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Gossips, rumours and assumptions (Mesh, v1 vs v2, etc) 
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3582
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Okay guys (and gals), I feel like I need to spend some time writing this message instead of programing, today...

I was pointed to several blogs and message boards today, after the Phoenix team announced that they would implement mesh support too, and I want to clear up some false assumptions, some worries, and put a stop to some rumours.

So, here we go, in the form of a FAQ:

  • Did Henri give his blessing to the Phoenix team for reusing his code ?
    Let's make things crystal clear, here: I'm no bishop and Open Source is not a religion. I don't need to give any "blessing" to anyone to reuse any Open Source code I produce. The Cool VL Viewer is a GPL viewer. Any TPV released under the GPL or a compatible license may reuse my code.
    Let's also say that I was made aware that Phoenix would reuse my mesh backport. Tonya Souther told me that Ansariel Hiller had been working on keeping up with the Cool VL Viewer, and Ansariel contacted me as well to let me know she was working on porting my mesh patches to Phoenix. Ansariel and I even had several IMs sessions about the mesh backport, its bugs, etc, and I helped her by replying her questions each time I could, while she helped me in return by pointing out some bugs (half of which were LL's code bugs, incidentally).
    So, nothing was done in my back and as long as I am credited for my work (which has been done in this case), I see nothing wrong with Phoenix "leeching" from the Cool VL Viewer.
    I will also point out that "my" backport is not actually "my only" code: 95% of the code in that backport is actually Lindens' code ! I didn't not implement mesh from scratch, I just ported the code from viewer v2/3 to the Cool VL Viewer, adapting it where needed so that it works flawlessly in the Cool VL Viewer, optimizing it and fixing a few bugs in LL's code.

  • How much time did the backport take ?
    I have seen weird numbers cited, so let's give the true numbers. The Cool VL Viewer v1.26.0.0 was published on 2011-05-08, and v1.26.1.0 on 2011-08-27, that is 3 months and a half later (and more accurately: 16 weekly releases later). v1.26.0.0 represented the very first step towards the mesh backport: nothing "meshy" involved, but just underlying libraries and classes that the mesh code would need or that would make the backport easier. The whole idea behind v1.26.0 was to bring more and more of the v2 viewer code into it till it would be ready to get mesh "transplanted".
    I did not start working on mesh sooner and in fact I only started working on the mesh backport itself (v1.26.1 branch) in mid-June. The reason is simple: the mesh beta viewers were moving targets and it was too soon to consider a backport that would still have a chance to work once LL would release mesh to the main grid.
    So, starting from mid-June, I tried backporting mesh to the Cool VL Viewer while still keeping the old v1 renderer (this would have made the Cool VL Viewer a real speed demon since it would have kept the faster v1 renderer with the added benefit of the SSE2 optimized math). I managed to get a couple of ports "working" (i.e. not crashing instantly), but there were too many graphic glitches and I am not experienced enough in 3D renderers coding to hope having a stable viewer in time for when mesh would go into production. At the end of August (which was my last week of summer vacation), I then switched into "berserk" mode and decided to just "bulldozer" the v2.6 mesh renderer into the Cool VL Viewer: this last part took me less than one week to achieve, but it was a week of hard work and I finally came up with v1.26.1.0 just in time when LL rolled out the mesh server version grid-wide.

  • What do you think about metaphors ?
    I think one must be really careful when using them... Jessica Lyon from the Phoenix team compared backporting mesh to "taking a diesel engine from a school bus and fitting it into a ford pinto".
    Well, no Jessica... It's more like replacing the battery and alternator of the car engine with newer, more powerful ones (ll* libraries), replacing the mechanical injection with an electronic one to make for the increased mechanical power demand from the alternator (v2 classes in the viewer code) then adding air conditioning to the car (mesh renderer). Nothing that would make the poor car into a weird hybrid vehicle.

