Tag Archives: TPV Developer meetings

SL project updates 7/3: TPVD meeting

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbitonblog post

The notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 17th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

[00:28] The current official viewer pipelines are as follows:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.1.323027, dated January 25, promoted February 3 – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer.
  • RC viewers:
    • Maintenance RC viewer version 5.0.2.323567 dated February 14th – a range of improvements and features
    • Love Me Render RC viewer version Version 5.0.2.323361, dated February 9th – rendering pipeline fixes and improvements
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, dated January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712, dated November 23, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review.
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

[00:38] The 64-bit viewer work is proceeding on three fronts:

  • A major update to process management and how viewer updates to users are handled (which includes the update mechanism recognising which version – 32-bit or 64-bit – should actually be installed on a PC for Windows)
  • Adding 64-bit Havok support for the Mac OS X build, and building the OS X build using Xcode 8
  • A new structure for handling Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) and VLC for media support. This will bring all platform versions of the viewer up to the same VLC version and remove QuickTime support from the OS X build (although some QuickTime media may still play, depending on how VLC picks them up, but the Lab is not explicitly supporting QuickTime).

The next update to the Alex Ivy project viewer will depend on which of these update paths clears QA first, and whether any jointly clear QA close enough to be merged into a single update.

[02:29] Updates to the 360-snapshot viewer remain on hold pending the completion of the 64-bit viewer CEF work.

HTTP Asset Fetching

[03:09] As noted in my Content Creation User Group update, the Lab is commencing work in moving more assets for delivery via HTTP / the Content Delivery Network(s) or CDNs.

This work builds on the undertaken in 2013/14 to move avatar appearance information and texture and mesh assets delivery away from UDP and through the simulator, to faster, more reliable delivery via HTTP / CDNs, and will encompass the following assets: landmarks, gestures, animations, sounds and wearables (system layer clothing).

Vir Linden is leading the work, which should hopefully eventually remove more of the “non-simulation” message handling for assets away from the simulators to more reliable and faster HTTP delivery. This in turn should result in something of a performance boost in simulator performance, particularly for busy regions. Once the work has been completed, it will mean that the UDP message support for these types of asset transfers will be removed from both the simulator and the viewer code.

Voice Updates

[11:55] The next batch of Voice updates is being tested, and there is a problem with position updates not working correctly so that unless you are facing east, voices do not seem to come from the correct direction. Once this particular issue has been fixed, it is anticipated the updates will appear in at least a project viewer, although this may still be a while.

Music Streaming Default Volume

[13:15] The first TPVD meeting for 2017 included a discussion on audio streaming autoplay found in the official viewer, and the problems this can cause new users. As a result of that discussion, the Lab agreed to revisit the default media volume setting in the viewer, but a change has yet to be made.

Region / Estate Ban List

The Estate / region ban list (highlighted)

The Estate / region ban list (highlighted)

[15:38 – 19:42] Currently, the region / estate ban list is confined to a small area within a tab on the estate tools, sharing the space with 3 other lists. It is also non searchable, and when a region – for whatever reason – has a very long ban list, trying to clear the list down based on names / offensives can prove difficult due to the amount of scrolling required to locate, highlight and remove names deemed to no longer be a problem.

The Lab is sympathetic to the issue, and has suggested that rather and a JIRA being filed requesting changes to the current ban list display, a broader discussion is opened between the Lab and TPVs on how best to present the region / estate ban list, etc (e.g. whether they should have their own floater panel / tab within the viewer, with search capabilities, etc). The likely forum for this will be Oz Linden’s Open Source meeting, which takes place on Wednesdays, 07:00 SLT.

E-mail Verification

[23:45] On January 28th, I blogged about verifying e-mail addresses associated with Second Life. The Lab is now working on a number of projects which will require users to have verified e-mail addresses in order to receive information.

