SL projects updates week 15/3: TPV developer meeting: webkit, Cocoa, Oculus

A TPV developer meeting took place on Friday April 11th. 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.

Release Candidate Viewers Status

[00:34] The VoiceMO RC (version combines the former SL Voice RC ( and the former Merchant Outbox RC (, both of which have now been withdrawn from the release channel. Both of these RCs were performing well, and it is hoped that by combining them, they’ll both have an accelerated path through to formal release status.

The Lab is keen to see the Vivox updates for voice gain wider traction in viewers, as these not only improve people’s voice experience, they also lighten the load on the back-end servers.

The Interest List RC updated to version and the Sunshine / AIS v3 RC updated to, both dated April 10th, and appearing on the wiki page on April 11th.

These, together with the Maintenance RC (version, released on Wednesday April 9th, are now the four remaining release candidate viewers in the release channel. As these are all recent updates, data is still being gathered on all four, so it is unlikely that any of them will be promoted to the de facto release viewer in week 16 (week commencing Monday April 14th).

Google Breakpad Reporting and Issue

[01:40] The Google Breakpad changes mean that all viewers with the updated Breakpad code have the marker files for crash reporting created much sooner in the initialisation process and deleted much later in the viewer shutdown process. This means that more crash stats are being collected, but it also means that the crash rate measurement has gone up slightly as a result.

[03;30] Whirly Fizzle has identified an issue occurring with both the Maintenance RC and the current viewer release ( which appears to be linked to the Google Breakpad updates. BUG5707, “While logged in, crash reporter pops up, sends in a crash report but the viewer does not crash”. Whirly describes the issue in part as:

The crash reporter window does not just sometimes flash up briefly at viewer launch or viewer close, the crash reporter stays on-screen and appears to be actually sending in crash reports – I see the “Sending to server…..” window, which stays onscreen for some time.
Often I have more than one “Sending to server….” window open – often as many as 3 of them will all open at the same time.

This is happening on viewer launch, on viewer close and even while logged in.
When it occurs while logged in, the viewer does not crash, I am still logged in and the viewer appears functional.

Commenting on the situation, Oz Linden said, “Yeah, we’ve got people looking at some of the Google Breakpad crash reporting issues … I’m not really sure what that’s about … we’ll see if that can get some refinement.”

Oculus Rift

An update to the Oculus Rift project viewer, currently on closed beta, is expected in the next week. The lab is still accepting applications from those who have the hardware to join the closed beta the requirement being that applicants actually have the Oculus hardware. Applications should be addressed to

Further updates to this viewer are expected, particularly once the Lab received the SDK2 headsets, although these are not anticipated to be arriving for another couple of months. The viewer most likely won’t be opened-up publicly until after these latter updates have been made, so TPVs will not be able to integrate the code for some time to come.

SL Share

[05:26] Merov Linden was on-hand to talk about the recent changes to the SL Share capability in the SL viewer – notably the updates which allow people to post pictures to Flickr, post text and images to Twitter and once again post images to Facebook. It is likely that this viewer will be progressing to release candidate status in week 16.

As I’ve previously noted, an important thing to remember about SL Share is the all of the capabilities are opt-in. No-one is forced to use them, and the Facebook option in particular has nothing to do with trying to “push” SL users to Facebook, and while Facebook may not allow people to have accounts in their avatar names, there are a lot of people who are happy using it to connect their SL account with their real life account on Facebook.

One issue that did cause a problem was the inclusion of SLurls with photos being uploaded to Facebook, which caused the image upload capability to be blocked by Facebook. The SL Share updates have removed the “include location” option in the photo upload tab of the Facebook floater, and as a result, Facebook have removed the block once more.

The SL Share photo upload panel as it was prior to the change (l) and as it appears in the SL Share project viewer and some RC viewers since the change
The SL Share photo upload panel as it was prior to the change (l) and as it appears in the SL Share project viewer and some RC viewers since the change (r)

The issue here was not so much that SLurls were being included in uploaded photos, but the fact that they were being added automatically as a part of the automated processing of snaps during the upload process. Apparently, a requirement in using the Facebook API is that all text uploaded or appended to images must be manually entered by the user …

As well as restoring the upload capability, Facebook also restored photos with SLurl include which had been uploaded prior to the block coming into effect, again apparently because of the SLurls being automatically added.

One of the most interesting parts of the new capabilities is that of the preset filters within the upload panels for Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, and the ability for people to create their own filters.

When SL Share 2 appeared, questions were asked on various blogs on whether the filter capabilities would be added to the viewer’s snapshot floater, so that they could be used with the snapshot options there – most notably with the profile feeds option.

