back to article Oculus Rift whiffed, VR fanbois miffed

Oculus says it is working to fix a service outage for its Rift headset caused by an expired certificate. The company on Wednesday said it was aware of the widely-reported bug that was causing users to be unable to launch Oculus Runtime Services, a vital component needed to boot up the gaming headset. "We are aware of and [are …

  1. Dwarf Silver badge

    Remind me why a local device needs to connect to a remote service before it can boot up ?

    This reminds me why I'l never buy one, particularly if the manufacturer can't even manage certificate renewal, its not difficult !

    1. really_adf

      While it is not completely clear either way, the mention of a specific DLL in various reports suggests to me that what has expired is a certificate used for code signing (or similar) rather than a remote service.

      Of course, even if so, that doesn't mean a remote service is not required...

    2. jrc14

      Local service, not remote service

      Point of detail: as far as I can see it's a local service, not a remote service.

      Nevertheless, the whole thing is deeply unimpressive.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Local service, not remote service

        Regardless of if it's a local or remote service, if it relies on checking a certificate that expires, it must be needing to connect to something somewhere at sometime to allow itself to run.

        And it's done so that you can't run 3rd party programs.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: Local service, not remote service

          You can run third party programs, there's a slider in the Oculus software that enables them.

          If you mean 'third party programs without the Oculus runtime or SteamVR' then there's pretty much nothing out there.

  2. JassMan Silver badge
    Joke

    The certificate renewal fell into a Rift in the timespace continuum.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TIL that Oculus Rift requires an always-on connection...

    ...if the fact Facebook were involved wasn't enough of a reason to keep well away...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is a hole in a hole to be fair. It's holes all the way down.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    here we go again...

    Everyone: go check your certs. Right now, we'll wait. Go check them to make sure you aren't next. While you are at it, check your domain registrations as well. Go on, we'll still wait right here for you, you won't miss anything.

    See? We're still here, we waited. Now set a reminder to check again just before any of your certs or domains are due to expire. Set the reminder to recur annually or even more frequently.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled cat videos...

    1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: here we go again...

      If I've understood correctly, the advice in this case is more like "don't embed a certificate with finite validity in a product. If for whatever reason you do, have plans for replacing it starting maybe 6 months in advance."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: here we go again...

        I would instead give the advice, don't build a device that needs to contact a remote site simply to function.

        "Hmm, my internet is down (not uncommon in rural Oz). Can't browse the web so I will do some VR gaming instead. Ah!'

        I wasn't planning on buying one of these devices anyway, but knowing this is the case, I definitely won't be getting one. Cert expiry, DDOS, internet down, Oculus going bust, many others I haven't thought of that render your expensive pair of glasses into a paperweight.

        Even Oculus saying "Nice headset you have there. Shame is something was to happen to the service it needs to run. Fancy paying some rent?"

        No thanks.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: here we go again...

        "don't embed a certificate with finite validity in a product"

        Corollary - if using a finite-validity certificate, make it a shorter validity rather than longer. If it's a longer multi-year validity it's easier to forget about it

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        FAIL

        If for whatever reason you do, have plans for replacing it starting maybe 6 months in advance.

        Indeed, this is not a failure of certificate.

        It's a failure of the certificate renewal process*

        *Probably because their "process" was getting the current PFY "intern" to do it and the last one didn't stay around long enough to explain to them how.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: If for whatever reason you do, have plans for replacing it starting maybe 6 months in advance.

          It's a failure of the certificate renewal process*

          Can a process be said to have failed if it doesn't exist?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: here we go again...

      We now return you to your regularly scheduled cat videos...

      Return? I never left.

      Although, in my case it's live-action cat videos. No - not cats badly-dressed up as fantasy characters, more like seven-month old cat discovering the joys of winding up elderly-but-still-feisty terrier..

      The other cats, being more sensible, stay well out of young cats way. Unless she corners them - in which case a pawful of claws to the face tends to dissuade her. For a short time.

  6. Esme

    Saad...

    Software As A Disservice?

  7. Jimbo in Thailand
    Big Brother

    ZuckerBorg strikes again!

    I confess I was eagerly awaiting Oculus to release the incredible Rift way back in 2013. To say I was shocked and disappointed when Oculus was acquired by Mark ZuckerBorg the next year is an understatement. No, I don't do FB nor would I even consider buying hardware from them, especially a device that requires an online connection so it tracks you 24/7. Did I mention the Borg?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ZuckerBorg strikes again!

