Dolphin viewer bows out of Second Life, Adams style

dolphin-logoSometimes it takes us humans quite some time to admit something to ourselves that we don’t want to admit, but eventually there’s no more putting it off.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the end. It’s over. No more new Dolphin Viewer.

Thus opens a blog post dated June 22nd, from Lance Corrimal, which I am ashamed to admit I missed when it appeared.   It serves as an introduction to Lance officially announcing the end of all Dolphin viewer development / maintenance work at his end of things.

He goes on:

With my current RL job and all the travelling that I’m doing there are more exciting things to do with the little time I have to spend on SL and other hobbies, than maintaining a third-party viewer… especially when most of the “maintenance” involves fixing stuff that shouldn’t have been broken in the first place.

I have been porting a few of the things that used to be in Dolphin Viewer 3 to Firestorm in the last few weeks …  I invite the FS team to grab anything from there that they like.

TheDolphin Machinima Toolbox was one of the last additions to Dolphin to be release (in beta form), and held a lot of promise
The Dolphin Machinima Toolbox was one of the last additions to Dolphin to be release (in beta form), and held a lot of promise

This is sad news; over the years Lance had built the Dolphin viewer into an excellent offering (it was my second viewer of choice of a good while). But time has conspired against him, even though he did attempt to get the viewer back on track (and in doing so started implementing some nice additions, such as the Machinima Toolbox, seen on the right).

But the viewer is very much a living, evolving things, and playing catch-up, even with the best will in the world, can become increasingly hard (and probably more than a little demotivating when the “to do” list constantly remains longer than the “done” list). This being the case, we can hardly blame Lance for wanting to spend what free time he has to devote to SL in enjoying things in-world that he finds fun and relaxing; I know if I were in his shoes, I’d have given up a long time ago.

Lance closes his blog post with a paraphrase of a Douglas Adams quote, saying, “Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish!”

I’ll add a small response of my own, “thanks, Lance, for all of your work over the years. May the wind be always be at your back!”

With thanks for the pointer to Nalates Urriah

Dolphin viewer: beta release made

dolphin-logoOn Saturday July 26th, Lance Corrimal announced the beta release of a new Dolphin 3 viewer. Version (Beta) is still very much a work in progress, but marks the first release of Dolphin in a year which has kept Lance exceptionally busy in the physical world.

The beta release brings with it some core updates from the Lab, including a parity with the SL 3.7.9 (ish) code base, which means Dolphin has full server-side appearance support, fitted mesh support, interest list updates (except the most recent), the original SL Share post to Facebook (no filter post-processing), etc. RLV support up to version 2.9.1 is also provided.

Lance notes that insofar as what was available with the last public Dolphin Viewer 3, the bet includes:

  • Mesh upload
  • Sailor’s mini map Mk.II
  • Worn tab
  • Inventory filters
  • Machinima toolbox.
The updated Dolphin Machinima Toolbox floater is included in the beta release
The updated Dolphin Machinima Toolbox floater is included in the beta release

He also notes there are still a fair few things waiting to be added, including:

  • All build tool improvements
  • Area search
  • Asset blacklist
  • Spam protection.

And there will be a number of things that won’t be added to the viewer:

  • Flickr uploader (see: SLShare)
  • Client AO
  • Media filter
The Experience Keys Portal Park as seen using the Dolphin beta
The Experience Keys Portal Park as seen using the Dolphin beta

The client-side AO and media filter were the subject of a recent Dolphin blog post in which Lance indicated his reasons for not implementing them. It’s not clear from the beta blog post if the exclusion of the official Flickr uploader refers to just that capability, or whether it also means the Twitter upload capability and photo post-processing capabilities (filters) will also be excluded, both of which formed a part of the same SL Share 2 update as the Flickr uploader.

As this is a beta release of the viewer, the downloads are not available on the regular Dolphin viewer download page – please refer to the links in the blog post announcement (the Windows link is a direct link to the .EXE download, and the Linux link includes additional notes for Linux users.

Note that in keeping with another recent announcement, Lance has been forced to discontinue Mac development of the viewer himself, there is no Mac beta available.

This is liable to be welcome news for Dolphin users. Due to the small matter of my physical life taking up a fair amount of time right now (not to mention Formula 1 and the Tour de France!), I’ve not had much time to drive the beta hard, but did find it behaved perfectly well with my Crash Test Alt, complete with fitted mesh avatar, which I took for a wander around the Experience Keys Portal Park and then over to the Cornfield, both of which still appear to be enjoying a lot of traffic. The only minor issue I encountered was that as this release of Dolphin uses the Second Life object cache on Windows, it initially hung while loading until I cleared-out the cache folder. Once that was done, everything ran fine.

So, welcome back, Dolphin viewer, and congratulations to Lance!

Related Links


Dolphin viewer: news from Lance

dolphin-logoLance Corrimal has provided a short update on progress with his Dolphin viewer. As noted in these pages, a combination of unavoidable issues have meant that development of the Dolphin viewer has slipped somewhat over the course of the past year.

In his latest blog post, Lance indicates that things are still progressing, but he’s been hit by the interest list merge (as other TPV developers have been dreading), which is slowing things down due to the volumes of changes which have been included alongside the actual interest list updates.

