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Alexi Raynier

OS updates: Are they finally over?

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Would it be too much to ask that LL let us know if the seemingly endless string of OS server updates that has made chaos out of the last several weeks of SL are over, or if you intend to come back with another sequence of them?  Also it would really be nice at this point if someone explained to us what if any advantage this venture will offer to game play.  After enduring these things for weeks now it would seem that the very least LL could offer us is notice that they are done and, if done what they may have accomplished.

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It's very unlikely that LL will ever stop updating the server code.  Actually when that does happen, expect the doors to close very soon afterward.  It's been going on since 2005 that I can attest to personally..........and probably since day one in 2003.  It's better than the "old days", believe me..........some updates caused SL to be down for days (not to mention the seemingly constant problems afterward.  What LL is doing with SL has only been duplicated by Open Sims.........and the platform those grids use is copied from LL's platform.  That's the way new technology works..........it's a bumpy road (you can jump off anytime it gets too rough for you).

 

You can keep up with the planned updates and get an idea of when unplanned events will be resolved by going to:

http://status.secondlifegrid.net/

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I think the last couple of weeks have been quite different. First, LL has been utterly vague as to the changes they are making. "Critical OS upgrades" ... afik OS means operating system (eg windows) not the server code. But they really havent explained, as far as I can tell. They have not done their usual trumpeting of big leaps forward. They HAVE warned us of perpetual restarts for several weeks, which is different from their normal weekly scheduled rollouts and restarts which how they normally release new bugs. Does ANYBODY know whats really going. Im a sailor and conditions have become well nigh impossible. But of course we have to keep paying our tiers etc.

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@Everyone, but with special focus on Peggy

As Joy says, the issue recently, Peggy, has not been the weekly server software updates.  Nearly everyone in SL understands the need for these, and they are scheduled sufficiently well to be no impediment to participation in SL.

The major disruption caused by the OS upgrade was a different matter, with twice-daily tranches of work lasting up to 6 hours.

The communication of these outages was shoddy at first, but did improve over time (to be fair it could not have got much worse!)

What many are asking, not unreasonably, is for Linden Lab to tell us when this work is over.  Explanations of the benefits gained from the work are less likely to be forthcoming, since I suspect the reasons are quite complex, and since Linden Lab treats its user-base as it would a person with acute learning disability, I won't be holding my breath for one.

I too recall the earlier days of SL, but that comparison is not valid here.

As to the frequently trotted out "That's technology....live with it", sorry Peggy, it is not appropriate to this issue in SL.

Most of us don't want Linden Lab to stop their innovation - just to control it a bit better and communicate with their user-base.

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OS does mean operating system.  I'm not sure what operating system LL uses for there servers.......most likely a linux based OS but that's not important.  The server code is what is being updated.  I can see that for some server code to work some OS updates are probably in order.  These last couple weeks have been a little more difficult for some people.  And those people always want to blame LL for those difficulties.  But, the last couple weeks are not at all different than the last 6 years......when LL introduces new features such as mesh and real time shadows it takes the users a while to catch up by upgrading their computers to be able to use those new features.  You should have been around when Windlight was introduced......it was almost identical to the problems people are experiencing now.  Almost any computer can now utililize Windlight today........3 years ago it seemed that only a few could.

 

Advancing technology requires the users to advance too.  A computer built 10 years ago could never run Windows 7....now every computer built today can, quite easily.  Suppose Microsoft decided that XP was the best it could be and left it as is so that users would experience no further issues with their machines.  Would quad core CPU's be necessary?  Would DDR3 RAM be needed?  Would graphics cards capable of real time, on the fly 3D graphics be available?  Some of the responsibility lays with the users.  Like I said, if that road gets too bumpy, you can jump off anything.

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Thanks Ayesha. [sidebar : I guess Im not 'almost everyone' (this has been said before and not in a kind way lol) - as , in fact I do NOT see the need for WEEKLY upgrades, and in fact consider that its a rather hazardous modus operandi. Apart from anything else that many updates to such a complex environment means that adequate testing is impossible. The recent fracas with the 'security fix' that broke content illustrates the point I think. Whatever happened to "Get it right the first time"? any way I digress...] One critical quality in any 'expert' / professional is the ability to provide simple explanations of what they are doing. If they cant, be very very careful as it most likely means they dont fully understand themsleves. (For a case study look at the Financial Industry over the last couple of decades; the fit hit the shan in the last couple of years but trouble has been brewing for a while]

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So you are asking to be privy to the plans a private company has for the future?  I read the grid status board........the planned upgrades are announced well in advance.  I've not seen many interruptions of service beyond the sim restarts.  Sims get restarted all the time............some are planned for, some are not.  I've yet to be booted from a sim due to a restart with this latest series of updates.  I have had a couple TP's fail which might be related to sims being restarted..........but a 5 minute wait solved that issue.  You want to know when and why.  You are told when and why on the grid status site........what more do you want?  How long this upgrading session is going to last?  That answer is what it's always been.........for the foreseeable future.

