Work continues on implementing the new viewer release process, although it is unlikely to debut this week (week 21). Commenting on the state-of-play at the Open-source Development meeting on Monday May 20th, Oz Linden said, “There are some new services to stand up, and I don’t have enough experience with that to be able to estimate it well.” He also indicated that the necessary changes to the log-in process I reported on in week 20 are still being progressed with care.
However, as of May 20th, 2013, the viewer beta repository has been discontinued by the Lab. This means that the next beta viewer to appear – which is due to be the Materials Processing viewer due out possibly later this week – will be built directly from the Materials project repository and not a merge with the existing beta viewer, although it will go through the existing beta channel for release and made available via viewer download page.
Under the new system, viewer names will be broadly streamlined, with beta and release candidate versions of viewer being broadly identified by the viewer type and project name (e.g “Second Life Beta Materials” or “Second Life Release Candidate Materials”), prior to being updated as the release viewer.
“Willing to Update”
As previously noted in this blog, when a user downloads a specific viewer, they will only receive updates specific to that viewer until such time as it reaches a release status (although user can theoretically run several viewer side-by-side, and receive the required updates to each of them as they become available). However, the beta viewers will in future a new Preferences option, “Willing to update to release candidates” (Preferences > Setup).
Precisely how this option works is unclear (I have contacted Oz Linden on the matter but have yet to hear back), but it appears to suggest that if unchecked, then notification of any RC updates to the viewer will not be forwarded to the user / automatically downloaded and installed, and will thus leave the user running with the viewer in a beta state until such time as a mandatory update is forced as the viewer becomes the de facto release viewer.
The new release process means that there will be more viewer options to download via the Alternate Viewers wiki page. How many depends on the number of projects and general work is going on with the viewer. However, it also means that once operational, there should be fewer incidences when a specific project or issue interrupts the flow of viewer through to release status, as occurred towards the end of the 2012, when the viewer releases became “stuck” in the beta release channel as a result of a single crash issue.