While the developers of the Phoenix and Firestorm viewer celebrate the new addition to their team and Firestorm’s new position in on the Third Party Viewer Directory, it is hinted that there might be some issues with the continuation of the Phoenix Viewer. According to the Second Life blog of the leader developer, the future of Phoenix and other Viewer 1 based viewers may be at risk with the additions to the system by Linden Labs. She states:
Oz said that we should plan for two to six months; I don’t know if that estimate is better than Linden Lab’s historic estimates (which tend to be optimistic), but we should plan on their being accurate.
The result of the final cutover to the new HTTP library is that the viewer won’t be able to communicate. The result of the server-side bake is that viewers that don’t handle it will simply see grey avatars, with no way to fix them.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of warning before the switch gets flipped. Oz committed to giving us at least two months’ notice, unless he is unable to convince higher ups that they need to give us that after making a decision to switch faster. There’s not a lot he can do in that case.
When it does, though, viewers that have not been updated will simply refuse to work. 1.23 will not be updated, and this will spell the end of it on Second Life. Older versions of all other viewers will also stop working. Viewers that are not actively maintained will die off.
–Tonya Souther, Phoenix Third Developer
She continues to say, that in her opinion she expects that the only V1 based viewer that will survive this will be Singularity, if it is maintained by it’s developer, Siana Gearz. The same can not be said for the developer of CoolVL, Henri Beauchamp, she states that it will be interesting to see how he works around the new features, since he has a strong dislike for some of the current features and he has tried his best not to implement them into the viewer.
The main question that will be asked is whether or not this will affect Phoenix viewer, for this Tonya states:
Phoenix is a more interesting question. Just in case there’s any doubt, what I’m about to say is my own personal opinion, and not that of the Phoenix Viewer Project. The group has not made any decisions yet.
To me, it’s time to say that we are not going to put any more effort into Phoenix.
Yes, that’s right. As far as I’m concerned, it’s time to put Phoenix to rest. The developers don’t like working in the codebase, as in many ways it’s an unmaintainable tissue of hacks, the support team barely remembers how to run it, and Firestorm now provides essentially all of the function Phoenix has and much more besides. There’s even a selectable interface that caters to Phoenix users. (If you are one of those, select Phoenix mode at the login screen. Have fun.)
I realize this will be an unpopular change, especially for folks who refuse to run Firestorm or any other V2/V3 viewer. However, there comes a point when making an old program run in a new environment simply isn’t feasible. We’re a volunteer project. There’s essentially nobody here who wants to keep putting effort into Phoenix any more. Firestorm does everything that Phoenix does. (Two exceptions: OTR IM encryption, which a small but very loud fraction of users want, and object import/export and some build tools that depend on it. I expect both to be in Firestorm by the time the incompatibility switches get flipped.)
To read the whole blog entry just head over to Tonya Souther’s blog,