      Sorry to jump up and down on the remains of your paranoia but Oculus works just fine without a network connection, apart from the storefront, obviosuly. Individual 3rd party apps may require connectivity but the Oculus software does not.

  8. teknopaul Bronze badge

    vr still hype imho

    "Virtual Reality" is currently immersive 3D at best.

    Augmented reality could be cool, seen so nice demos of ar motorcycle helmets.

    But that stupid occulus thing on yer head has yet to prove its use to me.

    As is often the case with new tech seems they are struggling with making it "realistic" instead of trying to find new things this tech can do that "reality" cannot.

    Even if you just controlled a drone tank at your second home, at least it would give you a facility that today is not possible.

    So far seems to be a game platform.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: vr still hype imho

      What do you expect it to do?

      Let's leave aside the games - Google Maps lets you fly over 3D rendered parts of the world with raster images projected on to them. It's not the same as really flying, and the resolution is a bit low, but it's in your own room. I surely don't need to suggest architectural possibilities for this, I hope.

      Rendering formulae/molecules/body parts etc. I've tried the first one - it looks impressive and useful, but I don't have the mathematical background to assess if it's truly worth it.

      Letting the games in for a bit - some people love Euro Truck Simulator in VR. The non game applications are obvious.

      Art/sculpting in VR - there are a number of apps for this.

      This is all a step beyond what can be achieved with a 3D monitor and a decent controller.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: vr still hype imho

        Maybe still hype, but becoming less so.

        We are already 'picking up' virtual cardio-thoracic systems and looking at them in 3D, while we would not reply on it for diagnostic purposes, the extra depth perception does add to the experience.

        And yes we use the Oculus Rift for this.

        The fact that the outage was not a problem is due to the fact that we don't as yet use it heavily, as one surgeon said, "we 'see' studies in 3D anyway, so it does not add a lot for us".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: vr still hype imho

      "..."Virtual Reality" is currently immersive 3D at best...."

      Have you tried it?

      IMHO it's not just "immersive" but rather "impressive".

      Yes, even that Oculus Rift.

    3. onefang Silver badge

      Re: vr still hype imho

      "So far seems to be a game platform."

      VR has been around for decades, it's only been the last few years that the price has come down far enough for ordinary folk to play with it. In all those decades, the very very expensive VR equipment was mostly not used for games. If there where not actual practical applications, then they would not have spent all that money.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All 100 active users are outraged

    VR has moved on and its left ocolus and vive behind.....

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: All 100 active users are outraged

      Sadly, no. While I do happen to believe that in the long run fancy hardware with epic price tags will continue to stay irrelevant compared to cheap and cheerful stuff like Carboard-style phone-in-a-box-streaming-video-from-your-pc, the rest of the world seems to take the opposite view: every time any game announces any "VR support" they actually mean "it will run on either Oculus or Vive and absolutely nothing else".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All 100 active users are outraged

      Oh please. It's all been solved already. The boys and girls can play their VR games back again so what's the big deal? And many of them get a 15 USD apology in their VR-wallet so it's not that Oculus don't take their responsibility. They're doing a hell of lot better that a certain fruity loopy company did with Antenna-gate in the past.

  10. AS1
    Paris Hilton

    Enforced updates?

    Just spoke with our signing guru, and most signing tools enable time-stamping on a signature by default; this would prevent the signature expiring when the certificate expires. The signature is checked against that point in time, whereas a non-time-stamped signature checks 'now' against the certificate's valid period. (Apologies if something has been lost in transmission.)

    So the expiration is from a, by choice, non-time-stamped signature.

    Now, why would a company choose for their signed software to expire?

    Because even Paris would use the defaults.

    1. James 139

      Re: Enforced updates?

      Exactly.

      A properly signed binary will maintain certificate validity except where the certificate, or others in the chain, are explicitly revoked.

    2. Andrew Dancy

      Re: Enforced updates?

      +1 - we always timestamp as part of our code signing process as otherwise you get exactly this issue - when your cert expires anything signed with it won't know that the cert was valid at the point it was signed.

      The only problem you sometimes get is that the main timestamping servers run by all the big CAs are notoriously flakey and completely unsupported - if they break then you just have to find another one. Not helped by the fact that Authenticode signing uses a different method of timestamping from pure RFC3161 and not all timestamp servers support both formats.

