Blacklisting graphics drivers in Firefox 4

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Joe Drew

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Jan 21, 2011, 6:42:03 PM1/21/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
In bug 623338, we decided that it would be best for our users to
blacklist drivers older than an arbitrary date (in this case, we chose
about 6 months ago) to ensure that they get a great Firefox 4
experience. (It's our experience that old drivers tend to have bugs that
are fixed in newer versions of those drivers, and that new drivers tend
not to introduce new problems.)

In addition to that, we've decided that, because of low testing volume
and unknown quality, we are going to implement a whitelist of GPU
vendors; only Intel, AMD/ATI, and NVIDIA cards will be permitted to use
GPU acceleration in Firefox 4, at least initially.

Finally, we've also implemented a downloaded blacklist, which allows us
to turn off GPU acceleration for certain drivers/GPUs/vendors if we
discover they're crashy, buggy, or otherwise make the Firefox 4
experience anything less than awesome.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

Thanks,

Joe
on behalf of the Mozilla graphics team

Asa Dotzler

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Jan 21, 2011, 7:14:17 PM1/21/11
to

Will there be any in-browser smarts that will automatically disable
acceleration for a buggy driver the second or third time it fails?

- A

Joe Drew

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Jan 21, 2011, 7:20:27 PM1/21/11
to Asa Dotzler, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org

On 2011-01-21 7:14 PM, Asa Dotzler wrote:

> Will there be any in-browser smarts that will automatically disable
> acceleration for a buggy driver the second or third time it fails?

That's not currently a blocker for Firefox 4, but it's something we're
thinking about doing, most likely for a future release.

John Dexter

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Jan 22, 2011, 8:53:04 AM1/22/11
to Joe Drew, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
Sorry if this is a dumb question but am I able to manually enter a driver on
my personal machine's blacklist to see the functionality become disabled?

On 21 January 2011 23:42, Joe Drew <j...@mozilla.com> wrote:

> In bug 623338, we decided that it would be best for our users to blacklist
> drivers older than an arbitrary date (in this case, we chose about 6 months
> ago) to ensure that they get a great Firefox 4 experience. (It's our
> experience that old drivers tend to have bugs that are fixed in newer
> versions of those drivers, and that new drivers tend not to introduce new
> problems.)
>
> In addition to that, we've decided that, because of low testing volume and
> unknown quality, we are going to implement a whitelist of GPU vendors; only
> Intel, AMD/ATI, and NVIDIA cards will be permitted to use GPU acceleration
> in Firefox 4, at least initially.
>
> Finally, we've also implemented a downloaded blacklist, which allows us to
> turn off GPU acceleration for certain drivers/GPUs/vendors if we discover
> they're crashy, buggy, or otherwise make the Firefox 4 experience anything
> less than awesome.
>
> Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!
>
> Thanks,
>
> Joe
> on behalf of the Mozilla graphics team

> _______________________________________________
> dev-platform mailing list
> dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-platform
>

Henri Sivonen

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Jan 25, 2011, 4:48:45 AM1/25/11
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
Joe Drew wrote:
> In addition to that, we've decided that, because of low testing volume
> and unknown quality, we are going to implement a whitelist of GPU
> vendors; only Intel, AMD/ATI, and NVIDIA cards will be permitted to
> use GPU acceleration in Firefox 4, at least initially.

This looks like the UA sniffing antipattern--just on a different layer. This could lead to a situation where a minor GPU vendor has to fake its driver identity as a major vendor in order to be able to compete--just like Chromium has to claim it is Mozilla/5.0, Gecko, Safari and Chrome.

--
Henri Sivonen
hsiv...@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/

Robert O'Callahan

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Jan 25, 2011, 6:43:04 AM1/25/11
to Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org

No, they only have to appeal to us to get whitelisted in the next update ...
and maybe appeal to a few other browsers or apps. That should be somewhat
easier than getting millions of sites to change their UA sniffing. They can
even submit patches.