A preview example of a snapshot using one of the SL Share built-in filters
A preview example of a snapshot using one of the SL Share built-in filters

I took the opportunity at the TPV developer meeting to ask, and Oz Linden replied:

The SL Share project doesn’t include putting the filters in to the snapshot floater, but Niran [NiranV Dean, creator of the Black Dragon viewer] is working on that. So we may get that as another open-source contribution.

Merov then added:

It’s not overly difficult to do that. Actually, I did it for a demo once, so it’s pretty easy to add. I didn’t do it because the snapshot UI on the official viewer has plenty of … how can I put this nicely? …. Oddities, let’s say … so if I really wanted to do it, I’d have to re-do everything …. so I went to the designers and said, “You know, we should really re-do all this,” and they said, “Yes, but not now.” so I’m not working on that just now. but yes, it’s possible … so if you want to put it into your own snapshot floater, I won’t be offended!”

One of the aspects of the SL Share 2 capability that didn’t get to be in this initial update is a filter editor capability such that the filters can be more easily combined to create custom filters. Oz invited any TPV developers who might like to take this on to do so and to consider contributing it back the Lab should they do so.

The authentication aspect of the SL Share capabilities is all handled by the Lab’s back-end to the capability, so that the viewer-side code can be taken by TPVs and amended without any risk of users’ private information being leaked or tracked.

Webkit Woes

Monty Linden
Monty Linden

[15:48] Webkit is a third-party library used within the viewer for a number of tasks. For example,  it powers the built-in web browser, and is used to display profiles (unless you’re using a viewer supporting legacy profiles). It is also used with like Media on a Prim (MOAP) and many in-world televisions.

There have been an increasing number of issues with webkit. The libraries used within SL are out-of-date, for example, something which has caused the Lab and TPVs a considerable amount of pain (see BUG-4763 and FIRE-12642, and FIRE-11057).

Monty Linden has been poking at the problems, and gave a further update on his work:

I’m doing a bunch of damage, and then trying to move forward, just to get to 4.7.4 first, and then the 4.8 a little bit later on. I’m just about at the end of that … my goal is to kill the current third-party lqtwebkit library repo and I’ve created a new one that’s a little healthier and working a little bit better.

It’s not clear at the moment when Monty’s work will appear in a release stream. A further problem here is that the qtwebkit (on which lqtwebkit is based) has been deprecated by QT, so the Lab is faced with a decision s to what to do going forward. One option may be to go with CEF, but which direction the Lab will take has yet to be decided.

The Firestorm team have reported they have re-worked webkit for themselves, updating to version 5..2.1 for Windows and are looking to do the same for Linux and Mac. This work appears to have fixed issues with Media on a Prim and it is hoped it may also resolved the YouTube issue of videos failing to play on in-world TVs, etc.

Firestorm are going to liaise with Monty with regards to the work they’ve done. currently, the Windows updates are still subject to internal testing by Firestorm, although they plan to make the work visible to all once they are confident enough that it behaves as expected.

Mac / Cocoa Update

[22:45] There has been some progress in addressing the Mac / Cocoa issues, with some fixes now in the Maintenance RC release, including:

  • MAINT-3135 Cocoa Viewer: Mac: Maximizing the viewer leaves garbage on the screen
  • MAINT-3288 Mac: Fullscreen mode issue in Viewer 3.6.7 (281793)
  • MAINT-3642 Mac viewer can no longer export textures to TGA format
  • MAINT-3674 Mac: “Hide NewApplication” under Second Life menu, should be “Hide Second Life”

Referring to Cocoa issues in particular, Oz again confirmed that “all of them” are on the Lab’s to-do list, but not all of them are getting done as yet. In particular, there is no news on the long-standing ALT-cam bug.

Other Items

We’re all aware that there are options within the viewer to run more than one instance (so if your computer doesn’t grind to a halt, you can run two versions of the official viewer or two versions of Firestorm, etc). However, what some people may not be aware of is the fact that while the viewer can allow multiple instances, this is not actually a supported feature. It should also be remembered that because of the way voice is handled, it is currently not always possible to run two instances of a viewer (or two different viewers at the same time) with voice enabled without encountering significant issues and potential lock-ups (although Singularity has a fix for this).

What also may not be realised is that because some of the viewers use different mechanisms to detect how many instances they are running, it is possible to encounter conflicts and issues when running, for example, the SL viewer and the Firestorm viewer simultaneously on a computer.

So if you are running multiple instances of the same viewer or multiple viewers on the same computer, and start experiencing unexpected issues, try shutting all but one instance / viewer down and seeing if the problems go away before seeking support assistance.

