Feb 15th Firestorm Q&A video and transcript: next release and news

firestorm-logoOn Saturday February 15th 2014, the Firestorm team hosted a meeting to cover news on the upcoming release of Firestorm, projects they’re working on, and to answer audience questions.

While the meeting was recorded, the Firestorm team are aware that many of their users have hearing difficulties, and / or prefer to read text, so this transcript has been supplied on their behalf.

When reading, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the video, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, repetition, questions to others etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Timestamps are provided as guidance should anyone wish to hear the comments in full from any speaker on the video
  • Questions /comments were made in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. To provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are given (in italics) at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team, either in voice or via chat.

Please note: This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. I am not an official member of the Firestorm team, and technical or support issues relating to Firestorm cannot easily be addressed through these pages. Such requests for assistance should be made through the in-world Firestorm Support groups or at the Firestorm support region.

The TL;DR Summary

Items here are presented in the order in which they are likely to be of interest to users, rather than chronologically. Timestamps in braces refer to times in the video where the relevant commentary can be heard. All sections are expanded upon in the main transcript – click on the timestamp to go to them.

  • [0:51:07] The next release of Firestorm will be out around March 9th – possibly a little before, possibly after. Some of what should be in it includes:
    • From LL: Fitted Mesh, HTTP (hopefully – see HTTP discussion), SLShare (Facebook support), Request teleport, New region restart warnings
    • RLVa 1.4.9, Animation Explorer, Area Search updates, revised Contacts Sets, Mmany mini-map updates (from Exodus), avatar shape XML import, group list .CSF export, materials support in object exporter, Phototools updates, anti-spam updates, and more
    • Major and minor bug fixes
  • [0:17:57] Firestorm Download Server: Firestorm have been forced to discontinue using Google cloud as their viewer download service due to reasons of costs following to changes to Google’s service. As a result, after looking at options for offering viewer downloads, the team has opted to invest in a dedicated download server of their own. This may lead to issues being experienced when downloading future releases of Firestorm. Details in the section Firestorm Download Server
  • [0:07:54] Cinder Roxley, one of the core Firestorm developers and open-source code contributors to the Lab, has departed Second Life, leaving something of a large hole in the Firestorm team
  • [0:07:54] Leap Motion: work is underway, now to be led by David Rowe (Strachan Ofarrell in SL), who develops CtrlAltStudio, who is partnering with Firestorm to carry the project forward. Work has started on camera manipulation, object manipulation and avatar movement. However, there is still a major amount of work to be done, at least some of which is contingent upon Leap Motion producing an releasing an update for the device itself. It is therefore unlikely any work on Leap Motion will be appearing in the near future, and certainly on in the next Firestorm release
  • [0:27:55] Voice issues: Vivox has offered to assist the Lab in dealing with at least some of the issues with SL voice. A new SDK (SLvoice plugin) is due to be released soon. If it arrives in time, it may be incorporated into the upcoming Firestorm release
  • [1:13:34] Mac issues: and update on matters for Mac users.
  • [0:41:02] HTTP: Tankmaster Finesmith has been merging the Lab’s HTTP updates into his own Firestorm repository. Depending on what happens the Lab’s HTTP viewer updates, Tank’s work may be merged into the upcoming Firestorm release and form a part of it
  • [1:09:40] mini Q&A session.

With thanks, as always, to North for the video.

General Announcements

The Firestorm Support Bell

Are you being served? The Firestorm region support bell
Are you being served? The Firestorm region support bell (click to enlarge)

0:01:13: As noted at the last Firestorm Q&A, members of the support team are making themselves available for one-on-one help in the ground-level central area of the Phoenix Firestorm Support Island. A bell has been added to the area so that visitors can summon available support staff if they are notalready in the one-to-one support area, and if any staff are available.

The bell  is a work-in-progress, with functionality still to be added. Hovertext above it indicates if any support staff are available, and touching it will alert them via HUD that someone is requesting assistance.

Lette’s Guide to Chat

0:04:46: Many users new to Firestorm can be confused by the viewer’s chat options. Lette Ponnier has taken time out to produce a guide to the core features of the chat / conversations floater, console chat and chat toasts, together with the more popular chat options in Firestorm Preferences.

You can find Lette’s blog post here.

