The GPU Acceleration Situation In Firefox 6
Written by Michael Larabel in Mozilla on 14 August 2011 at 06:36 AM EDT. 35 Comments
Mozilla Firefox 6.0 is to be officially released on Tuesday (it's already out if you look on FTP mirrors) with faster performance, better start-up times, improved plug-in management, greater HTML5 support, more permission controls, and several other features. What's not talked about much, but is huge for the affected Linux users, is that the GPU acceleration situation begins to be sorted out.

Firefox 4.0 introduced OpenGL acceleration support for WebGL and HTML5 content, but the support was bound to Windows and Mac OS X. The developers acknowledged that the GPU Linux drivers were in bad shape, but just not the open-source ones -- the proprietary drivers failed too. The only driver not breaking miserably in most situations was the proprietary NVIDIA driver.

As mentioned in May, with Mozilla Firefox 6.0 are the Linux drivers finally beginning to be white-listed en masse. Those running the proprietary NVIDIA driver (v257.21+), the AMD Catalyst proprietary driver with OpenGL 3.0+ support, or Mesa classic DRI drivers (v7.10+) will now have full GPU acceleration support exposed for HTML5 and WebGL content. Note that it's "classic" drivers in Mesa, but not Gallium3D. The Gallium3D drivers are still being black-listed by Firefox until the 7.0 release.

Look for Mozilla Firefox 6 to be officially released in the next two days, or you can grab it already from an FTP mirror.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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