Lab provides Heartbleed information

This is a little long in the tooth, but I’m caught playing catch-up on a number of things, so apologies on my part.

As most will be aware, there has been a lot of coverage about the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability in the course of the last week, and the impact it may have had over the last two years in exposing what should have been secure information.

The vulnerability is so-called because it affects an extension to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which engineers dubbed Heartbeat. It is a server-side exploit which could affect almost any system running any version of OpenSSL from the past 2 years, and allows an attacker to gain control of up to 64kB of the server’s working memory at a time, enabling them to eavesdrop communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

Because of the widespread nature of the issue and the concerns it raised, the Lab issued a blog post on the matter on Thursday April 10th, which reads in full:

Many of you may have read about the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability that is still affecting many Internet sites.

You do not need to take extra action to secure your Second Life password if you have not used the same password on other websites. Your Second Life password was not visible via Heartbleed server memory exposure. No site that accepts passwords had the vulnerable SSL heartbeat feature enabled.

If you used the same password for Second Life that you used on a third-party site, and if that third-party site may have been affected by the vulnerability, you should change your password.

Supporting sites such as Second Life profiles are hosted on cloud hosting services. Some of these sites were previously vulnerable to Heartbleed, which may have exposed one of these servers’ certificates. As an extra precaution, we are in the process of replacing our SSL certificates across the board. This change will be fully automatic in standard web browsers.

Thank you for your interest in keeping Second Life safe!

Due to the weekend, there has been no further news as to whether the Lab has completed replacing the SSL certificates for those services which may have been exposed. Hopefully there will be a further update on Monday April 14th. In the meantime, if you have used the same password for SL that you used on a third-party website and wish to change your SL password as advised in the blog post, you may want to refer to the Lab’s password protection page on the wiki.

The Woman, a raven, a storyteller and folk tales

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library SL.

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday April 13th

13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street:  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Tea-time at Baker Street sees Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell open the pages of the very first volume of Sherlock Holmes short stories, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

First published in 1892, the volume brought together 12 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories about his fictional detective and companion, Dr. John Watson, all of which had been first published by  the Strand Magazine between 1891 and 1892.

“This photograph” by Sidney Paget, July 1891 (wikimedia)

This week, we have the very first of Holmes’ tales to appear in the Strand Magazine, and one of the most popular of his adventures: A Scandal in Bohemia.

It is 1888, and Sherlock Holmes is receiving his good friend (and recently wed) Dr. John Watson. Their time together is interrupted by the arrival of a masked man claiming to be Count Von Kramm, who is seeking Holmes’ help on behalf of a wealthy client.

Holmes, however, isn’t fooled. He quickly challenges the visitor, correctly identifying him as Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein and the hereditary King of Bohemia.

Admitting Holmes has correctly identified him, the king admits it is he who is seeking Holmes’ assistance with a matter of some delicacy, revolving around a liaison he had five years’ previously with an American opera singer, Irene Adler, and which could now threaten his upcoming marriage to a Scandinavian princess.

And so it is that Sherlock Holmes finds himself pitting his wits against an adversary he will forever only refer to as “the Woman” …

18:00: Magicland Storytime – Spring into Spring

With Caledonia Skytower at the Golden Horseshoe in Magicland Park.

Monday April 14th, 19:00: More Sci-Fi Adventures

With Gyro Muggins.

Tuesday April 15th, 19:00: The Raven and the Storyteller

Aoife Niphrendil reads from A. Gouedard’s novel, an enchanting tale of the travels of a Raven called Wilf and Moon the Storyteller, both of whom are immortal, and of the people and events they meet on their journey. The stories told are set within the book as their journey unfolds, and in the tradition of fables and stories within a story.

Wednesday April 16th, 19:00: Tír na nÓg

Tir-Na-nogTír na nÓg (“Land of the Young”) is, in Irish folklore and mythology, one of the names of the “otherworld”, in part a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty, health, abundance and joy. It is also the title of the first volume of Marni L.B. Troop’s The Heart of Ireland Journals.

In looks, the Faerie are folk little different to humans, other than their pointed ears, although they are vastly different in other ways, and Casey is a princess among them.

She is horrified when a stranger from Iberia arrives on the shores of Ireland, home of the Faerie, believing them to be the gods of his people, but the kings of the Faerie respond to his overtures by having him slaughtered.

Thus the Faerie kings bring down the vengeance of the Iberian people upon their own folk, and war comes to their land. Caught in the middle, and herself in love with an Iberian called Amergin, Casey tries to find a way to bring peace between the two peoples so that they might live together. Unfortunately for her and her beloved, things do not go as she had hoped.

