Server Deployments: week 9 – recap
As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest updates / changes.
On Tuesday February 25th, the Main channel was updated with the server maintenance package previously on all three RCs, which comprises the following:
- Fix for BUG-5034 “If an EM restarts a region and then teleports out immediately, the EM will disconnect just after teleport”
- Fixed a rare case in which e-mails read by LSL scripts immediately after rez or region change would sometimes be missing the message body
- Fixed some crash modes.
On Wednesday February 26th, the BlueSteel and LeTigre Release Candidate channels were updated with an infrastructure update, with no functional changes. The Magnum RC received the same infrastructure update and had the server-side AIS v3 code is enabled. As noted in part 1 of this report, the new AIS code is designed to improve performance and reliability when changing outfits, but is reliant on new viewer code, which is currently available from the Lab in the Sunshine Project viewer (of which mor below), and will doubtless start appearing in TPVs soon.
While no details were given, the infrastructure updates deployed to the RC channels are apparently system changes to make simulators easier to manage.
TP Developer Meeting Video
A TPV developer meeting took place on February 28th. The core items discussed in the meeting are reported below, with timestamps in the relevant paragraphs indicating the point at they are discussed in the video embedded here. My thanks as always to North for the latter.
SL Viewer Updates
- The “Project Interesting” interest list RC viewer updated to version 126.96.36.1997127 on February 26th
- The Maintenance RC viewer updates to version 188.8.131.527263 on February 27th.
[0:29] These updates put both of these viewers on a par with the current release viewer, and both are doing “well” in terms of low crash rates, but as Oz Linden said at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday February 28th, “it’s still early days”.
Upcoming Release Candidates
[0:43] The Google Breakpad viewer is expected to reappear as a release candidate “pretty soon”. The last version of this viewer had significant issues related to Windows XP, and so a “different tack” will be taken to handling XP and older versions of Windows with the next update, XP itself having a “truly horrific” crash rate for the viewer. However, and to ease any concerns, the “new tack” doesn’t involve blocking Windows XP systems from accessing Second Life.
[2:33] The Breakpad update is described as being “important” for TPVs to pick-up and include in their own code, in order to ensure viewers are all reporting stats in the same manner.
[6:48] Both the Sunshine (AIS v3) project viewer and the Merchant Outbox project viewer are expected to move to release candidate status very shortly. These are described as being in the “last stages of the QA pipeline”, and so will be entering the viewer release channel, once again increasing the number of RC viewers vying for promotion.
Project Zipper Viewer
[7:20] On Wednesday February 26th, the Lab issued the “Zipper” project viewer (version 184.108.40.2066810), designed to speed-up viewer installation time (cutting it by roughly 50% in a clean install on my own PC) – from 35.6 seconds to 16.4 seconds. Most of this appears to be the result of compressing / combining files, and there have been questions raised on whether doing so might result in an actual performance hit.
It is anticipated that this viewer will also be shortly rebuilt as a release candidate viewer in the release channel.
Other Viewer Projects
- [9:12] Group Bans – as I’ve noted in part 2 of this week’s report, the viewer-side code for Group Ban (lists) should be appearing as a project viewer in week 10, ready for the Group Ban functionally to be tested on Aditi
- [10:07] Oculus Rift – the Rift viewer is still with LL’s QA team.
[12:11] As noted in my week 7 report, there have been a number of issues with regards to voice in SL, particularly of late, and Vivox had reached out to the Lab to assist with these issues. Investigations had shown that a fair number of problems were related to viewers using older versions of the Vivox SDK (SLvoice.exe plugin).
The Lab has now received a new update of the SDK (version 4.6.9) from Vivox, and as Oz promised at the last TPV Developer meeting, the repository continuing the autobuild packages for the new voice modules has been made available to TPVs, so that they can carry out testing of new voice updates in parallel with LL, rather than having to wait for the Lab to build, test and release new voice plugins.
It is hoped that the new update is binary compatible and has no related viewer code changes, so it might be possible for TPVs to simply repackage existing versions of their viewers with the SDK so that anyone performing a fresh download with get the updated voice capabilities (and hopefully put an end to any voice problems they may have been experiencing, particularly if they are on a lossy network connection.
Ed Merryman, who has previously reported severe voice issues (see the videos contained in my notes for the December 14th 2013 Firestorm Q&A), and who is running a recent Firestorm test build which uses the new SDK, reports it has completely eliminated his problems.
As well as hopefully resolving issues encountered when using older versions of the SLvoice plugin, this new update should also reduce the amount of latency experienced when using voice.
On the Lab’s side of things, it is hoped that the SDK will feed through the release process and into their own viewers “pretty quickly”, with the hope that it will also be picked-up relatively quickly by TPVs.
As reported here, and in keeping with Ebbe’s promise of more open communications, it was announced on Friday February 28th that the SL JIRA will be re-opened to public scrutiny in week 10 (week commencing March 3rd), although exactly when this will happen is unclear.
There may also be an update coming down the pipe for the JIRA system itself; however when this may occur – if it occurs – is unclear.
Viewer Crash Mode
[4:54] Latif Khalifa has caught a nasty viewer crash situation which is probably being missed by the viewer crash reporting process. Essentially, when shutting down, the viewer saves the inventory cache, which is passed through Gzip, which has a memory requirement. If the viewer is running on a 32-bit system which is low on memory, Gzip can run out of memory and crash during the inventory cache compression process , which can lead to a corrupted inventory cache the next time the viewer is re-started. There are potential ways of avoiding this issue, and Latif has been asked by the Lab to pass on his findings so that they can take a closer look.
Fitted Mesh and Unsupported Joints
[32:20] The Singularity team has been investigating some of the issues around some video drivers rendering fitted mesh items stretching off to the 0,0,0 point in a region. Their work suggests part of this problem may (or may not) lie with mesh garments which include unsupported joint names.
This prompted the question as to why the simulator allows unsupported joint names to be uploaded, and Oz commented that the Lab “probably should” be looking toward filtering content that is “out of spec” before it gets to anyone else on the grid. This likely means that in the near future the mesh upload process will be made “more robust” on the server end of things such that if the Lab doesn’t recognise something (such as, as an example a custom joint name), items using that “out of spec” element will be blocked from being uploaded.
Feature Request: Allow Intra-region/parcel TP When a Landing Point Exists
A feature request has been put to the Lab to allow estate and parcel owners to select whether intra-region / parcel teleports can be used when a landing point has been set (e.g. to allow visitors to use a the double-click to teleport option in the viewer to move between parts of a region / parcel without being routed back to the landing point). It’s not clear if such a feature will be added, but Maestro commented that it could be configured to present an additional option through the Teleport Routing in the parcel controls option could have a new option.
I’ll provide any updates on this should it become apparent the work is being carried forward.