I woke up today to a frantic message on Skype asking where I was and being told I was missing a big story. So I read what had been pasted to me, and the first was a resignation letter from former Emerald Support team member Nisa Maverick... In that was an interesting link which I'll get to. The second was from Jessica Lyon's blog with her latest post entitled "From the ashes...." which I'd encourage you all to check out if you haven't already.
Former Emerald users now have a new project to support, the Phoenix Viewer. The website is http://phoenixviewer.com where you can get a copy of the download for your computer. I've decided to download and install it so that I can accurately blog what I see, given that I expect Emerald log-ins to start being disabled next week, possibly Monday at the earliest (and note that this is my own guess, not something that's been confirmed). Want to know what I've found with this first release of Phoenix Viewer 126.96.36.199? Keep reading.
I've found my replacement for Emerald. I have all of the basic features that I had before, such as sim-wide radar, building tools, spam blocker, tattoo and alpha layers, the two-page menu for Phoenix specific settings, and yes, for those who will undoubtedly ask, the enhanced breast physics option is still in place. I don't personally use that feature, so I haven't tested to make sure it's functioning, but it's there. The recent popular 'tag color' feature doesn't seem to be working in this first release, but I feel that's a minor feature, as it doesn't really affect viewer performance. "Get More" in the Skins preference tab doesn't appear to be working at this point in time either, so if you have problems with the 'Gemini' skin that appears to be the default on first load up, you still have two other default options with "Default" and "Silver". I still had my preferred "Metallic Blue" skin available, but it's possible that it's due to the fact that I had installed it on Emerald, and still have my 2587 copy of Emerald installed on my system.
[Edit: one of the support team offered this information regarding skins: " users need to make a copy of the entire skins folder, then they can safely delete emerald. Then when they reinstall they can add the skins folder to the Second Life user settings folder". Note that this will only carry over the skins you had while on Emerald.]
Also, I must note that Phoenix does not access kdu files at all, instead they use the OpenJPEG library as shown in this comment from the "About Phoenix" window: J2C Decoder Version: OpenJPEG: 1.3.0. It seems concern may have been premature regarding the speed of rendering with OpenJPEG, as I didn't see any real difference in my rendering time. Although again, I still have 2587 on my system and the texture cache wasn't deleted prior to my installing and logging in with Phoenix. I'll also point out that with this viewer being in it's infancy and still not known about by likely the majority of current/former Emerald users, the rendering time may also not have the anticipated load on it at this point in time.
I took a moment to upload an image of the interface, it should look very familiar to Emerald users. The only things I blurred out were my location and my linden balance, as I didn't deem either necessary to include. As you can see there, you're dealing with the same interface, basically the same options, and at this point what seems like nothing is lost when you make the transition.
Take the time to check it out, decide for yourself, and know that hope is not lost. For those who are interested in making the change but have questions, and for those who choose to go to Phoenix, there is an inworld support group already established, Phoenix Viewer, which is open join and can be found in my profile as well as the Phoenix team's.
As always, thank you for reading. ~Krisy