SL project updates 2017-4/3: TPVD meeting: 64-bit, Linux

Whimberly, Whimberly; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrWhimberlyblog post

The notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 27th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

[01:19] There has been no movement with any of the viewer currently in the various pipelines during the week, leaving the list as:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.0.321958, dated December 1st, promoted December 5th, 2016 – formerly the Project Bento RC viewer
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version 5.0.1.322791, dated January 12th
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, dated January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712, dated November 23, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review – still pending completion of work on the 64-bit viewer, and no updates expected in the immediate future
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

[01:48] There are two more branches for the Maintenance viewer updates in the offing. One is, as per Oz’s stated intent, a branch for rendering only fixes, the second will continue with the regular releases of Maintenance RC viewers with all other general fixes and updates.

64-bit Viewer

[22:55] The number of users on the 64-bit project viewer remains “small”, however, the Lab is pleased with the way most things in the viewer and viewer build process are working. There are still three major areas of work which need to be completed, outside of bug fixes, before the viewer can progress to release candidate (RC) status:

  • 64-bit Havok for OSX: the binaries, etc., have been received from Havok, but have been built using Xcode 8. The Lab is therefore updating the Mac viewer build process to use Xcode 8 so that the Havok code can be incorporated.
  • Updated VLC and CEF support: this is in process, and in the case of CEF, will include a new wrapper (project Dullahan – link for those who are curious about the etymology of Lab project names) which will replace llCEF, making it easier to render web content through the viewer
  • The new viewer installation / update process: this is being overhauled to improve the installation and update of the viewer. In particular, it will include a check to ensure users have actually downloaded the correct version of the viewer for their system. For example, if you are on 32-bit Windows and download the 64-bit version in error, the installer will recognise this, and download and install the 32-bit version for you.

Note the above still only apply to Windows and Mac OSX.

Linux Viewer Status / Future

[30:21] Thus far, the Lab hasn’t progressed very far with Linux 64-bit, beyond building some of the libraries. The aim is still to have the third-party viewer development  / open source community provide a strong level of support for Linux. However, it is recognised that the current way in which the Linux viewer is currently distributed makes it difficult for third-party support to be maintained.

In an attempt to improve things, the Lab is going to try to move away from using a TAR ball method of distribution to providing a .DEB file, which can be installed using standard Debian installation commands. This will involve changes to the Linux build process, which itself may highlight issues in producing the desired .DEB file. Where this is the case, the Lab will look to discuss and resolve issues with the TPV / open source community. It is hoped that this approach will result in a much improved and easier to manage mechanism for Linux viewer builds and distribution.

Other Items

Music Streaming Default Volume

[04:57] The first TPVD meeting for 2017 included a discussion on audio streaming autoplay found in the official viewer, and the problems this can cause new users. As a result of that discussion, the Lab agreed to revisit the default media volume setting in the viewer. This is now under discussion within the Lab.

Voice Issues

[06:06] While there is a Voice update coming down the line, people are reporting increasing Voice disconnection issues (see BUG-41288). Kyle Linden has been looking into the problems to try to identify where issues might reside, and it is a topic for discussion at the next Lab / Vivox meeting, in about a week. Oz Linden is also improving the code in the viewer to better monitor and report on Voice connections and issues so that they can be more easily identified; these updates will hopefully be in the upcoming Voice viewer.

Environment Maps

[12:53] At the end of the last TPV meeting, there was a convoluted discussion on environment maps and potential limitations. A JIRA feature request – STORM-2146 – has now been raised, outlining the specific issues with the environment maps, and what can be done to improve them to provide things like simulated environment reflections.  Acknowledged as being a prime example of a really good feature request in terms of level of explanation given (including mitigating risk of content breakage), the topic was put aside for detailed discussion at a later date, to allow this meeting to focus on the 64-bit viewer and Linux.

Server-side Group Chat “Opt Out”

Firrestorm has a viewer-side implementation to mute all chat from a group, but a server-side capability is being requested
Firrestorm has a viewer-side implementation to mute all chat from a group, but a server-side capability is being requested

[17:53] This is a request to provide support for “opting out” (muting) from group chats without necessarily having to wait for it to start & closing the window (e.g. via a right-click option on the group list or in the group profile – a method taken by Firestorm in providing viewer side support for the capability).

The Lab is aware of numerous requests for such an option, together with numerous and different suggestions on how it might be implemented. Because of this, no firm decision has been made on whether or not to add such a capability, managed server-side, has been taken.

The advantage of server-side support is that rather than having the viewer just discard incoming messages seen as “unwanted”, the server will not send them in the first place. This is very much what the Lab would like to achieve, were the capability to be added.

