Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Firestorm Viewer Undergoes Emergency Update

By Bixyl Shuftan

Users of Firestorm are having to upgrade their viewers once again, at least those whom had just upgraded to the version before. Linden Lab informed Team Firestorm the viewer was causing them problems. So the team went to work on a new update in a hurry.

It was June 26 when Firestorm released version 4.4.1 of their viewer. Jessica Lyon told the users this was a mandatory upgrade due to it's Project Sunshine and its upcoming rolling out of server-side baking, or server-side appearance as it's being called now. Five days later, The Firestorm blog had some bad news.

According to Jessica, when the viewer was being beta-tested, it was made to "enable special data logging." This sent a sizable amount of information to Linden Lab's servers and user logs, "mainly avatar appearance debugging data and usage data."  Unfortunately, this feature wasn't turned off for when the viewer was released. The "usage" information was the bigger problem as the viewers were sending this information "every 30 seconds … instead of the usual 10 minutes. The result according to Linden Lab was their statistic servers were being overwhelmed. So Team Firestorm had to act fast.

Version 4.4.1 was removed from their downloads page right away. The team then went to work on a new version of the viewer with the feature for the extra data disabled. They stated it would be available on July 2 at latest. Later in the day, work on it was finished and it was made available as Version 4.4.2. Team Firestorm then began blocking the logins of Viewer 4.4.1s in service.

Those whom had yet to upgrade from 4.4.0 do not have to upgrade right away as their viewer wasn't blocked, at least not for a few days when Linden Lab's server side appearance goes into effect.  But it was recommended they make a "clean install," that is "clearing the settings from the hard drive, along with uninstalling the application and manually wiping the cache."

Jessica accepted responsibility for the error, "we screwed up, and because of our screw-up, thousands of you are going to need to upgrade yet again, only this time with little to no notice or choice whatsoever. We acknowledge this will be, at the least, very inconvenient to most of you and on behalf of myself and the entire Firestorm Team, we extend our deepest apologies."

"… we won't make this mistake again."

Various residents across the Grid also acted. Hearing about the emergency update, they spread the news, telling friends in-avatar as well as IMs, group chats, and group notices.

Jessica stated July 9 is when Linden Labs rolls out server side appearance. For those still using Phoenix, she urged them to upgrade to Firestorm, or use another Third-Party viewer that can handle this new way avatar data is processed. Otherwise for them, Second Life may become a very colorless place.

Source: Firestorm Blog

Bixyl Shuftan

1 comment:

  1. Heh. Big deal. In the old days we had pretty much weekly mandatory viewer updates, with each version being more broken than the one that came before it. And this mandatory Firestorm update doesn't require a clean install, as was mentioned by the Firestorm team themselves in yesterday's content creation user group meeting.