Leap Motion Update and Cinder

0:07:54: As reported in this blog, Leap Motion Inc approached Linden Lab with a view to getting their gesture device integrated into Second Life. As the Lab are busy with a range of projects, and the core of the work is viewer-side, an invitation was extended to TPVs to drive this work on behalf of Second Life, and members of the Firestorm team volunteered to take it on.

Leap Motion - work is progrssing, but it will be a while before anything is released in the viewer
Leap Motion – work is progrssing, but it will be a while before anything is released in the viewer

0:08:59 Jessica Lyon (JL): We had assigned Cinder [Roxley] to lead on that; a little bit of bad news … most of you know cinder, she’s a great developer of ours, she’s one of our main Mac developers; fixed a lot of stuff, came up with a lot of stuff; dedicated a lot of work to the viewer, to the project, to Second Life … and I’m sad to say that Cinder has departed from Second Life and from the team, and that she won’t be back.

0:10:12 JL: Unfortunately, this also means that we’re left with Leap Motion and how we’re going to manage that … It also leaves us in a sticky situation with regards to Mac, and I’m going to get back to the whole Mac thing as well  .. and OpenSim as well. [For] those of you who use OpenSim, Cinder was in charge of our OpenSim development, so we’re also a little bit short on that expertise. So there are a few things that are going to suffer from her absence.

0:11:07 JL: So, Leap Motion  – how many are you familiar with CtrlAltStudio viewer, and David Rowe [Strachan Ofarrell in SL] who develops that viewer? [CtrlAltStudio is a Firestorm-based viewer which offers support for stereoscopic viewing, preliminary support for Oculus Rift and initial integration with Microsoft Kinect.]  … We’ve been in touch with him, I’ve been talking to him quite a bit and we’ve decided to kind-of partner-up in an effort to speed-up the integration of Leap Motion … So, where that is now since things have changed:

  • 0:12:05JL: Zee Ri is working on camera manipulation .. a pretty big one, especially for machinima makers, to be able to manipulate your camera without having to use your mouse, and some of you can’t afford Space Navigator … so we’re kind-of hoping we’ll be able to provide some integration with camera movement.
  • 0:12:27 JL: Nicky [Dasmijn] has done a little bit of work on object manipulation for building in Second Life
  • 0:12:35 JL: Cinder had just started work on avatar movement  for walking and flying.

0:12:44 JL: Now David Rowe … I should have asked him to come up on stage with us today … he’s basically going to take over the majority of that work. We’re going to be giving him commit access to our repository … The reason for that is since he is based off of Firestorm, and since we have developers in this team working from  Leap into our repository, and he’s going to be doing work in his repository, it really makes sense if he can commit that work back to us, and it just helps us with merging and keeping up with each other.

0:13:38 JL:  The work is not going to be available to users until it is a little bit more presentable … The Leap controller is – I don’t think anybody who has used it, this won’t come as a surprise to you – lacking in accuracy. The Leap Motion people assure me they are working on an update which will improve its accuracy, which is the smoothness and its ability to recognise your hand and where your hand is, and your fingers and all that kind of stuff … They’ve got an update in the works that will improve things a lot.

The Leap motion controller currently suffers from accuracy problems (image via Linden Lab, February 2013)
The Leap Motion controller currently suffers from accuracy problems (image via Linden Lab, February 2013)

0:14:21 JL: But in our discussions, we’ve all come to the agreement that even if we manage to get – and by “we”, I mean CtrlAltStudio and Firestorm – even if we manage to get integration finished, we’re not going to release it until that update is available, and we can polish it up, because if we release something that really isn’t that usable, it’s just going to turn everybody off from ever wanting to use it.

0:14:51 JL: So as far as a time line on that, can’t give you one, even if I had to, because they don’t have a time line on their update, and it is not going out until at least we’ve had that update in our hands for a little while … but Leap Motion is continuing, and we’re excited to be working with David Rowe from CtrlAltStudio to make that happen. He is a pro at this kind of stuff; he’s already done Oculus Rift and all these other things. He’s ideal for it.

0:15:47 JL: I think there are some challenges there … In order for Leap to succeed [in SL] … it has to be easier to move your avatar with your Leap controller than it is to use your arrow keys; or at least it has to have some advantages, like being able to walk slower [something David Rower has been experimenting with in CtrlAltStudio, together with flying] and be able to move at different speeds … some of that would need server support, and Linden Lab would, I’m sure, do that at some point.

