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Thoughts about Firestorm's warning of mass TPV failure in March...


Nuhai Ling
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Did anyone else read the Phoenix-Firestorm Project's warning about all TPVs going on the fritz as early as March? Here is the link to last week's Q & A Meeting with a 20-minute "We are warning people now..." statement by Jessica Lyon. Make sure to read the blog reviews and video. The link is http://www.firestormviewer.org/qa-results/

I thought for sure this would make a bigger splash here but ya'll might still be recovering from VD (Valentine's Day for those of you with PG minds!). For me, it triggered memories of the huge drop in retention and visitation SL experienced after Viewer 2 was launched, and back then a smaller percentage of residents used TPVs. Anyone want to gander a guess as to the overall effect of making Firestorm and other viewers unable to work for weeks or even months?

I won't speculate yet but hope everyone else does! I am leaving the discussion wide open...

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my phoenix has already become unusable. so now i am forced to use firestorm. bring back emerald...lol...anyway, thats ho things go, they call it progress. add more amd more bells and whistles so there is more things to go wrong....:/ anyway, i think people are getting used to forced changes and will just deal with it with a minimum of fuss. Phoenix's eventual demise ( because they stopped maintaining it) has been known for quite a while now, and though phoenic could still work, LL's Sl changes just means it wont work in SL anymore....maybe it will work in utherverse or ozworld.....i am not sure.

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It might not happen by March (delays on big changes are inevitable), but it will happen some time this year. Once the server side baking changes go through, old viewers will still be able to connect, but they won't be able to display avatars in SL any more. Everybody will show up as a cloud or gray person.

This will pretty much be the end of useful life for retired viewers, but it won't be the end of viewers that are still being maintained. LL has been making the source code changes available, so that they can release new compatible versions.

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When server-side baking comes in, it's going to break all viewers -- tpvs and official ones -- that haven't been updated to accommodate it.    I attended the meeting, and one of the things I took away from it was that Jessica was trying to warn us to expect a bumpy ride over the next few months whatever viewer we're using, Firestorm, the Official Viewer or something else, and apologising in advance for the fact the next release of Firestorm isn't going to be as stable as she'd like.   I got the feeling, too, that there was a bit of expectation-management going on there as well,  but I'm sure it is going to take a while for the new changes to bed down.

The point behind the changes is very welcome -- it's supposedly going to stop people being ruthed, or seeming OK to themselves but not others (or vice versa) and going to lead, too, to sims and people rezzing far faster after you teleport.   For once it's not LL introducing new shinies but fixing some long-standing and much-complained-about bugs.

 

 

 

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Mark my words, what they are doing will not fix anything.  If viewers are having trouble communicating with the servers (the thing SSAB is supposed to "fix") then adding yet another server is not going to help.  Most likely they are just trying to appease vendors by further locking down DRM on clothing.


Instead of constantly breaking things, the Labs should concentrate on FIXING things.  Right now the Labs viewer is so messed up I cannot use it at all.  If they break Firestorm too then I will just retreat to OSGrid.  Second Life is hopeless.  Three years and thousands of dollars down the drain on my end ... poured into a company that hates its loyal customers.

 

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This is fixing things.

Since you seem not followed the server side baking discussion, the problem explained in short:

To make your avatar visible, your viewer loads everything necessary from the asset server,
then assembles everything, sends the baked avatar back to the sim server,
where it is then distributed to the other viewers logged in that sim.

There are enough points, where this process fails, including your operating system, Graphics drivers,
defective and or malconfigured routers, etc.

By moving the avatar baking process onto the sim server and/or the asset server, a lot of possible fail points is removed.
Plus, since the baking process happens on the server side, avatars will render faster after a teleport.
And it has the potential of ending clouding, missing parts, grey aliens, etc. once and for all.

Oh, and I do see potential for a slightly increased viewer performance as well.

However, since this requires bigger changes to the viewer code, I expect a reduced stability for a few minor version iterations.
But then, bigger changes to a software as complex as this one always have the potential to unleash a few
unwanted gremlins.

Btw. if your viewer has problems communicating with the servers, avatar baking is your smallest problem.
I expect a gigabit ethernet cable in a datacenter to be more reliable than a home dsl connection.

 

 

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Jessica pointed out in that meeting that the code that LL gave them has lots of bugs in it.  Since this is the same code that they use in the official viewer, all of them will be unstable until these are all worked out.

From what I understand and have seen pictures of, an avatar will not look like a cloud to someone using an old viewer, they will look like an avatar but will have no textures.  The "Missing" suit, for those of us that have been around long enough to remember that , is about to come back into style just updated just a bit.  This is the pic that the Phoenix team is using to illustrate what they will look like.

missing suit.png

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Renee Caxton wrote:

Mark my words, what they are doing will not fix anything.  If viewers are having trouble communicating with the servers (the thing SSAB is supposed to "fix") then adding yet another server is not going to help.  Most likely they are just trying to appease vendors by further locking down DRM on clothing.

