Thursday, September 5, 2013

Resident Resource - Server Releases

This tutorial is available at: Resident Resource - Server Releases

It often happened at class that, when I mentioned "the last server releases have added this or that feature", many didn't know even where to start looking for that information. Since it's good for everybody knowing how to check the last server releases, the text that follows is the explanation I used to give when asked. I have updated it to make it current for September 2013.

I'll go in a moment for all the pages related to the server releases, but this is important for you to know. At times you may hear "this feature is working only in LeTigre servers", or "Magnum servers are the ones supporting it for now". This means that, currently, not all the grid has the feature active, but only some sims of it.

How do we know, which kind of server is hosting our sim? In order to know which server you are in right now, simply, go to the help menu of your viewer, and select an option which is normally called "About [your viewer]" (for example, Firestorm users read "About Firestorm" under the "Help" menu).

This brings up a window which should show, on the top paragraphs, something that reads like this:

You are at 212355.0, 271013.0, 508.0 in Casablanca Estates located at (
Second Life Server

This information is what tells us in which server we are.

It means that the server hosting the sim is
, and that the version used of the server is:

Second Life Server

The numbers begin by telling us the date of the last update: 13.09.05, this is, year 13 (2013), month 09 (September), day 05 (so, five). The following number, 280639, helps us to identify the update if we're checking the release notes (links follow). Then, the words before the numbers tell us what kind of server is. This one is a "Second Life Server". Are there others? Yes, there are. As of September 2013, these are all the kind of servers we have:

With the exception of "Second Life Server", the rest of them are known as "RC Channels", "RC" meaning "Release Candidate", and they have a specific purpose.

When a big update is coming, like for example Mesh, or recently Server Side Appearance (SSA), once all the tests in the beta grid Aditi are complete, they aren't rolled to the whole main grid at once. Instead, the changes begin to be rolled in one (or more) of the RC servers.

The reason is this: if the upgrade makes the regions to crash, or causes other critical issues, it is easier to roll back those changes and focus in fixing the code. Whatever the damage caused has been, it didn't affect to the full extent of the SL population, but only, at most, to the people online in that RC channel when it happened. Those disaster cases aren't common anyway, but this is an approach to make sure that a big change is not going to harm everybody and all the rezzed content. First a small percentage of the servers have the big change rolled. If nothing breaks, then another RC channel gets the changes in, and once all the major bugs have been fixed, the big change is rolled to the rest of the grid, which are the "Second Life Server".

(Actually, this approach is followed basically for any update they want to roll to the grid, but the previous cases make easier to understand why this approach instead of rolling to the entire grid, at once.)

So, if when using the "Help: About [viewer]" feature of your viewer, you read the following:

You are at 254848.0, 256896.0, 1.0 in Miramare Bay located at (
Second Life RC BlueSteel

Now you know you're in a Blue Steel server, and by using the links in the previous list, now you know how to get to read the corresponding release notes page, to see what's new in there :-)

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