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Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Plans To Build Virtual Reality APIs Into Firefox By the End of 2015 91

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla's VR research team is hard at work making virtual reality native to the web. The group wants more than a few experimental VR-only websites, they want responsive VR websites that can adapt seamlessly between VR and non-VR, from mobile to desktop, built with HTML and CSS . Experimental work is already underway, and now the team says that they 'aim to have support for the WebVR API shipping with our release channel builds of Firefox Desktop by end of this year.' Those with the Oculus Rift developer kit can already try out a few native WebVR experiences using Firefox Nightly.
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Mozilla Plans To Build Virtual Reality APIs Into Firefox By the End of 2015

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  • Return of VRML? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2015 @10:32AM (#49875457) Journal

    Reading the article, it looks very much like the promises of VRML back in 1994.

    • Reading the article, it looks very much like the promises of VRML back in 1994.

      Yes it does, but computers today are thousands of times faster, with hundreds or even thousands of GPU cores.

    • And webgl back in... now.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2015 @10:34AM (#49875477)
    The Firefox market share continues to drop as Mozilla continues to add bloat to what once was an excellent browser.

    .
    One would think that Mozilla would take a step back and think, what might we be doing wrong?.

    But no. Mozilla, instead, accelerates the rate of bloating.

    • Trimming the code bloat was one of the major reasons to fork Mozilla into Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox, Thunderbird, and Seamonkey back in the day. They decided a browser should not also be an email client, HTML editor, news client, and IRC chat client. Seamonkey kept all that butwas rebranded as an "Internet suite".

    • Yeah, no kidding. I have no interest in a VR website. I don't want VR website.

      I read this and I think "just who the hell is asking for this feature".

      I want a web browser. If Mozilla wants to create a VR client, go right ahead. But this doesn't need to become bloat in the browser for the overwhelming majority of people who want to use Firefox.

      This sounds like a feature nobody actually gives a damn about.

      Mozilla, what happened to a lean, standards compliant, privacy focused browser?

      • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

        This sounds like a feature nobody actually gives a damn about.

        This sounds like a feature almost no one can even use.

        I'm curious how many Slashdot readers even have a VR headset. I sure don't nor do I have any interest in getting one. It's one of those things I might be interested in "some day" but at present, I've done an Oculus Rift demo before. It was neat but it didn't make me think "I need to get this!"

        This seems like a feature that not only does no one want, that nearly no one can even use.

        Maybe hold off on the VR support until there's an install base? Or anyone

        • I'm on my second. The first was in the late 90s.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        I want a web browser.

        A multi-threaded web browser. (Which is why I'm writing this in Chromium.)

        • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

          Firefox is multithreaded. Apparently it's using 86 threads right now as I type this.

          I haven't a clue what those threads are doing since nearly everything clearly takes place in the UI thread given the number of times the browser freezes to deal with JavaScript, but - it's got a whole lot of threads for some reason.

          • by jopsen ( 885607 )

            Firefox is multithreaded. Apparently it's using 86 threads right now as I type this.

            I haven't a clue what those threads are doing....

            I/O, there has a been a lot of effort into moving all I/O off the main thread... I know because I refactored part of the code that hooks system calls on windows, to intercept not just our own I/O calls, but I/O calls for all system-libraries/libraries/plugins etc. Someone else finished this up and made a lovely dashboard of data that I won't pretend to understand :)
            Have a look: http://mozilla.github.io/iacom... [github.io]
            So a lot of the threads are I/O related. But there is also a ton of other things that are moved

      • Yeah, no kidding. I have no interest in a VR website. I don't want VR website. I read this and I think "just who the hell is asking for this feature".

        It sounds like the primary goal here might be for web games, not for browsing the web.

        • Then build a "web games" client, the rest of us just want a web browser and don't want this crap.

      • Yeah, no kidding. [snip] This sounds like a feature nobody actually gives a damn about.

        Mozilla, what happened to a lean, standards compliant, privacy focused browser?

        A million times this. I really want to give up on Mozilla. They've lost their way and the designers rule the roost. I just don't have any better options. I'm never going closed source again and I'm not a fan of Chrome or Google's concept of privacy.

        • Trust the idea of privacy of none of them.

          That's what privacy extensions are for.

          Chrome: ScriptSafe, Ghostery, HTTPSwitchboard, and Disconnect.

          Firefox: Request Policy, NoScript, AdBlock Plus and Ghostery.

          Opera, again with HTTP Switchboard, Ghostery, Disconnect, and AdBlock, but set to reject cookies and javascript for all but the single website I use it for because I don't trust them.

          Never trust any corporation's concept of privacy. Especially ones who do analytics and advertising.

