Linux OS update to servers a cause of SL TP issues?

As we’re all (probably painfully) aware, the last few months have seen Second Life plague by region crossing issues, with users frequently disconnected (with teleports – being the most common form of region crossing – in particular being affected). One of the pains in dealing with these issues has been identifying the root cause – with most thinking being around it being a timing issue with communications between the region receiving and incoming avatar and the user’s viewer.

However, speaking at the Content Creation User Group meeting on Thursday, April 18th, Vir Linden indicated that the problem might be related to the server Linux operating system update the Lab recently rolled out.

That update – was initially deployed to a small cluster of regions on a release candidate channel called Cake, and it has been reported by those using Cake regions for testing in April, that it was those regions that first demonstrated the teleport issues – although at the time, they were thought to be local connection issues, rather than indicative of a deeper potential issue.

Commenting on the situation at the CCUG meeting, Vir said:

We’ve been having some issues on the simulator side where people tend to get disconnected during teleports … it’s been common enough that shows up as a significant blip on our stats … and that issue seems to have come along … basically when we upgraded the version of Linux that we’re using on our simulators. so we’ve had to do some roll-backs there, just to try to get that issue to go away.

[But] that pushes out the time-line for [deploying] all the things that are based on … the later version [of Linux] that we’re trying to update to … Hopefully we can get those out soon, but I can’t tell you anything about the time-line.

This might explain the scheduled maintenance witnessed on April 18th, with large number of regions going off-line and restarted. If this is the reason, whether it does see a reduction in the teleport issues with those regions rolled-back remains to be seen. But if data does indicate the region crossing issues have been reduced, then this can only be good news and potentially worth the disruption of the maintenance and restarts.

In the meantime, the audio of Vir’s comments is provided below.

 

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Lab looking to meet Linden Homes houseboat demands?

The new Linden Home houseboats have proven exceptionally popular – so popular that demand has exceed supply

With most of with eyes fixed on Fantasy Faire (you can catch my own shorthand guide if the mood takes you). Daniel Voyager was looking in another direction, and tweeted an interesting find.

It seems the Lab and the Linden Department of Public Works could be busy working to address the demand for more houseboats within the new Linden Homes continent, with Daniel identifying a new 48-region SSP development being put together south of the original SSP development area.

There has been no official word on whether the new regions are being developed in response to the demand for houseboats, but certainly, that demand has been strong enough to warrant this, with repeated disappointment being voiced over the fact the houseboats initially made available were very rapidly snapped up. As such, it seem a reasonable deduction to see this latest SSP development as a move to meet at least some of this demand.

The new SSP regions under development appear geared towards providing more space for the Linden Homes houseboats

The new regions form a series of sandbars with extensive moorings of the same general type seen within the new Linden Homes continent of Bellisseria, strongly suggesting they will provide space for more of the new houseboats (see right). Some of the waterways between the sand bars look to be a little too narrow to fit houseboats and piers – perhaps these are intended for use by float planes and the like, if not to form a natural break to prevent the regions from feeling overcrowded.

There is no available date on when the new regions might be added to Bellisseria – again assuming the intent of their development is to meet demand. Nevertheless, it does bring with it a couple of questions.

The first is: where might the new development sit in relation to Bellisseria’s existing land mass? While I have nothing more to go on than instinct, my own thoughts are the area to the south and east of Bellesseria would seem the most likely. There is plenty of space for further regions to be dropped in there (south of the lower eastern tip of the continent), whilst still leaving room for the “unfinished” line down the east side of the continent’s western “finger” without causing any feeling of crowding. Or perhaps the new regions will eventually be placed to the south of that western finger, although that might put them a little too close to the channel running to Jeogeot (unless they are linked directly to it).

The second question is more intrinsic to Bellesseria as a whole. while houses along the cost are being picked up – they did so after the houseboats had gone. So, simply provisioning more houseboats possibly runs the risk of the continent’s inland areas remaining under-populated unless they are made more inviting.

Is the slow initial take-up of houses simply that the initial selection wasn’t seen as attractive enough, or was it down to something more fundamental? A lack of ability to link them to the continent’s road structure, for example or – as I noted in Making a (Linden) houseboat a home – is it the general lack of additional amenities people might appreciate having, such as a few airstrips scattered around to offer people the attraction of being able to rez and fly their light ‘planes off of the grass. Or perhaps some of the houses along the rivers could have small boat access to the water (although this could create issues of its own).

Time will tell on both of these questions, but in the meantime – and again assuming the move is to address the demand – the potential of more houseboats becoming available in the (hopefully!) not too distant future could well be as welcome as the recent moves by the Lab to deal with issues of banlines across the new region.

Lab launches new Linden Homes

Bellisseria – New Linden Homes

On Monday, April 15th, Linden Lab launched their new Linden Homes for Premium subscribers. These new Homes, each located on a 1024 sq metre parcel, are located in a dedicated new continent – which, as I revealed in my March preview, is called Bellisseria – situated between Sansara and Jeogeot.