0:16:25 JL: The idea for now is that we get the main integration and then we can get it to Linden Lab and they can start doing all the really cool fancy stuff that requires server-side support … so basically, it’s going to need to be more fun to use and more accurate and neat to use than our current tools. Space Navigator is pretty good; it’s going to be tough to beat, but we’ll see what we can do.

0:17:00 Tankmaster Finesmith (TF) via text: Object manipulation will likely need assistance from the simulator.

0:17:09 JL: That’s right, object manipulation will require some server-side stuff, but we can do a certain degree with it. Nicky has already managed to be able to select and deselect prims … She’s only done a little bit of work, more-or-less playing with it, and her idea is to have a relative representation of your hand on the screen, and you’ll basically get to pinch and object with your fingers and turn it and move it and spread your fingers to make it bigger or smaller; that kind of thing.

Firestorm Download Server

0:17:57 JL: OK, so download servers. Some of you know that we have historically hosted our downloads with Google, and Google is fantastic because when we upload our stuff it goes to the cloud, so we can have a billion people downloading a release at the same time, and it has very little effect on download speeds for each other.

0:18:23 JL: Unfortunately, Google cancelled that.  So as of January 14th, Google will no longer host new uploads, at least not without paying them probably a lot of money. And I spent a lot of time looking at alternatives for hosting these files … On a release, we average about 5,000 downloads an hour for the first 24 hours or so. And when you consider each download … the Mac binary is like 90MB, the Linux binary is close to that as well and the windows is like 30 or 40 [and the Win 64-bit is around 62MB]. That’s a lot of bandwidth; that’s a lot of data being transferred.

0:19:14 JL: So I’ve looked at a whole bunch of alternative hosting things, and there is lots of different things out there, but they all have caveats. Like they have a limit to how much people can download, Dropbox has a throttle and also a limit. Most of them have throttles. Some of them have ads, which I don’t like because an ad will have a “download now” button, and people will click that and think they’re going to get the download … it’s not cool to do that.

0:19:47 JL: So I ended-up just deciding to spend more money and we have a dedicated server now for just our downloads. Although it’s dedicated, it’s a used server, it’s not super fast like Linden servers or Google servers. And although we’ve done some mild load testing, we don’t actually know how well it’s going to handle the next release. So it could be a disaster.

0:20:25 JL: So basically, the whole point of this topic is: you’ve been warned. When we do the release and everybody goes to download it, and suddenly nobody can download it, that means that we blew-up the server … at which time we’ll have to start looking for other options.

0:20:53 JL: The worst case scenario is that you’ll be able to get the download started and then it’ll drop halfway through … well the worst case is that the server blows-up and catches fire and then we get sued for fire department stuff … It’s hosted in Germany, it’s actually with the company we have our server for our web, JIRA wiki, all that other stuff. But there’s a possibility that people might get corrupt downloads because they got dropped half-way through the download or something. It could be a disaster when we release, we don’t actually know.

0:21:35 JL: So just be warned if you try to download it and nothing is working, and you see a thousand other people in the group chat and they’re all complaining that it’s not working, maybe you could just help us by informing them that our download server is on fire and that they might need to wait a little bit.

0:22:20 Ed Merryman (EM): [In response to chat comments] The problem with torrents and things like that, or with Dropbox tree is that you’re getting your release from so other place, and it could have been messed with. Most people don’t check the checksums.

0:23:27 JL: So torrents … as far as mirrors go, I don’t have any other servers I can mirror to … Torrents is something that’s come up many times, we have some developers on the team and support people who are in favour of torrents being a possibility. The problem with torrents is that first of all you need to have a torrent download program … second … just the word comes with negative connotations because “torrents” – illegal downloads and stuff, and I just don’t like the negative connotations that it has.

0:24:15 JL: So here’s what happens when we do a release: we ask people to please send people to the blog post, because there’s important information on that blog post… about that release. And we want people to read the blog post. But what people do anyways, is they just get the link to the download and they post it in all their groups, and people just click on the download and they don’t ever make it to the website to read the important information.

0:24:40 JL: Then what ends up happening is, they all come swarming into the support group asking about this and that, when it’s all answered in the blog post. That’s why we say just send people to the front page, not just the download.

