Prim Perfect’s Guide to Third Party Viewers: The Basic: Second Life 1.23.5

To begin our series on the various viewers available to Second Life users, let’s start with the basics – the latest incarnation of the original viewer put out by Linden Lab – now in iteration 1.23.5

It’s still the standard that most others build on or deviate from and is, I suspect, still used by a majority of long term Second Life residents who don’t want to learn Viewer 2, or are not seriously enough involved with Second Life to see the point of having a whole new viewer (this lack of engagement would also keep them from downloading one of the Third Party Viewers (TPVs). It’s very stable  these days, comparatively – which is why I use it when involved in TV production.

Let’s start by taking a look at it.


Screen shot of Second Life Viewer 1.23.5
Screen shot of Second Life Viewer 1.23.5

The layout focuses around the top menu bar and the lower menubar.  Windows can be pulled out and arranged around the screen to suit the user.  Here I have local chat open in one window, group chats and personal IMs in another, my inventory and my minimap (the last rather obscured).  Blue popups top right show incoming messages from groups; notifications that friends are online come in blue pop-ups bottom right.  One can have heads up displays(HYDs) too – on this screen I have camera controls, two AOs, a Mysti tool – and there’s also a small HUD to inform me how to stand up – it is a useful indicator that I am sitting on something!

We’ll see this arrangement repeated in viewers that draw on SL Viewer 1.23.5 – and there a lot of them.

Now let’s look at the facts and figures, courtsey of the excellent MCF Viewer Comparison Spreadsheet.

Name SL Viewer 1.23.5 Audio supported Yes
URL Video support Yes
Last release? 2010-?? Voice support Yes
Graphics support Defines “Standard”: standard prims, sculpties, particles Text-to-Speech No
Avatar support standard SL avatar Player Song Info No
Supported Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows Doubleclick TP No
Language, License C++, GPL Import/Export No
Code Lineage LL Chat translator No
Plugins LL media plugins Multi-grid support No
Max Cache / Bandwidth 1 GB / 1500 Kbps OGP support No
Misc Notes Client-Side Scripting No
External services IM Encryption No
CLIENT NAME / index SL Viewer 1.23.5 Stability in SL High
Stability in OSgrid na

Figures courtsey of the excellent MCF Viewer Comparison Spreadsheet

What are the pros and cons of this Viewer?
This is the viewer that I use most often.  It’s basic and it’s usually fundamentally stable.  Because for so long it was “the” Second Life viewer, the functions that it allows have pretty much been tested to stability – at least as stable as anything gets in Second Life.

However, as The Lab pushes Viewer 2 more and more, this is likely to become increasingly unsupported and will, I suspect, wither and die as the code shifts in ways it can no longer access because no-one cares.  Like Windows 98, it will become obsolete. I had a foretaste of what this could mean the other day.  I was moving extremely jerkily and things were taking forever to rezz. I looked at the frame rate – View >> Statistics bar .. and fps (frames per second) is the top reading – and saw that I was getting 0.9fps which is terrible. There was nothing wrong with my bandwidth or ping speeds, and when I switched to Imprudence, my fps leapt to 43.  It occurred to me then that the way to urge people to upgrade toViewer 2 would be simply to cause problems with the frame rate until people’s experience became thoroughly unpleasant. However, I don’t think that this is what happened to me – I think it was more likely to be a random glitch.

I don’t think the time for obsolescence has come yet – Viewer 2 is still too problematic.  Bitter experience suggests, however, that 1.23.5 is likely to be phased out before Viewer 2 is quite ready – iun which case, looking for an alternative TPV may become very attractive.

~ to be continued ~

If you have thoughts and views on Viewer 1.23.5, please add them in the comments section below. We want to build up a useful resource for all users.


  1. I have been using the 2.x (Kirsten’s viewer) full time since SLCC. I didn’t think I would ever get used to it but then one day I was in Reaction Grid using the Hippo 1.x viewer and realized I was looking in the wrong places for things. To say that switching to the 2.x is a major commitment on our behalf is an understatement. And yes, the 1.x code will eventually be phased out. It is not a matter of if but when. My guess would be when mesh comes to SL it will only be compatible (viewable?) with 2.x code. BTW, I highly recommend Kirsten’s viewer. She has done an amazing job of making the 2.x usable.

  2. hi there PrimPerfect, I have been following the Viewer 2 fiasco on my blog since July 31. If you intend to use V2, there is really not much sense in wasting your time with the LL version’s YET !
    Esbee and OZ Linden, are doing the best they can to fix a very broken piece of software. Sadly I believe that this is not a possibility, at least not with the SCRUM and AGILE approach.
    Kirsten has already blown the SnowStorm teams work right out of the water.
    I know I am being cruel here, some really talented folks are, and have been working on this project. I am friends with several team members.
    The biggest problem I see, as an observer, the User Interface !!!!!
    Plain & Simple, it has got to be the worst example of UI design that I have ever seen.
    The underlying code is fantastic, great FPS, 0% packet loss, but all this can and is being back ported to the now canceled SnowGlobe Project, by numerous TPV’s

    I think it is time for the Lab to, tuck tail, admit V2 is not fixable, and start work on Viewer 3

    I am going to bookmark your blog.

    You can check mine out if you like

    perhaps we will meet one day in SL or an OS grid

    JayR Cela :_)

  3. I still use SL Viewer 1.23.5 although I keep trying V2 and I’m fascinated to read the underlying code is so good (from JarR) because I always rez as a cloud and have to reset draw etc to much lower settings than 1.23.5 to get everything to rez around me. So what makes it perform so badly? (I’m not a techie)

    I’m used to mastering different interfaces but one reason I prefer 1.23.5 is the view is far less cluttered and intrusive. OTOH on V2 I keep missing incoming IMs as they are hidden away.

    I also use Phoenix and Kirstens and I look forward to the rest of this series, great idea!

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