I went out and tested the new Windlight client at Modesto High School today, the results were terrible. The machines are Core Duo’s with 1G of RAM and 256mb ATI x1300 video cards. With the new client installed they are basically unusable. Prior to this upgrade they were barely usable. I dropped the slider to the lowest setting, set the client to run in full screen mode, and reduced the resolution to no avail.
I was shown tonight when I got home (by one of my 16 year old triplets) that under the ‘custom’ button there are additional settings that can be pushed down lower than the low on the graphic slider. In my first glance at the new client I mistakenly posted last night that these granular settings were gone, but they have actually only been hidden/buried under a button.
Claudia Linden emailed me early this morning and said that v 18.104.22.168 will still be supported for ‘awhile’, and that we should roll back to that. Here’s the info from her email:
You are still able to download and use 22.214.171.124 which does not include WindLight, it’s still supported and we don’t plan on requiring update for awhile. It’s available here:
You can also read more about tips to run better in Pastrami’s post:
Tomorrow I am going out to my other lab at Johansen High School to run some more tests. This is the lab where we are going to be holding our summer school for the visiting Kyoto students, alongside their Modesto counterparts. We’ve been updating a network directory of the Second Life client to ease maintenance (since the update process is network hostile). I think we may go back to locally installed clients now that the interval of updates has spaced out to try to squeeze out more performance. I am also looking to upgrade RAM in these machines to 4g.
I will keep updating the blog with my results over the next couple of days. I know that I am not alone in wrestling with older machines in the labs and classrooms in K12. There has been little money over the past five years for replacing computers, many of which were purchased back in the digital high school days (now approaching ten years old!).
While I strongly support the increased fidelity of the new client with respect to atmospheric effects, I strongly denounce the abandoning of lower end computers that are all too common on our high school campuses. The forced obsolescence of computers by software that is already difficult to get into our classrooms (for a variety of reasons) will not gain Linden Lab or Second Life further acceptance or adoption in the future, it will achieve exactly the opposite. And I ask again, where is the flood of alternative clients that was promised when the client was put out into open source?