Firefox Nightly Getting An Injection Of Oculus Rift Support

Mozilla's Chief Technical Officer Andreas Gal updated his blog on Wednesday with news that Nightly builds of Firefox will now include VR support. This should be good news for users and developers who previously had to download a special build of Firefox that was typically lagging behind the current Nightly releases.  

"Consumer VR products are still in a nascent state, but clearly there is great promise for this technology. We have enough confidence in the new APIs we have proposed that we are today taking the step of integrating them into our regular nightly Firefox builds," Gal wrote.

Firefox users eager to see the browser in the Oculus Rift headset must not only download the latest Nightly release, but install the WebVR Oculus Rift Enabler add-on and open a "non-e10s" browser window. To open this window, simply choose "File" and then "New Non-e10s Window."

Mozilla engineering Director Vlad Vukicevic said in a separate blog that users must choose a non-e10s window because WebVR in Firefox currently does not support multi-process browsing. He added that Mozilla wants to add Direct-To-Rift support soon in the Nightly build. After that, Mozilla is eying Firefox for Android, Linux and the Cardboard device for mobile VR experiences.

"We'll also be starting to revisit VR support using CSS and the DOM, to maximize compatibility with existing Web content and Web development knowledge," Vukicevic wrote. "You'll also soon be able to report bugs to us via bugzilla.mozilla.org in a new WebVR component."

For the uninitiated, Firefox Nightly is the build where Mozilla first introduces new features and fixes. This allows Mozilla to receive feedback from those willing to test the build. Because it's fresh out of the mixing bowl, the Nightly build can be somewhat unstable. Mozilla warns that this build should only be used by "experienced" users and testers.

Vukicevic also revealed in his blog that VR support will be baked into Beta and Release builds, but disabled. "We're still making rapid improvements and changes to both the VR interfaces and the necessary platform support pieces," Vukicevic said. "Once WebVR is more complete, we'll discuss shipping plans to our Beta and Release builds."

To download the Nightly version of Firefox, head here.

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  • achoo2
    I truly wish that browsers wouldn't try to integrate every technology under the sun. If I want to play a game, it's enough to download it through the browser and launch it as a separate process. Same for VR (especially if it requires libraries from a Facebook-owned company) and pretty much anything else that can't pass through a HTML proxy.

    Seriously, how many security flaws could've been avoided if there were no plugins or ActiveX browsers? And, really, there wouldn't be any significant loss of functionality.
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