2018 SL UG updates #9/1: SUG, and DDOS

Les Reves Perdus; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Les Reves Perdusblog post

Server Deployments

As usual, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates.

On Tuesday, February 27th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with server maintenance package 18#, previously deployed to the three RC channels. This update was to directly address an odd viewer crash situation some users have experienced. Speaking at the week #8 Simulator User Group meeting, and reproduced here for completeness, Simon Linden said of the issue:

The server is doing some better checking on update data it sends to the viewer. We saw a very odd situation a week or two ago where the region was sending odd data and viewers would crash immediately. It went away after we restarted the region, and we think it was some memory corruption … FWIW, the server was sending a value of zero for a prim-code … which is totally invalid … There were also some other invalid data (like a zero’ed UUID) so my theory was memory corruption.

We didn’t have any other smoking guns. That region was fine after restarting, or when we tried our own copy. It was one of those mystery bugs, which we sometimes get since SL is so big and complex. We don’t know why it got that way, or how to make it happen again. we ended up making both the region and the viewer more robust. The underlying problem is still there and, assuming it happens again, will still cause problems.

(See also: BUG-214564.)

On Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 the three main RC channels should be updated as follows:

  • LeTigre and Magnum; no deployment, no restart, leaving them on server maintenance package 18#
  • BlueSteel should received a new server maintenance package, 18#, containing further simulator logging improvements and internal fixes. This is dependent upon what happens with the ongoing global DDoS attack over the course of the next 12-18 hours.

SL  Viewer

There have been no official viewer updates at the start of the week, leaving the various pipelines as per the end of week #8:

  • Current Release version, dated January 26, promoted February 7 – formerly the Voice Maintenance RC.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Nalewka Maintenance viewer, version, February 23.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version, February 21.
    • Media Update RC viewer, version, February 15.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Log-in Issues

On Monday, February 26th and continuing through Tuesday, February 27th, large numbers of SL users experienced significant issues in trying to log-in as a result of a widespread UDP-based Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the Internet as a whole (rather than specific to SL).

On Tuesday, February 27th, whilst still dealing with the situation, April Linden at the SL Ops team took time out to post on the situation in the official blog:

Hi everyone.

As I’m sure most of y’all have noticed, Second Life has had a rough 24 hours. We’re experiencing outages unlike any in recent history, and I wanted to take a moment and explain what’s going on.

The grid is currently undergoing a large DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Second Life being hit with a DDoS attack is pretty routine. It happens quite a bit, and we’re good at handling it without a large number of Residents noticing. However, the current DDoS attacks are at a level that we rarely see, and are impacting the entire grid at once.

My team (the Second Life Operations Team) is working as hard as we can to mitigate these attacks. We’ve had people working round-the-clock since they started, and will continue to do so until they settle down. (I had a very late night, myself!)

Second Life is not the only Internet service that’s been targeted today. My sister and brother opsen at other companies across the country are fighting the same battle we are. It’s been a rough few days on much of the Internet.

We’re really sorry that access to Second Life has been so sporadic over the last day. Trying to combat these attacks has the full attention of my team, and we’re working as hard as we can on it. We’ll keep posting on the Second Life Status Blog as we have new updates.

See you inworld!
April Linden
Second Life Operations Team Lead

The attack led to a wide number of issues for SL users, from an inability to log-in to SL, through to disconnects or other problems. As Simon Linden explained in the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, February 27th:

It’s not just logins … and often there is cascading problems. If one system gets attacked, it might actually be functioning fine but if the rack or network switch it’s on is overloaded, anything else connected there also has problems.

As it stands, the worst of the attacks appear to be over, at least where SL is concerned, but users should keep an eye on the official blogs for further updates, as well as grid status updates.

Bay of Dreams in Second Life

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, February 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Bay of Dreams is the Full region home of Valor Poses Mainstore and Photo Sim, operated by Keegan Kavenagh (AlexCassidy1), and designed on his behalf by inertia (Caridee Sparta) of Neverfar fame. This latter point alone should have anyone seasoned SL travellers adding Bay of Dreams to their list of places to visit, whether or not they are on the look-out for poses; as with Neverfar (about which you can read more here), the region is an eye-catching and involved design.

No landing point is set within the region, but a good place to start explorations is in the courtyard before the main store, tucked into the south-east corner. A large church style gate stands guard over the store area, separating it from the rest of the region, large gates ready to be opened or closed as required. A teleport board sits just beyond this, offering a choice of 10 destinations for those keen to start seeing the sights. These destinations include both the ground-level store and its skyborne Adult annex – a minor niggle here being there wasn’t (at the time of our visit at least) a TP point to easily get back to ground level from the latter. Also, as the board only delivers you to a location, we’d suggest it is actully better just to use shanks’ pony from the get-go, and explore on foot.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, February 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams

Veer left from the teleport board, and the route takes you through the ruins of a stone-built structure shouldered on either side by blocks of unhewn rock. Two arches stand at the end of the ruins, one offering a path down to a beach watched over by great trees with trunks bent with age to where a board walk cross shallow water to a smaller island. The other arch offers a path to where two old houses stand  above the beach, each reached by its own steps cut into the living rock. Both appear abandoned, and a rough, grassy path arcs between them, passing round a little copse of trees standing between them.

The larger of these two houses sits with its back to a deep gorge cutting south-to-north through the land, a sandbar at its southern extreme preventing the sea from completely splitting the region. A wreck of an old plane lies on the sandbar, and a path from the smaller of the two abandoned houses offers a route over the rocks above the edge of the gorge to where a set of steps drop down to the beach and ‘plane wreck. Alternatively, a wooden bridge spans the gorge from behind the larger of the two houses, linking it with the broad, stepped plateau on the far side. Here, past the windmill and tree house, up the wooden steps and with a little scrambling over rocks, you might find yourself at the front door of the largest house on the island, looking imperiously down at the rest of the scene.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, February 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams

A second bridge, wide and gated two-thirds of the way along its length, spans another watery charm splitting the land. It offers the way to a grassy shoulder of rock where visitors can either opt to go by way of log bridges down to a secluded beach and beach house, or use a switch back path cut into the rock to descend to where the wrecked aeroplane awaits.

The smaller island to the north-west and mentioned earlier, appears to have once been a centre of commerce. A lighthouse and a huge warehouse rise from the rocky base of the island, vying with one another to be the tallest. Old wharves extend out into the waters from their feet, and two old trawlers are moored in the shallows. But whatever went on here has long since ceased: the buildings are decaying slowly, the wharves falling apart, the waters beneath them fast becoming choked and overgrown with grass and weeds, while falling trunks of great fir trees now pin the old boats under their weight.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, February 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams

Whether the trees fell due to age, or were cut down might be a matter for debate. However, there is plenty of evidence for them having been brought low by storm and wind to be found elsewhere, while the heavily bent trunks of other trees suggests this is a place subject to extremes in wind, further suggesting it is the elements which are responsible for the damage.

With its rugged outlook, scattering of houses, store and old fishing centre, Bay of Dreams is a visual treat. For those who would like to tarry a while, there are numerous places to sit – indoors and out – to be found, and for photographers, rezzing rights can be enjoyed on joining the local group, although you might want to twiddle with Windlights.  Our thanks to Shakespeare and Max for pointing it out to us!

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