      What we really need is someone to offer cheap signing certs and provide a decent reliable timestamping server. Unfortunately LetsEncrypt have said they don't want to go into that area as they would be the obvious choice...

  11. MJI Silver badge

    I can't see how this happened.

    Unless using online signing.

    That said there are two other headsets I would buy over it.

    The better PC one with Steam support or the well supported one which works with my gaming console.

    Either are a better purchase.

  12. WonkoTheSane
    Boffin

    A fix has now been released.

    See this link

    1. WonkoTheSane

      Re: A fix has now been released.

      Further to this, Oculus have announced that anyone who used their Rift after Feb 1st will receive $15 (or local equivalent) Oculus store credit.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: A fix has now been released.

        Excellent. Glad I got my system up and running again last week then!

  13. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Disappointing

    VR systems are worth it, and light years ahead of the older technologies, but it's disappointing that they're so relentlessly Windows locked.

    However, I suspect the only way they can effectively fund any of the VR headsets is through software sales, hardware sales are not sufficient, and non Windows platforms won't help with that. The Rift runtime can be configured to accept third party (free) applications, however, and there's a number available.

    I have a Rift, and it quickly became clear that Windows 10 was the only platform that made sense most of the time. The Vive isn't much better, Linux support is barely functional, anything beyond Linux is non existent.

    You can say that everyone should buy the Vive, but it costs two hundred quid extra and has arguably worse controllers (and possibly slightly better visuals).

    Sure it's early days, the resolution is limited, and the games/apps are a little more rough than you'd expect, but being able to fly over the Earth in Google Maps, look at mathematical equations plotted in 3D and annotate them in VR space, sculpt in VR, or sit at the bottom of the ocean looking at pilot fish are experiences not available using standard or 3D monitors.

    It's absolutely the right time to get into it, before it becomes ever more corporate, there's plenty of interesting sights out there.

    That's not to say that even under Windows when it's working, the Rift isn't a bit of a pain. Its setup is inflexible (and doesn't work by default under Windows 7 - there are ways to fix this, but do use 8 or later), when it says the sensors can be a maximum of 2m apart they really do mean it, it needs plenty of space to work effectively, and sufficient USB bandwidth.

    Trying to extend the Rift from my study ( small, only meets minimum 3ft x 3ft Rift area) to my bedroom (lots more space) has been 'fun', currently using two 5M active USB3 extender cables, and a 20M active HDMI cable plugged into a Vive link box. I still get irritating USB disconnect noises, so next step is different USB3 / USB2 cables and a USB monitor.

    In the minimum 3ft space, application compatibility is very limited (Google Maps will work, and is brilliant), for a larger space I'm currently failing a lot in 'We Expect You To Die' - which isn't perfect, but the fact there is a world with convincing enough physics and visuals that react smoothly to your movements is impressive.

    1. Manu T

      Re: Disappointing

      "...I have a Rift, and it quickly became clear that Windows 10 was the only platform that made sense most of the time..."

      No it doesn't. I use my rift on a dual boot system (Win10 & Win7) and haven't found any reason to stick with Win10. I even use Core 2.0 (beta) with the new homes-system on Windows 7.

      And yes I have that "experimental" 360 degree 2 camera setup in my living room. No problems at all on both Windows versions.

      "Its setup is inflexible (and doesn't work by default under Windows 7 - there are ways to fix this, but do use 8 or later)"

      Care to elaborate? I have a 2 camera 360 degrees tracking setup running on both Windows versions without any problems at all (yet). Used more efforts to find out what materials and attributes I could use to mount the sensors high enough without drilling holes in the wall or spending ridiculous amounts of money (at least found some good use of that big cardboard box that the Rift came in).

      I fail to see why people find this Rift setup so difficult?

      Have people become more stupid over the years?

      Common sense... is that an alien concept these days?

      My play area luckily is the standard green rectangle (the so-called optimum range).

      The only thing I had to adjust was the hanging lamp at the ceiling.... and yes... I broke it ;-)

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Disappointing

        The Rift will work on 7 and 8, but a number of apps are 10 only, and I'd imagine this will only worsen.

        For setup on 7 it fails without warning if the .NET framework isn't installed, and then needs a very specific set of patches installed in a particular way, with a poorly documented install switch (the patches are installed, damnit!) to be used otherwise.

        The setup has to be configured in a particular order, the sensor spacing has definite limits, and it's possible to get all the way to just prior to the Guardian stage before the setup claiming the touch controllers aren't correctly registered.

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