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Technology Improvements for Q1 Including Raising Group Limit to 42

FJ Linden


As we begin 2011, I want to share the progress that we’re making on several important technology enhancements that I discussed in my last post.  As I mentioned, we are focused on improving the overall performance of Second Life while addressing some long standing limitations such as  raising group limits, improving the chat system, and reducing lag.

Group Limits Raised to 42 Today

In October, we committed to increase group limits from the current 25 up to 40 in the first quarter of 2011. As of today, group limits have been raised to 42! To add groups beyond the previous limit of 25, you must be using Viewer  2.4 (or a more recent version). And if you’re still using Viewer 1.23, or a third-party viewer based on Viewer 1.23 code, then you can add more groups in Viewer 2.4 and they will still be accessible when you switch back to Viewer 1.23.

That said, if there is an unexpected load, then we may need to lower the group limitation to maintain acceptable performance levels across the grid. If we decide to do that, then any Residents who have up to 42  groups will not lose their memberships. But, other Residents will not be able to exceed the new limit.

Group Chat System Will Launch Gridwide By March 31st

We were set to deploy a prototype of the new group chat system in December, but last minute licensing issues were found with our chosen open source library. Now that a solution is in place, we expect to have the prototype available by the end of this month and an industry standard and high performing group chat system available by the end of this quarter.

Performance Improvements When Teleporting and Crossing Regions

As you teleport, or cross regions, all of your avatar data (often a very  large amount of data) needs to be processed by both source and destination regions. In order to streamline this process, we are now compressing avatar information, making your teleports and region crossings faster and more reliable. In fact, we’ve found that teleport failures, due to avatar complexity, have dropped 40%. See the graph below for a more detailed view showing how much we’ve shortened region crossing time.


Viewer 2.5 Beta Releasing Soon

We will soon launch the latest version of the Second Life Viewer -- Viewer 2.5 Beta. In addition to more performance and stability improvements, we’ve added enhanced web-based profiles, accessible both on the web and in the Viewer. And, if you wish, you can even connect your Second Life profile to other social identities including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn! You will also have the option in Preferences to choose your first inworld destination from the saved Landmarks in your Favorites Bar. This is very handy when you need to get to a specific destination quickly.

Also, one of the most important new features added to Viewer 2.4 was the auto-updater capability. If you're using Viewer 2.4 or higher, then you won’t be inconvenienced by the notification and download process when we release a new Viewer.

Planning to Implement Significant Grid Infrastructure Enhancements in 2011

We’re planning significant grid infrastructure enhancements throughout the year including technologies to speed server-side rendering (SSR) and server virtualization (web and simulator services). We are also exploring new storage and asset delivery systems. Some of the benefits will not always be noticeable, but they are foundational platform changes that set the stage for rapid performance and scalability improvements. We will continue to keep you updated as we roll out these systems.

I’m pleased with the progress that we made across the platform last year and I'm looking ahead to newer technologies that we will deploy in 2011 to enhance your Second Life experience. As always, I'll be watching for your feedback and thank you for making Second Life such an amazing place.


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Thanks for the extra groups. I can now get rid of an alt.

Fingers crossed on a successful group chat launch.

Does the auto-updater work with the Dev versions? Or do I need to keep loading them every Tuesday? I'm using the latest 2.6.0.x and so far so good. Very pleased with the viewer.

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FJ, you are still one of the best communicators at the lab. Thank you for this post.

In addition to facebook (ugh), Twitter, and LinkedIn, please consider Plurk and Flickr links. Heck, I'd also love a Snapzilla link, but I'm likely dreaming there!

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to add a group or two...

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I knew the link to Facebook and other social web stuff would come with the release of Viewer 2 almost one year ago. What a useless feature. I definitely won't use that as I don't use those "we get rich by data mining you and selling your data" social web crap!

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Cool! All sounds very promising

One thing I'd be really interested to know regarding groups:

While the increase to 42 is great, I've always thought there is more sense in having "social" and "advertising" groups as a web-based system that interfaces with the servers to deliver messages etc. Much in the same way that some third-party group and mailing list services work.

Inworld groups would still be required for land management etc, but less groups would be needed.

Has this been considered and are you able to comment on it?


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Has Christmas come late???

Fantastic news.. the two most important updates that could have happened have happened.. Thank you so much! Now.. if we can get rid of that silly viewer 2 i will be next to exploding.

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FJ, you are still one of the best communicators at the lab. Thank you for this post.

In addition to facebook (ugh), Twitter, and LinkedIn, please consider Plurk and Flickr links. Heck, I'd also love a Snapzilla link, but I'm likely dreaming there!

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to add a group or two...

Flickr link would be great. As would a link to popular blog sites such as Blogger \ Wordpress etc. Youtube too for that matter - I'm sure machinimists with their own Youtube channel would love that

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Thanks Tinsel! Glad you like the new improvements.

Regarding the auto-updater, it does not work on the dev versions of the viewer. So, if you have a 2.4 Beta, then you'll see it update when we soon release the 2.5 Beta. And, if you're using Viewer 2.4, then it will auto-update when we release 2.5 into general availability.