E-mail Improvements

[39:37] Changes are coming to the way in which e-mails are managed / distributed by the Lab. Please see my separate report on what this means and verifying you e-mail address, if you have not already done so.

SL Wiki Editing and JIRA Viewing

[49:03] The Ls Wiki remains closed to general editing. Users with a genuine need to edit wiki pages they have previously helped maintain or have created, should file a support ticket or raise a JIRA requesting the are granted Edit rights, and why they are requesting them. The Lab is now maintaining a white list of approved users.

Similarly, TPV developers and open source contributors who cannot view JIRAs related to their work, etc. (“Permission Violation”), should e-mail Oz Linden to request broader access to the system.

Important: verifying your e-mail address with Second life

secondlifeLinden Lab and Second Life use e-mail in a wide variety of ways, from direct e-mail campaigns informing users of promotions, etc., through the users having a means to obtain IMs sent to them while they are not logged-in (and even reply to them within a certain time constraint).

However, many people sign-up to Second Life, either with new accounts or additional accounts, and offer e-mail addresses which are either made up, or unused. The former is a particular problem for the Lab, as it creates additional traffic passing through ISPs, which can mark the Lab as a purveyor of “spam”.

To try to reduce this problem, the Lab recently introduced e-mail verification. When you sign-up to Second Life, the e-mail account provided will receive a request to verify it (the usual click-on-the-link approach); if you change the e-mail address, you will receive a similar verification request.

In addition, there is also an option within the Change Email Settings of your Second Life dashboard where you can have your e-mail verified without having to change your e-mail address.

This is important because, starting in the very near future, the Lab will be making changes to their e-mail service which will eventually mean that outgoing e-mails will not be sent to any unverified e-mail addresses.

So, if you want to be sure you continue to receive SL-related e-mails – such as IMs to e-mail or Marketplace information sent to your e-mail as a Merchant, etc., – it is important you ensure the e-mail you use with Second Life is verified.

Here’s how:

  • Go to your dashboard at secondlife.com.
  • Click on Account at the top left of your dashboard to open the Account sub-menu.
  • Click on Change Email Address to open the Change Email Settings page (below).
  • Locate the Verify link next to your e-mail address and click on it.
The Verify link will allow you to have your current e-mail address verified
The Verify link will allow you to have the e-mail address associated with your SL account verified
  • A verification e-mail will be sent to your current e-mail address associated with Second Life, containing a link. Click the link to verify your e-mail address.
  • Wait a minute or so, then refresh the Change Email Settings page on your dashboard. It should be updated to show your e-mail address is verified (below).
A verified e-mail address
A verified e-mail address

There will be an official notification from the Lab when the work updating the e-mail service commences. However , this article can be treated as something as an advanced warning, courtesy of Oz Linden speaking at the January 27th TPV Developer meeting.

It’s not clear how long the changes will take to implement / propagate out, but it is important that if you rely on any e-mails sent to you by the Lab in relations to Second Life, you ensure your recorded e-mail address is verified, otherwise you will at some point no longer receive any e-mail notifications from the Lab until such time as you are using a verified address.

February at The Edge in Second Life

The Edge
The Edge

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 marks the formal opening of the latest exhibition at The Edge gallery, curated by Eleseren Brianna. The Edge is the fashion division of Kultivate Magazine, with a focus on the artistic and cultural side of fashion in both Second Life and the physical world.

Taking part in the exhibition are:  Delypop Cresci, Calima Dufaux, Hikaru Enimo, Algezares Magic, Ruby Ornamental, Apocketfullofbutterflies Resident, Khronoz Resident, Beatrice Serendipity, and Catalina Staheli. Layka63 Resident had also been scheduled to exhibit, but having been absent for more than a week, Eleseren has had to offer a selection of her own work for display.

The Edge
The Edge

The majority of the pieces on display across the gallery’s three levels are avatar studies, although some are given an added twist in that they are by some recognisable names from the world of Second Life modelling. The range of styles within the exhibition is varied, and the contrasts between approaches to subject matter and framing making for an interesting point of examination of the pictures and artists as one progresses through the gallery.

However, that said, I admit to being somewhat biased when it come to art; I much prefer images which suggest a narrative or offer the imagination licence to take flight. Static poses bereft of a deeper connection tend to have me passing over them perhaps a little too quickly, and I did find this to be the case at times with this exhibit.

The Edge
The Edge

But where I did find that narrative / challenge to the imagination, I found it to be strongly evoked, to the extent that I was drawn back, and into, to the work of some of the artists over and again, making this a rewarding visit that had my camera – and eyes – lingering as grey cell cogitated and reflected.

The February exhibition officially opens at 14:00 SLT on Saturday, January 28th, with a live music performance by Dimivan Ludwig. Formal dress is requested.

SLurl Details