Mozilla's Next Big 'Quantum' Enhancement Will Make Firefox Silky-Smooth

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Seems pretty optimistic considering virtually all GPUs have been blacklisted from browser acceleration since 2011 in Firefox, making the "use Hardware Acceleration" tickbox like a bad joke. And even though it has been disabled, even a single Firefox tab can make the GPU run at 100% UVD speeds anyway.

About the only types of acceleration that reliably works now are WebGL and H.264 in Flash. Considering Flash is deprecated and even reduced to click-to-run in Firefox 55, it's not like they have a lot of experience in getting it to work at all.
 

bit_user

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every pixel will be painted on the screen on each frame
That's a terrible idea. Games are run by far fewer people, for far less time, making games a flawed justification for this model. Even using the GPU is not an excuse to waste power redrawing elements (or entire windows) that aren't changing.

The first question many will ask is how to turn this off. Others might be content simply to decrease the framerate.
 

nikolajj

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Wow, a lot af hate in here.
Rendering a web page the same way as a game might not be that heavy a task as you think. Its not like web pages have amazing graphics or anything. The fanciest pages might not be much harder to run than Doom 2 (1994).
 

nikolajj

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They might, but they also might not. A gpu is designed specifically to draw images on the screen, the cpu is not. And when scrolling a page today, almost every pixel will have to be redrawn in any case anyway (cpu or gpu).
 

linuxgeex

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Lucian speculates:
"One side benefit of Mozilla making its web rendering engine act as a gaming engine does is that Firefox could become the best browser for 3D web games. Coupled with WebAssembly, which will allow game developers to port their C++ 3D games and run them at near-native speed, Firefox could become a compelling deployment platform for gaming developers."

However this is completely unrelated. It's like saying that if you go to the video arcade and put your mobile phone onto a Taito arcade machine, that it will suddenly become a better arcade machine itself. Developers will not be writing to the same API that Firefox's browser is implemented in (Rust and its collection of dozens of external APIs) but just to JS/DHTML/Canvas/WebGL as usual, and none of the improvements that Firefox is making will make those Web APIs any better for authoring gaming apps.
 

linuxgeex

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Hannibal: yes this will be bad for battery life. If you want good battery life you can limit FPS via about:config layout.frame_rate. I use 6fps in firefox for browsing on battery and then I switch to Chrome when I'm plugged in. Adblock and Noscript are also really good for reducing your mobile data usage, speeding up page loads, and increasing battery life.
 

bit_user

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Okay, try running a 3D game - even an old one - in full screen, on a laptop. Then, tell me what it does to your battery life compared with just having a conventional web browser window open.


Not traditionally, where they would use bit-block transfers to copy the parts of the window that were previously visible and just render the new area. But maybe for pages that use multiple layers and transparency, etc.
 

bit_user

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I tend to agree with Lucian. He's making two points:

    ■ New web APIs (e.g. WebAssembly) are designed to provide compute performance near that of native code. Importantly, this doesn't mean you have to write any assembly language - it allows you to target toolchains like C++ compilers to output code in a portable intermediate format.
    ■ By re-architecting the graphics stack of the web browser for better throughput, it's reasonable to assume that games written atop this stack will also benefit. In fact, it's a bit difficult to see how they wouldn't.

Now tell me: where's the error in that logic?
 

bit_user

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Thanks for confirming that.


It's a really poor design, if it depends on these hacks. You can't assume they'll work forever. I'm still waiting for publishers to deliver at least some of their content in a way that's technically indistinguishable from ads. Why wouldn't they - they're not making any money off of people using Adblock, so there's no incentive to serve people who are. Then, you have to turn it off and you're in the same boat (performance-wise) as the rest of us.
 

nikolajj

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Well, the power usage would increase, but I don't know a lot of 3D websites ;) Imagen a game engine that did not render any frames when nothing is happening. I have a hard time imagining that this would redraw anything if the content is completely static.
The bit-block transfer is a good point, but we don't know if this will still work that way or do something equally smart. It is not like they are making an actual game engine.

Tho both a programmer and a gamer, I don't claim to be an expert at this, but an engine like this has never been made before, so it just might be awesome. Who knows. A company like Mozilla just might know what they are doing, and I surely hope so ;) (fingers crossed)
 

nikolajj

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You can't know that for sure yet. A gpu should use less power to draw the same frame a a cpu. (a 180 watt gpu draws frames many times faster than a 90 watt cpu. This is my logic at least. Perhaps it is flawed?)
If this will use the same tricks or equivalent to draw as moders browsers, it could be more efficient than using the cpu. Furthermore: If you have a dedicated gpu, the gpu is already doing some work anyway. So this might actualy remove some overhead!
We don't know, so let's wait and see.
If it ends up killing battery life, then I will only use it on my desktop ^^
 

epobirs

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Not necessarily. If the GPU is many times faster at the task the time required before the system can shift to a lower power state is improved. For a page like this forum, that doesn't have constant animation or other visual activity, letting the GPU perform its specialty rather than the general purpose CPU can make for an improvement. On a page with lots of activity it will be little different than any app that uses the GPU properly and should be more power efficient than having the CPU do it. Just the same, a busy page means a busy battery.
 

nikolajj

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You say that, but I work as a software developer making web sites and web apps and I use Firefox because it is where I find the greatest stability.
The worst offender is Edge! It hangs at random as well at being slow as IE.
 

samer.forums

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Nah , Chrome works better for me and crashes less. If you use extensions like I do you will understand what I mean.
 

bit_user

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But that's not what they said. They said every pixel will be rendered 60 times/second. It doesn't matter whether the page is changing or not.

Just because a GPU can render graphics more efficiently than a CPU doesn't make it free. Redrawing stuff that's not changing is burning power that wouldn't be burnt if you didn't do that. It sounds like linuxgeex has actually tried it and observed that effect on battery life is significant.
 

nikolajj

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I do use extensions :) I don't really have problems with Chrome, I just like firefox better. The problems are Edge and IE.

 

nikolajj

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1) It might only render 60FPS when something is happening. This is quite achievable.
2) It is not done yet. So testing now might not have much relevance in the end.

 
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