Hope this helps.

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Prok/Suella, Great questions about groups. I'll have someone else on the team get answers and get back to you in the next day or so. Stay tuned.

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processing time from 05/16/2007 until 01/13/2011

Fast, easy, fun


And why 42?

The Anser to the ultimate question of (Second) Life, The Universe and Everything?

So Long, and Thank you for All the fish

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So, in a 1.23 viewer, you can't add more than the 25 groups?  Even if you're on a TPV that DOES let you join more than 25 groups when you're on an OpenSim grid using that same viewer?  Is the limitation at the viewer end (i.e. it's merely hard-coded into the viewer like some of them had the 10m prim limit hard coded, but don't anymore) or is it something at SL's end that has it hard-coded into the mechanism at the server that 1.23 viewers interact with when you add groups (and where, presumably, the 2.4 viewers connect to a completely different group handler mechanism at SL's servers)?

I remind you that sometimes you get presented with a join-this-group notice when you're not expecting one at that moment.  You buy a complicated product from a merchant in world, shortly thereafter you get a notice to join their support group.  The exact interval between buying the product and getting the join notice is impossible to predict, because it happens whenever the merchant logs in and sees you bought his or her product, and sends you the join notice, and you may not even know that that product has a support group until you get the notice. (I.e. you know some do and some don't but you've lost track of which is which.) And the group likely isn't one where you can go find it and join at your leasure, because it's one where they hand pick those that they offer membership to: those who have bought a particular product from them.  And the offer to join disappears if you can't act on it right then.  I.e. you can't just table it, log out with the 1.23 viewer and log in with the 2.4 viewer, accept the group invite, and then log out again and return the the 1.23 viewer.  You're up a gum tree without a paddle here.

I HOPE this is just a temporary limitation, and that one or more of the 1.23-codebase TPV viewer makers like Imprudence or Phoenix come out post haste with an updated viewer that DOESN'T have that 25-groups-only limit baked in, or that they already ARE coded such that the 25-groups-only issue would just magically disappear once SL upped the group slots.

If it is a hard-coded limit at the server end with a group handler that's presented only to 1.23 viewers, then I hope one of the programmers at LL just quietly takes out that hard-coded limit at their end, post haste.

I'm not yet ready to go to a 2.4-codebase viewer, largely because I'm waiting for a sufficiently developed version of Firestorm to come out.... and I gather that's still 3 or 4 months off.

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What happened?  Did reality finally push it's way into Second Life?  My grandmother was correct in saying you have to spend money to make money.  It seems the Lindens are beginning to realize that spending money wisely to remain competetive and fresh isn't the same as flushing it down the toilet.  Please stay in this vein of thought expenditures and upgrades.

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Thanks for the update and for the improvements! This is the kind of thing I want to see, it's the seemingly little things that really make a big impact on one's experiences in SL.

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hmm, dunno what´s wrong with me, but none of these announcements impress me.

maybe i am allready done with sl deep in my mind, and just dont know it yet.


still no new avatars, no new animation system for avatars (hands and face, ik etc.) , no normal/specular/alpha maps, no animation system for prims/meshes, no speedtree (or similar), no big sims, still lsl scripting limits, still stuck with the 2.x ui, nothing about search, nothing about sim costs (300 us$ for 1/16 of a server o0) nothing about support...


teleport compression seems nice though


in short no real progress...


looks like i just have different prioritys than LL

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Great to hear a status after the all-but-total radio silence the last quarter.

Something I've been wondering in relation to the compression on sim crossing: Do you have any statistics on how it impacts low-scripted avatars? Does the compression introduce extra overhead for them which is not offset by the savings?

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While I'm thrilled that I can now have the groups I need to have as a busy SL model, I'm not happy that I have to have the new viewer in order to do it.  There are many things about Viewer 2, in all its versions, that I'm not happy with at all.  I don't like the way the inventory works.  The old version was much more compatible with the way I do things.  I also can't stand the way the new version does chat.  I like my little linked windows in the bottom left corner of my screen showing me everyone I'm talking to.  And I like my tiny little inventory box on the lower right corner of my screen that doesn't take up a fourth of the screen like the new one does.  While Viewer 2 has some nice features to it, I'm sorry, but the nice doesn't outweigh what is for me a major pain in the butt.  Being able to put on makeup is a huge plus, for a model, but why did you have to go and mess with what was a perfectly good  system for chat and inventory?

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Will we be able to prevent our profile from showing on the web? I would prefer to keep my profile totally in-world. (I *especially* don't want it linked to any of my RL identities.)

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Well, YAY finally more groups! But BOO cause those of us that are still on 1.23 are farked. Having to log in to 2.4 then back to 1.23 would be ok (annoying, but ok), if it wasn't for the fact the new viewer wipes settings (and outfits), so you wind up having to redo half your crap when you flip back and forth. I'm happy that LL is finally moving up in the world of upgrades and stability ...now if they'd only scrap the 2.0 UI and go back to the 1.23 layout so I can actually find something and be able to build productively, I'd be as happy as a pig in a mud puddle. *hint hint LL*

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