May 17th Firestorm meeting: audio and transcript

firestorm-logoOn Saturday May 17th 2014, the Firestorm team hosted another of their Q and A sessions to discuss Firestorm and Second Life, and to address users’ questions. Unfortunately, no public video for the meeting is available. The following transcript is therefore provided from a personal audio recording made by myself.

For those who wish to listen to the audio, and for ease of reference, it has been broken down into a number of files, each of which precedes the text to which it relates

When reading, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the audio, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, repetition, questions to others etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Questions / comments were made in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. To provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are given (in italics) at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team, either in voice or via chat
  • This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. I am not an official member of the Firestorm team, and technical or support issues relating to Firestorm cannot be addressed through these pages. Such requests for assistance should be made through the in-world Firestorm Support groups or at the Firestorm support region.
Firestormers Assemble: Takoda, Tonya, Jessica and Ed settle-in for another Firestorm Q&A session
Firestormers Assemble: Takoda, Tonya, Jessica and Ed settle-in for another Firestorm Q&A session

Firestorm 4.6.5 and the Release Cycle

 

00:00 Jessica Lyon (JL): So we released 4.6.5 two months early – surprise! It’s been a more-or-less, pretty much across-the-board, a really good release for folks, with few problems and lots of improvements, although it is primarily just bug fixes which are in it anyways. So that was sort-of to be expected and hoped.

00:25 JL: It was a bit of an experiment, because we’ve had a lot of people complain about how long our releases take, including some of our own developers and even some support people. So it was a bit of an experiment in some ways just to see what happens if we do a release in half the time. And the results are interesting.

00:48 JL: Adoption – the rate at which people upgrade from whatever older version they’re on, has been very slow compared to other releases; although that’s not to say it’s non-existent. We have … 85,000 people on 4.6.5 now, and that’s not quite in a full week [since release]. So that’s no slouchy number; but in a typical release, we’re usually up around 140,000, so almost twice that.

01:28 JL: It’s easier for support, certainly, because fewer people are updating all at the same time, so I guess that stretches out the support load. [It’s] easer for QA, that’s good to know. But that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to do releases in that two-month time frame all the time.

01:56 JL: For example, our next task is going to be project interesting, which I’m sure most of you are aware of, Linden Lab just finally released it, and it’s apparently really, really good. Things rez much faster, and we can’t wait to get … to the point after we’ve merged it … [there’s a description of the interest list work, as per the blog post linked to above].

The interest list updates provide more predictable and faster scene rendering, such as large objects and those closest to you appearing first, rather than at random. more use is also made of the viewer's cache (so the warning for not clearing cache as a first action in "fixing" issues becomes even more important
The interest list updates provide more predictable and faster scene rendering, such as large objects and those closest to you appearing first, rather than at random. More use is also made of the viewer’s cache (so the warning for not clearing cache as a first action in “fixing” issues becomes even more important)

Continue reading “May 17th Firestorm meeting: audio and transcript”

April 12th Firestorm meeting: video, transcript and notes

firestorm-logoOn Saturday April 12th 2014, the Firestorm team hosted a meeting and Q and A session to discuss a number of issues, including the OpenSSL issue and how it affects SL / Firestorm, Firestorm blocking, the next Firestorm release and more, and answer audience questions.

While the meeting was recorded, the Firestorm team are aware that many of their users have hearing difficulties, and / or prefer to read text, so this transcript has been supplied on their behalf.

When reading, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the video, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • In the interests of readability, topics in the transcript are not necessarily presented chronologically compared to the video. For example: specific topics of interest raised in the Q&A session, and which are self-contained, are presented under their own heading outside of the Q&A section.
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, repetition, questions to others etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Timestamps are provided as guidance should anyone wish to hear the comments in full from any speaker on the video
  • Questions / comments were made in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. To provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are given (in italics) at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team, either in voice or via chat.

Please note: This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. I am not an official member of the Firestorm team, and technical or support issues relating to Firestorm cannot easily be addressed through these pages. Such requests for assistance should be made through the in-world Firestorm Support groups or at the Firestorm support region.

With thanks, as always, to North for the video.

The TL;DR Summary

The following is a brief summary of topics discussed. Timestamps in braces refer to times in the video where the relevant commentary can be heard. All sections are expanded upon in the main transcript – click on the timestamp to go to them.