          Between explicitly blac

          • I don't trust Mozilla for a second but Chrome's idea of privacy is to pretend it doesn't exist... even if you block everything you can Chrome still has the ability to send data back as part of its core functionality. To my knowledge they haven't exploited this yet but it's only a matter of time.

      • I don't want VR website.

        I do. I am very much looking forward to it, and I am happy to see them pursuing this. I bet your kids and grandchildren are also interested. Not all of us are crotchety old geezers that think 140 characters should be enough for anyone.

        I'll get off your lawn now.

        • I wouldn't care about whether or not Firefox has VR support in it if there wasn't so much stuff in Firefox that needs to be fixed. Come on, Mozilla, please make the browser work well before you shovel more features into it.

          • Come on, Mozilla, please make the browser work well before you shovel more features into it.

            Open source projects don't work like that. Unpaid programmers work on what is interesting to them, not what you want. I would much rather work on a VR engine than track down some caching bug.

    • Not defending this as anything more than an update of VRML but..
      Bloat as compared to what exactly, Chrome? IE? That totally not IE new Microsoft browser? Safari?

      The only browsers not adding more junk than needed are the ones with totally minimal market share like iCab who trade on being a niche product.
    • The Firefox market share continues to drop as Mozilla continues to add bloat to what once was an excellent browser.

      Is it though? I would bet that the number of Firefox installations is growing, just the rate of other installations is growing faster.

    • why fix the hard architectural problems when you can spend Foundation money on bolt-on cruft instead?

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Firefox is a great operating system, lacking only a decent web browser... oh wait [mozilla.org]

    • One would think that Mozilla would take a step back and think, what might we be doing wrong?.

      Absolutely nothing! At least, if you're targeting the market segment consisting of people who think every program they use should be a full operating system. These people can be reliably identified by one or more characteristics, such as frequent use of the dangerous, addictive drugs IDE and EMACS. Other symptoms include falling ill with Fully Redundant Internet of Things Outsourcing Syndrome (FRITOS), excessive time spent in walled gardens, and withdrawal anxiety from smart phones or other mobile devices.

  • Multiple operating system with different font rendering, with multiple browsers on each, then responsive to adapt to different screen sizes, then hi-dpi to support higher dpi displays, and now VR in 3D? And it's supposed to still degrade gracefully?

    Sorry if I have serious doubts.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dear Firefox,

    Stop. Stop screwing around with it. You've made a browser. You've done it. Now you can stop.

  • >built with HTML and CSS

    Like trying to hammer a nail with a rope.

  • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2015 @11:03AM (#49875739)

    The recent release of firefox 38.0.5 on june 2 has been below the radar of many news sites, including Slashdot, because it was only a "patch" release.

    However, 38.0.5 included real feature changes, meaning the inclusion of a proprietary web service [softpedia.com]. I not just hate that firefox added a proprietary web service prominently to its browser, also they smuggled this in in a patch release, avoiding press attention.

    Firefox isn't a randy bitch dog that every dog inside the SV startup neighbourhood springs on, its a major web browser which respects its users. At least it was until 38.0.5.

    I accepted that they added the social API, I understood their EME changes, I've thought firefox hello was a good addition. But for 38.0.5 pocket integration, I'm heavily disappointed by mozilla.

    • Isn't v38 the current ESR major version? Does that mean they're going to shove brand new features into a minor point release in the ESR channel, which is exactly what they said they wouldn't do (because that's the very reason they created ESR in the first place)?
    • The recent release of firefox 38.0.5 on june 2 has been below the radar of many news sites, including Slashdot, because it was only a "patch" release.

      However, 38.0.5 included real feature changes, meaning the inclusion of a proprietary web service [softpedia.com]. I not just hate that firefox added a proprietary web service prominently to its browser, also they smuggled this in in a patch release, avoiding press attention.

      Firefox isn't a randy bitch dog that every dog inside the SV startup neighbourhood springs on, its a major web browser which respects its users. At least it was until 38.0.5.

      I accepted that they added the social API, I understood their EME changes, I've thought firefox hello was a good addition. But for 38.0.5 pocket integration, I'm heavily disappointed by mozilla.

      I tried hard to switch to Googles Chrome and Chromium (Linux), but every page presented by the latter were loaded with trackers. What I learned with using Privacy Badger from the EFF, was a good justification to return to FF. So, it takes a fraction of a second or two to render a page. Can I take the time that I would save using Google's product and extend by life by the few hundred milliseconds per day of time-savings?

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2015 @11:10AM (#49875785) Homepage

    This is what extensions and forks are for. Stop adding this into the core browser. I just upgraded to FF 38.0.5 today and I spent the morning reading pop-ups arrows pointing to features I don't want. The most recent one, "Pocket", requires me to sign-up for some 3rd-party service. So basically, someone wanted to advertise their product and they probably paid the Mozilla Foundation to get it added in.

