Firestorm Mac 64-bit: coming soon

firestorm-logoOver recent months we’ve seen 64-bit versions of some third-party viewers arrive, notably Singularity and Firestorm, both of which are available in Windows and Linux flavours. Their arrival has raised questions both on when we might see a 64-bit version of the official Linden viewer and  – more particularly in this case – when users might see a 64-bit Mac viewer arrive for Firestorm.

Well, the answer to this second question might be in the famous phrase, Real Soon NowTM.

Tonya Souther, a member of the Firestorm development team, brought word on Wednesday July 2nd that a 64-bit version of Firestorm for OS X should debut with the next Firestorm release – although it is liable to be a few months before that release is made.

Tonya has been building on the work started by Cinder Roxley – whom she acknowledges in the blog post – and has been getting things to a point where it is possible to compile a 64-bit version of Firestorm which will run on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later.

Firestorm developer Tonya Souther
Firestorm developer Tonya Souther

A major part of this work has been in rebuilding the third-party libraries used in compiling the viewer, and Tonya explains some of the bumps in the road she encountered along the way to getting things sorted out. She also offers her own code repository for people to see what she has done in bringing everything together.

The results of Tonya’s efforts now resides in the Firestorm master repository, and will build successfully in either 64-bit or 32-bit, should anyone who self-compiles the viewer wish to give it a try.

Tonya advises anyone who does so, that in order to build a 64-bit Mac version, they must use Nicky Dasmijn’s version of the autobuild tool and specify the -m64 switch, although nothing else changes.

Tonya also goes on to state in reference to self-compiling:

If you’re switching from building a 32-bit Firestorm to building a 64-bit version, you should probably specify --clean to make sure you start fresh with everything at 64 bits. You also need to do a --clean when building for OS X from repository revisions after the change (revision 42327 or higher) if you’ve previously built for revisions before the change (42298 and lower).

As noted towards the top of this article, .DMG files for the Mac 64-bit build will probably not be made available until the next formal Firestorm release for all three platforms, so please do not request them from the Firestorm team before then. Also, and as with all 64-bit viewer versions, there will be no SL-specific version of the Mac 64-bit release when it does officially arrive, until such time as the Lab provides a 64-bit version of the Havok library used within SL-specific viewers.

Finally, and as advanced warning, Tonya notes that once the 64-bit version of Firestorm for Mac officially debuts, the Firestorm team will cease their support of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – which is in keeping with the Lab’s ceasing support of OS X 10.6 in April 2014.

For further information, and for technical enquiries, please see Tonya’s blog post.

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