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Technology Improvements for Q1 Including Raising Group Limit to 42

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FJ Linden

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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.

region_crossing_compression_2011_01_11.jpg

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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it could be, but soon 1.23 viewers will not work on SL. 1.23 is a Dinosaur and can not handle the front end of the new Technology. Nobody is going to delve into the mess of a compatible code for free, you aare looking at hundreds of hours of coding R&D to make a dinosaur work with the new technology.

1.23 is dying, and dying fast.

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Well, the Pheonix devs are busily making their version of Snowstorm, which they call Firestorm, have a 1.23-ish GUI and stuff, while adding all the neat functionality that Pheonix viewer has, but of course keeping all the underlying new technology of the 2.4 viewer.  I'm looking forward to that one coming out of beta.

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After waiting so long for something positive to happen--well, I for one am very pleased with the enormous improvement in teleport times and reliablity.  I was wondering what had changed and now I know, so thank you, Linden Lab.  Please keep addressing the core functionality of Second Life--more emphasis on the basic features and functions and less on bells and whistles could result in a *gasp* faster, easier, and more fun Second Life!

I also want to add my thanks to FJ for posting such useful information--we always shoot the messenger(s) so I think they deserve special thanks as well.

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All of that is great FJ, many, many thanks!

Re the new viewer, I want to leave some feedback, finally. I tried it exclusively for the final 5 months of 2010. Figured it was time to bite the bullet, and all that.

There were some nifty things about it, I gotta admit.

But I work for a living in SL, and I gotta say even after I got past the learning curve my productivity level plummeted. In the end, on 1 Jan 2011,  I went back to viewer 1.23, and now I'm back in the groove.

I'd like to suggest -- I know, I'm mad -- that you offer TWO viewer versions. A regular version for most people in SL -- the 2.x line, and a "developer" version, the 1.23 x line.

I think the 2.x line is fabulous for those who are "end users" in SL. It is a total winner for them, it's amazing for that purpose. And the 1.x line is better for those who are content creators. It's like, I love my iPad for content consumption, but I'm not going to create a lot of content on my iPad; I'll do that on my desktop and laptops.

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yes indeed!  Thank you for the extra groups!!  finally.........a number that makes sense, since SL has grown... the need for more group space has grown!

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i have to agree with  Ansariel Hiller!  Besides "we get rich by data mining you and selling your data", Facebook stores everywhere you go on the web for 90 days,  guess now they will be able to store everywhere and everything you do or say on SL too?  I would not doubt it!  All this is fluff to get new members that probably will not join anyway, and time better spent on improving server performance, crashing etc. to keep the people already here on SL

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Well,

 

   Thanks FG to clarify that thing cause, honestly i hate the bad rumors.. its more simple to clarify the thing, all the time

 

    and Yay! for this fixes of group limite, great work!

 

Do you know for the trouble SSL handshake failed.. in 2.4+ for all the profile? Cause its very annoying

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Those of us that run Macs would love to see the new stuff, too bad the V2 Mac viewer crashes every 2 minutes. 5 minutes if we're lucky...

I love how you increase groups BEFORE actually fixing the group chat.

There's nothing the lab won't do to try to coax users to switch to the crappy V2.

Except actually fixing the crappy V2.

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FJ, thanks for keeping us informed.  Your willingness to be frank with us about problems, and give us a timeline, is welcome and refreshing.

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I'm happy to see that my earlier concern about rollback was answered. I was worried from LL's initial posting a while back that if the increase in groups caused problems, they would rollback to lesser groups - but never stated until now that groups won't be indiscriminately deleted.

What I would love sometime in the future is the ability to have more picks. Currently only 10 picks can be created but there's definitely room for 20 in our profiles. Any chances of that happening?

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No,. don't kill your alt. Just put it in cold storage. Because some day you might want an alt who doesn't have the last name of "Resident".

Maybe I missed a post somewhere, but will all future accounts have the last name of "Resident" or is LL going to get some common sense back soon?

