Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Thu 15th Oct 2009 04:04 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones Firefox will now include code to detect how a laptop or mobile device is situated in relation to the ground for devices with the appropriate hardware. "One new feature that we’re including as part of Firefox 3.6 is support for web pages to access machine orientation information if it’s available. As you can see from the [video viewable by following the link] you can use it to figure out if the machine is moving and what direction it’s facing. Originally built as something that we would include for our upcoming mobile browser release, we’ve made it available on desktop systems as well. Many modern Macbooks and Thinkpads contain devices and drivers that expose this information. We’ve added support for Linux, Macs and some Thinkpads where drivers and devices are available."
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v CSS 3 compliance too boring?
by tyrione on Thu 15th Oct 2009 05:16 UTC
RE: CSS 3 compliance too boring?
by Rahul on Thu 15th Oct 2009 06:43 UTC in reply to "CSS 3 compliance too boring?"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

You are living a pipe dream if you expect "bug-free" software. Is it competitive or is it good enough might be better questions to ask. A solid comparison with other browsers would be useful.

Reply Score: 1

RE: CSS 3 compliance too boring?
by Erunno on Thu 15th Oct 2009 06:51 UTC in reply to "CSS 3 compliance too boring?"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

Because browser vendors are now expected to have bug free implementations of draft standards now, amirite? And could you please link to a conclusive test suite that tests for CSS3 and HTML5 compliance? Maybe something with a greater scope than ACID 3?

Reply Score: 2

tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Because browser vendors are now expected to have bug free implementations of draft standards now, amirite? And could you please link to a conclusive test suite that tests for CSS3 and HTML5 compliance? Maybe something with a greater scope than ACID 3?


Browser developers design the tests and standards.

Reply Score: 2

WTF?
by strcpy on Thu 15th Oct 2009 08:23 UTC
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20

Now this is a big WTF.

This is something that clearly belongs to the realm of operating systems. Something that should never be part of a browser.

If you find scary that


one new feature that we’re including as part of Firefox 3.6 is support for web pages to access machine orientation information if it’s available.


then imagine the future.

What is even the purpose of this?

What purpose could a web page possibly have for accessing machine [orientation] information?

How about accessing the fingerprint reader or web camera as a next feature? Maybe I must soon allow your browser to write to /dev/kmem also? Well, at least this employs people who work to keep Firefox in a cage (cf. the recent SELinux news). It is already alarming enough that among the most popular plugins are the ones that restrict the behavior of Firefox.

Mozilla should be researching how to reduce the code footprint and improve the robustness of the browser, but instead they just keep adding one obscure feature after another. This highway leads to the new IE of 2010s.

(Note that also e.g. HP laptops contain these chips, usually the chip being LIS3-derivative.)

Edited 2009-10-15 08:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: WTF?
by WereCatf on Thu 15th Oct 2009 08:38 UTC in reply to "WTF?"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

What purpose could a web page possibly have for accessing machine [orientation] information?

That's something I also wonder about. If it is used to change the orientation of the web page or something like that then it'll probably just annoy people more than benefit them as it's annoying to be reading something and then have it suddenly change size, position or orientation. And I just can't think of any useful ways of using this information other than such things.

Mozilla should be researching how to reduce the code footprint and improve the robustness of the browser, but instead they just keep adding one obscure feature after another.

Agreed. This "feature" will only benefit a selected range of people, and I haven't yet found out exactly how it will benefit even them. But making FF less of a memory hog and speeding up its rendering would benefit all of its users.

Oh well, I moved away from FF a few days ago myself. I downloaded Chrome from the developer channels as it supports user scripts and extensions so I got myself Adblock+ and FlashBlock like extensions. Gotta say I am seriously satisfied with Chrome ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: WTF?
by Erunno on Thu 15th Oct 2009 11:47 UTC in reply to "RE: WTF?"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

Agreed. This "feature" will only benefit a selected range of people, and I haven't yet found out exactly how it will benefit even them. But making FF less of a memory hog and speeding up its rendering would benefit all of its users.


Thank god that you are not totally uninformed as someone might mistakenly think when reading your statements.[1][2]

[1]http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory
[2]http://www.betanews.com/article/Expect-228-performance-boost-from-n...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: WTF?
by WereCatf on Thu 15th Oct 2009 12:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: WTF?"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Linking to some benchmarks and pretty graphs does not negate the fact that on _my machines_ FF just happens to both start up very slow compared to Chrome but it also renders everything a lot slower.

