[Update – 2008-03-12]
Based on Resident feedback and our acknowledgment that having more than one supported viewer version in use is beneficial, we’ve decided to push off the date that 1.19.0 will become the oldest supported viewer until the time Second Life 1.19.1 is released – 2-3 weeks from now. We expect 1.19.1 to be the most stable viewer so far, based on our new crash analysis data and focus on getting the crash rate down, but want to make sure that a choice of viewers is available. Once 1.19.1 is released, Residents will be prompted to upgrade, but download links to 1.19.0 will also be provided for users who may experience system compatibility issues.
. . . . . . . . .
Wednesday, March 12th, the 1.19.0 viewer will be required to access Second Life.
At this time, Residents using older versions of the viewer will be required to download an update when attempting to login.
- This does not affect the First Look: WindLight viewer, which is based on 1.19.0
- This does not affect the First Look: Dazzle viewer, which is based on 1.19.0
- This does not affect the 1.19.1 Release Candidate viewer expected to be available this week for initial testing
- Custom viewers built from older releases of the source code may be blocked, but only those which are reporting “Second Life Release” as the channel and a pre-1.19.0 version during the login process; a code update/re-compile may be necessary in those cases.
Read on for more details…
We are providing this notice in advance to ensure that all Residents have plenty of time to update, that any potential issues can be sorted out, and so that any facilities such as classrooms with pre-installed Second Life viewers can update in time. Our statistics show that of the production viewers provided by Linden Lab (i.e. not release candidates, first looks, etc), more than 60% of residents have already updated to 1.19.0. Only 10% of residents are still running viewers older than 1.18.5. We hope that this will not cause much of an inconvenience to those Residents running earlier versions.
As of March 5th 2008, the following main distribution channel viewers are supported:
- 1.19.0(5) – released March 3rd, 2008
- 1.18.5(3) – released November 29, 2007
- 1.18.4(3) – released November 7, 2007
- 1.18.3(5) – released September 28, 2007
- 1.18.2(1) – released September 19, 2007
Back in July 2007 with Second Life 1.18.0 we gained the capability to advance the client/server protocols in Second Life without requiring viewer updates. Since then, we have only required updates twice (here, here), in both cases due to security issues. This is in contrast to the roughly monthly required updates prior to July 2007.
We remain committed to making viewer updates optional when possible and requiring mandatory updates as infrequently as possible. Generally, a mandatory upgrade is required when:
- Security – where use of a viewer puts Residents at risk. Such an issue compelled us to block 1.18.0 and 1.18.1 viewers and issue the 1.18.2(1) update.
- Support – supporting older viewers puts a burden on our support teams; many issues reported by residents are fixed in newer viewer versions
- Consistent experience – for example, if we add new permission capabilities or LSL functions, older viewers would be unable to display or compile these; an action could be blocked with no feedback as to why
- Advancing the platform – to solve certain problems (bugs, scaling, etc) it may be necessary to change or modify the client/server protocols. While we have the capability to support older versions of the viewer with newer versions of the server, this often hinders development or requires server-side inefficiency which we would prefer to limit.
The decision to make Second Life 1.19.0 a required update is not taken lightly. Besides the over 500 issues resolved since the last required update, some of the more compelling reasons include:
- Improved crash reports and viewer statistics – 1.19.0 introduces a new crash reporting mechanism that will make fixing crashes much easier
- Support for moderation within group chats – an upcoming feature which requires that all viewers support the new infrastructure, already built into the 1.19.0 viewer
- Voice support – eliminate problems with mixing voice from older and newer viewer versions
- Elimination of nuisance exploits – e.g. ability to force users to teleport when profile is opened
- Require updated QuickTime libraries to avoid security issues