Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Sad Reality of Lag, Rez and Linux on Second Life

My primary machine is an Ubuntu Linux laptop. Not to get to technical but the issues I face on it seem to be radical examples of the problems many people face trying to get on to Second Life. A friend of mine stated that you need to have access to good resources to join the community, and it was biased to richer people with good computers and broadband internet access. This is so true. If I did not have a spare Windows XP machine I would not be able to reliably go to SL. The experience on my Mac Mini is too slow and with Linux its just tragic.

Starting out on Linux the world is a collection of gray balls and boxes. Why do unrezzed prims have to be gray? Why not something interesting so it seems like the world is emerging from light or magic.

10 minutes later.

Still waiting, some of the detail comes through up the time it takes. It would be hard to see how someone could really experience SL in this way.

Crash and restart. After a crash I come in again. Things have to partially reload all over again. The change in time in the sky shows the discontinuity of this experience.

Finally slowly getting somewhere.

The best it gets, not entirely finished by after an investment of time I can kind of see it. But there is no way I could experience SL in this way.

At this point the setting has still not rezzed and my client of SL Windlight is starting to crawl. In a few minutes it essentially freezes and I have to quit.

Sadly the machine I have, a Linux Ubuntu box with centrino on broadband is far better than the machine most people around the world have. I understand that Linux is not fully supported yet, but as open source shareware it is likely to expand in use. So to open Second Life up to much of the fourth world there is going have to be a radical new client which gives the experience in a different way, rendering SL without having to rez the entire thing.

Perhaps a Flash based interface running with something like the Ajax web client?
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