Tying up some loose ends

The last few weeks have been spent tying up some loose ends in and around the grid. 

One corner of the Conference Center was still standing empty and barren so something had to be done about it. A bar desk and cozy lanterns was made and the icing on the cake was a very nice looking grand piano that was licensed for use on the grid. It all came together quite nicely in the end. 

Presence is everything

A number of software issues that prevented the grid from working properly was sorted out by updating the database tables in the PostgreSQL database – tables and driver software that had been badly neglected compared to the MySQL counterpart that most grids are based on. By fixing the Presence service - the piece of software that tells who is logged on to the grid, who is visiting and where they are, made a number of pieces fall in place and the grid and visitors are so much happier. You can even visit with a 64-bit viewer without being kicked to the ground. 

There is still an issue with IM sent to someone who is offline, and the same type of issue exist with placing classifieds. The good thing is the root cause has been identified, so a work-around can be found.

Building a better Mac viewer

In many ways the Mac version of the viewers has been the step-child of both Linden Labs and most developers of third party viewers (TPV). The reason being the Mac has been seen as inferior for use with “games” by many – which there is a good deal of truth to as Apple never focused on that part of the market segment. The success of iOS devices as game machines is in the process of changing this also on OS X where OS X 10.11 will bring very many improvements for developers in this area. 

Another important aspect is that while the first generation viewers were built with largely the same tools and code as the Linux version of the viewer so code sharing was easy, and the viewer could be built without having access to a Mac. 

When Apple moved from a 32-bit architecture to 64-bit in OS X 10.7 not only did they change toolset moving to the Clang compiler, but all the system frameworks moved to Objective-C – a coding environment completely unknown to developers rooted in Windows and Linux tools. 

For a while it was possible to keep the Mac version of the viewers alive by using the dated development tools, but it became increasingly difficult, so Linden Labs finally got their act together and did some necessary cleanup to the code so at least it would compile with the Clang compiler. For the TPV developers the transition has been painful, and most of them have dropped development of a Mac version. 

When Nicky made the decision to move the Kokua viewer to Linden Lab’s codebase, but no longer was able to build the Mac version, I offered help to get it built. 

The Kokua viewer has steadily been added to with solid support of features and bug fixes from the SecondLife viewer, but the developer has also been very forthcoming and persistent in fixing often complicated issues affecting OpenSim use. – This without making a clutter of the usability or piling on functionality that very few use. 

With the latest version finished just a few days ago, the Kokua viewer is much more useful than the SecondLife viewer with enhanced building tools, but it also brings the same great feature set and stability to users of OpenSim.  For Mac users – and I am biased – this is the only viewer to consider if you use OpenSim! For everyone else too. 

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