 

Instead of constantly breaking things, the Labs should concentrate on FIXING things.  Right now the Labs viewer is so messed up I cannot use it at all.  If they break Firestorm too then I will just retreat to OSGrid.  Second Life is hopeless.  Three years and thousands of dollars down the drain on my end ... poured into a company that hates its loyal customers.

 

I'm with you.  All the "new technology" has done nothing to enhance my SL "experience."  Having mixed listings on my MP store for a solid year and a Linden telling a friend of mine "We're still working on it, these things take time" is ridiculous.

Others have said this and I didn't want to believe it, but I'm starting to think LL *does* want to get rid of the long-term residents who tend to be the ones who know about, and ask for, things to be fixed before adding new "features" that were released before being thoroughly debugged, thus adding to the long list of "still not fixed" items.

One set of friends with whom I began SL in 2007 have been trying to get me to join them on OS-Grid and another dear friend has offered free land to me in another VW - might be time to do one or the other...or both.

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Nice... white plastic is the new grey. :smileywink:

But seriously, I know these effects from Inara's blog, she had written a few entries about SSB.

This plastic outfit should be a thing of the past, when everyone has updated their viewer.

And what I meant with this sentence:
""And it has the potential of ending clouding, missing parts, grey aliens, etc. once and for all.""
is simply, that the bake fails, we know so well are mostly gone. I do know, that SSB doesn't catch everything,
but there is a realistic chance, that popping into a G sim stark naked doesn't happen anymore.

Speaking of the buggy LL-code, hey, it's Linden Lab, bug free code on the first release would have been a wonder.
I expect the TPV-vendors to debug/rewrite the code anyway.

 

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Czari Zenovka wrote:

Others have said this and I didn't want to believe it, but I'm starting to think LL *does* want to get rid of the long-term residents who tend to be the ones who know about, and ask for, things to be fixed before adding new "features" that were released before being thoroughly debugged, thus adding to the long list of "still not fixed" items.

 But this is an attempt to fix a long-standing problem, isn't it?    

People have been complaining for as long as I can remember about being Ruthed and how long places take to rez , and you only need to look at the number of posts in the Answers section here about "I'm stuck as a cloud -- how do I fix it?"  to see that it's still a big problem for many people, as are the related problems of "my avatar is permanently blurry and I keep on having to rebake" or "my clothing looks OK to me but I appear nude to others" (or vice versa).   

What I took away from the meeting was that LL is concerned to get this new code working and rolled out on the grid as soon as possible, and then tweak the viewer code later as proves necessary.   They are unwilling to do this if Firestorm, at least, haven't been able to adopt the new code, but are putting a lot of pressure on Firestorm to adopt it as soon as possible.  

This means, Jessica was warning us, that the next release of Firestorm won't, in many ways, meet the QA targets she and the team normally set themselves, but the matter isn't wholly in their hands.   

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You are about a month and half late, this has already been discussed here on dozens of threads. Anyway, you are reading too much into it. Not ALL TPVs will be broken, the Firestorm/Phoenix team made the decision to stop supporting Phoenix so when SSB is rolled out Phoenix will become broken, Firestorm on the other hand will NOT be broken as it will get updated to support the new system. Which TPVs will be broken is really up to the people who develop them if they decide to update their viewers to support SSB. Cool VL Viewer which is a V1 viewer has already been updated to include this for testing, once it is rolled out I am sure it will become a standard feature for that particular viewer. Keep calm! SL is not coming to an end and neither are TPVs.

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Renee Caxton wrote:

Instead of constantly breaking things, the Labs should concentrate on FIXING things.  Right now the Labs viewer is so messed up I cannot use it at all.  If they break Firestorm too then I will just retreat to OSGrid.  Second Life is hopeless.  Three years and thousands of dollars down the drain on my end ... poured into a company that hates its loyal customers.

 

LOL this is supposed to be in effort to fix problems with rezzing. Its not an attempt to ad new things .

And there is nothing wrong with LL viewer. It runs fantastic.

 

It doesn't matter to me if it breaks firestorm . That just means the coders need to be on their toes and fix it faster,

I haven't used a tpv in over a year and loving it :)

When you use a third party viewer, you also take on the extended bugs as well as extended time in adding the new features than if you would using the official. Because the TPV will always be playing catch up

Its the same code (Open Source). A good computer can run all viewers with no problem. A Poorly managed or weak computer hardware wise will have troubles with anything

 

Sl Is Not hopeless LOL

 

Help the sky is falling! The sky is falling! LOL

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Renee Caxton wrote:

Mark my words, what they are doing will not fix anything.  If viewers are having trouble communicating with the servers (the thing SSAB is supposed to "fix") then adding yet another server is not going to help.  Most likely they are just trying to appease vendors by further locking down DRM on clothing.

