On Monday November 18th, Firestorm will commence blocking older versions of the viewer from accessing Second Life.
This is a move that has been coming for some time, and has been announced on a number of occasions through the Firestorm blog, through Firestorm user meetings and Q&A sessions, and which has been repeated through various blogs, including mine.
As it is, there are a good number of users still running versions of Firestorm that pre-date the introduction of Server-side Appearance (“avatar baking”) and some which even pre-date mesh rendering. Not only does running such versions lessen the user experience and increase the workload Firestorm support volunteers have in trying to assist people on older versions of the viewer.
Nor are the Firestorm team doing this entirely off their own backs. For obvious reasons, the Lab would like to see more users benefiting from the broad range of improvements which have already been rolled-out to SL (and those still being deployed in terms of further viewer-side updates), including SSA, interest list updates, improvements to the rendering pipe, improvements to viewer / server communications, and so on, all of which should improve the user experience, even for those on older hardware.
Given that Firestorm does have the lion’s user of active users, just under 65,000 of whom are still logging-in to Second Life on versions of the viewer pre-dating the more recent SL updates such as SSA, the easiest way to encourage them to update is to block older versions of the viewer.
This being the case, once the block comes into force, it means only users on Firestorm 4.4.0 through to the current version(s) will be able to access Second Life. As such, from November 18th, the following versions of Firestorm will be blocked from Second Life (numbers of people still using each version given in brackets):
- 126.96.36.199155 (40,451)
- 188.8.131.52837 (14,120)
- 184.108.40.206803 (60)
- 220.127.116.11744 (3334)
- 18.104.22.168000 Beta (4585)
- 22.214.171.12482 maintenance release (606)
- 126.96.36.19980 hotfix release (571)
- 188.8.131.5236 (881)
- 184.108.40.20679 (166)
For those who feel they may be unable to run later versions of Firestorm, the recommendation is to give a later version a go and to contact Firestorm support teams for assistance or try the Firestorm troubleshooting wiki pages, as issues encountered may be fixable. For those who have genuine issues in trying to run later versions of Firestorm, Linden Lab’s Third-party Viewer Directory offers a list of self-certified alternative viewers you might want to try.
For further information, please refer to the Firestorm blog announcement.
Please note: I cannot address technical questions relating to Firestorm through this blog. Please contact the Firestorm support groups if you have specific technical questions.