Since his last update, which I noted here, Lance has completed several more elements of work on the viewer:

  • Worn tab
  • Preferences page
  • Machinima floater.

He also indicates a few further decisions have been made regarding things Dolphin won’t have:

  • There will be no client-side AO. Lance sees this as a labour-intensive task to port and implement, and he also doesn’t want to use a bridge-like scripted tool (as Firestorm does)
  • There will be no media filter implementation
  • He will not be implementing Flickr upload support in the snapshot floater, but instead will look to implement the SL Share capabilities,  which offer Flickr upload capabilities anyway.

As always, the time frame for when a new vision of Dolphin will appear, Lance wisely states, “when it’s done”.

Related Links


Dolphin viewer: WIP, but getting there

dolphin-logoLance Corrimal has given a couple of short updates on the status of his efforts to get his Dolphin viewer back up to speed.

In a brief update on January 25th, he reported that the work had seen Dolphin gain:

  • Latest Viewer-Release+RLV
  • The Sailor’s Mini Map V2
  • Avatar name in the title bar
  • Several bugfixes

However, as he goes on to note, there’s still a fair amount still to be done, including: improved build tools and area search, the machinima floater and the Flickr upload capability, the inventory Worn tab and the advanced inventory search / filter, as well as things like viewer rebranding and preference pages for the Dolphin-specific features. Nevertheless, progress is being made.

In a further update on January 29th, he provides an update on Dolphin and openSUSE:

openSUSE 12.2 is officially End-Of-Life as of January 27, 2014. That means, I won’t be providing rpm packages of the Dolphin Viewer 3 for openSUSE 12.2 anymore. The last one available for openSUSE 12.2 will be 3.4.14.

That being said, if you are running openSUSE 12.3, and have been using the Dolphin Viewer 3 through packages from the RPM repository, try a “zypper install dolphinviewer3-beta” if you feel like it :)

Once I have an actual release, the beta version will uninstall itself, just like magic.

There’s still no actual release date on the horizon for an updated Dolphin; things are dependent upon RL and Lance’s work schedule – so please don’t ping him asking, “When?”! Suffice it to say that further updates will appear on the Dolphin blog as they become available.

Related Links

With apologies to Lance for the delay in publishing this.

Lance provides further news on Dolphin

dolphin-logoIt’s been several months since the release of the last Dolphin viewer update (March 2013). This means the viewer is lagging behind many of the 2013 updates from the Lab, including things like Server-side Appearance, materials, etc.

Lance Corrimal, the man behind Dolphin is not unaware that this is the situation. His real life this year has been such that it has required almost all of his attention (including starting a new job which sees him travelling and away from home a lot of the time), all of which has limited the time he can devote to the viewer, as much as he’d like to be able to do so.

In July and August he gave a couple of short updates on his situation, which I also passed on through these pages, and on November 22nd, he posted a further update on the Dolphin website, which reads in part:

I am not exactly happy about what I have to announce here, but this is how it is going to be:

The next Dolphin Viewer is not going to be around any time soon.

I have looked at the mess that my current state of the sources would produce, and I have (finally but far too late) come to this decision:

I will start from scratch.

Right now, taking the current Dolphin Viewer source and just “shoe-horning” in everything new from the official sources produces a terrible mess that does not compile cleanly, let alone works. Besides, the last Dolphin Viewer has a quite large number of features that don’t work any more, due to changes that the Lab has made in the meantime, temp uploads being one of them.

So, I’ll basically have to reinvent everything. That will of course take some time. I’m guessing “several months” right now, not the least due to the fact that with my new job that I have been doing since April, I’m travelling a lot, so I’m not even home all that much. I’ll see how much I can do on my company laptop.

I will go back to my usual “release early, release often” policy, as soon as I have something that is properly branded as Dolphin Viewer and has more to offer than just the name.  I will plan to release at least a public beta as soon as I have something.

This would suggest that an updated Dolphin viewer is unlikely to emerge before the end of the year, and that we may be a few months into 2014 before one does. However, the upside of this is that Lance is not abandoning the viewer, which has enjoyed a loyal following. Patience remains the order of the day as he tries to balance the demands of real life and Second Life on his time.

One additional consequence of everything going-on for Lance right now is that he plans to  eventually stop building / providing openSUSE rpm packages for some of the other third-party viewers; as he notes himself, he just can’t seem to pack more than 24 hours into a day.

Further news / updates from Lance will be reported as they become available.

Dolphin and SSA: a further word from Lance

dolphin-logoServer-side Appearance is now live, as we all know, and issues seem to be minimal / getting dealt with. The majority of maintained viewers used to access Second Life were ready for the event; but due to real life commitments, Lance Corrimal has been unable to get his Dolphin viewer ready in time.

He’s recently issued an update on things,  – and the good news is that an SSA-enabled Dolphin 3 is on the way. In his note, Lance says:

I’m working on it as hard as I can, and it shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks now. I have to do a bit of QA on it, I do want to release something usable after all.

So, if you’re a Dolphin user, don’t worry. an update is on the way. When it arrives, I’ll plunge in and have a look :).