Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Jan 2011 10:40 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones Yesterday, the ninth Firefox 4.0 beta was released. One of the major new features in Firefox 4.0 is hardware acceleration for anything from canvas drawing to video rendering. Sadly, this feature won't make its way to the Linux version of Firefox 4.0. The reason? X' drivers are "disastrously buggy". Update: Benoit Jacob informed my via email that there's some important nuance: hardware acceleration (OpenGL only) on Linux has been implemented, but due to bugs and issues, only one driver so far has been whitelisted (the proprietary NVIDIA driver).
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RE[3]: Not exactly news
by ndrw on Sat 15th Jan 2011 14:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not exactly news"
ndrw
Member since:
2009-06-30

Well, there is a chance they will.

Linux OpenGL implementations are not very different from what we (used to?) have with html+css+... implementations. They are a buggy, inconsistent mess but if you know the safe path across the minefield you can still produce a working product. Sometimes the obvious path is not the "proper" one.

It's likely that Mozilla guys are performing some operations that don't match the semantics of underlying layers well (after all it's a multiplatform program). Such corner cases are more likely to have bugs or suffer from poor performance. This of course is not an excuse for guys producing these bugs but I can easily imagine another application doing the same things differently and managing to work these bugs around.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Not exactly news
by jacquouille on Sat 15th Jan 2011 16:22 in reply to "RE[3]: Not exactly news"
jacquouille Member since:
2006-01-02

Yep, indeed: with WebGL we are basically exposing 95% of the OpenGL API to random scripts from the Web. So even "innocuous" graphics driver bugs can suddenly become major security issues (e.g. leaking video memory to scripts would be a huge security flaw). Even a plain crash is considered a DOS vulnerability when scripts can trigger it at will. So yes, WebGL does put much stricter requirements on drivers than, say, video games or compiz.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Not exactly news
by Veto on Sat 15th Jan 2011 18:54 in reply to "RE[4]: Not exactly news"
Veto Member since:
2010-11-13

But is it the job of Firefox to shield from blatant (security) bugs in the underlying OpenGL API and neglecting the bugfree implementations in the process?

Rather more use and exposure would motivate the driver developers to fix their buggy drivers.

Perhaps a blacklist could be implemented notifying the users that their driver is buggy and Firefox will run unaccelerated? This would raise awareness without negatively affecting the "good systems".

Edit: I see you have already implemented a blacklist :-) But perhaps still notifying the user would be a good idea?

Edited 2011-01-15 18:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Not exactly news
by ndrw on Sun 16th Jan 2011 05:30 in reply to "RE[4]: Not exactly news"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

Bummer. I forgot WebGL is involved. That indeed complicates things "a bit" as you no longer fully control which parts of the OpenGL API get used.

Perhaps a more graceful solution would be to selectively white/blacklist parts of the WebGL API, or WebGL itself.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Not exactly news
by renox on Sun 16th Jan 2011 12:27 in reply to "RE[3]: Not exactly news"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux OpenGL implementations are not very different from what we (used to?) have with html+css+... implementations. They are a buggy, inconsistent mess but if you know the safe path across the minefield you can still produce a working product.


There's a major difference between both: if you use a sane (process oriented) design: a bug in an html(etc) component only crash a tab, or at worse the webbrowser (if poorly designed), a bug in an OpenGL driver can crash the *whole* computer and it is much, much more complex to debug, especially with hardware acceleration, and without hw acceleration OpenGL isn't very interesting!

Reply Parent Score: 3