We're in the process of rolling out some important Viewer updates, with more to come in the near future - this note is to summarize those and to alert you to some changes in the supported Viewer platforms.
Embedded Browser Upgrade
We've recently updated the web browser technology in the Viewer to use the Chromium browser technology; this does a much much better job of supporting the latest web standards and media formats. With this change, we are removing the Quicktime plugin from the Windows Viewer; that plugin has been poorly supported for a long time and a persistent source of security problems. Quicktime support will be removed on the Mac version too in a later update so that both platforms will support media in the same way. It may be that some Quicktime media will work even without the plugin, but many more modern formats such as mp3 and mp4 will work more reliably. You can try this Viewer now by downloading the "Second Life VLC Viewer" from the Alternate Viewers page.
Extended Avatar Skeletons
You've probably heard about this as the "Bento" project. This Viewer correctly displays the new bones and attachment points we're adding, giving you lots of ways to make much more sophisticated and flexible avatars at a lower cost. For more information about “Bento” visit the wiki, check out our blog, and give it a try using the Release Candidate viewer.
64 bit Viewers
The current official Viewer is built to use only 32 memory addresses, which limits how much of your computer’s memory it can use at a time. We're updating our builds so that Windows users will be able to choose between a 64 bit (large memory) version or a 32 bit (backwards compatibility) version. The 64 bit version will be much better for most users; any computer bought in the last several years should be capable of running in 64 bit mode. In fact, if you're running a 32 bit version of Windows now, you should look into upgrading to a 64 bit version; our data shows that even just upgrading your OS should reduce the frequency of crashes. Coming soon to a project viewer near you.
In order to be able to continue making progress on these and other projects, we'll be making some changes to which Viewers and configurations we support; this week we will:
- Discontinue support for Windows Vista
- Discontinue support for Mac OS X versions less than 10.9
The Viewer may continue to work on those platforms for a while, but we won't be testing for it or attempting to fix any compatibility issues.
Coincidentally, Apple has just released OSX 10.12 (Sierra). We do have reports that installing this upgrade will clear your Second Life inventory cache. Normally, that should only cause some performance impact as the cache is reloaded, but in some cases at least in current viewers it causes your avatar to appear as a cloud (see BUG-37653). The workaround is to open your Inventory, find an outfit folder, and drag the outfit folder onto your avatar; after this, you can modify your appearance using any of the usual methods.
We'll also be making upgrades from any Viewer version older than 4.0.5 a required update. This will get you a lot of bug fixes, including many crashes, and will ensure that you're in a better position to upgrade in smaller steps to the great new features above.
Updated system requirements are available here.