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Oh Im sorry Peggy, I didnt realise it was my fault for rushing out buy a new puter. So sorry. I guess I missed the email telling me to go shopping. Seriously, you do raise quite an interesting point. Keeping the hardware and software in balance. Seems to me in practice the two sort of leapfrog each other, However it is one thing to say - to get these shiny new features you need new hardware. That gives me the choice of saying "no, thank you". (Case in point iOS 5 and iPhone 3GS ... it seems to use iOS5 you really need iPhone 4 if you dont want lag. IF I should decide to use, say, iCLoud, I can make a decision to spend the money. Meanwhile, Apple gives the choice of continuing to use my existing phone and software without disruption) It is quite another to say "to continue doing what you have been doing just fine ... you now need ujpgrade hardware:. I think in the past when there have been these big upheavals weve known what it was for. You have suggested that in fact OS upgraddes means server upgraded. But thise have been sxchedule on a regular basis and (if we go look) we can find out whats going on. I dont have the data but Im pretty sure most sims are being hit repeatedly these last couple of weeks.

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Oh yes, its Beta. Silly me. Can anyone direct me to bank where I can get Beta Dollars ;) (sorry just in a ratty mood this morning after my attempt to run some yacht races this morning).

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I give up.......enjoy your bitch fest.  LL would not perform updates if there was no reason to perform updates.  You have no rights to LL plans for the grid.  You can stick it out or you can choose another route.  It won't change with the bitch fest..........hasn't in the past and won't in the future.  Grow up and accept that you cannot change what LL does with their platform..........no more so than you can change with Apple does with their smart phones and operating systems used to make those phones work.  Jump off when you get tired of it........not hard at all.

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Yes I am venting a bit as I said due SL being unusable this morning, I think I said that. Dont think its just me though ... the whole sailing community is pretty pissed off at the moment and Im guessing its not just our commuinity... Paggy is right I can jump off. And perhaps thats what we all need to do. Not sure what that does to LL business plan. And probably correct that I have no "rights" to LL plans for the grid. I probably have no "rights" either for delivery of acceptable service levels, no "rights" for explanations or apologies when service is below par. Heres a rhetoricla question: Does LL actually know what % complete they are at on this particular round of upgrades? If they do, why can it not be shared? If they don't ... I guess I have no "right" to comment on that.

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@Peggy

"Privy to a Private company's plans"?  No, of course not!  But I DO, as a user, expect a service provider, which is what Linden Lab, at its most basic, is, to give a reasoned estimate of the time of withdrawal of a service.  I do not contest their right to withdraw it, but I do expect to be treated with more consideration and respect than currently is the case.

"For the forseeable future" is an empty statement.  A simple "Yes they are finished", or "No we have more work to do", is all that is required.  It is NOT too much to expect.

The statements given on the Status Page vary with the competence and motivation level of the posting technician.  As I have said many a time and oft, what LL need there is someone with genuine communication skill, something they singularly lack.

Linden Lab created SecondLife, we use it, I'm not sure that ANYONE understands it!

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Peggy, when you first responded, I thought you'd confused the upgrading of the OS running on the server-hardware with the routine weekly upgrades of the sim-server code. The sim-server code upgrades we can, mostly, work with. We can easily check whether or not a region has been through the upgrade process. Oskar tries to keep us informed.

The OS upgrade has afflicted us nearly every day, and we have no way of telling whether we're in a safe place. The status messages are barely adequate as a consequence, and they're the only information we are getting.

I suspect they have finished the process. Is it so unreasonable that we should complain when the schmucks responsible don't bother to tell us?

Peggy, there's all sorts of pop-psychology about computer techs, and, by golly, you're fitting the mould.

