Tag Archives: Server-side Appearance

Sunshine viewer updates reach RC status, new Vivox RC

On Wednesday March 5th, two new release candidate viewers appeared in the viewer release channel, bringing the total number of RC viewers back up to five, with more still sitting in the queue and yet to be seen, together with some project viewers as well.

Sunshine Release Candidate

The Sunshine RC (version 3.7.3.287158 – download and release notes) contains the latest updates related to Server-side Appearance (Project Sunshine, hence the viewer’s name), which comprise two key elements.

The initial AIS v3 updates are aimed at further improving the reliability of SSA baking, including issues where

Part of the Sunshine viewer updates is aimed at improving the reliability and performance of the  baking process & resolving issues, including those where an avatar’s appearance may appear to be stuck

The first of these is a code-clean-up / polish which includes the removal of a lot of the old avatar baking code from the viewer, as this is no longer required for Second Life, and the removal of a number of redundant viewer requests related to avatar baking operations. In addition, the code has performance and stability improvements and bug fixes, all designed to further improve avatar baking, such as dealing with conditions where an avatar’s appearance may appear to be stuck.

The second part of the update – which is related to SSA – is the support for the Advanced Inventory System version 3 (AIS v3). This is a set of changes which are being made both to the viewer and to the simulator software. Currently, the simulator code is only available on the Magnum RC, and will be progressing to the other RCs and the Main channel in due course. However, the viewer code is compatible with both the “new” simulator AIS v3 code and the current AIS v2 code, so this release candidate can be used freely across the grid.

The functions initially being deployed with AIS v3 (server and viewer) are mostly related to improving the reliability of outfit changes, which should also improve performance and see a drop in failure rates once the AIS v3 simulator code is fully enabled across the grid, and the necessary viewer code merged into all viewers.

Longer-term, AIS v3 has broader goals, as Don Linden explained at a TPV Developer meeting back in October 2013 (see the section titled Advanced Inventory Service (AIS v3)). These are (in part) aimed at giving more control to the viewer about what it wants to do with the inventory without necessarily having to go through the simulator when working with one’s own inventory or the Library inventory; the viewer will communicate directly with the inventory service. However, certain capabilities will remain unchanged; avatar-to-avatar inventory transactions will still be handled via the simulator, and it will still not be possible to copy personal items to the library folders, for example.

TPVs will be integrating this code so that their users will benefit from the SSA improvements, although the release of TPV updates with the code may take a little longer where there is s need to avoid the removal of the “old” avatar baking code to maintain support for OpenSim users.

 Voice Viewer Release Candidate

vivoxAs many who routinely use voice will be aware, there have been issues with voice for some considerable time, some of which were exacerbated recently with the release of the Vivox API  4.5, updates used in recent versions of the SLvoice.exe plugin which did not play well with earlier versions of SLvoice.

Whirly Fizzle and Ed Merryman produced a couple of videos demonstrating the issues, one of which is included below.

As I recently reported, Vivox reached out to Linden Lab to help resolve many of these issues, and a starting-point for this work was seen as getting all viewers updated to the latest version of the Vivox API (4.6.x). This release candidate viewer (version 3.7.3.287288 – download and release notes) includes the updated API in the SLvoice plugin, and is aimed at improving voice reliability and performance as well as hoping dealing with some of the significant issues users on Mac Mavericks have been experiencing.

To encourage TPVs to integrate the Vivox updates into their own offerings, the autobuild packages for generating the new voice modules for the viewer have been made available to TPVs, allowing them to test new voice builds alongside LL rather than having to wait for the Lab to build, test and release new voice plugins.

It is also hoped that once built, the new modules will be binary compatible and have no related viewer code changes, potentially allowing TPVs to offer the updates directly to their users who prefer to run older versions of a viewer, thus allowing them to (hopefully) resolve their voice issues without being forced to update their viewer if they’re not ready.

If you use the official SL viewer, and you have been experiencing problems with voice, you may want to manually download and run this RC if you haven’t been selected to receive it as part of the RC testing.

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Lab releases SSA / AIS project viewer

On Tuesday February 4th, Linden Lab released the new Server-side Appearance (SSA) / Advanced Inventory System (AIS v3) Sunshine project viewer – version 3.6.14.285190.

The SSA "polish" / AIS v3 project viewer was released on February 4th

The SSA “polish” / AIS v3 Sunshine project viewer was released on February 4th

The SSA updates in this viewer primarily comprise:

  • Stability and performance improvements for SSA: retry logic, removal of redundant requests, detecting various appearance stuck conditions
  • Code cleanup with the removal of a lot of code related to the old client-side baking framework
  • Bug fixes, mostly appearance-related.

The AIS v3 updates require server-side updates to be deployed as well in order to be used. Once this has been done, users should note improved the reliability of outfit changes, including speed of changes and a further reduction in the failure rate experienced when changing outfits.