  • 0:00:15 Ebbe Linden – a review of Ebbe Linden’s (LL CEO Ebbe Altberg) presentation and Q&A at the VWBPE conference on Friday April 11th (video and transcript)
  • 0:05:15 Firestorm 64-bit download: an issue with the certificate for the 64-bit Firestorm expiring meant the download had to be temporarily pulled. It has now been restored.
  • 0:08:22 Firestorm DUI: the dynamic User Interface is very proof of concept and requires a lot of work and if it is developed, will possibly require as much as a year before it is remotely usable, and this with the collaboration of over TPVs and developers. Right now, it doesn’t require bug reports.
  • 0:23:04 The Heartbleed SSL bug: a error in versions of an OpenSSL extension called Heartbeat can be used to expose server-side information to attackers. The SL servers are safe, the Firestorm server is safe, however, people can be at risk when connecting to external sites using MOAP or the built-in web browser. Firestorm 4.5.1 and 4.6.1 use OpenSSL, but the chances of them being vulnerable are negligible, and because of the log-in hash, users names and passwords are secure. The very, very small risk will be removed in the next release.
  • 0:39:21 Firestorm blocking: older versions of Firestorm are blocked to try to encourage users to keep reasonable pace with the latest updates and capabilities in the viewer, and to meet with LL’s requirement that as many users as possible are on up-to-date viewers. It is not a Trojan, backdoor, spyware or malware. Log-in IDs, etc., are not compromised, nothing is passed to the FS server. Period.
    • 0:56:19: Why Firestorm doesn’t use an auto-update process and the pain of clean installs
    • 1:02:00: Due to a coding error, Firestorm 4.4.2, 4.5.1, 4.6.1 will be blocked from accessing OpenSim when the time comes to block them. This is not deliberate; it is the result of the code required to limit blocking to Second Life not making it into the viewer, which will be rectified with the next release. Firestorm remains committed to support OpenSim.
  • 1:09:30 Due to the use of automatically-generated SLurls with images uploaded to Facebook accounts using SL Share to Facebook, the snapshot upload capability was blocked by Facebook. This situation has now been resolved between the Lab and Facebook, and photo uploads work once more.
  • 1:14:05: The Next Firestorm release hopefully will be available in early May, and will include updates, fixes and new features, including some Mac updates, the new Vivox files, etc.
  • 1:31:36: bugs don’t get fixed in either Firestorm or the LL viewer without people filing bug reports via the JIRA. Please help in making Firestorm, the SL viewer and SL better
  • 1:36:25 Oculus Rift is coming, but it’s coming via Linden Lab. If you want to have a play, join the closed LL beta, or try CtrlAltStudio (just make sure you have a headset!)
  • 2:02:02 a look at the SL Share 2 capabilities, and why they won’t be in the next release of Firestorm
  • 1:51:06 Ed’s reminder about Firestorm Classes
  • 1:28:36 Start of the Q&A seesion

Continue reading “April 12th Firestorm meeting: video, transcript and notes”

March 15 Firestorm meeting: video, transcript and notes

firestorm-logoOn Saturday March15th 2014, the Firestorm team hosted a meeting and Q and A session to discuss the recent 4.6.1 release, provide updates on a number of issues, and answer audience questions.

While the meeting was recorded, the Firestorm team are aware that many of their users have hearing difficulties, and / or prefer to read text, so this transcript has been supplied on their behalf.

When reading, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the video, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • In the interests of readability, topics in the transcript are not necessarily presented chronologically compared to the video. For example: questions asked during the various updates, etc., are presented in the Q and A section of the transcript, rather than at the point at which they were asked (unless directly relevant to the topic being discussed). Similarly, topics of discussion which came up during the Q and A session, but which were not tied to specific questions, have been placed under their own subject heading outside of the Q and A section
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, repetition, questions to others etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Timestamps are provided as guidance should anyone wish to hear the comments in full from any speaker on the video
  • Questions /comments were made in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. To provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are given (in italics) at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team, either in voice or via chat.

Please note: This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. I am not an official member of the Firestorm team, and technical or support issues relating to Firestorm cannot easily be addressed through these pages. Such requests for assistance should be made through the in-world Firestorm Support groups or at the Firestorm support region.

The TL;DR Summary

The following is a brief summary of topics discussed. Timestamps in braces refer to times in the video where the relevant commentary can be heard. All sections are expanded upon in the main transcript – click on the timestamp to go to them.

