SL projects update 27/1: server updates, HTTP, group chat hardware updates

Server Deployments – Week 27

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the technology forum for any latest news, updates, issues on this week’s deployments.

As many noted on Tuesday July 1st, there was no Main (SLS) deployment, although there was a period of grid-wide maintenance.

There will be no deployments on the BlueSteel and LeTigre RC channels on Wednesday July 2nd. As such, these channels remain with the following simulator releases:

  • Main channel: inventory updates (AIS v3) – 14# (release notes)
  • Bluesteel and LeTigre: LSL support for materials (normal and specular maps, and diffuse texture alpha mode) – 14/# (release notes  – Bluesteel; LeTigre is the same).

On Wednesday July 2nd, the Magnum RC should receive updates to the Experience Tools project, intended to provide, “user facing fixes to address both UI and long-standing HUD updates included in this build.” – release notes.

SL Viewer

There will probably not be any viewer promotion from RC to de facto release this week. The sole RC in the snowstorm RC, version has yet to generate meaningful stats. Current SL viewers are as listed on the Alternate Viewers wiki page and on my Current Viewer Releases page.

HTTP Pipelining Viewer

Monty Linden has been continuing to work on the HTTP side of things, directing his efforts towards HTTP pipelining, which should yield further benefits in rendering texture and mesh, and in generally efficiency of HTTP connectivity between the viewer and the SL servers. As a part of this, and while it is not formally publicly available as yet, he has produced a viewer using HTTP pipelining.

This has been undergoing testing among a group of SL users, and is showing considerable promise in terms of texture rendering improvements, and a similar level of improvement is anticipated with Mesh.

Whirly Fizzle has produced a video comparing texture rendering between the HTTP pipelining viewer and the current release viewer, with the tests carried out under identical conditions.

Experience Tools

The new Experience Tools project will be officially announced on Wednesday July 2nd, with a blog post, video and the release of a project viewer.

Group Chat

Oz Linden: SL's Technical Director talks about coming updates to Group Chat
Oz Linden: SL’s Technical Director: work is continuing on group chat issues, including hardware upgrades for the service

“We have been looking much more deeply into why the problems which exist than we ever have before,” Technical Director for Second Life, Oz Linden stated at the Firestorm The Future of Second Life meeting on Wednesday July 2nd, in reference to group chat issues. “We’ve added a lot of instrumentation to the way it’s implemented, and we have learnt a lot from that.”

He went on to cover the fact that the Lab has begun to make changes as a result of this data-gathering which are starting to have an impact, although he emphasised that while this work is going to continue in the coming months, there is unlikely to be a single update which will be “the” dramatic change which instantly “solves” group chat lag. Things are liable to be a lot more in the way of incremental improvements (no doubt due in part to the sheer complexity of the chat service).  given this, he also suggested that there may be some fundamental work required in the future which could affect the viewer side of things as well.

He went on to say, “We’re going to be upgrading the hardware that the group chat servers run on, I believe this week or possibly next. We won’t announce when that is, because it would be bad science to tell anybody when it’s happened. We want to watch the stats, we now have very good visibility to what performance and failure rates are. So we have the way to measure what’s going on.”

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