There is no current release date for the server-side support for AIS v3, and there will likely be further testing prior to a deployment being made; the Lab has actually been waiting for more TPVs to produce test viewers with the AIS code in order for this to happen. Hopefully, with the code now in a project viewer, more TPVs will be in a position to build test viewers for this purpose.

However, anyone wishing to specifically test the AIS v3 code, particularly if they have been experiencing outfit change issues, might want to try the project viewer on the four SunshineTest regions on Aditi.

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SL projects update week 47 (3): viewer, Sunshine / AIS v3, HTTP and more

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday November 22nd. A video, courtesy of Northspring, can be found at the end of this report. The numbers in braces after each heading (where given) denote the time stamp at which the topic can be listened-to in the video.

TPV Developer meeting (stock)

TPV Developer meeting (stock)

No Change Windows

[00:31-02:26]

Thanksgiving

As has been previously noted in this blog, week 48 (commencing Monday November 25th) is code freeze / no change window due to it being Thanksgiving in the United States. This means there was be not server deployments during the week and there will be no viewer release channel updates for the week.

Christmas

The Christmas code freeze / no change  window is scheduled to run from Monday December 16th through until Wednesday January 1st. This most likely means that once the code freeze comes into effect,  there will be no major server updates until the 2nd week of 2014 (commencing Monday January 6th, 2014), and viewer updates may be likewise.

Both the Thanksgiving and Christmas no change windows effectively mean there are only two full weeks left in 2013 in which server deployments and major viewer updates are liable to be made. However, it is possible both periods could see project viewer updates appearing. This is because any project viewer which may be available will have limited use (only those particularly interested in using / testing it are liable to run it), and so minor updates, etc., to such viewers are not seen as being potentially problematic in terms of support issues.

Viewer Updates

[00:18-00:31]

As note in part 2 of this week’s report, the release viewer was updated using the GPU table updates release candidate, leaving just the Project Interesting RC in that channel.

There are upcoming RCs in the pipe awaiting release, including an updated version of the Google Breakpad viewer and another maintenance viewer RC, while the Project Interesting viewer is to update an update as well. However, as week 48 (commencing Monday 25th November) is a code freeze week for Thanksgiving, it is unlikely there will be any releases in the viewer release channel during the week.

Fitted Mesh Viewer

[03:36-08:44]

A number of JIRA have been filed in relation to the Fitted Mesh project viewer, and are receiving attention within Linden Lab. “We’re getting the repairs together,” Oz Linden reported to those attending the TPV Developer meeting, “And when we’ve got enough of them together to do a release with, that have been tested, then we’ll do an update to that one.”

Avatar Skeleton Files

The Fitted Mesh viewer actually contains a small number of actual code changes; the majority of the changes lay within the avatar skeleton and its associated filed (e.g.  Avatar_skeleton.XML / avatar_lad.XML). This has led to speculation that other viewers can update relatively simply by using the revised avatar skeleton files. Responding to this, Oz said:

Ideally that’s true, but it turns out not to be quite completely true. It turned out that there were some code bugs that the new skeleton and weighting exposed. So there are actually some changes that will be beyond that. That is some code [to be changed].

“Adding bones exposed some limitations,” Nyx added.

One of the code fixes which is in progress appears to deal with the issue of how garments weighted to use the new skeleton appear in viewers which do not have the updates, as demonstrated in my preview article on the Fitted Mesh viewer, and shown below.

Time Frame for Formal Release

While the Fitted Mesh project viewer may well see one or more updates before the end of the year, there are no plans to progress it to a release candidate status before the start of the New Year (again, the no change windows would preclude that, at least in part).

Even with the changes now being made, the number of code changes within the viewer is “very, very small”, so when the code is in a position where the Lab is comfortable with TPVs taking it and merging it into their repositories, it should not create major issues. One thing that is not clear at this time is whether merging and incorporating the Fitted Mesh changes will be dependent upon merging other code releases coming out of the Lab, such as the Sunshine / AIS v3 code and the Project Interesting code.

Project Sunshine / AIS v23 Updates

[09:44-14:41]

Nyx Linden

Nyx Linden

Nyx Linden reports that the Sunshine / AIS v3 updates are going “really well”, and the Lab is focused on cleaning up the last few bugs of which they are aware, and it is hoped that the code will be ready for QA and then a project viewer soon, possibly prior to the December no change window coming into force.  If the viewer does make it to a project release prior to that happening, Nyx will likely hold it over until early January.

In the meantime, the Lab is still keen to get started on more extensive load testing for the new inventory service, AIS v3, using the Sunshinetest regions (1-4) on Aditi. They’d preferably like the assistance of TPVs with this, the latter having been given access to the code a couple of weeks ago so that they could start work merging it into test versions of their viewers for this purpose.

