Black Dragon is MY Viewer, i decide which feature i want to add and which to remove, i share this Viewer to show the world that user base size is not important, i do rate quality by effort, thought and love put into the project, not some rough estimated numbers. I consider feature requests only if i you can name proper valid reasons i can agree on. It is my (unpaid) time i'm putting into this project, i'm not here to cater to every Joe's desires.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

About quitting development #2

I thank you for the feedback so far but i feel the need to continue on and talk quite a bit more about it.

I can see a "pattern" here with all these messages i'm getting, it seems that the title "quitting" development might bring up the guess that i am also going to leave Second Life, maybe it's just because i said i'm losing interest in Second Life. I am not leaving. You make it sound like i do, i'm not going to, don't worry. I will still be there, doing my usual stuff, i'll still be in my group, listening, you will still be able to IM me, send me mails, comment on my blog etc. I will NOT leave Second Life, so before you jump off any bridge or something, please read and think about it again. All i'm saying is that i'm going to have a lot less time for the Viewer, i'll still be working on it from time to time, merging stuff, doing small 10 second changes (like the update that will wait at the end of this post, as well as the previous bugfix one). It will just be a lot less ... uhm... "advertising" updates. 

I can't say less advertising the Viewer since i do not actively advertise it in any direct way, if anything i try to avoid giving people the name of my Viewer, i hate manipulation. Users shouldn't be told which Viewer is the best, especially not if they are new. I'm not joking when i say i saw people (actual mentors) on Help Islands and more specifically on "German Newbie Center" over at virtual germany (search for Goethe to find my homepoint and then walk north to get to virtual germany) tell people that they cannot help them if they don't use Firestorm. Forcing them into a pre-determined shoe just to offer help, ultimately ending up manipulating them by telling them "everyone uses Firestorm" and "Firestorm is the best Viewer". That made me so angry that i went asshole-mode in open on those guys and told them that this is absolutely unacceptable behavior, just to be told off with "you have no right to tell me how to do my work". I ended up in a very long discussion of why this is wrong and why they think i'm not allowed to tell them that they are doing a piss poor job at helping people. Telling someone to switch Viewers to fix a problem should be one of the very last things if the asking one is new, more experienced Second Life users will most likely know that sometimes it is easier to switch Viewers to pinpoint issues to a certain Viewer or update of that Viewer. Nalates wrote an article about that kind of "troubleshooting" here. I do switch Viewers too, i install past updates to pinpoint an issue to a certain version if i know it is Black Dragon specific, otherwise i use the Linden Viewer to see if it is something that came from Linden Labs. Switching Viewers to troubleshoot is something entirely different than manipulatively directing someone to a certain Viewer and i will hate you for doing it. Stop doing it.

So what puts me into position of telling someone how he has to do his mentoring work? Common sense, my own experience in troubleshooting issues and supporting my users wherever and whenever i can. Hell, if i can't tell you what the problem is i will ask you for a teleport to have a look at your problem myself, that usually gives me enough insight to almost accurately pinpoint your issue almost immediately. I'm no way just doing support for my own Viewer, i help regardless of what Viewer you use, unless you are clearly in need of help for something Viewer specific. That is support, real support, not dodging work by saying that you can't help someone who's not using your Viewer.

