Firestorm 6.5.6: maintenance refresh!

 

On Monday, July 25th, 2022, the Firestorm team released version 6.5.6 of their viewer.

This is very much a maintenance update for Firestorm rather than a major release; the focus is very much on bug fixes rather than new features.

That said, it does bring Firestorm closer to the official release viewer, incorporating as t does the April and May official viewer releases code – so with this release, Firestorm embraces multi-factor authentication.

Table of Contents

As per usual, this article is a not a full blow-by-blow breakdown of absolutely everything in this release, but it does include notes on some of the more significant updates and fixes people are liable to find useful, and some general notes.

For a complete breakdown of changes, please see the official release notes for Firestorm 6.5.6.

Installation

  • There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
  • Do, however, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 6.5.6.

Linden Lab Updates

This release brings Firestorm up to parity with the following Linden Lab viewer releases:

  • Lao-Lao Maintenance Release viewer (version 6.5.4.570575, dated April 18th, 2022) containing numerous bug fixes).
    • One notably fix in this viewer is for photographers, correcting as  it does – BUG-231868 “[MAINT J+K] 360 Snapshot tool fails to save file to computer (Mac and Windows)”
  • The MFA Release viewer (version 6.5.5.571282, dated May 4th), which rolled multi-factor authentication to the viewer – see below for more.

In addition, Firestorm 6.5.6 includes support for the release of Premium Plus (increased Group allowance, etc).

Multi-Factor Authentication

Firestorm 6.5.6 incorporates Linden Lab’s viewer-side Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) code. This provides additional security to your Second Life account both through the web (e.g. trying to view your billing info or transaction history, trying to cash out (“process credit”) money out of your account, trying to change the e-mail address associated with your account, etc.), and in accessing your account using the viewer. It is entirely optional, and you do not need to use it if you don’t want to – although usage is recommended.

You can find out more on MFA in general by following the links below:

Inclusion of MFA in a viewer means that anyone who has opted to use MFA

  • Will, the first time they use Firestorm 6.5.6, have to use their preferred authentication method (e.g. Google Authenticator) to generate a new token (6-digit code) and enter it into the viewer when prompted (after entering their user name and password).
The MFA prompt for a token, which will be seen in Firestorm 6.5.6 (and other viewers supporting the Lab’s MFA code) once every 30 days.
    • Note that some authenticators generate their token as 2 groups of 3 digits (e.g. XXX  YYY). Where this is the case, you can enter the code with or without the space.
  • This token will remain valid for 30 days, as noted above, so you do not have to provide a token every time you log-in to the viewer.
    • However, after 30 days, the prompt will once again be displayed at log-in, and a new token code will have to be generated in the chosen authentication method, and entered into the viewer in response to the prompt.

If you have not opted to use MFA, or if you later opt to disable MFA on your account, you will not be prompted to provide any authentication code.

Firestorm Updates and Improvements

Phototools

The Shared Environment button on Phototools works with Firestorm 6.5.6

A minor, but nevertheless issue with Phototools since the introduction of the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) capabilities into Firestorm has been the fact that the Shared Environment button (Phototools → Env) has never been properly hooked-up to the EEP controls.

It’s a niggle I pointed to at the time that Firestorm released with EEP incorporated but – and shame on me for not doing so – I never got around to raising a bug report on it.

Fortunately, Spartaco Zemenis did Jira it (see FIRE-31688), with the result that the button has now been properly hooked-in to EEP and clicking it (as with clicking the X button alongside of Personal Lighting) will now revert your viewer’s environment settings to those set for the region / parcel you are current in.

And the difference between the two? X will perform a transition between whatever your current environment settings are and those used within the region / parcel; the Shared Environment button will simple switch the viewer to using the local environment settings without any transition effects.

Skin Updates

  • The Legacy Skin has been removed as a result of being unmaintained for so long.
  • The Starlight and Starlight CUI have been updated, and now includes a fix for FIRE-30839 “Camera window not fully opaque at 1.00 and doesn’t have StarLight & Silver Blue support”.