Join Caladonia as she continues reading this intriguing faerie tale.

Thursday April 17th

16:00: First Nation Tales

Caledonia Skytower and Dubhna Rhiadra sit down to bring us more native tales from the first peoples of the North American continent.

Drawing on  number of sources and resources, Cale and Dubna have, over the years, drawn together collections of stories and legends from across a number of First Nation tribes, including the Zuni, Omaha, Paiute, and Hopi as well as legends from Kwaikutlsome in Western Canada. Some of these stories have been published, others of which have come from the long tradition of the spoken word, with archetypal tales handed down through successive generations.

“We have everything from Raven stealing the moon, to how Winter and Summer came to be, and the Creation of Corn,” Cale says of the stories. “The thing I like about them, is the imagery and the “themes” are almost Aesopian. They are all lesson/moral/cautionary tales.”

Join Cale and Dubhna as they delve into this treasure chest of tales and legends.

19:00: Geraint, Son of Erbin, Part 2

Ysbaddaden Bencawr by E. Wallcousins, 1920 (via Wikipedia)

Another Middle Welsh tale included by Lady Charlotte Guest among those she collected under the title The Mabinogion.

When his father, King Cilydd, remarries following the death of his mother, the young Culhwch finds himself in the middle of an attempt by his stepmother to marry him to his stepsister. When he rejects the attempt, Culhwch earns himself his stepmother’s ire, and she curses him so that he can marry no-one but the beautiful Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden Pencawr.

Infatuated by Olwen even though he has never seen her, Culhwch learns from his father that he will never find or win her without the aid of his cousin, King Arthur. Together, and with the aid of Arthur’s men, they find Olwen, and she is receptive to Culhwch’s advances. Her father, however, is not, He determines that if Culhwch is to take his daughter’s hand, first the young man must complete a series of tasks …

Join Shandon Loring to learn the rest of the tale.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Details still TBA, so please check with the Seanchai Library blog as the week progresses.


Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for March and April is Project Children: building true and lasting peace in Northern Ireland one child at a time.

Related Links

Virtual Ability announce 2014 Mental Health symposium schedule

Mental Health SymposiumOn Saturday April 26th 2014, Virtual Ability will be holding their 2014 Mental Heath Symposium, and as a part of the run-up to the event, they issued the symposium schedule on Saturday April 12th.

The event will run from 07:00 SLT through to 16:00 SLT at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability island, with the theme of “Quality of Life”, and the seven speaker will be presenting a series of talks and topics on research, practice, and insight reflecting this theme.

At the time of writing, the schedule reads as show below, all times are SLT.

  • 07:00: Insights from Research: Depression Among Older Adults – Dr. Hillary Bogner, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
  • 08:30: Employment Equality Through Accommodation and Self-Advocacy
    Teresa Goddard, MS, Senior Consultant, Job Accommodation Network, West Virginia University
  • 10:00: Well-being Among Persons at Risk of Psychosis: The Role of Self-Labeling, Shame, and Stigma Stress – Dr. Nicolas Rüsch, Ph.D., University of Ulm, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
  • 11:30Super-good: Why People Serious About Addiction Recovery can become “Weller than Well”  – Dick Dillon, CEO, Innovaision, LLC
  • 13:00: The Role of Counseling in Quality of Life and How Counselors are Exploring Virtual Service Delivery – Christine Karper, Ph.D. and Michelle Stone, B.S. Psychology, College of Social Sciences, University of Phoenix
  • 14:30: A Healing Space built with Veterans in Mind: Virtual Worlds and Psychological Health – Jacquelyn Ford Morie, Ph.D., All These Worlds, LLC
  • 16:00: Creating a Vibrant Life: Lessons from Adversity – Colleen Crary, M.A. / Anya Ibor in SL
    Executive Director, Fearless Nation, Inc., Doctoral candidate in Psychology, Walden University.

In case of any unanticipated changes having to be made to the event, please check back with the Virtual Ability blog for further updates ahead of the symposium.

About Virtual Ability

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, chartered in the state of Colorado, USA.  We are a non-profit tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. This means that for US citizens, contributions made are deductible as a charitable donation for federal income tax purposes.

For further information on the board of directors, please visit the Virtual Ability About Us page.

For those wishing to keep up with Virtual Ability news and updates when on the move, you can follow them on Twitter.

