Tools update viewer reaches release status

secondlifeOn April 23rd, 2015, the Lab updated the de facto official viewer to version 3.7.28.300918, formerly the Tools update Release Candidate viewer.

As regular readers of this blog know from my regular SL project updates, this release is primarily focuses on a change to the tools used to build the viewer (to Visual Studio 2013, Xcode 6.1, and some other tools improvements).

Two important aspects of this update are that:

  • The Windows version of this viewer will not install on Windows XP systems, regardless of the Service Packs also installed (previous versions of the release viewer would install on Windows XP system which had Service Pack 3 installed)
  • The Mac version of the viewer will not install on any version of OS X below 10.7.

Note that this is not a deliberate attempt to block XP users or those on older versions of OS X from Second Life; it is purely the result of the Lab using up-to-date tools for building the viewer (and which will yield positive benefits elsewhere. for example, during its time as an RC viewer, the new build version has had a crash rate some 2% lower than than of the official viewer built using the “old” tool chain. There have, however, been some reported issues of Linux users experiencing problems using this version of the viewer.

A further benefit of the tools project is that it offers the Lab and TPVs the opportunity to work with a more common set of viewer building tools due to the removal of some licensing issues. It is therefore more than likely that at least some TPVs will move over to using the new tool chain as well.

This viewer also introduces the updated log-in options at the top of the viewer’s splash screen. The three button approach seen by most users  has been replaced with a log-in area with a single button (note that users logging-in to SL for the first time or after a clean install will still see the “first time user” log-in splash screen).

LL viewer log-in updates: as they first appeared after an initial log-in following the 2014 revisions to the log-in / splash screen (top); and as the log-in options are displayed in the new RC viewer (bottom) - click for full size, if required
LL viewer log-in updates: as they first appeared after an initial log-in following the 2014 revisions to the log-in / splash screen (top); and as the log-in options are displayed in the updated release viewer (bottom) – click for full size, if required.

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6 thoughts on “Tools update viewer reaches release status

    1. It’s not “new” per se, and while it does look like earlier iterations, it removes the biggest source of criticism – the three separate log-in buttons which were added as a part of the changes made towards the end of 2014.

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  1. I wouldn’t recommend anyone use Windows XP for anything, though I have an NAS drive from Iomega that wasn’t upgraded. Luckily it has a USB port as well.

    Windows have ended support, except for a very few corporate customers. It’s that old. Unfortunately it is still being used in ATMs…

    I find Windows 7 to be far better, and I would urge anyone upgrading to use 64-bit Windows. Unless your computer is ancient and doesn’t have a 64-bit processor you’re likely to have more usable memory and much else working better. Network drivers, for instance. If you have 32-bit XP go for 64-bit, Microsoft don’t seem to have an easy upgrade path from 32-bit to 64-bit within the same Windows version.

    Incidentally, some games are still not moving to 64-bit code. This is often because there are still not 64-bit versions of the libraries used. Not reliable versions, anyway.

    I’ve seen fifteen years of the “32 or 64” question. That’s longer than the time between the first MS-DOS and Windows 95. The people who haven’t yet given us reliable 64-bit libraries ought to be feeling ashamed.

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    1. Yup… XP hit the end of the road a while back; but there are potentially a lot of SL users still running it (one estimate is for as many as 20,000) Admittedly, most of these aren’t on the official viewer, but if and when other viewer move to using the same tools, there could well be confusion / upset. Sage advice for those who may now be looking at options.

      As far as the 64-bit library issue is concerned, that is one of the things that has helped delay any attempt by the Lab to introduce a 64-bit version of their viewer; although the new tool chain conceivably moves them closer towards now being able to do so. However, there are other considerations they have (such as their view that 64-bit versions of the viewer running on 64-bit flavours Windows only shows a marginal improvement in terms of crash rates, etc., over the 32-bit version of their viewer running on 64-bit flavours of Windows).

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  2. Just to clarify something; the new minimum requirement for Windows is Vista with SP2 or Server 2008 with SP2. Windows XP, Server 2003, and Server 2003 r2 are all incompatible with the binary built with Visual Studio 2013. While VS 2013 is capable of building binaries that will run on 2013, it was not natively designed with this in mind and it takes a bit of work to get it set up right, so the Lab decided it was not worth the effort to build for OSs they have not supported for some time now. The decision to not support Windows Vista with no Service pack or only SP1 was mine. I decided on this do to the much lower crash rate and improved experience SP2 brought to the SL experience, and LL agreed with this.

    Just a note: Firestorm will adhere to most of these new design changes of the installer when we pick up the tool change code, though we will not auto launch the viewer after install w/o the user’s consent.

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  3. We Mac OS X users with Sun preferences are irritated on every login.The past several updates reset to Use Region settings on every login. We have tried every override trick we can find, but next login we are back to Use Region. Some sims are too dark in darkness.

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