The continent itself – like the homes on offer – is a significant step up from the original Linden Homes and lands first introduced in 2010. Landscaped, and offering a degree of infrastructure: roads, rivers, paths, coastal regions with beaches, offshore-lighthouses, and so on. All of which offers an environment that is pleasing to the eye and make for a pleasant environment in which to live.

Bellisseria – New Linden Homes

For the initial release, two types of house are available: traditional suburban houses and houseboats, each of which comes in a total of four styles apiece. These four styles offer a varied set of looks that is enough to ensure neighbourhoods have a mix for looks. All come with a land impact of 351 LI, offering a lot of opportunity for furnishing.

It’s important to note that the houses / houseboats are not 1024 sq m in size; this is the size of the parcel on which they sit: and all have been designed to provide a degree of garden / yard space or waterside moorings for boats. The roads within the continent are driveable (although houses are not supplied with a driveway to link to the roads), while the waters are navigable in many places and a channels links the continent with Joegeot and Sansara.

Bellisseria – New Linden Homes: coastal community space

Unlike the older Linden Homes, these have controls built-in via a panel on the interior walls close to the front door. So, no going to a website to change the decorative style, set the window shutters, etc., everything can be done directly from the control panel – including getting a pack of extra fixtures, should you want to use them, and a box of textures that can be used so that any additional elements – room dividers, walls, etc., – you might want to add can match with the overall décor.

Individual style of house and houseboat are selected from the outside mailbox / life buoy. An interior control panel can be use for the window blinds, door control, etc.

To say these new Linden Homes are a major step up from the originals isn’t really saying a lot; the old Linden Homes  – as noted – are around 9 years old, and a lot has moved on in Second Life since then. However, the attempt to create a sense of community within the new continent is impressive and potentially goes some way towards reversing the “build and forget” approach to Linden Homes seen in the past – although how well it succeeds in terms of getting people not just to take the houses and engage within the develop to create local neighbourhoods / communities remains to be seen; and the matter really is up to those of us who take up the houses.

For my part, I like the approach, and several of the designs. Yes, the use of rooms in some can make them feel a little cramped, and some of the houseboat designs might not strike the right of aesthetic note, but there is no escaping the fact these are properties with potential, and if you are a Premium subscriber, they may well be worth taking a look at, even if you already hold land.

Applying for a Home

Note: for full details on the new Linden Homes – prerequisites for obtaining one, the application process, and so on, please refer to the Linden Homes wiki page.

If you have not used your default allocation of free tier – (1024 sq m), then a new Linden Home is yours without any additional payment. Otherwise, the standard Premium tier rates apply.

As with the original Linden Homes, the new homes are obtained through the Linden Homes registration page – which, at the time of writing still includes options for the existing Linden Homes, although these are to be gradually phased out. However, unlike the “old” homes, you only select with you want a house or a houseboat, not the actual style of the house / houseboat you prefer; these are selected in-world, via a mailbox for the houses or a life buoy for the houseboats. These controllers also let you change the style of your house / houseboat at any time, presenting another flexible option not available with the old Linden Homes.

The new Linden Homes are available through the existing Linden Homes registration page – just make sure Bellisseria is selected in the Theme drop-down (arrowed) and select your choice of house or houseboat by clicking on the buttons shown in the red square

The selection process is straightforward, and you’ll be required to accept the Linden Lab Terms and Conditions prior to being able to receive the details of your new home.  These are presented on the web page – just click the Go To Your Home button.

(Unsurprisingly) I’ve already claimed my new Linden Home. Being an aviator and sailor, I went for a houseboat, selecting what I personally think is the roomiest of the options, the Windlass. Split-level it offers a good feeling of space, with a rooftop deck, and good opportunities for customisation. Sitting on one of the numerous sandbars surrounding the coast of the new continent, it opens out onto a nice community beach on one side, and presents plenty of mooring space on the other.

My new Linden Home houseboat with one of my motorboats moored alongside. Note that the water in front of the houseboat is also part of the parcel, offering more mooring space, but the wooden piers are not part of the individual properties.

Using a houseboat means I also have room for boats and planes on the water – particularly through the use of a rezzing system that allows me to select which vehicle I have rezzed (up to the land capacity, obviously). For those interested, I’ve previously covered this approach to having vehicles available without using up all your land capacity in Adding a little vehicle space with a rezzing system.

Overall, a nicely done new environment. It will be interesting to see how things grow here – and how it might affect rentals among private estates for Premium members, given the overall attractiveness of this new continent. It’ll also be interesting to see how LL handle the retirement of the “old” Linden Homes, including any possible relocation among Premium subscribers who opt not to move voluntarily.

The launch was accompanied by a new video from the Lab, which I’ve embedded below.

Additional Information

Lab blogs on SL teleport / region crossing disconnects

(Copyright Linden Lab)

As I’ve been reporting in my weekly Simulator User Group meeting summaries and my Third-Party Viewer Developer meeting updates, there have been widespread issues with disconnects during region crossings – both via teleport and physical region crossings (e.g. via boat or aircraft or on foot).

Various theories have popped up over the weeks as to why the problem is occurring  – with fingers most often being pointed at the server-side deployment of the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP). Whether or not EEP is responsible or not is hard to judge.

