Thursday, March 17th saw Firestorm release version 184.108.40.2068706 of their viewer. Coming four months after the last release, this update is slightly later than planned, but includes a number of important updates from the Lab as well as a good mix of updates, improvements and fixes directly from the Firestorm team and contributors.
As per my usual MO, what follows is an overview of the release, highlighting some of the more significant / interesting changes, updates and fixes to be found in the release, and which I feel will be of most interest to users.
For full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.
The Usual Before We Begin Notes
For best results when installing this release:
This update means that Firestorm 4.6.9 will be blocked in approximately 3 weeks time.
Lab Derived Updates
Firestorm 4.7.7 brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 4.0.1 code base, and so includes the TLS 1.2 and CEF changes. These and other Lab derived changes are outlined below.
TLS 1.2 and Viewers
The reason this release might be regarded as becoming a mandatory update for Second Life users is the integration of TLS1.2 into the viewer – and by “viewer”, I mean all current or upcoming viewer releases, LL or TPV.
TLS, the successor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), is a cryptographic protocol for communications security intended to provide privacy and data integrity between two communicating computer application (such as the viewer and the Lab’s servers).
TLS 1.2 is currently being implemented by Linden Lab under the umbrella of their work of fiscal compliance, This involved changes to both the viewer and LL’s servers, the upshot of which means that, once TLS 1.2 has been fully implemented, any viewer that does not support TLS 1.2, will not be able to do any interactions with cashier or anything that involves L$. While there is no precise time frame for this work to be completed, indications from the Lab are that it will be sooner rather than later.
Again, this is not an arbitrary decision on the part of either the Firestorm team or Linden Lab; the work is being carried out as a compliance requirement.
Chromium Embedded Framework
Firestorm 4.7.7 includes the Lab’s implementation of Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) for media management (and more). CEF completely replaces the old llQTwebkit for media management within the viewer, replacing it with current web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 support and WebGL, which can allow direct manipulation of objects on a browser page displayed in-world with ease.
CEF should also enable things like viewing PDF files in-world, editing PDF documents via Google Docs, etc. See the CEF forum thread for more.
CEF integration into the viewer means that Flash and QuickTime content require third-party support (see this Knowledge Base article on enabling Flash support for CEF viewers, for example). However, because they do rely on plug-in support, there is no guarantee given by Firestorm or Linden Lab that either will work, and are regarded as unsupported.
Other Updates from the Lab
Materials (texture / diffuse, bumpiness / normal and shininess / specular) in the Build floater Texture tab can now be selected via radio buttons, rather than picking from a drop-down list, to make locating and selection them easier (see BUG-10149).
A fix for ALM enabled + full bright + shiny objects failing to display texture on Mac (see FIRE-12681)
A fix for activating Show Avatar Complexity disabling all llSetText (hovertext) viewer is restarted (see BUG-10488)
A fix for show land owner colour overlay is only visible where there is water in deferred rendering (see FIRE-11654)
A fix for a black screen if ALM is enabled while in wireframe mode and then wireframe is disabled (see BUG-4543)
A fix for opening a note card with the same name as one already open failing to work (see VWR-2981)
- A fix for replacing current outfit with contents of a non-outfit folder creates a folder link in the Current Outfit Folder (see BUG-11274)
A fix for opening an experience compiled script in an object in an adjacent region failing to show the script is compiled with an experience in the script editor (see BUG-8980).