About Release Candidate viewers
Release Candidate (RC) viewers contain the latest bug fixes and new features that we believe are very close to release quality, but that we want Residents to try "in the wild" and report back any issues before we make it the official viewer download.
Release Candidate (RC) viewers are optional viewer downloads that you can opt-in to using. They contain the latest bug fixes and soon-to-be-released new features. Linden Lab believes these to be very close to release quality. This is your opportunity to test out the viewers BEFORE they are the official download of Second Life -- and let us know about anything we may have missed during our internal testing.
- RC viewers are available as optional downloads — they install completely separately from the primary viewer, so they are compatible to use one side-by-side with the other. You decide to opt in — or not.
- The Release Candidate connects to the main grid of the Second Life world; if you spend L$ here, it is for real!
Linden Lab has been offering Release Candidate viewers for over 1 year. In August 2007, we recognized that our frequent viewer updates — that often seemed to fix one thing and break two others — were causing Residents and Open Source developers a lot of frustration. To help address this and improve the release process (and hopefully overall quality), we started offering Release Candidate viewers.
RC viewers spend ~4-8 weeks in RC status before becoming the official download of Second Life. During this time, we import, triage and fix issues found by Residents (and Lindens).
- We closely monitor feedback and the public Issue Tracker (PJIRA).
- Bambers Linden hosts a weekly public triage inworld to review new issues and help decide which issues should be imported into our internal Issue Tracker.
- Once per week, we prepare another build of the RC viewer, test the new fixes, and make it available to the public for download.
- Wash-rinse-repeat until we're confident that we have a release quality viewer!
To be sure, there's room for improvement, but we've received positive feedback from our community. We seem to be headed in the right direction, gaining ground in increasing the quality and predictability of viewer releases.
Where can I download a Release Candidate?
You can get the current Release Candidate viewer from the Test Viewers section on our website downloads.
How can you help?
- Try out the RC viewer (download here) and report any reproducible issues you find in the Issue Tracker.
- Encourage other Residents to try out the RC viewer (but be sure to point them here so they know what it's all about).
- Search the Issue Tracker for existing issues before reporting a new issue.
- Comment on existing issues with your experience and vote for it!
- Issues marked as 'Fix Pending' means the fix is coming soon and will be included in an upcoming release.
And now for a little...
Release Candidate Q+A
Why is it called a 'Release Candidate' viewer?
As mentioned above, we consider these viewers to be release quality, but want to allow for feedback from our community before calling them a final release. Also see a general definition of "release candidate".
What's the usual uptake of RC viewers?
We've been seeing ~15% login rate/24hrs...not bad!
Has this process helped our confidence with new features?
Yes, we've been able to introduce new features during each RC. Residents have been able try out all of these additions to the viewer and report back to us. Some examples:
- 1.18.3 - We tried out new beacon behavior, then reverted it in subsequent RC release due to Resident feedback
- 1.18.4 - We introduced the new lag meter and new opt-in/opt-out checkboxes for forthcoming release of new inworld search
- 1.18.5 - We introduced the new inworld search via the 'All' tab
- 1.18.6 - We added preference settings for web browser proxy and added -loginpage option to client to specify the login page
How many iterations have there been for each release?
- For viewer 1.18.3 - 4 iterations
- 22.214.171.124 (RC0 on 29-Aug-2007)
- For viewer 1.18.4 - 3 iterations
- 126.96.36.199 (RC0 on 19-Oct-2007)
- For viewer 1.18.5 - 3 iterations
- 188.8.131.52 (RC0 on Tuesday, 2007-11-13)
- For viewer 1.18.6 - 4 iterations (so far!)
- 184.108.40.206 (RC0 on Wednesday, 2007-12-05)
- For viewer 1.19.1 - 5 iterations
- For viewer 1.20 - 14 iterations
- Well, that was a strange exception, with lots of iteration as we refocused efforts on stability (crash rate) and added new functionality with a new "Silver" skin of the User Interface.
- For viewer 1.21 - 6 iterations:
- Became a final 1.21.6
- For viewer 1.22 - 10 iterations:
- 1.22(8) - with new Voice features
Each iteration meant a more stable viewer in the final, official download!
How many bugs have we kept out of the primary viewer downloads?
For example, as of the 1.18.6 Release Candidate, a total of 68 bugs were fixed in 1.18.3, 1.18.4, 1.18.5, 1.18.6 Release Candidates.
In the 1.20 Release Candidate, a total of 114 bugs + 30 crash fixes were solved from 1.20(0) to 1.20(14).