WebGL in Firefox 4 and Google Chrome 10


If you are experimenting with WebGL, with a non-nVidia based graphics chip like Intel or AMD/ATI, you may have noticed it no longer works after an update to Google Chrome 10. Even in Firefox 4 with its much awaited WebGL support, things are not working well.
WebGL makes use of OpenGL to render 3D graphics in the web browser. Seems OpenGL and drivers are “disastrously buggy” that both Chrome and Firefox have decided to blacklist certain graphic cards. If you are feeling brave and want to bypass these restrictions, here’s how to go ahead..

DISCLAIMER:
DO this at your own risk. Engineers at Google and Mozilla must have very important reasons to block these and cripple 3D support in the browser like this for many users, considering the awesomeness of WebGL

In Google Chrome

You just have to run it with ‘–ignore-gpu-blacklist’ startup switch.
At the terminal use the command

google chrome --ignore-gpu-blacklist

In Mozilla Firefox

If you are using an Intel graphics card, you might have to install OSMesa first, which is a software implementation for OpenGL which enables off-screen rendering. You’ll find the package as ‘libosmesa6-dev’ in Synaptic Package Manager or try the old school method

sudo apt-get install libosmesa6-dev

Then run the following command to run Firefox, bypassing the blacklist.

MOZ_GLX_IGNORE_BLACKLIST=1 firefox

Goto about:config and search for following parameters and make sure they are set as below.

webgl.disabled:false
webgl.force-enabled:false
webgl.force_osmesa:false
webgl.osmesalib:/usr/lib/libOSMesa.so
webgl.prefer-native-gl:false
webgl.shader_validator:true
webgl.verbose:false

To check whether its working properly Goto a page like Google Body Browser or examples like this at Learning WebGL. To know more about your graphic card in Ubuntu try the following commands.

inxi -G
lshw -C video
glxinfo | grep render

Here are some more related resources:
Learning WebGL http://learningwebgl.com/blog/
Planet WebGL http://www.planet-webgl.org/
WebGL on Intel cards http://www.guciek.net/en/js/webgl_intel
Awesomeness of WebGL http://www.slideshare.net/evilhackerdude/webgl-awesomeness
WebGL @ Mozilla Developer Documentation https://developer.mozilla.org/en/WebGL
News Story at OSNews http://www.osnews.com/story/24264/No_Hardware_Acceleration_Firefox_for_Linu

12 thoughts on “WebGL in Firefox 4 and Google Chrome 10”

  1. Personally, I added MOZ_GLX_IGNORE_BLACKLIST=1 to my environment on my ATI and Intel linux machines as a global env variable.

    One thing, I did run into a shader compiler crash in a few demos w/ the default fglrx that is in Ubuntu 10.10 – downloading latest fglrx from ATI website fixed.

  2. Oh, also, you might be happy to know that Benoit has aded a nice little mini-glxinfo type app to Firefox, that will be used in Firefox 4 to get better info on safe graphics cards, avoiding crashes in linux simply creating a gl context to *get* card info.

    Will be in FF5 in a few months…

  3. I’ve just tested WebGL for Google Chrome 16 and it works like a charm. I tested it in Google Maps with WebGL. Firefox (I use version 9.0.1) method does not work for me.

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