 

Instead of constantly breaking things, the Labs should concentrate on FIXING things.  Right now the Labs viewer is so messed up I cannot use it at all.  If they break Firestorm too then I will just retreat to OSGrid.  Second Life is hopeless.  Three years and thousands of dollars down the drain on my end ... poured into a company that hates its loyal customers.

 

/me scratches her head in wonder.  The crash statistics (objective data, unless you think there is a conspiracy to make them up) say SL is more stable than its ever been.  This is certianly true for me, I rarely crash at all.  And at the events I go to, other people rarely crash either.  Oh there are a couple of exceptions, a few people who certainly have ongoing problems.  But a few individuals account for at least 90% of the crashes I witness,  it has to be problems with their connection, or thier computer capability or configuration, otherwise the large majority would not be dancing along without all the crashes.

Personally, I can account for nearly all my crashes as being caused by my connection.  My ISP provides a link has the annoying habit of going dead for minutes at a time, at random intervals.  No internet traffic at all.  Its not just an SL thing, it happens when I am not even running SL, and it happens to our other computer at the same time. Sometimes the viewer recovers, sometimes it doesn't. The other case is when I am out in the world, using public wifi.  If I get a link with bad packet loss, then I crash like crazy, turn off the computer and read a book.  But more often than not packet loss is tolerable (1 or 2 %) ---  enough to cause significant lag, and a few crashes, but not a show stopper.

In fact, my biggest annoyance of all right now is bake fail problems, the particular issue being addressed by SSB.  So, I can't wait for the bugs to work out, I have very high expectations that it will improve my SL.

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~shrug~

LL can't win. If they try to fix things (like they do with SSB), people will scream. If they add new features, people will scream. If they do nothing, people will scream. No matter what they do, they lose.

My opinion? SSB is a good idea. How well it'll work out in reality is not easy to predict. Firestorm... they've been lagging behind LL's codebase for a long time, it's to be expected that they're going to run into problems.

Buggy code? All code is buggy. There is no bug-free code, open- or closed-source. With open source there's a good chance TPVs will fix at least the big bugs quickly. Whether LL will back-port those fixes into their own viewer anytime soon... well... depends on how much pot you smoke. Eventually you'll believe anything.

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Rhys Goode wrote: "The crash statistics (objective data, unless you think there is a conspiracy to make them up) say SL is more stable than its ever been.  This is certianly true for me, I rarely crash at all."

Same here, doesn't matter, if I use Firestorm, Singularity or the SL-Viewer, I don't have any crashes at all.
But I still  remember times, when a crash every two hours was the norm for me.

Rhys Goode wrote: "  My ISP provides a link has the annoying habit of going dead for minutes at a time, at random intervals.  No internet traffic at all."

Ouch. That's deadly for all applications, that need constant synchronization. That results also in bake fails for your avatar.
Others see only parts or a cloud. I do suggest, that you have a serious talk with your ISP/Phone provider.
There could be something wrong with the cabling or the DSL- / Cable-Modem, maybe sync loss due to electrical interference.

 

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It's bollocks. You will not need to use the official SL viewer and viewer 1 interface lovers won't need to give it up. SINGULARITY will still work. It's the only viewer 1 interface TPV that will, because it's being updated. So let's put the rumours to rest. Linden decisions, including viewer 2 have been responsible for the vast majority of any exodus in SL. I would suggest the loss of a huge percentage more if it weren't for Singularity remaining viable. However, that said, there will be a lot that will leave because their computers can not handle the laggier mesh viewers. Unlike lots of you mean people who say "good riddance" or "Luddite," I say only how sorry I am to those people who won't be able to log in again when this occurs.

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Cerise Sorbet wrote:

The cresh stats aren't made up, but lots of crashes happen at the very end, while logging out normally. I wish those could be broken out separately, since those crashes are usually in the "so what?" end of things.

That is not 100% correct as depending on where exactly the crash during logout happens you could end up with settings not being saved.

But even more annoying are the crashes due to running out of memory that started with the introduction of mesh. V3 viewers seem to leak memory from whenever you cam close at avatars, especially those wearing lots of sculped attachments. This however is primarily an issue for people running the viewer on 32bit operating systems, but even on 64bit systems it's quite annoying if the viewer starts to suck up to 2.5GB of memory when visiting clubs.

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Well, thanks to Jadeclaw, I have a basic view of what's going on. So far the viewers I have liked were SL V1, Emerald, Phoenix, and Imprudence.  I wouldn't give a wooden nickel for SL later versions or Firestorm - don't like the format and I even tried the Firestorm/Phoenix hybrid. If the Lab hadn't gone all screwy with its megalomania and antisocial personality disorder, I'd still be using its viewers. 

I am patient and can wait till I find a likeable viewer that works.  If not, I'll blow off the few hundred I have spent as an experience (the same as I do when I buy skiing passes or travel tickets) and go play in Inworldz or somewhere. Most of my online friends have other accounts in other VWs anyway.

LL has neither the brains nor the abilities to ruffle me much.

Good health and happiness to you all. Hugs, too. :cathappy:

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