Viewers. Second Life's unique approach to give people freedom and also Second Life's biggest problem. If i remember right, at some point Linden Labs had to go open source (not sure anymore why, i think it was because they included certain libraries with licencing that forced them to go open source), spawning quite a bunch of Viewers over time. I'm not against different Viewers, actually i like having a healthy amount of different Viewers doing different things, we do have multiple programs for different jobs too. It may sound stupid to you but i believe that having one mega program for everything wouldn't just be a total clusterfuck, it would be all kinds of crashy, slow and would probably be bad. There would be no other program for doing stuff because there is already one program that does everything. "Why is that bad?", why would it be bad if NVidia was the only GPU brand? Eh? Imagine you had to buy NVidia, they are a bit more pricey than AMD but i think it is well worth it, now imagine what would happen if there was no competition, NVidia would in an absolute monpoly, they could do (or more importantly not do) whatever they want. Pricey you say? How about the same GPU just more expensive, how about the next GPU being just a very slightly (if at all) improved version of the previous one for a massive chunk of money? Hah, no competitors means no reason to push development into any specific way. Back to Viewers, the same applies here too, our situation is just a bit more... quirky, there are all these Viewers out there, most of them have their own purpose (or had) to some degree, but there is no real competition... other than... you guessed right, Firestorm! "Ohboy, this is going to be a hate rant of Niran again", i can see it in your eyes, no, just no. I have my personal reasons to hate Firestorm and i have more than tried to explain these in the past, i can't, they are too many, they sit way too deep, are super deeply inter-connecting with each other and sometimes don't even make sense, but that is not the topic here. Firestorm is the ultimate multi-purpose Viewer for everyone. That's exactly the issue right there, it is everything, it is nothing, it is the start and the end. Second Life starts at Firestorm and ends with it again. This is no good at all because Firestorm does in some really weird way not act as competition to the Linden Viewer, it simply outweighs the Linden Viewer without any questions, the same happens with other Viewers, they are not having a healthy competition against Firestorm (and most of them probably don't even want to, just like i do), they are fighting a hopeless fight against themselves trying to survive, not letting effort outweigh reward. There are exceptions to this, i would imagine Singularity competing against Firestorm in some way as both Viewers somewhat fill the same role of a multi-purpose Viewer. Everyone else doesn't at all. You can tell me what you want but a healthy competition in between more or all Viewers would be a gain for everyone, especially the user. If i had to compete against someone else focused on graphics this competition would quickly end up in a 1 FPS slideshow, just imagine what cool new features that could spawn. Back when Exodus was active, i had all hands full with keeping up with them and if you look back at that time you will notice that i was massively more active back then, pushing one update after another, trying to come up with new stuff. Exodus now long inactive and (can i say it?) dead sleeping until the oh-so announced big repo is done, poses no more threat to my Viewer, therefor i lost all competition, i'm literally alone here, i could do whatever i want to, force it upon you if you desire to use a graphics focused Viewer, i could totally go rampant. Yet i am not, i have no reason to, there is no one telling me "hey look i did this better than you" which somewhat poisons the Viewer development. Ahem back to Firestorm, i think Firestorm is a good example of what a friend of mine referred to "vicious over modding" when i told him that i like to slap as many mods into my games (specifically Skyrim) before they explode (which they usually do when they reach something like 20gb), i'm all for modding more and more stuff into something but this is not a single player game where you are on your own, not affecting anything or anyone else, there's no other Skyrim you could kill with that, there are no other mods you are killing since you can just add almost all of them together unless they replace each other or fullfill the same function, in that case they would compete against each other again, encouraging each other to push forward. There is no such direct competition here, no encouraging each other to push anything, there's only killing each other if anything at all. Let me be honest, there is no way to fix this issue, that's why i'm writing it up here as one of the things that made me consider stopping "ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT AND NOT LEAVING SECOND LIFE". People saw these features already, they saw way too many being done already, if they happen to poof right now, they would either leave or someone would just fork Firestorm and make a new one, probably calling it "Chaosstorm Viewer" (oohhh the reference to Dark Souls right there....) and the entire Emerald to Phoenix thing would happen again, everyone would just switch to the "new" Firestorm or plain leaving Second Life. Agh... this is where the open source development went so wrong.

Don't think its only Firestorm's fault. It is not, it is YOURS, the user's fault as well. You are the ones who made these Viewers so popular and you are the ones having a seemingly unsatisfiable thirst for more, not you, the single user, you might even say that you are totally happy with a Viewer that had no additional features like the Linden Viewer (then again i would ask you why you are even using another one then) but the userbase as a whole, you constantly demand more, you get more. If i go over to the Firestorm Jira and search of my name, i'll find quite some requests to add some of my Viewer's unique stuff, "but i want everything in one place", yea yea now think again. If Firestorm happened to implement all the unique features of my Viewer, why would you ever want to use my Viewer again, "that's the point, i don't want to use your Viewer just for these features" ah ah ah, stop right there, do you realize that you are acting like a selfish asshole right now, only focused on your personal gains? You are killing off my Viewer with that kind of behavior, there is only so much i can do within my given limitations of not adding pretty much any feature of any Viewer unless absolutely necessary to achieve my goal. "wheres the problem, just add the features people want!", do you want another Firestorm? Is it that you desire? The same Viewer again? "but you could add your own changes to it" ... and become what i just tried explaining to you, what i think is bad? Wow, do you even listen to me? Fine, lets do it. I'll do a second Firestorm, add my stuff to it and become the ultimate douche who became exactly what he hated the most (Star Wars anyone?). Best case happens, everyone comes over from Firestorm, i mean why should they use the normal Firestorm if they can use the Firestorm with additional features and more graphical focus? Now what? Firestorm dies but look... there is another Firestorm, guess what? Nothing changed.

