Text clients reviewed 4: SLiteChat

Note: SLiteChat was announced as “end of lifed” in July 2015.

We’re all familiar with the Second Life Viewer in one flavour or another. But what about the non-graphical “lightweight” clients that are available for accessing SL when using a “full” Viewer isn’t always an option?

Like the Viewer, these “lightweight”, or text-only clients come in a number of flavours, some of which  – Libretto, Metabolt and Radegast – I’ve previously looked at in terms of the Windows platform. SLiteChat is another such client, available for Windows, Linux and Mac, and it gets the Pey treatment here.


  • Platform(s): Windows / Linux / Mac (Windows reviewed)
  • Version reviewed: 1.6.3

In terms of overall functionality, SLiteChat sits on the Libretto side of the scales – if all you need is a rapid means of logging-in to SL and conversing and carrying out some basic tasks, it is ideal. It installs smoothly from the .EXE (binaries also available), and when launched – unlike the first three clients I reviewed in this series – doesn’t present you with a log-in screen. Instead, the application window is displayed, with a prompt for you to log-in.


  • Exit: closes the SLiteChat window and quits the application
  • Login: displays the log-in floater
  • Logout: logs you out of your chosen grid, but leaves the SLiteChat application running
  • Teleport Home: when logged in, this will tp you to any home location you have set (or to your default logging-in point if none set)
  • Preferences: displays the Preferences floater
  • Check for Updates: will poll the SLiteChat website for any available updates.


Clicking the Login button displays the logging-in floater.

Enter the name of the avatar you wish to use to log-in to your grid in the First Name / Last Name box (in the case of Second Life, those without a last name should enter “Resident” after their first name). When logging in, note that:

  • All names and passwords entered into the client are recorded, and can but automatically entered into the fields during future log-ins by clicking on the down arrow at the right side of the First / Last name box and selecting the required avatar name
  • Log-in names are stored by grid; so if you log-in to multiple grids, select the grid first, and this will enable a list of avatars used to date to log-into that grid when the arrow to the right of the First / Last Name field is clicked.

The Grid drop-down (shown above) contains a pre-defined list of grids, which is slightly out-of-date at present.

Once logged-in, the full set of menu options becomes available to you

  • File: Provides the Login, Preferences and Exit options prior to being logged in, and Logout, Teleport Home, Preferences, Export Saved Conversations and Exit options when logged-in
  • View: allows you to toggle the Friends and Group windows on / off individually or together (if one is turned off, the other will expand to fill the space; if both are turned off, the chat display area expands to fill the space)
  • Friend: allows you to:
    • Search for a Friend: opens a floater window, enter the name of the person you are seeking in the top and their name is display in the main window. Entering a first name will display a list of matching first names. Highlight a name in the list to either send and IM or a Friendship request
    • Remove a Friend: left-click on a name in your Friends list and use this option to remove them as a Friend.
    • IM a Friend: left-click on a name in your Friends list and use this option to IM them – a separate tab will open in the main chat and message display area.
  • Group: this menu option is currently inactive
  • Help: Displays the Help floater and checks for updates to the application whether or not you are logged-in.

Friends and Group Lists

The Friends and Group list windows each have their own buttons and options.

The options are pretty self-explanatory, with the action buttons mirroring those found in the Friend and Group menus (with the caveat the latter menu options remain greyed out in the 1.6.3 release). As noted above, closing one or other window will automatically expand the other to fill the space, while closing both will expand the chat / message display area into the space. It’s also worth nothing that friends are automatically displayed alphabetically (first name) and split between online and offline.


The Preferences button / menu option (under File) displays a floater of personal preference options for the client.These options are all fairly self-explanatory, although not all appear to be functioning properly.

  • The Google translation option no longer runs, probably as a result of the API for that service becoming a paid-for option
  • The options to save conversations (alongside the FILE -> EXPORT SAVED CONVERSATIONS) do not appear to be functioning.


The SLiteChat website provides download links and basic documentation – including how to install, for those that would prefer to download the binaries – and a very good FAQ on common issues.

Use and Opinion

SLiteChat does precisely what it says on the box, and provides a clean, quick text-based client. It equals Libretto in most respects, although some functionality doesn’t appear to be entirely there at present. In the case of Groups, and the Group menu, this isn’t a problem, as the Group window action buttons all work. Some of the Preferences options do appear to need further work – either that or I was having a bad tech day when playing with the client. The Grid list needs updating, somewhat as well – and it would be nice to have the ability to add your own preferred grids to the list.

I’ve no idea where development stands at the moment – this release dates back to February 2011; I’ve IM’d the developer and will update here with more info should it come through.

However, none of the above stop SLiteChat from being a good, lightweight alternative to accessing SL when you’re unable to use your Viewer, and is certainly capable of letting you stay in contact with friends in-world.

Text clients reviewed 1: Libretto

Note: Libretto ceased development in 2013.

We’re all familiar with the Second Life Viewer in one flavour or another. But what about the non-graphical “lightweight” clients that are available for accessing SL when using a “full” Viewer isn’t always an option?