Note also that I wasn't stating anything as a general fact in one way or another except that inclusion of this feature in this current topic versus speeding up FireFox is a poor choice. You can't deny that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: WTF?
by zlynx on Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: WTF?"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

You aren't making any sense.

His pretty graphs are for the next version of Firefox, which *is* faster than the previous version.

So why are you still claiming that it would be better to work on making FF faster instead of putting in orientation support? It is shown by the pretty graphs that the FF developers did *both*

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: WTF?
by theosib on Thu 15th Oct 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE: WTF?"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

Amen. I'd been using Firefox for a long time, but I just got sick of it. It wastes CPU cycles and prevents my notebook from going to sleep. Firefox used to be better, but on MacOS, Safari+Saft now blows it away.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: WTF?
by reez on Thu 15th Oct 2009 13:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: WTF?"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

Amen. I'd been using Firefox for a long time, but I just got sick of it. It wastes CPU cycles and prevents my notebook from going to sleep.

Can you be more precisely?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: WTF?
by theosib on Thu 15th Oct 2009 14:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: WTF?"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

For the same set of open web pages, Firefox uses more CPU cycles when idle than Safari, often by a huge margin. Also, Firefox runs some background process continuously even when idle that prevents the machine from thinking its idle and therefore does not go to sleep.

Both of these are actively hostile to laptop users. Also note that Linux and Mac users experience the same problems, but it appears that Mozilla devs have put a lot more effort into making the Windows version work a lot better. As usual, we're treated as 2nd class citizens, even by those who ostensibly care about free software.

Reply Score: 2

RE: WTF?
by Erunno on Thu 15th Oct 2009 11:41 UTC in reply to "WTF?"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

I highly doubt that a lot of websites will use such service as long as it is not properly supported by the other browsers as well. On the other hand it's probably very useful to Gecko/extension developers who potentially could use the orientation information to dynamically change the user interface. A use case which is not quite far-fetched now that Fennec is getting ready for release in the near future (smart phones, tablet pcs).

Now I haven't read too much about this feature yet but I would be quite surprised if it would not leverage OS features by providing a cross-platfrom API only. Gecko usually reuses platform capabilities where possible.

Reply Score: 2

RE: WTF?
by Fergy on Thu 15th Oct 2009 11:44 UTC in reply to "WTF?"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

What is even the purpose of this?

Same reason why your OS must be able to access your hardware. Every app you use on your pc could be used within Firefox. You want to be able to use navigation? webcam chatting?
Mozilla should be researching how to reduce the code footprint and improve the robustness of the browser, but instead they just keep adding one obscure feature after another. This highway leads to the new IE of 2010s.

Mozilla has multiple teams that work on multiple features. Firefox uses the least amount of memory of all browsers.
Oh well, I moved away from FF a few days ago myself. I downloaded Chrome from the developer channels as it supports user scripts and extensions so I got myself Adblock+ and FlashBlock like extensions. Gotta say I am seriously satisfied with Chrome ;)

I think you will see that orientation support in Chrome soon enough.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: WTF?
by sbenitezb on Thu 15th Oct 2009 12:26 UTC in reply to "RE: WTF?"
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

"What is even the purpose of this?

Same reason why your OS must be able to access your hardware.
"

It's obvious the OS has and needs access to hardware. But a browser doing the job of a window manager? That's plain wrong and more if it's done by default.

Every app you use on your pc could be used within Firefox.


I fail to see how embedding is related to this "feature". But then it's extremely dangerous and unwanted to use every app within Firefox. Well, that's what web tech developers (aka wheel reinventors) surely want.

You want to be able to use navigation? webcam chatting?


Unless you want webcam chatting in every single page or site you visit, then I don't see how this is better than what we have now. There are plugins for a reason.

This whole "social" web 2.0 of these days is driving me insane. Do you people seriously consider you have to live in the web? If so, I guess ChromeOS or FirefOS would make much sense.

Reply Score: 2

RE: WTF?
by steve_s on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:39 UTC in reply to "WTF?"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

If you are asking what the purpose of the orientation stuff is then you are not thinking clearly about what a web browser is these days, IMHO.

A web browser is not just about showing web pages any more. It is an environment for web-delivered applications.

Some applications, although admittedly not all that many, have a use for orientation data. Navigation, for example. This will just enable them run in the environment of a web browser, rather than having to be OS-native applications.

Reply Score: 2