If you ask me, Firestorm (and Singularity in this case too) should split up into other either already available Viewers (not mine, i don't want any Firestorm in here, all i want is an Exodus Viewer back) or if necessary create new ones with a healthy focus on a theme another Viewer already got to get the competition running. You would probably have to use multiple Viewers for multiple areas to work on but in the end those multiple Viewers would end up better in what they do. That is where there are so many different programs for the same thing to do, they all offer their own set of features and focus in a certain topic. 

What i can't understand the most is this need for a Viewer 1 interface, i just don't get it, what is so special about it? It's skin looked like a half assed jpeg-y mess with over fancy fake 3D buttons and reflections everywhere and it's design ranged from horrible to suboptimal ok. I get that you want a certain layout you are used to for years but at some point you have to accept that your unwilling to change your habits is one of many factors that i could mostly categorize into the "compatibility" part of my previous post. Yes i would like to have my separated IM back too and i still only got this hairy wookie making noises whenever i type on it, but at some point i had to accept that Second Life is not going to change it for me, they wont change their Viewer for you either. You are the one who should adapt to Second Life and not Second Life to you, don't get me wrong here, i'm not saying companies should be able to do whatever they want, but there are some rare times where you should put down your old habits and move on. We all have to move on at some point, otherwise we are digging our own graves. "I heard you are a gamer, it's easy for you to say", you might be right with that but you are also wrong. I am used to having a different UI in every game i play, yes, doesn't basically every program do the same to some extend? I'm just open minded to different approaches of an UI and i don't do stupid when it comes to figuring out how to operate it. What i mean with that is i don't ask the creator over IM how to open chat, or where the preferences are... or even where the main menu is and excusing it with "but everything is so different!". No it is not, it is not at all. No matter which Viewer i chose it is almost immediately obvious where the menu is, it is almost immediately obvious where i can find the preferences (if not via shortcut) and sorry but it should be absolute minimum to know that you can start chatting by pressing the Enter key (i wonder how many of you just realized that they could have saved clicking a chat button over and over for years). This is basic Second Life knowledge, this is almost "common sense". It is common sense to look at the same or similar places to find something you are looking for in different UI's. Not even trying and simply asking the creator is plain... no. Please use your brain, you are on the internet, you somehow managed to get a PC and operate it, you managed to install Second Life, you are not a stupid monkey, so make something out of it.

[Super Story Ranting Time Redux off]

So without further discussion topics for now, here's the promised update. Fixing CTRL + X not working.

(Sorry that the download didn't pop up... meh upload must have broken and no one said anything, i had to go to a chinese website to read guess that the download is not online)


  1. I remember when I first switched viewers, and the reason was being the implementation of mesh avatars, and at first I used the Emerald viewer, and even stayed with them and switched to Firestorm when it first came out. The viewer in general seemed super handy and didn't really cause any issues for me, thus I stayed. A friend introduced me to your viewer, I do believe it was still Black Dragon at the time, and I was blown away by how beautifully it ran and looked, with minimal strain on my GPU. Ever since then I have never even bothered going back to either LL or Firestorm. Black Dragon is always going to be my favorite viewer. I have never had a need to switch between viewers as I'm not a builder, at most I do simple modding for avatars of my own. All I have ever looked for was graphical performance, so Black Dragon is/was the viewer for me.

    And for as long as I can use it without problems I'm going to keep using it, so I guess I would like to thank you for developing the viewer for as long as you have, and I personally appreciate the time and effort and hard work you've put into it, just so you could be different than other viewers.

    I guess I could be seen as a silent user of your viewer, but I never knew about Firestorm's asshole-ish-ness until I read this big block of text.

  2. Thanks for the fix Niran

  3. Sadly i fear even Linden lab wishes all to use firestorm. I don't have a problem with it, even if i only use as a benchmark to compare with other viewers, but the assumption that all use firestorm makes me always sad.
    But well, i dis start using LL viewer after like forever (funny i do remember saying i would never install it, lol) and now i don't even mind using it as the main viewer.

    1. I don't exactly think that LL wants people to use Firestorm. They would rather want everyone to use the Linden Viewer again. As it looks to me, Linden Labs is simply in an uncomfortable situation here as they are clearly in a losing position against Firestorm, even tho they won't (and will probably never) admit, Firestorm is having a certain level of control over Linden Labs, they might not be in the position to tell Linden Labs how to do everything, or something big at all but they definitely are capable of manipulating decisions of Linden Labs to a certain degree, they know exactly that they have pretty much 2/3 of the Second Life community behind them and killing it off and/or falling into certain decisions of them in any way without any rock solid reason could cause huge chaos and potentially risk their income.