0:24:54 JL: But I’ll tell you what’ll happen with torrents, or what I could predict will happen with torrents. First of all, we’re the biggest viewer and that makes us a target, especially for griefers … You can be sure that griefers will link to torrents in these groups and say, “This is the new release, go download it”, and people will click it, and they’ll download it and install it, not even thinking that actually it’s not the official torrent from us. And then people get infected, and then they come back to us … and torrents just make me nervous.

Voice Issues

0:27:55 JL: Vivox has some new shiny logging stuff apparently, and they’re detecting bugs, imagine that; and they’re actually looking into fixing bugs. So you can expect bug fixes in Vivox in the coming months, weeks, even, I’m told. Apparently we’ll be getting a new Vivox file [the Vivox SDK used within the SLvoice.exe plugin] … Unfortunately, we’re not going to get it in time for this release, or at least, not very likely, and if we do get it in time for the release, it won’t be in time for us to do QA on it, so it won’t go out in this release, but Linden Lab will, I’m sure, release it in the next month or so. Oz said it could be a matter of weeks before we get a new voice binary. Anyways, expect some exciting changes coming there.

Fitted Mesh

0:29:35 JL: Yes, it’s going to be in this release.

[A discourse on Level of Detail (LOD), content creation, sculpts and mesh follows, which is not directly relevant to the subject of Fitted Mesh. Rather than transcribing it, I draw your attention to the video recording between 0:29:40 and 0:41:00, and also to the following items:

Note that a region crash also occurred during the discussion.]

HTTP

0:41:02 JL: To HTTP or not HTTP, that is the question … HTTP is something Monty Linden has been working on … which is basically network stuff … communications between … the viewer, to your router, to all the hops and skips and jumps to the Linden severs and then the hops and skips and jumps all the way back to your computer. There’s a lot of data gets transferred back and forth all the time, especially when you’ve got a region full of people like we have right now; the region can only transfer so much.

0:41:55 JL:  Monty was almost offended when he looked into the network problems and discovered that there’s some really bad code there. And he has spent quite a bit of time fixing it. And Monty is a really good Linden; he’s really good at what he does and I have a lot of faith in Monty.

The HTTP project has improved "under the hood" performance in SL in a number of areas, starting with texture fetching, anf through greater robustness of connections through the use of "keepalives"
The HTTP project has improved “under the hood” performance in SL in a number of areas, starting with texture fetching, anf through greater robustness of connections through the use of “keepalives

0:42:20 JL: So the thing is, Linden Lab hasn’t released HTTP yet. We expect they’re going to release it next week* So we’re basically trying to decide at the moment whether or not we’re going to release HTTP. Obviously, we don’t want to release something that Linden Lab hasn’t released yet, but we need to have time to do quality testing on that as well.

0:42:55 JL: So what Tank did is merge HTTP into his private repository and we’re trying to get that out to our QA team now, and see how that goes. If Linden Lab releases HTTP on Tuesday* as we expect they will, then chances are we’re going to release with HTTP.

0:43:19 JL: What does that mean for you? HTTP should make things rez a little bit quicker, like mesh, avatar textures … Tank … talk to us about HTTP.

0:43:46 TF: There’s not really a whole lot in HTTP, it’s just mainly for improving the speed and reliability of downloading textures and the mesh information like physics detail and all that stuff, and also it impacts the upload of mesh, which shouldn’t fail as much, so you’re not wasting so much money. But the main thing that it tries to do is alleviate the number of concurrent connections that you’re making to Linden Lab, which will really help low-end routers that, sometimes when they TP into a region, their entire network dies because the router gets overwhelmed by the number of connections.

0:44:26 TF: With this new capability, it’ll reuse the connections that it already has, and it lowers the [default] number from 32 down to 8, which sounds like it would decrease your speed, but since you’re reusing the connections, you’re not having to wait for the connection between you and Second Life reinitiate every time a new texture discard level is initiated, which by the way, is about five times per texture. So it’s a big improvement there.

0:45:05 JL: Potentially huge, so it has the potential to have a lot of value, so I really would like to get it released. In fact I actually asked Tank to merge it into our repository yesterday so we can get it into QA and Ansariel, who is one of our senior developers quite effectively put me in my place and pointed-out Lindens haven’t released it yet, so we should be waiting …

0:46:52 JL: So basically, whether or not we release with HTTP is sort-of hanging on what Linden Lab releases next. If Linden Lab releases HTTP next on Tuesday*, then we will release with HTTP providing we find no major bugs with it, which I don’t expect we will. If Linden Lab releases Sunshine next week instead.