  • [0:0015] viewers are often subject to flase flagging by anti-virus programs as carrying a potential virus / Trojan. With the Firestorm 4.6.1, Norton anti-virus in particular had issues with viewer, prompting a positive response from Norton’s support
  • [0:14:32] Mac issues update: work is being done on some Mac issues within the Lab, but there is no major project to address problems some users are having. Firestorm are somewhat stymied in dealing with issues due to both a lack of developers  / developers with free time and because some of the issues are beyond their ability to resolve
  • [0:31:00] Windows XP officially reaches its end-of-life on Aprial 8th, 2014. What does this mean for users on XP using Firestorm?
  • [0:38:25] Even running a 32-bit viewer on a 64-bit OS yields stability improvements, although if you have a 64-bit version available, it’s obviously preferable to use that on a 64-bit OS
  • [0:57:40] Firestorm are often critiqued on the frequency of releases. The team are moving to imporve things to a 3-monthly cycle, and there are reasons why a more frequent cycle may not be feasible
    • [1:21:05] It remains that Firestorm will not offer nightly or weekly builds, because there are significant support issues
    • [1:27:32] The team already try to release based on feature sets, however, a time-based cycle offers potentially better management of releases in keeping with the needs of the developers, QA and support
    • [1:35:21] The target will therefore be a 3-monthly cycle of major releases, with possible interim releases with bug fixes or for special features, such as might be the case with the group ban functionality
  • [1:58:53] With a target of a 3-monthly release cycle, it is probable that the next 2-3 releases are going to be primarily focused on incorporating features and capabilities coming out of the Lab, simply because there are so many of them: group bans, SSA updates, AIS v3, interest list, voice updates, etc.
  • [2:01:55] The new download server has performed admirably with not craches or other issues.
  • [1:55:40] Firestorm classes – with a new release just out, don’t forget there are Firestorm classes which cover all the new features, including things like the updated Contact Sets
  • Questions and Answers: including information on clean installs / re-installs; using settings back-ups; troubleshhoting issues; the status of voice improvements; why group limits are unlikely to increase in the near future; helping Firestorm support, etc.

With thanks, as always, to North for the video.

Continue reading “March 15 Firestorm meeting: video, transcript and notes”

Feb 15th Firestorm Q&A video and transcript: next release and news

firestorm-logoOn Saturday February 15th 2014, the Firestorm team hosted a meeting to cover news on the upcoming release of Firestorm, projects they’re working on, and to answer audience questions.

While the meeting was recorded, the Firestorm team are aware that many of their users have hearing difficulties, and / or prefer to read text, so this transcript has been supplied on their behalf.

When reading, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the video, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, repetition, questions to others etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Timestamps are provided as guidance should anyone wish to hear the comments in full from any speaker on the video
  • Questions /comments were made in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. To provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are given (in italics) at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team, either in voice or via chat.

Please note: This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. I am not an official member of the Firestorm team, and technical or support issues relating to Firestorm cannot easily be addressed through these pages. Such requests for assistance should be made through the in-world Firestorm Support groups or at the Firestorm support region.

The TL;DR Summary

Items here are presented in the order in which they are likely to be of interest to users, rather than chronologically. Timestamps in braces refer to times in the video where the relevant commentary can be heard. All sections are expanded upon in the main transcript – click on the timestamp to go to them.

  • [0:51:07] The next release of Firestorm will be out around March 9th – possibly a little before, possibly after. Some of what should be in it includes:
    • From LL: Fitted Mesh, HTTP (hopefully – see HTTP discussion), SLShare (Facebook support), Request teleport, New region restart warnings
    • RLVa 1.4.9, Animation Explorer, Area Search updates, revised Contacts Sets, Mmany mini-map updates (from Exodus), avatar shape XML import, group list .CSF export, materials support in object exporter, Phototools updates, anti-spam updates, and more
    • Major and minor bug fixes
  • [0:17:57] Firestorm Download Server: Firestorm have been forced to discontinue using Google cloud as their viewer download service due to reasons of costs following to changes to Google’s service. As a result, after looking at options for offering viewer downloads, the team has opted to invest in a dedicated download server of their own. This may lead to issues being experienced when downloading future releases of Firestorm. Details in the section Firestorm Download Server
  • [0:07:54] Cinder Roxley, one of the core Firestorm developers and open-source code contributors to the Lab, has departed Second Life, leaving something of a large hole in the Firestorm team
  • [0:07:54] Leap Motion: work is underway, now to be led by David Rowe (Strachan Ofarrell in SL), who develops CtrlAltStudio, who is partnering with Firestorm to carry the project forward. Work has started on camera manipulation, object manipulation and avatar movement. However, there is still a major amount of work to be done, at least some of which is contingent upon Leap Motion producing an releasing an update for the device itself. It is therefore unlikely any work on Leap Motion will be appearing in the near future, and certainly on in the next Firestorm release
  • [0:27:55] Voice issues: Vivox has offered to assist the Lab in dealing with at least some of the issues with SL voice. A new SDK (SLvoice plugin) is due to be released soon. If it arrives in time, it may be incorporated into the upcoming Firestorm release
  • [1:13:34] Mac issues: and update on matters for Mac users.
  • [0:41:02] HTTP: Tankmaster Finesmith has been merging the Lab’s HTTP updates into his own Firestorm repository. Depending on what happens the Lab’s HTTP viewer updates, Tank’s work may be merged into the upcoming Firestorm release and form a part of it
  • [1:09:40] mini Q&A session.

