On January 14, at about 12:30 PM SL time, Phoenix viewer was removed from the Third Party Viewer Directory at Jessica Lyon’s request. The Phoenix Firestorm Team, Inc., officially dropped support for the Phoenix Viewer at the end of 2012; the reasons for which were summarized completely by Jessica herself. This should come as no surprise, since Linden Lab has been saying for years that they were going to shut down Viewer 1 services, and of course Jessica announced that Phoenix would be affected. They were pretty much empty threats until now.
What you might not recall are these little facts:
- Linden Lab stopped developing their own Viewer 1 in November 2009.
- Linden Lab stopped supporting Viewer 1 in early 2010.
- Linden Lab removed Viewer 1 from their download site in mid 2012.
- Imprudence Viewer has not been updated since October 2011.
Other facts specific to Phoenix are addressed by Jessica.
So here’s where the team and hopefully its users are headed:
- The most stable viewer of all time is Firestorm. It has held that record since July 2012. This might not mean much to you if it constantly crashes, but overall it is the best performing viewer available.
- Firestorm has a Phoenix mode, which basically makes a lot of the default settings and viewer skin look and act like Phoenix. This may also make it easier to create more skins like Phoenix and other V1 viewers had (skinning a V2/V3 viewer can make you go bald from all the hair-pulling you’ll be doing).
- The team have a new web page, renamed its groups and is more committed than ever to providing its users the best-programmed, best-supported viewer for Second Life and Open Simulator.
- With the new server-side baking that Linden Lab are developing, there may soon be a day when no one suffers from bake failure, which is almost always some sort of communication breakdown (apologies to Led Zeppelin). The down side to that is, no “release” viewer today will render baked textures when SSB makes its debut on the main grid. This means if you’re using a viewer today, its time is limited, and you will absolutely have to download and install a new viewer or live with seeing nothing but gray people.
- The Firestorm team are working hard on two much-requested features: Installs that do not require wiping of settings; settings backup and restore from a panel in the viewer (because settings corruption can still occur if the viewer crashes.
- The Firestorm team are also working on a less-requested but still desired feature, the ability to patch an existing installation without the need to do a complete release/reinstallation. This is a first for any viewer, and they hope it will allow bugs to be fixed more quickly than at every release.
The team is also aware that these decisions don’t sit well with any of the current Phoenix users. But that’s the way of technology. I mean, how many people are still using Windows 98? Or dial telephones?