[Second region crash]

0:50:45 JL: If they release Sunshine [server-side appearance polish and AIS v3 updates] … then we have to deal with merging Sunshine, and that’s going to take us a lot more time. So that’s where we are with HTTP.

[*There appears to be some confusion here. The server-side HTTP changes were deployed in September 2013 (Main channel release notes 13.09.05.280647). Currently the project is awaiting the promotion of the viewer-side changes to the de facto release viewer, which have been available in a release candidate viewer since January 16th, 2014. If this is promoted in week 9 (commencing Monday February 17th), it could be at any point during the week, not necessarily Tuesday.]

The Next Firestorm Release

0:51:07 JL: The typical reply is “when it’s ready”. A lesson I’ve learned a few time now doing this is never to make a definitive statement about anything ever. so I’m not going to make a definitive statement; I’m going to say we’re aiming for around the 9th of March, which is … three week from now. And in fact we were actually aiming for the end of the month, but because the HTTP delay, we’re sort-of holding off for a little bit.

0:52 06 JL: So let’s talk about what’s coming in the next release. First of all, we’ll talk about the Linden Lab shiny stuff that you’re going to get, which is Fitted Mesh and HTTP (maybe), and …

The Request for Teleport option (show from the People floater) and request. Potentially less invasive than Teleport To, but will not be replacing it
The Request for Teleport option (show from the People floater) and request. Potentially less invasive than Teleport To, but will not be replacing it

0:52:14 JL: Request Teleport feature, Jonathan Yap wrote-in a feature which is called Request Teleport … Linden Lab really wanted us to replace our right-click TP To with the request teleport, and we were not in favour of that … if I’m up here and you’re down on the floor and you want to teleport to me, right now in Firestorm you right-click on my name and can click teleport to and *poof*, you’re here.  What Jonathan Yap did for Linden Lab is you right-click and you request teleport and I would get  a notification sating, “so-and-and wants to teleport to you, would you allow it?” and I click yes and then they teleport to me.

0:53:07 JL: I know you guys well enough to know that if we remove Teleport To, there would be a flaming revolution going on in Second Life, so we’ve not removed it.  Instead, what we’ve done is if you are in a region where you can’t make that teleport because there’s landing points in that region … then it will default to making a request to teleport to that person … But if you’re in a region where you can teleport wherever you want, you’re going to have the option to request a teleport or just teleport to. I don’t think Linden Lab is happy about that, they kind-of want people to have to request a teleport, and I can see where they’re coming from. but I know for myself I will stop going anywhere in Second Life if I lose my ability to teleport around places. I’ll just not go anywhere.

0:54:20 EM: There’s something I’d like to say about that … people say “oh this feature is used for griefing” or “that feature is used for griefing”. Should we ban cars because are using them to run people over? It’s the people, folks, it’s the people we’ve got to deal with.

SLShare to Facebook floater and toolbar button in the next release of Firestorm
SLShare to Facebook floater and toolbar button in the next release of Firestorm

0:55:05 JL: Facebook Share feature … I’m completely oblivious to this, I’ve not tried it, I personally have no interest in linking by Facebook with Second Life, but for those of you who do, Firestorm will have that feature, which allows you to link to your Facebook.

0:55:32 JL: Improved region restart messages [STORM-1980] … how many of you have had a region restart, and you’ve missed the notification because you’ve got chiclets or toasts hidden or for whatever reason  … So Jonathan [Yap] decided that he was going to put an end to that, and he has, because now when you get a region restart message, the whole bloody Second life shakes right off your monitor! You cannot miss it, he’s got a screen shake … not physically, but your camera in-world shakes  around … and you get a rather loud obnoxious sound and you get this great big-assed notification in the centre of your screen that tells you that your region is restarting.

0:56:26 JL: We felt that maybe the shaking is a little bit much, and so we’ve actually made that optional; I think by default it’s enabled, though. When I restarted the region here a couple of hours ago, I saw it and I couldn’t miss it, believe me. You won’t miss it.

The region restart gong

0:57:15 JL: I asked Whirly if she could put together just a short, small list of just some of the highlights of some of the things coming; and I specifically said, “Whirly, you don’t have to do all this research or anything like that, just a quick little list” … she sent me a document!