Rob
--
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for
they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures
every day to see if what Paul said was true." [Acts 17:11]

Jeff Muizelaar

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Jan 25, 2011, 10:52:42 AM1/25/11
to rob...@ocallahan.org, Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org

On 25-Jan-11, at 6:43 AM, Robert O'Callahan wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 10:48 PM, Henri Sivonen <hsiv...@iki.fi>
> wrote:
>
>> Joe Drew wrote:
>>> In addition to that, we've decided that, because of low testing
>>> volume
>>> and unknown quality, we are going to implement a whitelist of GPU
>>> vendors; only Intel, AMD/ATI, and NVIDIA cards will be permitted to
>>> use GPU acceleration in Firefox 4, at least initially.
>>
>> This looks like the UA sniffing antipattern--just on a different
>> layer.
>> This could lead to a situation where a minor GPU vendor has to fake
>> its
>> driver identity as a major vendor in order to be able to compete--
>> just like
>> Chromium has to claim it is Mozilla/5.0, Gecko, Safari and Chrome.
>>
>
> No, they only have to appeal to us to get whitelisted in the next
> update ...
> and maybe appeal to a few other browsers or apps. That should be
> somewhat
> easier than getting millions of sites to change their UA sniffing.
> They can
> even submit patches.

Furthermore, the intent is to gradually loosen the whitelist or remove
it entirely after the release of FF4.
We just want to minimize our initial risk here, not keep users out
indefinitely.

-Jeff

Steven Roussey

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Feb 3, 2011, 12:16:54 PM2/3/11
to rob...@ocallahan.org, Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
My unfortunate experience after reading this was to update my NVIDIA drivers. Somehow that killed aero. :( Newer is not always better. My about:support for the GPU whet from 4/4 to 2/2. The driver makers really need to step it up to prepare their stuff for non-games work.

Steven Roussey

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Feb 3, 2011, 12:16:54 PM2/3/11
to mozilla.de...@googlegroups.com, Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org, rob...@ocallahan.org

Bas Schouten

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Feb 3, 2011, 12:47:43 PM2/3/11
to mozilla dev platform, Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org, rob...@ocallahan.org
Hi Steven,

Under the control panel, make sure Aero is still selected under 'Personalize'. I've had a driver update somehow switch me to basic once!

Also 2/2 is not worse than 4/4 :) 2/2 means you have two accelerated windows open (2 out of 2 accelerated), 4/4 means four windows open that are accelerated.

We are working on our dialogue with driver vendors, for what it's worth.

Bas

Steven Roussey

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Feb 3, 2011, 1:50:30 PM2/3/11
to Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org, rob...@ocallahan.org
> Under the control panel, make sure Aero is still selected under 'Personalize'. I've had a driver update somehow switch me to basic once!
>

Yes, I had that happen on a different machine (I was able to switch it back on). On this one it won't turn back on, and the troubleshooter says there is no issue. Even reverting the driver failed to restore Aero. I'm really stuck (and it sucks), but that is nvidia's issue, not yours.

> We are working on our dialogue with driver vendors, for what it's worth.

I'm sure. I think AMD and NVIDIA have a bit of work to do still. And MS needs to update drivers via windows update more often. (Hopefully not versions that kill aero though.)

Steven Roussey

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Feb 3, 2011, 1:50:30 PM2/3/11
to mozilla.de...@googlegroups.com, Henri Sivonen, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org, rob...@ocallahan.org
> Under the control panel, make sure Aero is still selected under 'Personalize'. I've had a driver update somehow switch me to basic once!
>

Yes, I had that happen on a different machine (I was able to switch it back on). On this one it won't turn back on, and the troubleshooter says there is no issue. Even reverting the driver failed to restore Aero. I'm really stuck (and it sucks), but that is nvidia's issue, not yours.

> We are working on our dialogue with driver vendors, for what it's worth.

I'm sure. I think AMD and NVIDIA have a bit of work to do still. And MS needs to update drivers via windows update more often. (Hopefully not versions that kill aero though.)

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