 

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So this is just a 14 post (well 15 with this one) rant that spanned 15 1/2 hours and it comes down to name calling because the people responsible for the grid platform are schmucks and anyone (me, I guess) who disagrees with both your logic and your contention is some pop-psychology computer tech (whatever the hell that means)?

---------------------------------------------

I suspect they have finished the process. Is it so unreasonable that we should complain when the schmucks responsible don't bother to tell us?

Peggy, there's all sorts of pop-psychology about computer techs, and, by golly, you're fitting the mould.

----------------------------------------------

You are not ever going to get an answer that would satisfy you.  If they told you it was over and next week something came up and some new upgrade or update was required you would start another rant........"the schmucks are at it again"  or some such crap.  If they told you it was going to end November 1 this year you would whine about it taking too long.  If they told you they just didn't know because it's more involved and complicated than antisipated, you would restate the schmuck comment with the addition of morons.

 

Anyone who has an inkling of the complexity of the SL platform would understand that there is no hard and fast time line for anything.  They would know that the recent additional features added and the introduction of mesh to the grid is a big change that is bound to produce unexpected issues.  They would know that the causes for the issues is not always the code but is sometimes the OS being used.  Oh I know your answer to that.......better testing.  Yep, that would do it but, again, anyone who knows how complex programs are will also know many problems do not show up until the program goes live.........mesh has been in the works for a couple years and has been tested extensively (it appears it might have some problems).  How long should something be tested?  Until it's 100% problem free?  That's never going to happen and you know it.  Yet you will argue that it should.  You're not going to be satisfied no matter what LL does.  You called them names and you called me names............you showed your colors and purpose of your rant.

 

And it didn't solve a damned thing.........you didn't get your answer.  And I don't think you are happy.  Big waste of time, huh.  I know I feel I've wasted my time with you.

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OS does mean Operating System and in this case that means Linux. We have been tracking a performance issue for more than a year that we were able to determine was not in our simulator code but in the linux kernel itself. The only thing we could do was upgrade the OS. This takes significantly longer than just updating the simulator code on the servers. This requires that each machine be reimaged with the new operating system. The upgrades are now done and were done earlier than we expected so that is a good thing.

The issue that this upgrade intended to fix was called the TIMEWARP. This was where an entire server would become unresponsive for many seconds in a row and log everyone off. The server wouldn't crash though but it would look like it had crashed because it kicked everyone off. It has been a horrendous issue for support and everyone whose region experienced it. 

__Oskar

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@Oskar

Thankyou, Oskar, for your clear and concise explanation.  I, for one, am much wiser as a result, and the comments you make about TIMEWARP chime very well with our experiences on our home sim.

I also did not know that Linux was your OS, though it makes perfect sense that it should be.

I wish all Linden Lab staff were as clear in their communication as yourself, there'd be a lot less venting in these threads, I suspect (though some folks just like a good old rant, I think!)

There were some oddities in terms of enormous spikes of low TD and high ping times which were not at the UK end of the chain last UK evening, about 9:30pm BST, but they appear to be gone so I guess it was just the last knockings.

Once again, Oskar, thankyou.

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Sorry i am German and my English isnt that well.....

I am using a Mac with Lion now on it and SL worked well with it. But since some days its working, except all my

friends all the time hang on with "loading"..... i cant IM them, see no profile etc....

Is it because of the updates?

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I agree entirely. Id also like to know where the sim is that has hardly ever crashed or howevver Peggy expressed it. Im in no way getting at her opinion, it just seems her SL experience is a lot better than mine (and my sailing friends). Nalates has a good web site, which Ive just discovered that is very informative. But we shouldnt have to rely on provate individuals or go hunting around for basic information of the kind you mention, We need more short, but informative and helpful explanations like Oskars up fornt on the grid status page. ... THE OTHER IMPORTANT THING IS --- MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, THINGS ARE SETTLING DOWN. WE HAD SOME EXCELLENT RACING YESTERDAY AFTERNOON AFTER THE RESTARTS FINISHED. (admitedly in Sailors Cove not in Linden water). IF this is true - we should all give thanks; were quick enough to criticose we should be equaly quick to say THANK you. (I do so hope Im not going to regret saying that).

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Agreed. Oskar is one of the Lindens who gets it right.

Incidentally, I don't know often Linux kernels on servers get updated, as a matter of routine good practice. But I think this is the first OS upgrade I've seen in SL. That's just over two years, and I know the Linux on my netbook is only guaranteed two years of support. So I wasn't surprised that an OS upgrade was being done.

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