0:58:06 JL: 64-bit Windows will be in release form. 64-bit Linux will be available in beta form, and I understand there are still some issues with the 64-bit Linux; I think it was related to media … and notifications [and logouts] … so it’ll go out as a beta because of that … We will not have a Mac 64-bit. Cinder was in charge of that; Cinder did quite a bit of work towards that which we can use. Cinder is gone now, and I have nobody at the moment taking over that. I’m going to get with Tonya and Nicky after this release and see if we can continue with Mac 64-bit, but for the time being and the early foreseeable future, don’t keep bugging us for a 64-bit Mac. I’ve got no idea if we can provide that to you; it may have to wait until Linden Lab does it.

0:59:43 JL: We’ve got a new merge for RLVa 1.4.9, for those of you who know what that means. FmodEx is updated … we’ve got a new version of KDU. I don’t think you’re going to notice any difference in the FmodEx and KDU changes.

1:00:00 JL: Animation Explorer will be in this release, for those of you who might remember it from Phoenix. Zee Ri put that in. Cinder completely re-did Contact Sets before she was gone. so Contact Sets is different now; it is missing some stuff that was available in the previous Contact Sets, and I’ll say that the Contact Sets that’s going out in this release is a work-in-progress; so don’t say this and this and this is missing – we know it’s missing. It’s not finished yet.

The Animation Explorer debuts in the next release
The Animation Explorer debuts in the next release

1:00:43 EM: For anybody that uses the Contact Sets, you’re going to be very confused when you first see it. come out to the class room, pick-up the class notes that will be available, or come out to the Contacts Set class. It’s actually a lot more intuitive on the new Contact Sets, and I really haven’t seen anything that you can’t do that you could do with the old ones; it’s just a little more awkward in a couple of cases. Your current sets will still work.

1:01:19 JL: You won’t lose your sets that you’ve already created.

1:01:25 Lette Ponnier (LP): The one thing you are going to notice if you’re  already a Contacts Cets user is that you’re not going to be able to see the colours in the lists of sets of people. As far as I can tell, that is the main thing that you’re going to notice is lacking. Other than that, the functionality is there and the colours themselves can be assigned and will work; you’re just not going to open up the window to a big screen of coloured stripes any more.

1:02:06 JL: Just getting back to Windows 64-bit, I forgot to mention that the installer for the 64-bit Windows is really slow. We’re not quite sure why, and we don’t have the time to try to figure out why; but if you’re installing the Windows 64-bit, expect that it’s going to take you ten minutes. It took me 16 minutes one time to install it. So it’s really, really, really slow, but it’s still working. Don’t cancel it just be patient. Go have a cup of coffee, have some cookies and  a muffin.

1:02:42 JL: We have a lot of files that get installed [20,000]. One of the things on our to-do list, that’s been on our to-do list for a long time is to remove the windlights and remove the skin files and offer them as separate downloads so that the viewer binary is smaller … so that people can download it quicker. But we’ve just never gotten around to that; we’ll get to it someday.

1:03:11 JL: So Leap Motion support is in progress; don’t expect any time on that.

1:03:16 JL: The exporter now works with materials textures, so if you’re exporting an object that has materials on it, they’ll get exported as well.

1:03:26 JL: Area Search improvements: price, prim count / Land Impact columns have been added; a beacons and zoom camera feature has been added, so you can double-click it on your list and it’ll zoom your camera to it providing it’s within your draw distance.

New Area Search options
New Area Search options

1:03:45 JL: Group members’ list can now be exported to .CSF format.

1:04:02 JL: Shape XML import has been added, so you can import .XML shapes for your avatar.

1:04:09 JL: Option to block all teleport requests and teleport offers.

1:04:15 JL: Huge anti-spam fixes and improvements from Ansariel.

1:04:19 JL: Phototools updated to version 1.2. If you’re a photographer, I’m going to give you a quick list of JIRAs:

1:04:34 JL: Customisable mini-map background transparency … so we pulled-in a bunch of stuff from Exodus, and this is some of the stuff from Exodus … We’ve had a lot of people coming over from Exodus and asking us to bring-in some of these features … Added option to remove single avatar mark from mini-map; configurable draw pick radius on the mini-map; added marking multiple avatars on the mini-map at once; added avatar distance and name plus target trackers in Mouselook.

1:05:34 JL: [You] can add multiple avatars to Contact Sets from mini-map, so you can actually from the mini-map, add people to your Contact Sets. Added option to sort Friends List in People panel by user name … this is a small list … there’s a lot more stuff!