Like the Viewer, these “lightweight”, or text-only clients come in a number of flavours, some of which can run on computers and others on mobile devices. Given I don’t have a suitable mobile device, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the former, focusing on the Windows platform, and given some kind of insight into their features and capabilities for those who have never used them. So over the course of three articles, I’ll be taking a look at Libretto, Metabolt and Radegast – all of which are on the SL TPV Directory, and all are still very much under enhancement.


  • Platform(s): Windows
  • Available from: http://www.librettoviewer.com/
  • Version reviewed: 0.13.0

Libretto describes itself as, “A light weight, text-only viewer for Second Life. It’s designed to resemble and function as an instant messaging client, that can be used in an office environment, on low performance/bandwidth computers, or when multiple instances are needed.”

It is delivered as a standard .EXE install file for Windows, requiring a quick A/V scan prior to a double-click to install it with minimal fuss.

Once installed, it certainly looks somewhat like Microsoft Messenger, with the log-in screen comprising a window onto Libretto announcements and a log-in area with the obligatory check-box for accepting the SL ToS (with link for reviewing!) for people using the client for the first time.

A nice touch is once you have logged in with an avatar, the details for the avatar are saved by Libretto and can be accessed from the drop-down list displayed next to NAME.

As you are logged in, the Libretto window splits into a two-pane display, with any Message of the Day from LL is displayed in the upper section (where all messages appear), while the lower section lists all those in your immediate vicinity (if any).  There are several elements to this display, which are explained below.

The Menu Bar

  • File: allows you to Logout of Second Life and return to the Libretto log-in screen, or Quit (log out of SL and shut down Libretto)
  • Edit: currently displays the Preferences pop-up which allows you to:
    • Define your e-mail preferences
    • Select whether to run Libretto whenever you start Windows
    • Select Libretto to automatically log you in to Second Life when it is started (useful if you predominantly use only the one avatar with Libretto)
  • World: currently allows you to teleport to your home location – note this can cause Libretto to go unresponsive while the teleport is in progress
  • View: allows you to display / hide the Window tabs (see below) at the bottom of the Libretto window, and change the default colour for the Libretto client
  • Help: displays information about the Libretto client.

Action Buttons

The Action buttons are displayed in both the “people nearby” window pane and the Friends tab, and allow you to carry out a range of tasks:

  • View a person’s profile (seen in a separate pop-up window that closely resembles the old Viewer 1.x style of profile display)
  • Open an IM conversation with them
  • Teleport them to you
  • Pay them
  • Remove them as a Friend
  • Invite them into a Group.

A down-pointing arrow to the right of the buttons takes you to an option to remove or add buttons to the list. Buttons are activated by left-clicking on an specific avatar name and then clicking on the required button (buttons become coloured when active).

Window Tabs

Controlled from the VIEW option in the Menu Bar, these provide access to a range of dedicated tabbed windows:

  • Friends: displays your Friends list, complete with the Action Buttons, described above
  • Groups: displays all your Groups, with a set of Action Buttons that allow you to: display information on a specific Group (left click the Group name to select); IM the Group; activate the Group tag for your avatar; leave the Group
  • Objects: displays a list of objects surrounding your avatar (may need to use the Refresh button to get the list to display), together with buttons to Sit on a selected object (left-click to select the object from the list), and your avatar’s status will change to SITTING at the bottom of the Libretto window while the SIT button will change to STAND; and a button to Touch a selected object
  • Inventory: allows you to peruse your inventory, with a Share button to give items to other avatars (click on the item to be given, then SHARE & select the name of the avatar (from those nearby & your Friends list) to whom you wish to give the item (permissions allowing). Note that you can also accept inventory offers from others using Libretto as well
  • Find People: opens a search window allowing you to search for a specific avatar (first name; first name+ last name). Matching results are displayed in a list, and the window includes the Action Buttons described above to view an individual’s profile, etc.

Clicking on an tab name in VIEW will open the associated tab, which can then be closed either by clicking on the tab name in VIEW or by clicking on the X in the tab itself, at the bottom of the Libretto window.

Multiple Instances

Libretto handles multiple instances without issue – simply double-click on the application icon to start an additional session.


The Libretto website is adequate, if a little basic in looks and information – but then, the application is so intuitive, you’re unlikely to be spending a lot of time there.

Use and Opinion

Using Libretto is very intuitive and easy to get to grips with. It may not offer all the capabilities found in other text clients, but it really does do, “exactly what it says on the packet” without the need to refer to lengthy help files or anything. Working in chat or IM is easy, while the Action Buttons provide enough functionality to get things done.

Libretto is still a work-in-progress, and it is certainly the most lightweight of the three clients I’m reviewing. The window layouts are all clean and easy-to-follow (although the colours are perhaps not so easy on the eye: for “red” read “pink” and for “blue” read “violet”). The current options are sufficient to take care of many basic tasks that don’t rely on an in-world view.

Overall, an extremely intuitive application that exceptionally easy to pick-up and use.