The following notes are primarily taken from the Server Beta User Group meeting of Thursday, December 17th and the TPV Developer (TPVD) meeting held on Friday, December 18th 2015. A video of the meeting is included at the end of this report, my thanks as always to North for the video recording and providing it for embedding.
Server Deployments – Recap
- On Tuesday, December 15th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package previously deployed to all three RC channels, comprising simulator crash fixes, and implementing feature request BUG-10192.
- On Wednesday, December 16th the three RC channels all received the same new server maintenance package, comprising crash and internal simulator fixes, LSL HTTP requests accessing data sources that require non-text Accept headers (such as the Destination Guide), updates to group member counts to help deal with recent group database issues.
There will be a further main (SLS) deployment on Tuesday, December 22nd, which will mark the final scheduled deployment for 2015.
SL Viewer Updates
On Thursday, December 17th, the Chromium Embedded Framework viewer was promoted to the de facto release viewer, version 188.8.131.529247. This viewer replaces the ageing LLQTWebKit system used in the Web media plugin with a new one based on the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) that supports modern web technologies.
The Vivox and HTTP RC viewers, currently version 184.108.40.2067744 and 220.127.116.118134 respectively, are being merged into a single release candidate. This RC will also include the CEF updates, and the remaining Maintenance (currently version ) and Quick Graphics (currently version 18.104.22.1688556) RCs will also be updated to include the CEF changes.
TLS 1.2 Implementation
As well as supporting the Chromium Embedded Framework capabilities for media, the latest release viewer (22.214.171.1249247, as noted above) also sees the LL viewer fully support TLS 1.2, which is an important point for TPVs to note, as Oz explained at the TPV Developer meeting:
That is going to be critical by next spring. Anything that does not support TLS 1.2, will not be able to do any interactions with cashier or anything that involves money. This isn’t optional on our part or just an arbitrary choice on our part, this is a compliance requirement. so, be looking for that in your own stuff; if you don’t support TLS 1.2, your users won’t be able to do anything that involves money, because we will have switched off everything earlier than that server-side.
When this change comes into effect, it will mean those users accustomed to using very old versions of viewers are going to have to move to currently supported versions of those viewer if they wish to do anything involving money.
On Wednesday, December 16th, the Lab issues the Project Bento viewer, version 126.96.36.1999171, offering an enhanced Second life avatar skeleton. This viewer and the associated support for it, is currently in open beta, and can be tested using the Aditi (beta grid). You can read the Lab’s announcement, and my own initial coverage as background.
The project did come up for discussion at the Third Party Developer meeting on Thursday, December 18th, and I’ve provided a separate report on the matters discussed.
Aditi Inventory Syncing
Recently, people have been experiencing assorted issues when attempting to log-in to Aditi, the beta grid (see here for an example). As a result of these various issues, the Lab has made changes to the Aditi log-in process, and one of these changes will affect how inventory is synced between the two grids.
Up until now, inventory syncing between the two grids (so that your inventory on Aditi matches your inventory on Agni) has been a manual process: change your Second Life log-in password and this triggers an update to your Aditi inventory (which could take 24-48 hours to apply).
With the new update, which will be coming into effect in the near future, changing your password no longer triggers an Aditi inventory update. Instead, a new methodology is employed, as Coyot Linden explained at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday, December 17th:
The current method of syncing accounts from Agni to Aditi has … issues, even when you wanted it to happen, it sometimes wouldn’t and when it did it overwrote inventory. Now, there are two major differences: 1. It MERGES AGNI inventory into ADITI inventory instead of overwriting; 2. It is based on whoever has logged into ADITI in the last 24 hours when it runs in the middle of the night SLT. No changing passwords any more.
The merging means that items unique to people’s inventories on Aditi (items they have created there but not replicated on Agni) will no longer be overwritten. However, duplicates of items will not result from the merge, as Oz Linden explained:
If an item is only on Aditi, it will still only be on Aditi; if it was only on Agni, it will be added to Aditi, if it was on both you will have just one copy on each grid … When you “modify” an object, you’re really making a new object, so yes, it knows that it has been modified… they are no longer the same object.
The upshot of this is that as this update comes into effect, changing your SL password will no longer trigger your Aditi inventory being overwritten by your Agni inventory; instead, a nightly process will run automatically, and anyone who has logged into Aditi since the last time the process ran will have their Agni inventory merged into their Aditi inventory. If you are logged-in when the process runs, a re-log will be necessary to see the updated inventory.
Zero-Weighted Joints and Viewer Crashes
The have been very issues with the Firestorm viewer crashing which were thought to have been the result of viewing avatars using the Bento enhanced skeleton – see FIRE-17497. However, the issue appears to be related to Firestorm reverting some changes made by the Lab to prevent the use of meshes with zero-weighted vertices on joints, which Vir Linden described as “pretty squirrelly” in the impact it can have, but which has been done in order to correctly render certain mesh and fitted mesh clothing (see FIRE-17341).
The ideal solution in the Lab’s view is not to have mesh vertices zero weighted, with Vir commenting:
If there are vertices on the mesh that don’t have any non-zero weights assigned, that’s really a bug that has to be fixed by the creator. It’s unfortunate that those were kind-of hidden through a combination of different errors in the past, which gave people the impression that they were working. but it was really bad things were happening; on some graphics cards it was generating these spikes that would shoot off in random directions, stuff like that.
It had been problematic for a while, but unfortunately if you don’t have any weights, you don’t know where to put the thing.
No Change Window
As noted above, the Christmas / New Year no change window, which means there will be no further schedule viewer updates, and on a Main (SLS) channel update in the week commencing Monday, December 21st. This is to allow Lab staff a reasonable Christmas / New Year break, although the platform will obviously still be monitored for issues during the holiday period. The normal rounds of releases, etc., will resume on the week commencing Monday, January 4th, 2016.