As I noted in my March 30th TPVD meeting notes, one of the problems with the issues is that they appear to strike randomly, and cannot be reproduced with any consistency; were a single cause behind them, it’s not unreasonable to assume that investigations would lead to a point where some degree of reproduction could be manifested.

It has been suggested by some users that de-rendering the sky (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-6) before a teleport attempt can apparently ease the issue – although this is hardly a fix (and certainly no help to aviators and sailors), nor does it appear to work in all cases.

As trying to get to the root cause(s) of the problem is taking time, on Monday, April 8th, Linden Lab issued a blog post of their own on the matter, which reads in full:

Many Residents have noted that in the last few weeks we have had an increase in disconnects during a teleport. These occur when an avatar attempts to teleport to a new Region (or cross a Region boundary, which is handled similarly internally) and the teleport or Region crossing takes longer than usual.  Instead of arriving at the expected destination, the viewer disconnects with a message like:

Darn. You have been logged out of Second Life.

You have been disconnected from the region you were in.

We do not currently believe that this is specific to any viewer, and it can affect any pair of Regions (it seems to be a timing-sensitive failure in the hand-off between one simulator and the next).  There is no known workaround – please continue logging back in to get where you were going in the meantime.

We are very much aware of the problem, and have a crack team trying to track it down and correct it. They’re putting in long hours and exploring all the possibilities. Quite unfortunately, this problem dodged our usual monitors of the behaviour of simulators in the Release Channels, and as a result we’re also enhancing those monitors to prevent similar problems getting past us in the future.

We’re sorry about this – we empathise with how disruptive it has been.

As noted, updates are being provided as available, through the various related User Group meetings, and I’ll continue to endeavour to reflect these through my relevant User Group meeting updates.

User-to-user Mainland auctions now live

Mainland auctions opened to user-to-user auctions on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

After my February 26th oopsie (see Mainland land holders will soon be able to auction their land), Linden Lab confirmed on March 26th, 2019, that user-to-user Mainland auctions are now live.

The auction system leverages Second Life Place Pages as the medium for presenting land for auction and for placing bids, together with a new “cover page” listing available parcels up for auction. which can be found at https://places.secondlife.com/auctions.

If you are not familiar with Place Pages, you can find out about them via my Place Pages tutorial. This will be updated to include the relevant information on setting a parcel for auction in the near future, once the service has been confirmed as being “live”. In the meantime, additional details on Mainland auctions can be found in the Second Life Knowledge base as follows:

Again, and for clarity, do please remember, the auction system is for Mainland only. Private regions or parcels cannot be offered through it.

Farewell, Fran

Fran Swenson with her avatar (in the blue gown) Fran Serenade, and her daughter’s avatar, Barbi Alchemi (image courtesy of image courtesy of San Diego Union-Tribune / Bill Wechter

In 2013, I was able to write about the extraordinary Fran Swenson – Fran Serenade in Second Life – a Parkinson’s Disease sufferer who at the time had seen – and continued to see – something of an overall improvement in her condition, which she attributed to Second Life.

Fran’s story, which was reported in the likes of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Wired and came to be the focus of and one of the earliest editions of The Drax Files World Makers, was the trigger-point for her daughter, Barbara, establishing Creations for Parkinson’s in Second Life, designed to raise money for research into the disease and for a possible cure by supported the work of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and providing a meeting place for those stricken by the illness and those seeking a sense of community and support. Fran’s response to her condition and Second Life was also the subject of study by Donna Z. Davis (Tredi Felisimo in SL) and Tom Boellstorff  (Tom Bukowski in SL).

The avatar represents who I really feel inside. When I look at my avatar, I feel like I’m looking at myself … I’m dancing now and I can run, hop, jump and have fun. I’m not just in my apartment, I have the whole world now. It’s thrilling!

– Fran Swenson (Fran Serenade in SL) on the joy and
freedom Second Life gave her

I met Fran, and her daughter Barbara, on a number of occasions in Second Life in 2013 and 2014, although sadly, I allowed contact with them both to drift over the years since. Throughout those meetings, I was always stunned by Fran’s energy; she always exuded happiness and a sense of fun that was infectious. It is therefore with enormous regret – and following word sent by Draxtor Despres – that Fran sadly passed away at the age of 92 on March 3rd. With her passing, a genuine, warm and caring light has gone from Second Life and we have lost a true pioneer.

Fran was an earth angel whose extraordinary love touched all who met her. From her earliest days, it was her lifelong mission to help people wherever she saw a need. Mom always said, “Love is unlimited. The more you give, the more love there is to give.”

– Fran’s daughter, Barbara Richards (Barbi Alchemi in SL),
remembering her mother

An in-world  memorial for Fran is being planned, but will understandably take time to arrange – I hope to help spread the word for all who may wish to attend once the date and time have been confirmed. If you would like to make a physical world donation in Fran’s names to help further the work of The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, please use the link below, where you will also find a memorial to her.

To Barbara (Barbi Alchemi in Second Life) her brother (AlmostThere in SL) and their family, to all who knew Fran as a friend and an active members of the Creation’s community, I extended my condolences at this time – as I’m sure all who knew Fran and her story do as well.