Remember: just because you are currently receiving e-mails from Linden Lab does not necessarily mean your e-mail account is verified. You must go through the verification process via your dashboard. Failure to verify your e-mail could eventually result in things like off-line IMs to e-mail failing, merchant notifications failing, etc., and the Lab switches services over to only sending to verified addresses. You many not even be able to request an account password reset if your e-mail address is not verified.

Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, please refer to the blog post linked above, and verify the e-mail address you use with Second Life.

Other Items

Script State Breakage in No-Mod Items

[08:49] A rare, but potentially nasty bug has surface which can result in permanently breakage of scripts in No Mod (/No Copy) objects – see BUG-41379.

Essentially, if an avatar is force teleported home (e.g. as a result of encountering an in-world security system), and their home location is unavailable that the time of their teleport (e.g. it is being restarted or off-line), they will be logged out. On re-logging, scripts in attachments are no longer functional, as they’ve been set to not running.

If the attachments have modify permissions, the scripts can be reset / set back to running. However, with No Mod items, the scripts are permanently broken. Providing the item is Copy, and the original is still in inventory, then it should be possible to “fix” the problem by using a new copy of the item. However, if the item in No Copy as well as No Mod, then it is effectively broken.

The Lab has accepted the bug and will be investigating.

Lab Holiday

[14:46] Note that Monday, February 20th is a holiday at Linden Lab (Presidents Day in the USA). Operations and support will be running as usual.

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SL project updates 2017-4/3: TPVD meeting: 64-bit, Linux

Whimberly, Whimberly; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrWhimberlyblog post

The notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 27th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

[01:19] There has been no movement with any of the viewer currently in the various pipelines during the week, leaving the list as:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.0.321958, dated December 1st, promoted December 5th, 2016 – formerly the Project Bento RC viewer
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version 5.0.1.322791, dated January 12th
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, dated January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712, dated November 23, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review – still pending completion of work on the 64-bit viewer, and no updates expected in the immediate future
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

[01:48] There are two more branches for the Maintenance viewer updates in the offing. One is, as per Oz’s stated intent, a branch for rendering only fixes, the second will continue with the regular releases of Maintenance RC viewers with all other general fixes and updates.

64-bit Viewer

[22:55] The number of users on the 64-bit project viewer remains “small”, however, the Lab is pleased with the way most things in the viewer and viewer build process are working. There are still three major areas of work which need to be completed, outside of bug fixes, before the viewer can progress to release candidate (RC) status:

  • 64-bit Havok for OSX: the binaries, etc., have been received from Havok, but have been built using Xcode 8. The Lab is therefore updating the Mac viewer build process to use Xcode 8 so that the Havok code can be incorporated.
  • Updated VLC and CEF support: this is in process, and in the case of CEF, will include a new wrapper (project Dullahan – link for those who are curious about the etymology of Lab project names) which will replace llCEF, making it easier to render web content through the viewer
  • The new viewer installation / update process: this is being overhauled to improve the installation and update of the viewer. In particular, it will include a check to ensure users have actually downloaded the correct version of the viewer for their system. For example, if you are on 32-bit Windows and download the 64-bit version in error, the installer will recognise this, and download and install the 32-bit version for you.

Note the above still only apply to Windows and Mac OSX.

Linux Viewer Status / Future

[30:21] Thus far, the Lab hasn’t progressed very far with Linux 64-bit, beyond building some of the libraries. The aim is still to have the third-party viewer development  / open source community provide a strong level of support for Linux. However, it is recognised that the current way in which the Linux viewer is currently distributed makes it difficult for third-party support to be maintained.

In an attempt to improve things, the Lab is going to try to move away from using a TAR ball method of distribution to providing a .DEB file, which can be installed using standard Debian installation commands. This will involve changes to the Linux build process, which itself may highlight issues in producing the desired .DEB file. Where this is the case, the Lab will look to discuss and resolve issues with the TPV / open source community. It is hoped that this approach will result in a much improved and easier to manage mechanism for Linux viewer builds and distribution.