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Maybe I missed a post somewhere, but will all future accounts have the last name of "Resident" or is LL going to get some common sense back soon?

They will only have 'Resident' if you view them on 1.* based viewers - it was a fix that was put in for those that use them.  In Viewer 2 they are seen with just the single name; it was just part of a badly thought out policy towards display names.

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You can use the new group feature also with Phoenix 725 and 818, allthough the current implementation is limited to the expcted 40 group limit. To take advantege from more groups you have to do this five steps:

  1. If you do not already have the advanced menu open, click on the Phoenix Menu, next to help at the top and click "Show Advanced"
  2. Click the advanced menu, look down to the 4th from bottom and click Debug Settings...
  3. Type in phoenix40GroupsSupport
  4. Set the drop down below that to TRUE.
  5. Relog.

It works for all Residents using the configured viewer - means you have to do that on every Computer you use.

From: Restrained Love Support Group (Group Notice)

 

 

 

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I think the group limit should be removed in general, it kinda restricts roleplayers a lot, especially when certain groups force you to join three groups to be fully admitted into it like most Linden Lab Military groups or groups that have you join a land group so you can rez things.

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Teleport improvements are great. More than 25 groups? - well, it's no big deal IMO.

Personally, I think Linden Lab lost its way over the last year or two. Maybe the Viewer code-base needed to be refactored, but why change the UI so radically that most long-term residents refuse to adopt it? And then there were Display Names - a huge, costly project in terms of time and money... and yet hardly anyone seems to use or care about it. And it doesn't work - names appear as ??? all too frequently. A total fail.

LL, please look after the people who worked with you to create the world we have - the creators and scripters. Don't try to compete for new residents with Facebook. That's a battle you will never win.

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That graph shows the Average times for region crossing. Which can be not very useful: most people have more than the average number of legs, after all. It's not going to be a Normal Distribution, because that would have a possibility of negative-time region crossing, but it still matters how broad that distribution is. I know enough about stats to know what the median and mode are, as well as the mean that most people think of an an average.

One possibility is that the really slow region cossings have been greatly reduced (which is a good thing) without seriously changing the experience of most residents. The mode, essentially the peak of the distribution, might have changed very little, despite a big drop in the mean.

I don't think the median on this is all that useful. If you put all the figures for a sample in order, low to high, the median is the one in the middle. This is the average which is defined by half the sample being below-average. Again, it might not have changed much.

Wild guess, but a Poisson Distribution might suit the data. There's some far more complicated stats that could be done, since the minimum value is not going to be zero, but this has to be done by somebody who knows more than how to feed the data into a stats package to get pretty pictures.

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Not sure if this has ben said (I haven't read all the 71 comments here) but I would appreciate it if profiles from SL would be automatically copied on the profile one sees on the SL blogs website as it is already here: https://my.secondlife.com/winthorpefoghorn.zinnemann. It felt so silly when I got there today and found mine to be an empty slate saying "you created  no content". Also, I already have a blog of mine on an external platform... I can't just up and move it here as it's now up to nearly 180 posts, and I would like it if I could add it to my profile anyways!

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yawns: very interesting comment.
<klugscheiss>

That comment shows you are an average statistican. Which can be not be useful.: most people have the average number of legs (2 rounded), after all.

Infact, I have the very subjective average feeling, that my average time for tp and sim crossing is reduced. Now I know, this was not an average coincident, but might be based on the improvements of the average Linden Lab.

</klugscheiss>

Klip, aka Dame Edna Everage

 

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These sounds like great improvements. I hope, as others have said above, that web profiles are opt-in. At least as far as being searchable, and viewable, for anybody is concerned.

- Luc -

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Great work Lindens! I see one vein of commonality with these improvements.... they are not just random things LL wanted to do, these are all things residents of Second Life have been (loudly) asking for!

Thank you for listening to us.

Delighted with the way things are going lately

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FJ, while I realize that it isn't a top priority in the chat project, I am curios:

With the use of standard protocol and server, are there any plans for allowing external acces, i.e. chatting between SL and a "normal" XMPP client?

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