2019 SL User Groups 22/3: TPV Developer Meeting

(Fae Forest), Elvenshire; Inara Pey, April 2019, on Flickr(Fae Forest), Elvenshireblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, May 31st, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. The key points of discussion are provided below with time stamps to the relevant points in the video, which will open in a separate tab when clicked.

Note this meeting involved a lot of text-based chat on VRAM, script limits, and avatar complexity which, in the interest of brevity with these notes, I leave to the video.

SL Viewer

[01:18-2:22]

The Rainbow Maintenance viewer – version 6.2.3.527584 – was released on  Wednesday, May 29th. This viewer specifically fixes a known Windows / Nvidia issue where on exiting Second Life, the system video is distorted – see BUG-226803.

Note that at the time of writing this summary, the Rainbow RC viewer is not listed on the new Alternate Viewer page; if you are experiencing this particular issue, and wish to try the new RC, please go to the main Viewer Release page, where it *is* listed.

There should be a project viewer forthcoming “soon” with a number of open-source contributions

The remaining LL viewer pipelines are unchanged, as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.2.2.527338, formerly the Teranino RC viewer, promoted May 22 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, 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 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

As per my CCUG summary, it is anticipated updated versions of EEP and Bakes on Mesh RC viewers should be appearing in week #23 (commencing Monday, June 3rd, 2019).

Official Linux Viewer

[5:47-7:05]

  • The Lab has received a comprehensive open-source Debian-based contribution for Linux.
  • This will have restricted functionality (e.g. no Voice, as Vivox who supply the Voice EXE for the viewer no longer support Linux).
  • The Lab is currently putting time into trying to build this Linux option within their existing viewer build. If this succeeds, they will likely issue the viewer (I’m guessing as a project viewer initially).

Group Notices to IM

[10:50-12:00]

  • As per my April 26th TPVD meeting notes, the Lab is considering the possibility of no longer sending group notices to e-mail when a user is off-line.
  • This will only be for off-line group notices. It will not block / change the receipt off-line IMs.
  • The reason for making the change is to help is secondlife.com being regarded as a spam domain by e-mail services.
  • Work has not yet commenced on this.
  • The Lab expects to be doing “significant” work on groups in general “pretty soon”. This will include work on group notice delivery reliability, general group chat lag, etc.

In Brief

  • [2:24-3:28, 13:49-14:10, and 17:20-19:15] Teleport improvements:
    • Work continues in trying to stabilise / improve teleports to avoid any repeat of recent problems.
    • Work is also in progress to improve how attachments are handled on teleports to lessen instances of attachment loss, ghosting, etc.
      • Some of these issues might be related to viewer changes, and the Lab is currently testing fixes and experimenting with the viewer, and the latter may result in some tweaks to the way the viewer handles attachments.
      • More on this to follow once the internal tests are complete and have been assessed.
      • As it is, improvement have been deployed to help prevent attachments getting killed on teleports, although further work on this may still be required.
  • [7:05-10:08] Mobile client:
    • LL continue to work on the iOS mobile client for Second Life.
    • iOS was selected because “at the time the decision was taken, there wasn’t anything for iPhone”, and the Lab didn’t have the resources available to handle both iOS and Android development.
    • More details on the iOS client’s functionality are hoped to be available “before too long”.
    • Android remains a hoped-for goal, although there is no time line for when it might happen.
  • [12:10-12:30] Last names: work is continuing on the return of last names, although deploying the capability is not imminent.
  • [12:57-13:30 and 14:33-16:15] Transitioning SL to the cloud:
    • Again, work is progressing, and some services have been transitioned (note: not any user-accessible simulators), without any impact being noted / felt by users.
    • More services will be transitioning in the next few months.
    • The Lab is intentionally not providing information and when and which services are being transitioned in an attempt to more accurately garner from user feedback if things have go well or not (e.g. by preventing people reporting on the assumption that because X has been changed, it “must” be the cause of their issues).
  • [19:24-19:40] Viewer Caching Re-work: this has been paused for a while, but is due to resume.
  • [29:28-30:00] Visual Studio / Xcode Update: the Visual Studio 2017 (Win) and Xcode (Mac) update to the viewer build process is working locally but is not working within the viewer build farm. However, the switch to using them within the farm is expected “very soon”.

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LL reverse planned Basic account group limits reduction

via and © and ™Linden Lab

Note: I’m getting to this a little late as I was caught-up on in-world projects when the news broke – so please excuse my tardiness.

On May 29th, Linden Lab issued a blog post indicating some major restructuring of fees for Premium members, for credit processing Linden Dollar amounts to fiat money and out of Second Life, and alterations to Premium and Basic account Group and IM capabilities.

In case anyone missed it, the original blog announcement is here: Land Price Reductions, New Premium Perks, and Pricing Changes and my own summary / initial thoughts on the changes are here: Linden Lab announces significant SL fee changes.

In my initial response I noted that while the Premium fee changes incur an “ouch!” factor, they are nonetheless understandable if the Lab is to meet the demand for lower virtual land tier fees and maintain its revenue flow. Of the other announced changes, the increase to credit processing fees, whilst again part of the revenue pivot, is nevertheless a hard bite to take for those generating their own income via SL, given it is the latest in a line of such increases over the last few years. However, and for many of us – Basic or Premium – the major injustice outlined in the Lab’s announcement was the cut to Basic account capabilities – namely the group allowance and the reduction in off-line IMs.

Again, as I noted in my initial blog post on the subject, and expanded upon in “Dear Ebbe II” (on the subject of Basic account changes, reducing Basic account capabilities in the manner proposed smacked of being a punitive act towards Basic account holders. This view wasn’t particularly helped by an official forum post indicating the Basic account reductions were an (ill-considered) attempt to encourage people to take out Premium subscriptions and – in the case of group allowances – an exercise in load-balancing to compensate for some of the group increase being given to Premium subscribers.

Such has been the upset that late on Friday, May 31st, the Lab openly conceded they’d made a mistake, and that the group allowance for Basic members will remain unchanged at the current limit of 42 – see: Group Limits Update: No Changes for Basic Members. However, the reduction in off-line IMs will still come into force from June 24th. So, as per the Lab’s update, From June 24th, 2019, Basic and Premium accounts group and off-line IM caps will be as follows:

Group and off-line IM capabilities as they are for Basic and Premium accounts, and as they now will be from June 24th, 2019 – the group allowance for Basic will remain unchanged

This does leave off-line IMs for Basic members reduced – although it has been suggested that planned changes to the events system might reduce the need for group messages to promote events, in which case this might help reduce part of the reliance on off-line IMs for at least some basic users (as well as possibly decreasing the reliance on groups overall in some cases). Time will tell on that; for the moment there is still understandable hurt over this reduction.

However, the fact that Linden Lab is prepared to listen and accept that they have erred on an issue should be acknowledged – and take steps to reverse that part of the decision that has caused the clearest feedback about the optics it presents – does deserve acknowledgement and a word of thanks for taking the time to listen, consider and respond.