Other Items

Music Streaming Default Volume

[04:57] The first TPVD meeting for 2017 included a discussion on audio streaming autoplay found in the official viewer, and the problems this can cause new users. As a result of that discussion, the Lab agreed to revisit the default media volume setting in the viewer. This is now under discussion within the Lab.

Voice Issues

[06:06] While there is a Voice update coming down the line, people are reporting increasing Voice disconnection issues (see BUG-41288). Kyle Linden has been looking into the problems to try to identify where issues might reside, and it is a topic for discussion at the next Lab / Vivox meeting, in about a week. Oz Linden is also improving the code in the viewer to better monitor and report on Voice connections and issues so that they can be more easily identified; these updates will hopefully be in the upcoming Voice viewer.

Environment Maps

[12:53] At the end of the last TPV meeting, there was a convoluted discussion on environment maps and potential limitations. A JIRA feature request – STORM-2146 – has now been raised, outlining the specific issues with the environment maps, and what can be done to improve them to provide things like simulated environment reflections.  Acknowledged as being a prime example of a really good feature request in terms of level of explanation given (including mitigating risk of content breakage), the topic was put aside for detailed discussion at a later date, to allow this meeting to focus on the 64-bit viewer and Linux.

Server-side Group Chat “Opt Out”

Firrestorm has a viewer-side implementation to mute all chat from a group, but a server-side capability is being requested

Firrestorm has a viewer-side implementation to mute all chat from a group, but a server-side capability is being requested

[17:53] This is a request to provide support for “opting out” (muting) from group chats without necessarily having to wait for it to start & closing the window (e.g. via a right-click option on the group list or in the group profile – a method taken by Firestorm in providing viewer side support for the capability).

The Lab is aware of numerous requests for such an option, together with numerous and different suggestions on how it might be implemented. Because of this, no firm decision has been made on whether or not to add such a capability, managed server-side, has been taken.

The advantage of server-side support is that rather than having the viewer just discard incoming messages seen as “unwanted”, the server will not send them in the first place. This is very much what the Lab would like to achieve, were the capability to be added.

E-mail Improvements

[39:37] Changes are coming to the way in which e-mails are managed / distributed by the Lab. Please see my separate report on what this means and verifying you e-mail address, if you have not already done so.

SL Wiki Editing and JIRA Viewing

[49:03] The Ls Wiki remains closed to general editing. Users with a genuine need to edit wiki pages they have previously helped maintain or have created, should file a support ticket or raise a JIRA requesting the are granted Edit rights, and why they are requesting them. The Lab is now maintaining a white list of approved users.

Similarly, TPV developers and open source contributors who cannot view JIRAs related to their work, etc. (“Permission Violation”), should e-mail Oz Linden to request broader access to the system.

SL project updates 2017-2/3: TPV Developer Meeting Jan 13th

The notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 13th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer was updated to version 5.0.1.322791 on Thursday, January 12th. Otherwise the pipeline remains unchanged from part 1 of this week’s update. [34:20] this will likely be the next viewer to be promoted to release status.

64-bit Viewer

[03:07] It is anticipated that the 64-bit official viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 at the time of writing, will remain in the project cycle for some time. An update to it is anticipated in week #3 (week commencing Monday, January 16th, 2017). Currently, the project viewer isn’t being used by many, and the Lab hopes this number will pick up so that a little more feedback can be obtained.

Points of note with the 64-bit viewer and 64-bit plans:

  • The Mac version is currently without Havok support, an it will likely be 2+ weeks before it does.
  • There will also be a number Havok libraries build in support 64-bit, which will be made available to TPV sub-licensees, but this is unlikely to happen until the Lab starts building 64-bit release candidates.
  • KDU within the viewer is being updated to version 7.9.
  • [08:08] New packaging of the media code and a new version of CEF.
  • The viewer update code will be completely revised.
  • The crash reporting code may be updated.

