Update 17th December: The video of the meeting is available on You Tube (and embedded below). Links have also been added to the official announcement and a transscript of Jessica’s presentation given at the start of the meeting.
Jessica Lyon and members of the Phoenix Firestorm Team hosted an in-world / streamed meeting on Saturday 15th December, 2012 to discuss the future of Phoenix.
As expected, the core of the news was the Phoenix has essentially come to its end of line. As from December 31st, all official support provided by the Phoenix / Firestorm team will cease.
There are many reasons as to why this step is finally being taken, but they all have their roots in the fact that in late 2010, the decision was taken that to ensure future ease-of-development and enhancement of the viewer, it would be more in the Phoenix Team’s interest to develop a viewer which could more easily keep pace with LL’s development curve, rather than attempting to continually backport new code and features into a viewer that would be based on what would become an increasingly outdated code base. Thus, Firestorm was born. Whether one agrees with this decision or not is actually moot. It was a decision the Phoenix Team were entitled to make.
The major reason as to why the team has opted to formally announce the end of line for Phoenix now is because Linden Lab have notified TPVs of the forthcoming roll-out of server-side avatar baking in 2013.
As I’ve explained in a recent blog post, server-side avatar baking is a significant change in the way Second Life operates and which should see an end to the major issue of avatar bake fail. However, it brings with it not only changes to the server-side of Second Life, but very major changes to the viewer itself.
Such is the complexity of these viewer changes that Linden Lab has sought to provide TPVs with an eight week window in which to implement and test them. Given the overall status of Phoenix, it simply is not possible for the Phoenix Firestorm team to implement the changes in Firestorm and backport and integrate them into Phoenix (together with all the other changes required to get Phoenix back on a par with LL’s viewer development) in that time frame. The reason why it is vital for all TPVs incorporate the new code is because without it, avatars will fail to render correctly – so if Phoenix does not have the code, it simply “won’t work” when the new service is deployed.
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