Lab issues important update on Second Life viewer evolution

Linden Lab have issued a blog post on upcoming changes / evolutions in the Second Life viewer, most of which will hopefully be familiar with readers of these pages – particularly my project updates and viewer notes.

In Important Viewer Evolution Update, the Lab outline three developments coming to the official viewer, and also indicate the ending of support for some versions of Windows and Mac OSX. The three developments are:

  • The Project Bento avatar skeleton extensions. For those needing an introduction to Bento, which adds enormous new capabilities to the SL avatar skeleton when working with mesh bodies and attachments, please refer to my Project Bento updates.
  • 64-bit viewer support. The Lab is working on 64-bit versions of the viewer for Windows and Mac. A project viewer is expected “real soon now”, and should offer much improved memory handling and reduced crash rates for 64-bit OS users. The 32-bit Windows version of the viewer will continue once the 64-bit arrive, and the Lab’s advice is that for those who can, to switch to 64-bit when available (or with a TPV, most of whom offer 64-bit versions).
  • Introduction of VLC for better media support. In April, Apple announced they were immediately ceasing support for QuickTime on Windows, leaving some potential security vulnerabilities unpatched (see my article here). As a result, the Lab has implemented media support using  LibVLC for Windows. A release candidate viewer is currently available via the Alternate Viewers wiki page. A Mac switch to VLC is anticipated when the 64-bit versions of the official viewer arrive

OS Support Changes

In the post, the Lab also announce that from this week (week #38 2016 at the time of writing) discontinuing support for the following operating system versions:

  • Windows Vista
  • Mac OS X versions less than 10.9.

The Lab note that the viewer may continue to operate on those OS versions which are no longer supported, but they won’t be testing against them or attempting to fix any compatibility issues related to them.

With this part of the announcement, the Lab note that Apple has released OSX 10.12 Sierra, which has caused some Mac users issues. They therefore offer this advice:

We do have reports that installing this upgrade will clear your Second Life inventory cache. Normally, that should only cause some performance impact as the cache is reloaded, but in some cases at least in current viewers it causes your avatar to appear as a cloud (see BUG-37653). The workaround is to open your Inventory, find an outfit folder, and drag the outfit folder onto your avatar; after this, you can modify your appearance using any of the usual methods.

Required Viewer Update

Finally, and as a result of recent and upcoming changes to the viewer, the Lab note that they will be making upgrades from any Viewer version older than 4.0.5 a required update, and in line with the ending of support for Vista and Mac OSX versions below 10.9, they have updated the SL system requirements.