26 December 2010

Final releases usually aren't

Sigh. By now, if you've been following the saga of Phoenix, you know that 725 was less than a total success. We put a lot of work and fixes into it, and pushed even harder to release 818 by Christmas.

It's better, but it's still got bugs. (Film at 11.)

The only program that's bug-free is one that's never used. Just as with any other human endeavor, no program is perfect. There are bugs left in Phoenix that need fixing, mostly in the areas of RLV, texture video memory management, and the new inventory system LL keeps trying to push out, AIS.

At this point, however, Phoenix is feature-frozen. It will get bug fixes, but no new features, at least officially. (I can't speak for Jess, but I expect that new features that can be dropped in without significant effort will be added - as long as they're added to Firestorm first.) All new feature development will happen in Firestorm, and only get backported to Phoenix on a time-available basis.

The difference between now and a couple of months ago, when I first said that we weren't feature-freezing Phoenix yet, is that the developers believe that the major features that can be added to Phoenix have been. In particular, display names and multi-attach are in and working about as well as they can be. We're also tired of chasing some persistent bugs that simply don't exist in the V2 codebase.

Even so, as we fix things, there will be more releases of Phoenix. We hate having a viewer out there with problems as much as the users hate having to deal with problems. This is a final release only in that new versions likely won't have significant feature additions. There will be bug fixes, at least until Firestorm reaches production release status. Once that happens, though, expect Phoenix to be finalized.

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