What is a Third-Party Viewer (TPV)?
A Third-Party Viewer (TPV) is a piece of software created by individuals or groups other than Linden Lab which is used to access the Second Life service. Examples include chat clients, programs to operate automated accounts (bots), or full-scale clients to interact with the Second Life service in much the same way that the official Second Life Viewer operates.
Many Third-Party Viewers are listed in the Viewer Directory on the Second Life Wiki. Viewers listed in the directory must obey the Linden Lab Policy on Third-Party Viewers, which includes provisions to protect privacy and intellectual property rights.
I have a problem. Is it my viewer, or is it the service?
Identifying the source of a performance problem can sometimes be difficult. Problems can exist in the viewer, which runs on your computer, or with the service that the viewer connects to, including the servers and network infrastructure that run Second Life's virtual world.
One relatively simple way to determine the source of a problem is to try to reproduce the issue on a different viewer. If a problem exists on two or more different viewers, either a Third-Party Viewer or the official Second Life Viewer, the issue is probably with the service or the network connection between your viewer and service -- both viewers connect to the same service by the same internet connection. If the problem continues to exist after switching viewers, this points to a problem in something those two viewers share -- in this case, the service or the connection.
If only one of the viewers has the issue, then the problem is with the viewer and you should seek support from the organization that created that viewer.
Does this mean I have to switch viewers to get support?
You do not need to switch viewers in order to get support from Linden Lab. Our support staff frequently suggests to Residents experiencing performance problems that they should attempt to replicate the problem using a different viewer -- ideally, one that is significantly different from the one they are currently using. In most cases, we offer the official Second Life Viewer as an alternative because it is the most heavily documented and tested viewer available to our team for troubleshooting purposes.
Switching viewers is a temporary diagnostic action; once the source of the problem is identified, Residents should be able to continue using their usual viewer of choice.
If the performance problem is related to the Second Life service, a network issue, or can be reliably reproduced on multiple viewers, the Second Life support team can provide assistance. Often the quickest way to receive assistance with a performance issue is to visit our Support Portal for tutorials, Second Life Answers, and our Knowledge Base.
I have a problem that occurs on a specific Third-Party Viewer. What can I do?
Most Third-Party Viewer developers are extremely passionate and active about maintaining their work, and many offer support services for their viewer and code. Many TPVs are updated with bug fixes on a regular basis and developers frequently encourage feedback and bug reports to help improve their projects.
The Viewer Directory has links to many of the developers' websites, which are the best place to find information specific to a Third-Party Viewer's issues. Many developer websites have forums, specific email addresses, and lists of known issues. Residents who prefer a Third-Party Viewer experience are encouraged to check their developer's website frequently for updates and important information.
The Phoenix Firestorm project is a Third-Party Viewer developer whose primary goal is to improve the Second Life user experience with new features while extending usability, functionality and flexibility of the Viewer 3 code base.
Their website at http://www.phoenixviewer.com/ has updates to current events, new features, and announcements of upcoming changes which may affect their users.
They offer a support page for their viewer at http://www.phoenixviewer.com/support.php as well as information about how to contact volunteers and support staff inside Second Life and through their website.
Contacting Second Life Support
Many issues can be resolved by Residents themselves at the Second Life Support Portal -- often the quickest answers come from other experienced and helpful Residents through Second Life Answers or the Community Forums. When more in-depth support is required, the Second Life Support team is here to assist.
When contacting Support, please be sure to include what steps you've already taken to address the problem. When filling out a Support case, please be as thorough and specific as possible in order to assist the Support Team in providing you with the help you need.
To contact Support, please follow the instructions in the article: How to contact customer support.
Edited by Jeremy Linden
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