With thanks, as always, to North for the video.

Continue reading “Feb 15th Firestorm Q&A video and transcript: next release and news”

Firestorm meeting and Q&A, October 12th: video and transcript

firestorm-logoOn Saturday October 12th 2013, the Firestorm team hosted another informal question-and-answer session. While the meeting was recorded, the Firestorm team are aware that many of their users have hearing difficulties, and / or prefer to read text. It is because of this that this transcript has been provided. When reading it, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the video, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, questions to other etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Timestamps are provided as guidance should anyone wish to hear the comments in full from any speaker on the video
  • Questions were asked in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. Therefore, to provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are time stamped at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team, either in voice or via chat.

Please note: This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. As such, questions on technical issues relating to Firestorm and  / or project-specific questions cannot be answered here unless one of the Firestorm team drops by.

The TL;DR Summary

The numbers in braces are timestamps which refer to the section of this transcript where more details can be read, and to the section of the video recording where the relevant comments can be heard.

  • Current status for Firestorm, and potential time frames for the next release: end of October – unlikely; early December – possibly; early 2014 – if early December is missed, due to no change windows) [0:00:44-0:02:33]
  • Status with regards to LL’s viewer projects:
    • SSA updates (AISv3) – unlikely to make it into the next release and why [0:02:33-0:03:42]
    • SLShare (sharing with Facebook accounts) – possibly in next release, but low priority [0:03:42-0:04:22]
    • Group ban list – what it is and hopefully in the next release [0:04:22-0:06:30]
    • Interest list updates – unlikely to be in the next release and why [0:06:30-0:08:08]
    • Chat history capabilities from CHUI [0:18:50]
  • The hoped-for refactoring of the Preferences floater will not be in the next release [1:02:09]
  • What will be in the next release:
    • Materials, support for new particle capabilities, export features [0:08:08]
    •  Firestorm will include export capabilities, the majority of which have been in development in-house for a while, but which will include Singularity’s .DAE export capability. All export options will respect the SL permission system, so you will only be able to export things which are wholly your creation [0:09:57-0:16:14]
    • Linden Lab have introduced new particle capabilities, including a ribbon particle capability and a new means of dealing with particle griefing by right-clicking on particles to mute their source. These abilities will be in the next release of Firestorm [0:16:42-0:17:39]
  •  Firestorm may be getting a means for IM encryption in the future which will be more secure than OTR. This has arisen out of Firestorm being used as the default viewer for MOSES, the US Army’s Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy [0:23:50-0:28:50]
  • Firestorm is unlikely to gain 64-bit builds in the near future. So far, few advantages have been shown to exist with 64-bit builds compared to 32-bit builds utilising LAA, and 64-bit builds could present added complexity in trying to manage the project [0:33:28-0:41:39]
  • Firestorm and TPVs are experiencing much improved co-operation with the Lab, although striking a balance between openness and managing complex projects is hard to achieve and this leads to compromises [0:48:16-0:58:21]
  • The remainder of the meeting was more in the way of an open Q&A session covering a range of topics, and the transcript should be referred to for further details.

With thanks to North for the video.

Continue reading “Firestorm meeting and Q&A, October 12th: video and transcript”

Firestorm meeting 14th September, 2013 – video and transcript

firestorm-logoOn Saturday 14th September 2013, the Firestorm team hosted another informal question-and-answer session. While the meeting was recorded, the Firestorm team are aware that many of their users have hearing difficulties, and / or prefer to read text. It is because of this that this transcript has been provided. When reading it, please remember:

  • This is not a word-for-word transcript of the entire meeting. While all quotes given are as they are spoken in the video, to assist in readability and maintain the flow of conversation, not all asides, jokes, interruptions, etc., have been included in the text presented here
  • If there are any sizeable gaps in comments from a speaker which resulted from asides, questions to other etc,, these are indicated by the use of “…”
  • Timestamps are provided as guidance should anyone wish to hear the comments in full from any speaker on the video
  • Questions were asked in chat while speakers were talking. This inevitably meant that replies to questions would lag well behind when they were originally asked. Therefore, to provide context between questions and answers, questions in the transcript are time stamped at the point at which each is addressed by a member of the Firestorm team
  • Some questions were asked and answered purely in text. These have been excluded for one of two reasons. Either a) they lacked context with the voice conversation, or b) the seating arrangements in the auditorium meant there were some questions or answers which didn’t appear in my local chat window.

Please note: This transcript is provided for informational purposes only. As such, questions on technical issues relating to Firestorm and  / or project-specific questions cannot be answered here unless one of the Firestorm team drops by.

Video courtesy of Northspring

Continue reading “Firestorm meeting 14th September, 2013 – video and transcript”