Related links

VWBPE 2014: Ebbe Altberg keynote – “The Door is Open” (full transcript)

On Friday April 11th, Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab’s CEO, addressed a packed amphitheatre at the 2014 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference in Second Life. Some 200 people were in attendance in SL, with around 100-150 on the live stream channel for what was almost a 90-minute session, entitled Reconnecting with the Education Market, and which comprised an opening statement from Ebbe, followed by an extended Q&A / discussion session.

The following is a transcript of the session, which includes all questions asked via the moderator, Phelan Corrimal (given in italics). The video is the VWBPE official video, recorded by Mal Burns, and my thanks to him for making it available. Timestamps within the transcript notes indicate the points in the video at which Ebbe’s comments can be heard.

The Summary

Click the timestamp to go the relevant section

  • 0:05:38: Terms of Service – “I am working with my Legal Counsel to try to try to figure out how we can make it more obvious – or very obvious – that the creators of the content own the content … we’re working on some simple tweaks to the language to make that more explicit.”
  • 0:07:26: Brand – “We have an incredible breadth of content creators for all kinds of purposes, and this is kind-of unique with Second Life, and I think it’s incredibly important to support everybody and what they want to do.”
  • 0:08:59: The Metaverse and LL – ” There might be some people who might be interested in my position on the metaverse and OpenSim and interoperability, and that whole category.”
  • 0:11:09: Integrating new capabilities – “Some of you might be interested in what kind of integration we can do to make it easier for you to use Second Life in the context that you want to use it.”
  • 0:12:04: Improving SL – “And then I think we still have a tremendous about of work still to be done – actually, a tremendous amount of work has already been done; Second Life today is so much better than it was two years ago.”
  • 0:16:16 Future technologies  – “A little talk about future tech. Many of you have hopefully seen that we are obviously actively developing for technologies that we believe will have substantial mass appeal; Oculus being one.”
  • Questions and Answers / Discussion:
    • 0:21:12 – Are the community liaisons with Linden Lab about to be re-introduced?
    • 0:23:39 – Tier Breaks for Support and Mentor Groups
    • 0:26:28 – Do you feel that communications between Linden Lab employees and content creators are important?
    • 0:31:09 – On users having a voice in the development process
    • 0:35:36 – On Marketing SL, Overcoming Perceptions and Getting People Engaged in SL
    • 0:41:24 – On Opening-up The L$ Beyond Second Life
    • 0:44:44 – Making the Viewer Easier to Use & the Relationship with TPVs
    • 0:48:19 – On a Distributable Version of Second Life
    • 0:50:08 – Is there any hope that shared media, MOAP [Media On A Prim] can be fixed for Mac users soon?
    • 0:50:42 – On Second Life and High Fidelity
    • 0:53:49 – On Network Issues affecting some APAC Countries, Latency & Geographic Distribution
    • 0:56:16 – On Exporting Content
    • 1:01:15 – On the Teen Grid, Student Security and Younger People Accessing SL
    • 1:04:12 – What are Linden Lab’s plans for mainland?
    • 1:05:42: – On Office Hours, Lindens In-world and Community Engagement
    • 1:13:54 – Is the Barrier to VW Mass Adoption Technical, Or Something More?
    • 1:17:26 – On Acquisitions in the Technology Market
    • 1:20:12 – On Encouraging Lindens to Join Groups and Communities
    • 1:22:03 – A Takeaway Message for Educators (and all of us)

0:01:59 Hello everybody. I can’t hear you, but I can sure see you! It’s an incredible sea of people here [approx. 180-200 across four regions]. I’m very excited to be here, very happy for all the work that people are doing to put this conference together. Not only this session but all the other sessions you’re doing through the week. I did pop-in just the other day and listened to Philip, which many of you here might have done as well, and I just wanted to say that I’m really excited to be here.

I’m not going to spend most of this hour just talking. I will be saying a few things up front … putting some topics on the table to discuss and then very much looking forward to it being an interactive conversation between us. I’m mostly here to learn, not necessarily to tell, although I will be speaking about some things that I think matter to you, and some of the things that are going on first.

0:03:06 First, I feel very strongly that the education sector, the education market, is a very important partner of Second Life, and that it’s important to us to make it a great product for all of you. I know many of you have tried and been successful and many of you have tried and maybe not been successful in doing the things you wish you could do, and I’m here to learn more about what we can do to make you successful in the future.

I think the education sector helps us a lot of ways, in that if we can provide a great service to you, you can become great evangelists for the platform, and also in many times I think you are pushing in research and thinking about how to use environments and technologies like this differently from your main consumers. So you’re a very important group of people for us to stay in touch with and learn from and collaborate with.

Continue reading “VWBPE 2014: Ebbe Altberg keynote – “The Door is Open” (full transcript)”