Some Fixes

1:05:57 JL: as far as fixes go … The SLurl problem, when you’re on a web page and you click on a SLurl and you expect it to launch the viewer and it doesn’t? That’s been fixed.  Favourites not showing-up in the log-in page for accounts with “Resident” as the last name has been fixed. Client tags for OpenSim has been fixed … Avatar no longer gets thrown into the ground when editing shape or clothing; that’s that hover bug that I know affects a lot of people.

1:08:33 JL: Floaters can now no longer be moved completely under the bottom toolbar buttons and lost … Copy & Wear [when unpacking an item] now replaces an outfit instead of adding. Avatar name loading reliability improvements…

1:07:05 JL: Materials synch feature – this is problem for a lot of people who were editing materials and having problems with the synch feature; that now works properly when materials have a negative offset and rotation

1:07:25 JL: Inventory filter in recent tab does not stick through relog has been fixed; objects attached with llAttachToAvatarTemp() disappear after exiting edit appearance mode has been fixed; removing any worn item from your avatar results in all temp attachments being taken off has been fixed. Lots of fixes, lots of stuff coming. Ansariel … it should be pointed-out … if you go there … That’s our repository and you can see everything that we’re working on, and every time we make some change, it goes there. It’s live; we’re completely transparent with our code; you can see everything with our code as we do it. The funny thing you might notice, if you look down that list, and go to the next page and the next page and the next page; Ansariel has been on fire. you can’t even believe how much work Ansariel’s been doing … so thank you, Ansariel.

1:08:45 JL: There’s all kinds of other stuff coming as well. you’re just going to have to wait for the release.

1:08:49 JL: So we’re aiming for the 9th. It could be a week after that, it could be a week before that, it could be next year; but we’re hoping for around the 9th for the release. Fitted Mesh, maybe HTTP … Questions?

Mini Q&A Session

1:09:40: That list of fixes and features sounds like the coming release deserves a firm advise to indeed upgrade viewer ASAP?

1:09:42 EM: Yes, definitely.

1:09:50: Can you brief us on LL’s progress on cleaning up interest list issues? I have worn out my CTRL+SHIFT+R keys refreshing scenes after TPs even in my own parcel with textures cached. Our own FS page on the topic is filled with issues.

1:09:53 TF (via text): LL has a viewer release candidate to deal with interest list changes.

1:10:25: Group ban?

1:10:26 EM: The latest news we have on the Group Bans is that Baker is very close to having something that’ll pass their QA and then he’ll be running some tests on Aditi.

1:10:42 JL: I should mention … as some of you know, Linden Lab has a whole bunch of projects and they’re all queuing up to be released one after the other after the other [for viewer projects, see the Alternate Viewer wiki page] . And to the dismay of our support team, one of the things I’m hoping we’ll be able to do after this release is … let’s say we get this release out and HTTP is in it, then Linden Lab releases Sunshine, I would then like to be able to just merge-in Sunshine, get that working and get another release out with Sunshine.

1:11:19 JL: Then Linden Lab will release something else, let’s get that in, and merge it, release it … so we may have, in the next coming months more frequent releases really close together. And by “close together”, I mean maybe two months. I say two months because that gives us a month to merge-in  .. and gives QA a month to trouble-shoot and gives us time to fix bugs that we find.

1:11:50 JL: So our regular schedule, which has been unacceptable for most people, including ourselves, has been every four months we’ve had a release. I’d like to do three months; but in the next couple of months we’ll probably be doing one every two months or so, depending on how our merges go, and how testing goes and things like that.

Mac Issues

1:13:34 JL: If you’re a Mac user, I’m sorry. Point blank, that’s what I have to say about that. I’m not sorry that you’re using a Mac, I’m sorry that all viewers have more-or-less gone to crap for you if you’re on older Mac version.

1:14:00 JL: Cocoa came with some really nice fixes for things, and also came with a lot of really bad bugs. I know there’s be a lot of Mac users who have not been able to use our public beta that went out – 4.5.1 – so you’ve had to go back to 4.4.2 … we don’t have any of those fixed. So this release is going to be somewhat bad for you as well.

