In addition to Second Life, the main service that many thousands of residents log into each day, there is a second grid open to the public. This grid is known as the Preview Grid, or “Aditi” (in comparison with “Agni”, the name we give the production Second Life environment). Aditi is where we test server software that is under development, or that will be coming to Second Life soon. After being dedicated to pre-release testing of the Havok4 physics code for many months, we are again beginning to use it for true server beta tests. It will give all of you a chance to test at the server software we’re planning to deploy to Agni in the near future.
What We Do with the Preview Grid
The Preview Grid is used for a number of different things. This means that there, much more frequently than in Second Life, you will find that as you move from one region to another, you will be moving to regions that are running a different version of the server software. To get the most of the Preview Grid, you need to know where you are.
How do I know what version is running on the region I’m in?
Some regions have a “channel name” imprinted into the ground over and over again. If the ground texture doesn’t make it obvious, look at “About Second Life” in the help menu. There, you will see a wealth of information about your own system, as well as about the server software that the region you are in is running. The image below shows you where in the help dialog to find the channel the region you’re in is running. (Just to the right of that is the version.)
The most important information in the image here is “Second Life Server”; that’s the channel that you’re on. The version number is also important, but the biggest changes you will see are between different channels.
Reporting Bugs or Problems
This will vary depending on the channel of the region, and on the state of the release. If you find problems in the “Second Life Beta Server” channel before that version has been deployed to the main Second Life service, please use our Issue Tracker to check to see if that problem has already been reported, and to report it if not. When reporting a problem, please give as much information as possible: what region you were in, exactly what you did and what behavior you saw, when it happened, and the version of both your viewer software and of the server software running in the region where you saw the problem.
In general, you will use the same procedure for problems found on regions in other channels, but sometimes those channels are being used for a focused test by other developers.
What is on the Preview Grid
We will be using Aditi for beta testing of the next server version, but we will also be using it for early previews of software that isn’t going to be on Second Life right away, and for some specific public testing of bug-fixes being worked on by some teams of developers.
The regions on Aditi are divided into different channels. There will always be two core channels:
Second Life Production Server : this has the same version of the software as is running on the main Second Life hosts. This exists for purposes of comparison. Sometimes, it will have the *previous* release, right after a new server has been deployed to Second Life.
Second Life Beta Server : this channel is designated for the version of the server we’re planning on next deploying to Second Life in a rolling restart. Generally, after a new server version is deployed to Second Life, it will be at least a few days before the next beta version goes out to Aditi.
At the time of this blog post, the Second Life Beta Server channel has server version 1.22, which is tentatively planned for a deploy to Second Life the week of May 26.
In addition, there are a few other channels:
Legacy Havok1 Server : these few regions have an old version of the Server left over from before Second Life was upgraded to Havok4. It exists so that we may, where needed, test the behavior of objects that may have changed with the new physics engine.
Physics Beta : these regions are used by the Havok4 team as they continue to improve and fix the physics code.
Mono : these regions are used by the team that is building the new scripting infrastructure for Second Life.
How do I log in to Aditi?
You can use the same Second Life viewer you already use to log into Second Life! At the login screen, hit CTRL-SHIFT-G. At the bottom of the screen to the right of the “Quit” button, you will see a dropdown widget that allows you to select the grid that you want to log in to:
Select “Agni” to log into Second Life. Select “Aditi” to log into the Preview Grid. (A number of other grids are listed in this dropdown. These are internal development grids which are not available for public access.)
Be aware, however, that with the standard Second Life Viewer, you will not be able to compile scripts in the Mono region. If you want to test your scripts under Mono, you will need to download a special viewer viewer. You can find this special version under the heading “Beta Viewers” on the “Test Viewers” section of our downloads page.
Aditi has a copy of the database from Agni. We refresh this database typically every few months. If your account is very new, you may not be able to log into Aditi. Once you do log into Aditi, you will have all of the inventory that you have at the time when you first log in. However, new items acquired in Second Life will not be available to your account in Aditi. In no event will you be able to transfer money or objects back from the Preview Grid for use in the production Second Life environment.
NOTE: At the moment, because of a bug, the first time you log in to aditi you have to specify the region you will log in to. Under the Edit menu, select Preferences:General, and choose “show start location on login screen”. Then type the region name “Ahern” into the start location box. After the first time you log in, subsequent logins should be fine.