Other Updates and Fixes

Updates

  • The “Avatars Nearby” list in the performance floater now respects display name/username choice (set via Preferences → General).
  • New physics warning to the mesh uploader when model dimensions are too thin. Mesh-based physics reverts to convex hull when any single dimension goes below 0.5m, so new warning added should this occur:
    • One or more dimensions is less than 0.5m, only hull-based (analysed) physics shapes will work correctly.
  • Debug Setting update: BrowserWebSecurityDisabled – disables web security features in the built-in Web browser.
  • Firestorm Bridge now uses HTTPS by default.
  • BUG-231970 “LOD generation does not trigger a refresh” (also fixed in the lab’s Performance Improvement viewer).
  • FIRE-31074 “Double Click Teleport Stuck On, And Ignoring Modifiers”.
  • FIRE-31552 “Glowing, 100% transparent prims no longer glow”.
  • FIRE-31687 “Overlapped windows when you create a pick on the Places floater”.
  • FIRE-31689 “Wrong folder is shown when creating a LM”.
  • FIRE-31322 “[Linux] Growl notifications do not show in Gnome 41 or Gnome 42 (Desktop Environment)”.
  • FIRE-31758 “RLVa: Area Search shows nametags when restrictions in place”.
  • FIRE-21700 “Full bright not adhering when gamma changed”.
  • FIRE-31719 “Store camera view fails in Flycam mode”.
  • FIRE-31406 “FS 6.5.3.65541 Guidebook pane while loading clips content too much”.
  • FIRE-31472 “When using the Improve Graphic Performance floater some aspects will not work when Framerate Limiter is active”.
  • Nearby blocked avatars should no longer cause the viewer to randomly hang.
  • Adds a warning toast as a reminder when there is a scripted followcam active that might stop a camera reset when trying to use SHIFT+ESC to reset camera view.

Crash Fixes

  • FIRE-31474 “Importing linkset crashes while uploading textures” .
  • FIRE-31653 “Pressing CTRL + F with “banned” list open in any group profile crashes the viewer to desktop”.
  • FIRE-31482 “Crashing To Desktop While Using [Legacy events] Search”.
  • FIRE-31718 “Preprocessor crashes viewer on recursive #include”.

Third-Party Library Updates

  • FMOD Studio updated to 2.02.06 (Windows, Linux, Mac).
  • KDU: updated to v8.2 for Linux.
  • Glib for Linux updated to  2.56.0.220911433-linux64_bionic-220911433.

OpenSim Updates

  • Fixed: FIRE-31567 “[OpenSim] Wrong delayed rebakes on all teleports/login”.
  • Fixed: FIRE-31581 “[OPENSIM] TP between grids on different voice services causes infinite loop”
  • Inventory handling improvements, including:
    • Fix for FIRE-31634 “[Opensim] Inventory doesn’t load on some grids”.
    • Fix for FIRE-31674 “[OpenSim] Inventory validation warning for Suitcase folder”.
    • Allow inventory validation to work in OpenSim with old and grandfathered inventories, without being fatal.
    • Better inventory validation reporting.
    • Make the inventory reporting more user friendly.
    • Make the options for fixing clearer.
    • Make the nagging notification optional.
    • Make sure the correct UUID is used for the inventory library in OpenSim
  • Fixed:  FIRE-31628 “[Opensim] Collisions sounds cannot be disabled”.
  • OpenSim vari-regions:
    • Try to defend against grid owners who insist on misconfiguring to have more the one neighbour per region edge.
    • Fixed Firestorm crash due to abuse of vari-regions.
  • Added Grid Status support for OpenSim “GridStatus” and “GridStatusRSS”  – Top menu bar → Help → Check Grid Status.
  • Reverted some of the changes made to prevent calling card duplication, as the method has changed and the viewer is now responsible for creating calling cards after friendship has formed.

Future Releases

In the past, the Firestorm team has tried to maintain a two-month QA cycle: starting a month after a release, QA on the nest would start with beta testing. This would be followed in the 6th week of the beta cycle by the issuing of a “Release Candidate” for additional testing the the Firestorm Preview Group. Due to the numbers involved in the Preview Group, issues would be found very late in the QA cycle, leading to delays in the release being made.

To try to prevent this in the future, Firestorm is moving to a process of pre-release building being issued to the Preview Group on a weekly basis, monitored by the QA team, working with the Preview Group users in determining what is a bug that should be reported vs what may be an artefact of something unrelated, like a user setting, that can be corrected without the need for exhaustive bug reporting and testing. This will hopefully result in a more frequent release process.