[11:28] Eventually, the Lab plans to have the viewer available in both 32-bit and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for Mac OSX and Linux.

For more on Linux, see below.

Voice Updates

[07.18] Updates to Voice should be appearing in a viewer in the next 2(ish) weeks. This will include a new SL Voice plug-in from Vivox which includes a new Opus codec, as well and bug and exploit fixes.

360-Snapshot Viewer

[08:33] Work will resume on this project viewer, version 4.1.3.321712 at the time of writing,  once work on the CEF updates (noted above) have been completed.

Linux and the Viewer

[10:08] Currently, the Lab have not carried out any work on a 64-bit version of the viewer on Linux. However, thought is being given on how to move forward with Linux, and it is hoped that the Lab will have some ideas to put to the TPV / open-source community by the next TPV Developer meeting. It is also hoped that by that time, the Lab will have started work on a 64-bit Linux version of the viewer.

Other Items

The following are covered in brief. please fer to the video for specifics.

New Camera Presets Coming?

[09:14] Jonathan Yap, who has worked on various code contributions for the viewer including, most recently, graphics presets, is working on a new project, which appears to be updating the viewer’s camera presets.

Music Stream Autoplay

[16:45-28:09] A lengthy discussion takes place on music autoplay within the official viewer, and whether or not it should be enabled by default.

  • Having it enabled is seen a off-putting to new users, as it means they can be confronted with loud music playing over their system almost from the moment they log-in, with no apparent way to turn it off. This is seen as possibly causing some to log-off in frustration
  • Having it disabled by default is seen as breaking the shared experience in regions where the creator has specifically included music streaming as a part of the environment
  • The compromise is potentially for the default volume on media to be reduced.

(Note, this discussion also drags on between 29:45-33:50, after the above agreement being reached.)

Click-to-Walk

[28:45] In a similar vein, a request was made to disable click-to-walk, as it has been observed that new users get confused when they find their avatar apparently moving when they haven’t touched their keyboard.  A JIRA on this has been requested.

Group Chat Issues and Group Notice Deliveries

[34:59] Group chat lag become more noticeable over the holiday period. However, the Lab ran a restart of the back-end group chat servers, and this appeared to resolve the majority of issues. If specific groups are still experiencing issues, JIRAs are requested.

[36:49] There are reports that the problem of group notices not always getting through is getting worse. So people don’t get the notice, others get them twice, etc. A JIRA, BUG-40824, has been raised on issues with off-line receipts of group notices as well.

As an aside to this, a fix is in progress t ensure that off-line messages, which may not always get delivered at the next log-in, will be delivered.

Environment Maps, Shiny, Projectors and More

[42:29-end-of-meeting] The end of the meeting centres on a convoluted discussion on the environment map used for the sky, shiny / glossiness, etc. In sort, there is a request for region holders / creators to be able to replace the environment map with a texture of their own choosing. On the plus side, among other things, this could allow things like easier simulation of reflections using projectors. on the negative side, again among other things, it could break a lot of existing content.

Changes to the environment map, providing they can be shown to have specific benefits and do not break existing content, have not been ruled out. However, a specific proposal is really required.

SL project updates 2016 50/3: TPV Developer meeting

Mineral Ridge; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr Mineral Ridgeblog post

The notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, December 16th. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

Current Pipeline

Expect no further viewer promotions to release or RC status until 2017, as the No Change window is now in effect through until January 2nd, 2017. although this doesn’t necessarily prevent project viewers from appearing (see below).

64-bit Builds

[00:07] The Lab is progressing with the 64-bit builds (Project Alex Ivy – which I assume is a reference to 64 in Roman numerals: LXIV = aLeX IVy). Oz reports they are not quite there with the Mac builds as yet, with more work needed on the library builds. However, Whirly Fizzle has already uncovered  some issues with the Windows build, although she reports it as being largely stable through her own testing. Oz indicates there is still “some chance” a project viewer may appear before the holiday break takes full hold.