  • Is the mesh backport the last twitch of dying v1 viewers ?
    Absolutely NOT !
    I intend to keep working on porting more and more of the v2/3 viewers code into the Cool VL Viewer so to keep up with the mandatory changes and new features. Plus, I'm not alone: Singularity is also following the same strategy.
    In fact, it is now a little weird to speak about "v1 vs v2", because the still maintained and working "v1" based TPVs have had a large part of their code already updated to v2's. In the Cool VL Viewer, pretty much all the underlying libraries (llmath, llprimitive, llcommon, llrender, llxml, llcharacter, llinventory, llplugin, llvfs, lscript, etc) and many classes are in fact almost exactly the same as in v2/3 viewers. And now, with the mesh backport done, the whole renderer is on par with v2.6's !... As time passes, the TPVs which have moved forward by adopting more and more v2/3 code will get easier to maintain and new features will be a piece of cake to implement (mainly just a matter of applying a patch coming from the v3 code repository and working out the UI related conflicts so to adapt the UI to v1's). From now on, it would be best speaking of "v1 UI viewers vs v2 UI viewers".

  • Won't it be easier to work from the v3 viewer code base and change the UI back to v1's ?
    There have been two strategies after LL released the v2 viewer, and I did consider both for many months. The first one was to stick with v1, backport every mandatory change and new feature from v2 (which back then looked intimidating), and the second one was to use the v2 code base and back out the UI changes one by one till the beloved v1 UI would be matched.
    Back then, I posted a message in the sldev mailing list, asking to LL if they would welcome UI changes that would make the (very much hated and criticized) v2 UI more v1-like. The reply I got was utterly arrogant and pretty stubborn, and you can guess a plain "no". I can understand that LL got pissed off that so few of their customers appreciated the work they paid for with v2, but "no" is definitely not an answer when dealing with angry customers !
    So, I took the only reasonable decision and forked the Snowglobe v1.5 code base to make it the Cool VL Viewer v1.25.0.
    Months later, I do not regret my decision the least, and in fact I proved and will keep proving that it was the right thing to do !
    If you look at TPVs that moved to the v2 code base, they lost like half of their user base (or half of their user base stick with their last v1 version) and even though they strive to get the UI to a workable/usable/functional state, they are still a loooooong way off this goal, while on the v1 TPVs side future shines brighter at each new backport, and the UI is still the one we love and cherish.
    Plus, v2/3 is plagued with two flaws: it's slower than v1 (mainly because of its bloated UI code), and it is incompatible with OpenSim grids... Correcting these flaws are almost as demanding as correcting the UI, doubling the development time and requirements !


2011-09-21 10:47:57
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Joined: 2011-09-22 14:40:29
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Henri, I wish you the best of success with your viewer. I think you've bitten off more than you think, but time will tell.

I do have to correct one thing, though:

Firestorm is fully OpenSim compatible, thanks to the work of Armin Weatherwax, who contributed a bunch of code to Firestorm to make it happen.


2011-09-22 14:44:04
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3582
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Tonya Souther wrote:
Henri, I wish you the best of success with your viewer. I think you've bitten off more than you think, but time will tell.
I'll just have to prove you wrong on that point, like I already did in the past and now with mesh... ;P

Quote:
I do have to correct one thing, though:

Firestorm is fully OpenSim compatible, thanks to the work of Armin Weatherwax, who contributed a bunch of code to Firestorm to make it happen.
I never said anything about Firestorm and OpenSim, I only spoke about LL's v2/3 viewers. It's however good to know that someone did the necessary work to make v2/3 OpenSim-compatible. Let's hope LL will adopt the changes for their own viewer...


2011-09-22 15:31:09
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Joined: 2011-12-30 03:02:31
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Location: Corporate-Fascist States of America
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The Firestorm-Phoenix people keep claiming that Viewer 1 is going away any day now, that it's just a matter of time, that Linden Lab plans to turn off server side functionality for Viewer 1. Since no date is ever given, and indications are that Linden Lab is still reluctant to take this step considering half the grid still uses viewers such as Phoenix, Singularity, Cool VL, Rainbow, and other Viewer 1 UI viewers, I'm hesitant to believe anything the Firestorm obsessives say. What is your opinion?