Related Links

11 thoughts on “Firestorm 6.5.6: maintenance refresh!

  1. It’s better than nothing. But it’s not the Performance Improvements release that a lot of us are looking forward to. TPVs incorporating that have been slow to arrive; I would have expected to see an updated Kokua by now but it hasn’t happened. But we do have Black Dragon, and it’s wicked fast, even faster than the LL builds.

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  2. While it is true that a Clean Install is not needed (it has not been recommended for many years now), Firestorm strongly recommends uninstalling the old version before installing the new.

    “It is very important to uninstall your old Firestorm before installing the new. Do not install “over the top” of your previous Firestorm as errors can result.

    Ideally, use the Programs & Features Control Panel to remove the Firestorm application. If you have a Firestorm folder in your Start Menu, check for the Uninstall link there.

    When prompted by the uninstaller to delete settings or cache, choose No.”

    https://wiki.firestormviewer.org/fs_update_viewer#step_2remove_application

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  3. One thing I’m curious about is some news from the Kokua project where they’ve stopped updating past 6.6 (note this release of Firestorm is also still on the 6.5 branch) because of issues compiling under GNU/Linux.

    I’m wondering if this will be the last Firestorm to support GNU/Linux or if they have a strategy for dealing with recent viewer changes that are making it increasingly difficult to port LL’s code. If it is, will there at least be a final GNU/Linux version released that has a version number that will not be superseded (eg will not be subject to the three versions rule)?

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    1. I should clarify – Kokua has paused updating to the 6.6.x branch, they haven’t stopped permanently!

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    2. I think part of the answer may be to abandon Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (which is now unsupported) and move to 18.04 LTS (supported until 2023) or 20.04 LTS (supported until 2025) as their build platform. Or perhaps even 22.04 LTS? Most Linux users have moved on and are using newer versions of the distribution.

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      1. Unfortunately that’s not the issue as I understand it. It’s that it’s become impossible to even create a build environment because of the availability of the libraries LL is using. Here’s Chorazin’s blog entry on the subject:

        https://kokua.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/KKA/blog/2022/07/26/1857978369/Where+is+Kokua+6.6.0+or+6.6.1

        I don’t think anyone would care if Ubuntu 16.04 support went away, but the reason it was supported in the first place was that was pretty much the only version of Ubuntu you could compile current versions in, as Ubuntu 18.04+ were missing dependencies (that LL and third parties doesn’t distribute) for the compilation process.

        The issue isn’t that LL has decided to use Ubuntu 18.04 dependencies, it’s that the libraries that are outside of Ubuntu that the viewer is dependent upon have been updated and there are no distributed Linux versions.

        Maybe the community as a whole can fix this, but maybe LL should at least do some work on it as GNU/Linux users may be small in number, but they’re also the people that create off-SL services and so on (from webservices for in-world objects to access to community wikis) that helps SL communities tick, and pushing GNU/Linux users out will ultimately make SL weaker.

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        1. I was referring to this part of Chorazin’s post (parentheses in the original): “(which is becoming increasingly difficult as Ubuntu 16 becomes more and more outdated and libraries begin to require a newer platform to build on)”. That implies that the team is currently building the Linux version of Kokua on Ubuntu 16.04, and that some issues might be resolved by moving to a newer version.

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          1. Eh, yes and no. The issue is that a sizable amount of the Second Life client actually has dependencies that are only satisfied in Ubuntu 16.04. So moving to Ubuntu 22.04 (for instance) would cause problems even if it might make it easier to solve other problems. It’s a horrible situation to be in, in part because so much of the build process relies upon prebuilt libraries.

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            1. That’s really interesting Connie. I compiled Firestorm v6.5.3 successfully under Ubuntu 20.04 LTS although I have not yet tried the v6.6.x branch.

              I wonder what has broken so fundamentally between v6.5.3 and v6.6.x ?

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                1. That’s really good news! I’ll have to try it, last time I tried compiling Firestorm under Ubuntu 20.04 it was a wash because of the need to link with a version of… I want to say an internationalization library? Don’t remember… that wasn’t included in 20.04 (because it had been superceded.) But if they’ve updated things since, then that’s positive! I wonder if that means the Firestorm people have solved some of the issues that the Kokua people are running into.

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