    Oh look, there's a bug request to have it removed. [mozilla.org]

    • ... So basically, someone wanted to advertise their product and they probably paid the Mozilla Foundation to get it added in....

      Mozilla no longer resembles a technical organization.

      .
      Now it looks like a bureaucratic corporation struggling to have enough revenue pay for the perks of its executives.

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )

        Now it looks like a bureaucratic corporation struggling to have enough revenue pay for the perks of its executives.

        Or enough revenue to pay its general employees since every time they try to do any sort of monetization, people throw a hissy fit.

        • Yes, because monetization is inherently antagonistic to users. That should be no surprise. If the problem is money, then perhaps Mozilla would want to consider a less painful and more honest form of monetization: start charging for the browser.

          But the main problem with Pocket isn't the monetization. It's that Mozilla is selling out the privacy of its users. Adding insult to injury, it's selling to a commercial, third party company with a blatantly awful privacy policy.

          To bring things back around to the topi

    • Apparently they have shitcanned the bug fix request. It's classified as "RESOLVED INVALID" according to the bugzilla entry. Not gonna let anyone piss in their cornflakes, it would seem. "Fuck them!" is the thought that keeps coming up in my mind, but I can't stand the Chrome/Google/Snoop alternative(s).

      • by narcc ( 412956 )

        Probably because it's not a bug.

        Well, that and they couldn't care less about the opinion of a tiny minority of perpetually unhappy people who don't even use the browser.

  • Yes of course focus on useless 3D crap instead of trying to fix the performance and memory bugs that are in the current browser!

  • by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2015 @11:57AM (#49876151)

    Mozilla's VR research team is hard at work making virtual reality native to the web. The group wants more than a few experimental VR-only websites, they want responsive VR websites that can adapt seamlessly between VR and non-VR, from mobile to desktop, built with HTML and CSS .

    I'm not really concerned with what Mozilla's VR research team wants, I want to know why Mozilla doesn't care what their users want. I want to know why the slick, responsive, optionally extensible browser with a low memory footprint that millions of people switched to because it was a slick, responsive, optionally extensible browser with a low memory footprint has turned into a bloated behemoth that now includes such essentials as a built-in video chat client. The list of things I have to manually disable on a fresh Firefox install is bordering on inexcusable these days. Just filtering on about:config for enabled, there are 24 options I've changed from their defaults.

    If I wanted Firefox to be my fucking operating system, I would buy a device that runs Firefox OS. I don't, and I haven't. I, as a user, want a browser.

    Mozilla's continued race to become Chrome makes me question more and more with each Firefox update why I don't just give in and run Chrome itself. At this point I really have to wonder if the Firefox project isn't being intentionally torpedoed by some Google plants on Mozilla's payroll. There seem to be few explanations left.

  • Universality is a word that often comes back in the article, but this sort of thing is only going to work on a recent Windows PC, or perhaps some high end ($500+) Android cell phones.
    Not only you're likely requiring a fast CPU, but you need/want a strong enough and recent GPU, with strong drivers. There's tremendous variability in what GPU hardware and drivers people are running, capabilities from Shaders 2.0 to Shaders 5.0 (and some earlier or limited stuff still), not much incentive to add a new $50 graph

  • I get very ill from 3-d movies and film ride like at epcot. Will this make me sick too?

  • ... they can never deliver anything meaningful, like the Electrolysis project.

  • Maybe now they can include about:kitchensink

  • Perhaps Mozilla should consider putting some of the time, money, and effort they're spending on crap like this into fixing all the stuff they've broken in Firefox.

  • This seems something that they plan to incorporate on the standards, just like webcam support already is. New tags and CSS rules to be able to see webpages better while wearing VR devices. This is not some kind of second life thing that mozilla is building, although you could probably build one using these new features, WebGL and Javascript. This is not some kind of non-standard bloatware like a built-in email client, just like support for mobile devices varying screen sizes did not break your website exper

  • <input type="date"> still doesn't work. Basic html5 stuff.

    Come. On.

  • Seriously, if I wanted your lousy add on, I would have asked for it.

    Bad bad bad bad bad.

  • I'll be happy if they can just get it to quit crashing my graphics driver every 2 minutes.
  • VR is the new sexy thing. Who wouldn't want to contribute the big chunk of VR code to firefox that potential millions of people will be using? The problem is that Firefox has over 40,000 other small, unsexy bugs, including some that are almost 15 years old. There's no corporate management who can say "this stuff is embarrassing, hey you, you gotta fix this before we can even consider a big new feature."

    It's not a bad thing necessarily, just different priorities that can potentially result in bloated soft

  • I'm still waiting for u2f so I can use it with google account and yubikey

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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