1:14:35 JL: Here’s my problem. I don’t have Cinder. And even if I did have Cinder, a lot of these bugs are even beyond Cinder’s capability to fix. We need Linden Lab to fix them. We did bring these issues up with Linden Lab at the TPV developer meeting … and they’re going to spend a little bit more time looking into it. But obviously, we can’t make any promises on their behalf. … So I’m sorry, but if you’re not able to use our beta, 4.5.1, you’re probably going to have the same problems when this release comes out. And that’s depressing.

1:15:29: Do you know what percent is on Mac?

1:15:30 JL: I don’t know what percent is on Mac. I’m going to guess 10 or 15 percent … and of that 10 or 15 percent, not all of them have these problems … The problem is that even 15%, even 10% even 5% of the amount of users we have, is a lot of people. So although 15% may seem like a small percentage of the overall, it’s still a heck of a lot of people … And I wish I had better news for you guys.

1:16 14 JL: Some of you may know that Fitted Mesh is not without problems if you’re on 10.6.8. If you’re on 10.6.8, you’ll have stretchy things going on. And on 10.7 you’ll have massive performance hits with Fitted Mesh if I remember correctly.

1:16:45: So will we age out when the FS viewer releases move on?

1:167:47 JL: I’m hoping not. I’m hoping not. As far as the 10.6 / 10.7 problems, I did bring those issues to Linden Lab, and they’re more of a mind, “well these people need to upgrade their operating systems. It’s free; they can download Mavericks for free.” But I realise that’s not an option for some of you because of hardware problems or whatever it is. But that’s probably going to be the response to those problems by Linden Lab.

1:17:17 JL: As far as the Cocoa problems, which is a lot of crashing … we just can’t fix them. It’s beyond our capability. So that’s about where you guys are.

1:17:51: What really bothers me is not that there are Mac bugs…it’s that LL has known about them for months and months and never fixed it.

1:17:54 JL: Well, in linden Lab’s defence, while they do have Mac developers, there’s a lot less Mac developers than Windows developers … and the Mac developers they do have, I believe, are already tasked on other things. Like these projects, all of this work they’re throwing out. And so in many ways, they’re in the same situation we are, in that they just don’t have the people right now to task to fix these bugs.

1:18:29 JL: So the thing is, obviously Linden Lab wants Fitted Mesh to get adopted. And if Mac people can’t use Fitted Mesh because of one reason or another … then that’s motivation for Linden Lab to get some work done in that regard. So we’re kind of hoping that’s what’s going to happen.

1:19:40: Oz said at a meeting once that a lot of Lindens use Macs … which is even more surprising that so many of those bugs have gone unfixed for so long.

1:19:41 JL: There are a lot of Lindens that use Mac … but it doesn’t mean they’re devs who develop on Mac … if you’re on a Mac you probably know about this bug – there’s the camera bug for Mac; you try to Alt-cam and your camera goes flying off into space.  That’s affecting quite a few people at Linden Lab, so I would expect that will be fixed soon-ish. As far as the crashing goes, I don’t know; it’s hard to say.

1:20:0 – end. General chat, some discussion of bandwidth, including preferred settings; reminders on Firestorm classes.

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9 thoughts on “Feb 15th Firestorm Q&A video and transcript: next release and news

  1. If things such as Windlight and Skins get separated from the main viewer download, is it likely that these will need updating to match the viewer changes. My gut feeling is that Windlight data might not need to change, while skin data, with UI changes, will have to.

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  2. The replacement of the Tier I Google virtual download server with a single “older” in-house server and the loss of a Firestorm’s key Mac programmer (Cinder) seems like a HUGE Weakness / Threat (SWOT) !

    Is “mild load testing” enough of an effort to insure thousands of people will be able to access the next release? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many features are reliably integrated into the viewer, if people can’t download it.

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  3. Sounds bad for us Mac users. So until your Mac dev team is back to 90+% will we need to move over to the LL viewer ? :shudders:

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  4. well i was anxious to download the new upgrade but i find it is worse on me i cant move very fast and i am always crashing….it is like starting all over again ,,,and i did 3 clean reinstalls and it has not improved….sighs i know that the other version will be blocked soon but i miss it already..everytime i go into my inventory ..screen freeze…cam out screen freeze
    it is aggravating…but i will hang in there..but it needs to improve sooner than later

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    1. If you are not receiving an viewer update message on logging-in, then log-in to Second Life on the web. This will load your Dashboard. On the right side of this is a option to Download SL Viewer. Click on this, then click on the large orange bar at the top of the page that is displayed.

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