Lab seeks assistance from Linux developers

Linux-SLDuring the Third-Party Developer (TPVD) meeting on Friday, April 24th, Oz Linden put out a request for assistance from members of the SL Linux community in order to ensure that the Linux version of the SL viewer continues to be developed.

His comments came as a part of a discussion on media work within the viewer in general, and can be heard in the video of the meeting provided by  Chakat Northspring, starting at the 9:10 mark.

For ease for reference, I’ve extracted the comments into an audio file (with a little clean-up to remove repetition), which is embedded below, any timestamps in this article refer to this audio.


Essentially, given the “extremely low” number of users running the Linux flavour of the viewer, and because the Lab wishes to focus on some “really cool things” for Second Life (no details on what these are), a decision has been made to remove Linux from any major focus of the Lab’s attention. Therefore, the Lab is looking to the TPV and open-source community to help ensure the Linux version of the viewer is maintained and moves forward. In making the request, Oz said in part [00:38]:

I just don’t have the time to put people on doing a lot of Linux work. I just don’t.  So, if there’s going to be a working Linux viewer, the Linux user community is going to need to pitch-in and help get it done, because frankly, if it doesn’t work, I can’t afford to fix it.

I have not been getting Linux contributions. What I get is occasional complaints that this or that thing doesn’t work in Linux … and the ethos there is that the community is what makes it work, and what I’m saying to the Second Life Linux community is, if you want it to work, you’re going to have to help.

The Lab will integrate and provide build services for Linux, and publish the results, but the Lab is no longer going to pursue development of the viewer on Linux, which means that if things are not working in the Linux flavour of the viewer, and there is no inwards support to fix them, then they’re unlikely to be fixed.

This shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the Lab is trying to “kill off” Linux support; it is a matter of focusing resources to serve the community as a whole. In this respect Oz added [01:55]:

And I hope that having said this, I will get a bunch of people step-up and start doing things and give me a lot of integration work to do. That’s my fondest hope. So next time you hear someone complaining about things not working on Linux, tell them i invited them to help.


9 thoughts on “Lab seeks assistance from Linux developers

  1. “the Lab wishes to focus on some “really cool things” for Second Life (no details on what these are)”

    I can hazard a guess. 🙂 Fair mind may differ as to whether they’re actually “for Second Life”, though.

    Maybe they’ll call it “Third Life”.

    I think HighFidelity is going to give them a real run for their money


    1. That’s crazy there is a working linux build that works great for all the media. and if they would turn us on to the repo that has the CEF3 source we could have this problem fixed. the CEF3 source on the git hub is a pain. get it to build you change it. look we been working on it for a long time. you just do not point us to the bitbucket repo that has your stuff. last i looked you only worked on the windows and mac header files. But it is all written in C and has been ported to all of the linux distro’s but you say you need help you do not have time..
      If you all stop moving the target we can fix it and build it. as for webkit we fixed that long before Monty came around and you know the repos to look at they are forked from yours. and you see those pushed everyday. OZ stop acting like you do not see individuals works on this problem. point us to a repo and say hey there you go.


  2. On Linux, the viewer performances were always better for me, compared to Windows. So I’m glad that they seek for assistance, at least, rather to drop the Linux viewer at all. Firestorm always gave more attention to Linux: the merchant dropbox never worked on the LL Viewer, but on Firestom it worked, for example.

    Linux users are few, that’s true and probably stay few until Canonical or someone else begins to sell its own hardware as Apple does. In the past years, to install Linux became quick and easy, just few clicks (although some hardware isn’t well supported and it needs some post installation work) and it can also runs directly from a CD/DVD or USB key without installation, if you want just to try. But no matter how easy is to install the OS: only few people would dare to install a different OS on their machines. They won’t install Windows and OS X from scratch as well. But if I install Linux to friends and even old people, they use it with no issues. Who comes from Windows should try KDE at least (e.g. Kubuntu, if you like Ubuntu derivatives, but it’s plenty of choices). I used opensource software always, so I wasn’t locked in Windows and to me it was easier: on Linux I had my same web browsers, the same Open/Libre office, Gimp, Blender etc. There is also Autodesk Maya. So, even if there isn’t all the software Windows has, software isn’t such a problem today on Linux and it keeps improving. And thanks to Steam, now games are being ported to Linux. Wine still helps to run Windows games and other software under Linux, if needed, although it’s not the preferred way and it is not always easy or 100% working. I enjoy the freedom that Linux gives too, but all this isn’t sufficient and I’d be sorry if Linux will fade away. Thus I think Linux needs something as Apple did with OS X, or how Google did on the mobile market with Android (which uses a kernel based on Linux kernel) or perhaps how Steam will do it on the console market with their Steam Machines (which are based on Debian Linux).

    But with a pool of few user, it’s harder to find people capable of offering assistance. Good to try anyway, but IMHO LL could also try to improve better the cooperation with TPV devs, as they already fixed (long time ago) issues that LL Linux viewer never fixed for years.


    1. “On Linux, the viewer performances were always better for me, compared to Windows. So I’m glad that they seek for assistance, at least,”

      Indeed; during my brief foray into using Linux, I found viewer performance to be significantly better. hopefully, those devs who enjoy running and supporting Linux will help to ensure the viewer remains available on the OS.


  3. I can’t help but think that with out access to the server code, some bugs will never get fixed. Stands to reason that if you don’t know what the servers are doing you can’t find a way to fix the client side bugs.


    1. Nobody will ever get access to the server code, that’s not what they want helped fixing or maintaining. the Linux viewer only.


  4. What are the usage numbers like, by operating system, and by viewer? I wonder what the actual number of Linux users are, who use the official SL viewer. By the sound of it, it’s not very many at all compared to the larger picture of ‘all users’.


    1. As far as I’m aware, Mac users account for around 5% of SL users, and the Linux percentage is somewhat lower. I seem to remember a figure of around one or two percent being mentioned once at a TPV Developer meeting. Speaking with the Firestorm team, I know their number is around 1%-ish, and has been that way for a good while.


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