2011-12-30 03:10:16
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Joined: 2011-03-09 13:18:17
Posts: 40
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If it helps,

I watched a video of Rodvik at SCC in summer-ish of 2011 where he specifically stated that they would NOT be turning off v1.x access - just that they would NOT be updating the 1.x viewer themselves, so their version would not be kept up with the new features - that would be the responsibility of the TPV coders.


2011-12-30 06:50:51
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
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Again, there is NO WAY for Linden Lab to prevent "v1" viewers to connect, especially since so-called "v1" viewers are no more v1 under the hood (for example, the Cool VL Viewer supports HTTP texture fetching, web map tiles, new search engine, web profiles, etc...). Should Linden Lab turn off legacy services in the future, the Cool VL Viewer would still be able to connect and would run just fine !

This said, I doubt *very much* LL would turn off such services any time soon when a third of their regular user base is still using v1.23 or SG v1.4... LL does a lot of stupid things, but I don't think they are suicidal.

So, do NOT listen to the FUD that some people are spreading just because they don't want to admit they are incompetent (most of these people don't even know how to code properly, if at all) or that they made a mistake adopting the v2 UI for their own viewer.


2011-12-30 09:50:14
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Joined: 2011-09-27 11:18:31
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/me bows, claps and smiles.

The voice of reason indeed!


2011-12-30 13:38:45
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Joined: 2011-12-30 03:02:31
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Location: Corporate-Fascist States of America
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Henri Beauchamp wrote:
Again, there is NO WAY for Linden Lab to prevent "v1" viewers to connect, especially since so-called "v1" viewers are no more v1 under the hood (for example, the Cool VL Viewer supports HTTP texture fetching, web map tiles, new search engine, web profiles, etc...). Should Linden Lab turn off legacy services in the future, the Cool VL Viewer would still be able to connect and would run just fine !

This said, I doubt *very much* LL would turn off such services any time soon when a third of their regular user base is still using v1.23 or SG v1.4... LL does a lot of stupid things, but I don't think they are suicidal.

So, do NOT listen to the FUD that some people are spreading just because they don't want to admit they are incompetent (most of these people don't even know how to code properly, if at all) or that they made a mistake adopting the v2 UI for their own viewer.


Alright, I just wanted to confirm that Jessica Lyon and her team are deliberately lying to people. Thanks for the info.


2011-12-31 15:00:48
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Joined: 2011-09-27 11:18:31
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It's obvious they do, really. Or rather, that they begin from the false assumption that features depend on the gui. That a viewer is defined by its gui (image) rather than its features (content). They could, very simply, say "this is the looks we chose for our viewer, take it or leave it".

I myself don't mind the FS gui (which is between v1 and v2), but the bugs that are still there in their "stable" version.


2011-12-31 16:40:40
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Joined: 2011-12-30 03:02:31
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Location: Corporate-Fascist States of America
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g0rd0ngrfr33mailgr wrote:
It's obvious they do, really. Or rather, that they begin from the false assumption that features depend on the gui. That a viewer is defined by its gui (image) rather than its features (content). They could, very simply, say "this is the looks we chose for our viewer, take it or leave it".

I myself don't mind the FS gui (which is between v1 and v2), but the bugs that are still there in their "stable" version.


Tell me about it. Their every response is either "file a JIRA report and don't complain about it on the blog", or "it works just fine on OUR computers", or some placing of blame on the user's computer. Now, truth be told, I haven't experienced any noticeable glitches with Phoenix except the annoying tendency not to load half my gestures and the inability to see who is in group chat half the time. But those could be attributed to SL bugs, I imagine. And let's face it, with so many people experiencing the same bugs and glitches, it can't all be people's computers. It's not the computers — it's the bugs and glitches inherent in the program itself, things the programmers don't seem to have the talent to work out.


2011-12-31 16:47:17
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