The Viewer Release Process and Viewer News
There are currently five viewer release candidates sitting in the viewer release channel. These are:
- CHUI updates
- Cocoa updates for the Mac version of the viewer
- Google Breakpad updates (fixes and updates to improve the level of crash reporting from the viewer)
- Maintenance viewer updates
- Snowstorm updates (third-party contributions to the viewer)
As the first release candidate has now become the de facto viewer release (the Vivox updates, see part one of this report), all of the remaining release candidates are undergoing rebuilds using the “new” release viewer code base, and this is expected to be completed in week 33.
The current number of release candidates is considered to be atypical of the process, and reflects the fact that there is a backlog of viewer updates to be cleared. Once this has happened, it is anticipated that the number of release candidates within the viewer release channel will fall. In the meantime, it means we could be seeing new viewer releases (i.e. release candidates being promoted to the de facto release viewer) at the rate of one a week, depending upon how well individual RCs perform in user testing, until such time as the number of RC viewers becomes more manageable.
Installing Multiple Release Candidate Viewers & the Auto-updater
By default, release candidate viewers are intended to install / be installed into the same location as the de facto release viewer. Therefore, if you wish to run multiple RC viewers, you must install them manually into separate folders.
However, there is a problem in installing multiple RC viewer under windows, whereby the last location used to install a viewer is recorded by the installer (presumably as a registry setting), and the auto-updater will automatically use that location to install any update. So, if you manually install “Release Candidate B” into its own folder, and then receive an update for “Release Candidate A” (already installed on your PC) via the auto-updater, it will be installed into the folder containing “Release Candidate B”, overwriting it. This may even happen if the auto-updater is “disabled” within viewer preferences (see here for notes on how to avoid this).
At least one JIRA (non-public BUG-3522) has been raised against this issue. However, while LL are still investigating the problem, if it lies within the installer itself, it may not be addressed as there is an unwillingness at the Lab to get deeply involved in the mechanics of the installer.
There have been reports of the auto-updater mechanism forcing people to downgrade their installed viewer to an earlier release. While it “shouldn’t happen”, and may have been fixed, anyone who does experience the problem when auto-updating a viewer is asked to raise a bug report with as much information as possible on what happened (i.e. version being run before the update, version running after the update, date of update, etc.).
Making the Viewer Management System Available to TPVs
The Lab is experimenting with making the viewer management system available to TPVs if they wish to make use of it. This will mean that TPVs will have to port the code for use in their own viewer / environments, but it could help them with automating viewer updates if they don’t already have such a mechanism in place. One of the potential benefits of this for those TPVs following the Lab’s lead is that, as a result of changes also being made to the Lab’s reporting mechanisms, they will be able to receive a range of stats reports on their viewers directly from the Lab.
The current Snowstorm release candidate includes a change to how the settings.xml file works (the file which controls your viewer settings). This change will only affect those who have more than one Linden Lab viewer installed on the same computer (for example, someone who has the release viewer, a beta viewer and several project viewers installed), and will see all of the installed LL viewers using the same settings.xml file, rather than each creating a separate version of the file. This should prevent issues where the settings from one LL viewer are incorrectly applied to another, as can sometimes occur at present.
Interest List News
As noted in earlier parts of this report, Andrew Linden has wrapped-up his current work on interest lists. However, the project viewer for some of the work still has yet to appear, and is apparently still encountering problems getting through LL’s QA process. The code has been “real close” to being ready for release in some form on a number of occasions before getting kicked back for further work. The hope is that it will appear as a project viewer – or possibly a beta or release candidate – “soon”.