Why do my Magic Books have scrollbars?!

18 December 2017

So, the whole point of the Magic Books is that they neatly display the covers of millions of different books. However, depending on their viewer, some users may be seeing ugly scrollbars on the left and bottom of their book covers. This is a Linden Lab bug, and it will be fixed, but in the meantime…there are scrollbars.

Scrollbars on shared media in Alex Ivy viewer
See those broad light-coloured strips on the right and bottom? They're scrollbars. They aren't supposed to be there.

Here's the deal: Second Life viewers now use the open source Chromium browser framework to display Web media, video, and images on Second Life objects. (This is same base on which Google's Chrome browser is built.) In the Linden Lab viewer codenamed "Alex Ivy," Linden Lab updated their versions of the Chromium component so they would have the latest technology, bug fixes and security enhancements. Plus, the component would be the same on Windows and macOS. The Mac side hadn't been updated in quite some time.

In updating to the new Chromium component, however, there is a bug in the way Web content is scaled on objects using shared media, and that bug can make scrollbars appear even if there isn't any content to scroll. That's what's happening with the Magic Books. This same issue impacts Teh Globe too, but at least that isn't already in hundreds' of people's inventories.

I made Linden Lab aware of the bug and they say they've fixed it; however, that fix probably isn't going to go into the viewer before the Alex Ivy code gets released officially. That means more people will be seeing scrollbars, and there's a chance the Chromium component with the scaling issues will also find its way into Firestorm and other third-party viewers, which are (obviously) based on Linden Lab code.

My hope is that this bug's lifetime is very short. If it is not, I will look into updating the Magic Books to display their covers using a slightly different method that doesn't seem to show scrollbars…but it's complicated and messy and overkill and there's no guarantee it won't break with the next Chromium update. So, right now my plan is "wait and see."