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In response to my last update on the SL 2.1 Viewer Opensource Obscure pointed out another third party viewer (TPV), Icesphere. For a verity of reasons I’m interested in viewers and how they work. Research leaves me wondering whether and where this software is going. Calling it a viewer is a loose use of the label viewer.

Icesphere has a blog: Icesphere … with information and links. Dzonatas Sol seems to be the one developing the viewer. He has the source on Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/icesphere/

This viewer isn’t on the Linden Lab list of approved viewers. That means one needs to check out whether it is safe to use. I have an AV just for risky logins. But, I don’t want to deal with problems so I went looking for information before installing.

First stop is Modular System’s forum. A search on Icesphere pulls up a couple of threads.

Updater, Logout, Native OS Controls

Ice Sphere: “thinking outside the box”

Both of these threads are about the idea of moving various viewer windows outside the main viewer window. There is also discussion about making them separate programs to take load off the viewer. That would make for a faster viewer. I would like to be able to Alt-Tab between windows… Icesphere is supposed to be a try at completely decoupling the user interface and the render engine… sort of make them separate programs.

Next I found a thread on the SL Forum. Desktop based UI for Snowglobe 2.0

This is an April 2010 post about Icesphere and talks about developing it in C# for an improved ability to script the viewer. This means on the client side scripts can be made to handle various tasks, like organizing inventory or detached note card or script editing… or… say run the render part and feed it to a video projector and navigate SL from a cell phone… ok that is pretty bizarre but the programmer working on this suggested it. It’s a bit more sane and useful than it first sounds.

Not much information around.

I went over to Icesphere Google Code to check on the source. It is there. There is an Icesphere Google Group. An Icesphere  Twitter connection, of course.

All in all everything an open source project would have is there. It is all new and mostly empty… the mark of a new project.

It turns out that Icesphere is not a viewer as I think of viewers. It is more of a symbiotic program that works with the Snowglobe-375 patch, a special modification of Snowglobe.

This is not a viewer to download and just install and run. This is an idea that is just starting to bloom. It uses the GTK# library and Mono and is written in C#. It is very much Alpha level software, AFAIK. Like most software projects the documentation is spare to non-existent.

I decided this viewer hybrid is way to Alpha level for me to try to run. If anyone is running it or knows of a good step-by-step install for non-techie users, leave me links and I’ll update the post. Otherwise, I don’t see Icesphere as ready for casual users or weekend experimenters.

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