Firestorm released a version of their viewer with the new Sunshine / AIS v3 code updates to their Beta testers in week 47, although this has yet to have the legacy baking code added back into it for the OpenSim version of Firestorm.  The team is approaching this cautiously, as there is a need to try to isolate the code used in the legacy avatar baking process (which is still used on OpenSim) so that it does not interfere with / get altered by future merges with code from Linden Lab. Once this has been done, Firestorm plan to make the code available to other TPVs so that they do not have the same headache  when faced with trying to reintegrate the legacy baking code into their viewers.

Both Firestorm and Kokua (the latter having integrated the Sunshine / AIS v3 changes into a test viewer at the start of November) have indicated they are now in a position to assist with any load tests. The hope is that this will take place during December.

One of the reasons the Lab is keen to get the load testing underway is so that any remaining issues with the server-side code can be identified, investigated and fixed prior to the code being deployed on any RCs on the main grid. Any initial deployment of the server code on the main grid would likely be handled “pretty quietly”, simply because it wouldn’t be exposed to any viewers that did not have the necessary updates.

HTTP Updates

[14:41-22:12]

Monty Linden

Monty Linden

“It is currently still in QA,” Monty Linden reported in reference to his current work with HTTP 1.1 changes within the viewer. while no bugs have so far been found with the new code itself, he did reveal that the work has uncovered “quite a few bugs in mesh in general”, which are being filed internally. Currently, it is predicated that the QA round is unlikely to finish before Tuesday December 3rd, so and project viewer will not be appearing until after that date.

In addition to QA testing not finding any bugs within Monty’s code, all the numbers coming out of the performance aspects of the testing are described as “equal or better than past history”.

In the interim, Monty is continuing to lay the foundations for HTTP pipelining. As indicated in my last update on his work,  he’s been going through the third-party libraries and their repositories which are used in the viewer builds and updating them. This has led him into a number of “interesting” discoveries  as a result of tracking through all of the repository dependencies, etc., and identifying the various package mismatches and unnecessary libraries which are being packaged with the viewer (noticeably in the Linux version of the viewer), as well as one or two libraries which are not being packaged when they should be, as well as the use of multiple versions of the same library (e.g. 3 different version of Boost, 3 or 4 different versions of zlib, etc.).

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SL project updates week 40 (3): viewer, inventory service, group ban list functions

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday October 4th. A video, courtesy of Northspring, can be found at the end of this report. The numbers in braces after each head denote the time stamp at which the topic can be listened-to in the video.

A typical TPV dev meeting (stock)

A typical TPV dev meeting gathers (stock)

Release Pipeline Recap

Release viewer

Maintenance RC viewer 3.6.7.281793 was promoted to the de-facto release viewer overnight on the 3rd/4th October (release notes). This primarily comprises:

  • Viewer-side support for new LSL particle capabilities (blend, glow, ribbon)
  • The automatic avatar render limit and feedback system
  • Fixes for the Cocoa release regression issues (see below)
  • Fix to prevent orientation being lost on teleporting (if you’re facing west when you teleport, you’ll still be facing west on arrival)
  • Further bug fixes as listed in the release notes, including further CHUI and materials fixes

The remaining release candidates (Google Breakpad, SLShare and the Snowstorm contributions RC) continue to produce good numbers, and the Lab hasn’t seen any major issues with them.

Interest List Viewer Updates

[37:16 -38:40]

It is currently anticipated that the viewer-side code supporting the recent batch of work on the interest list will finally arrive in week 41 as a release candidate viewer. This will be discussed at the next TPV Developer meeting, scheduled for Friday October 11th.

Mac OS X 10.6

[41:00 – 45:40]

As reported here, recent updates with Cocoa on the Mac viewer led to users still running Mac OS X 10.6 to experience some “obnoxious problems“. As a result, the Lab initially implemented a mandatory roll-back of viewers for users on OS X 10.6 to viewer release 3.6.4.280048 (August 20th, 2013). However, some of the issues have been resolved fixes within the last maintenance RC viewer (3.6.7.281793), which as noted above has now been promoted to the de facto release viewer. As a result, the roll-back to version 3.6.4.280048 has now been made optional  and has been left available until such time as the remaining issues with Cocoa and OS X 10.6 can hopefully be addressed.

A broader advisory from the Lab is that as the viewer is a lot more stable on later version of the Mac operating system, those who are on OS X10.6 and in a position to upgrade should consider doing so.

Other Potential Viewer RCs

[40:12 – 41:00]

The next round(s) of viewer releases from the Lab are expected to include:

  • A further maintenance viewer RC
  • The SSA / AIS v3 viewer updates (anticipated in the next couple of weeks – see below)
  • Monty Linden’s viewer-side HTTP updates, which are currently on internal QA at the Lab.

Advanced Inventory Service (AIS v3)

[02:18 – 15:02]

The inventory service updates, initially being undertaken alongside Server-side Appearance (SSA), are now ready for deployment.

A core part of AIS v3 covers the inventory changes that the second round of SSA updates use to manage the Current Outfit Folder (COF) more reliably, including hopefully improving the response time for re-requests for an inventory item / update; however there is more to the updates than this.

Two wiki documents have been produced for the new API:

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