360-Snapshot Viewer

[05:59] The 360 snapshot viewer remains on hold while development is focused is on the 64-bit viewer builds. As soon as working versions of the latter are available for all the OS platforms, efforts will be switched back to 360-snapshots.

Viewer-side Voice Updates

[01:54] A new Voice update viewer should be available early in the New Year. This should fix a number of bugs and add improved diagnostics. There is currently no time line on when older versions of the Voice package will be blocked from connecting to the service, as “other things” are now seen as having a higher priority.

New Strategy for Rendering Fixes

[16:45] Up until now, fixing for rendering issues have been handled as a part of the Lab’s “standard” methodology for viewer updates: develop a fix for an issue and release it in a Maintenance release candidate viewer. This hasn’t always worked, with some fixes introducing problems of their own (the solid grey / black rendering of invisiprims perhaps being the most visible in recent times), which then prevent other fixes in the same Maintenance RC from progressing while the Lab works on the rendering fixes.

To try to avoid this, the Lab is going to experiment with separating out rendering fixes and moving them to their own release branch of the viewer. This should both prevent other Maintenance fixes and updates from being bottlenecked, but also allow for better QA testing of rendering system fixes / changes.

Sounds and Animations: HTTP and CDN Delivery

[02:22] In 2013 / 2014, the Lab made a huge change to how avatar appearance information and texture and mesh assets are delivered to users, shifting them away from UDP (User Datagram Protocol) delivery through the simulators, to HTTP via Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) – see my past reports on the HTTP updates. and CDN work.

For 2017, the Lab plan to move sound and animation assets (which may or may not include gestures) to delivery via HTTP and thence to CDN distribution and delivery. There is no precise time frame for this work, but once fully implemented (including by TPVs) the UDP  / simulator messaging and routing for these assets will be removed.

While some have experienced CDN related issues with textures and meshes, the hope is that the move will make the delivery of sounds and animations more robust and faster (sounds are reported as being “amazingly slow” to delivery over UDP via the simulator – 10K/second), and remove more of the heavy lifting of assets from the simulators.

Other Items

First TPV Developer Meeting for 2017

[24:26] The December 16th meeting marked the last TPV Developer meeting for 2016. The next meeting will not by until Friday, January 13th, 2017.  This is largely due to the fact that not a lot will have changed between now and the second week of January to make a meeting worthwhile.

Second Life and Oculus Rift

[33:28] In July 2016, Linden Lab suspended development on Oculus Rift support in the viewer, but left the door open a crack for the potential for the work to be picked-up at some point in the future. However, as things stand with the current generation of headsets, this is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

The belief is that the rendering requirements – particular frame rates sit well above those which can be reasonably achieved in Second Life through the viewer (Oculus VR quotes a minimum of 60 fps and a preferred rate of 90 fps, which the Lab sees as being doubled to 120 and 180 fps when rendering an SL scene in stereo).

Firestorm 5.0.1 Download Issues

[20:16] Jessica Lyon gave further insight into the recent issues with people trying to obtain the Firestorm 5.0.1 Bento release (see my review here, and subsequent updates on the download situation here and here).

While there were some indications demand would be high – the Firestorm Preview group had expanded to over 8,000 people – it nevertheless outstripped all expectations, and the Firestorm download server almost came to a standstill. To try to correct this, the server was restarted, driving traffic back to the web server in the process, which then overloaded and crashed.

Firestorm hope that with Bento out the door, the viewer can resume a more “normal” QA / release cycle through the Preview and Beta groups. However, a mirror site for new release downloads will be maintained going forward. Options for hosting the Firestorm JIRA service, considered a major resource hog on the FS servers, are also being considered, although there are pro and cons involved in making changes.

Jess also took the opportunity to again thank Linden Lab for stepping up and providing a mirror for downloads.