty good, still if they follow Niran’s road, it would be perfect!
    My concern with firestorm is just 1, why in Hell it does not have tone mapping???
    Niran’s amazing graphics while keeping a performance and stability without equal, cannot be reached by another tpv???


    1. The problem with performance is that it is largely subjective. I use Niran’s alongside the SL Beta viewer, Firestorm, Exodus, RLV and Zen, all of which are now more-or-less on the same LL code base, and find little difference in performance between them on my system.


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