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Re: [Public WebGL] GL_RENDERER string needed for performant apps

On 1/14/14 1:53 PM, Brandon Jones wrote:
First off, it's been the case for a while now that pages which
artificially block access based on user strings draw the ire of the web
community pretty quickly.

It has?

Maybe you and I are looking at different communities. UA sniffing is rampant on "mobile" sites, for example, with badly downgraded or broken content sent to some browsers based on their UA. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?list_id=9192495&short_desc=b2g%20ua%20recognize&query_format=advanced&short_desc_type=allwordssubstr shows 211 bugs for me as of today, and these are just the issues we ran into recently, with Firefox OS only, and only a particular kind of issue.

I would expect that many WebGL apps
(especially games) will draw a more technically aware audience, and as
such the backlash would be even worse.

In practice people only object to UA sniffing if it affects them personally. You don't see Chrome's users (or yourself, for that matter) complaining about all the semi-broken sniffing Google Web properties do [1]. Similarly, I don't expect people using graphics cards whitelisted by web pages to care about other people whose graphics cards are being blocked.

I don't think it's a negative
thing to have the community shame bad actors in this regard.

It's not, if it happened.

It's also worth pointing out that it would be pretty trivial to write a browser
extension that spoofs the RENDERER/VENDOR with the page being none the
wiser, which would make it trivial to spot cases like this.

Sure, just like it's trivial to spoof UA strings. Have you tried doing that? You get sites that send browser-specific content based on UA string which doesn't work in other browsers (even though with some trivial changes the content would work in all browsers). You get sites that just have broken UA string parsing. You get sites that just explicitly block wide classes of UAs.

Apart from evangelism teams at browser vendors, everyone else seems to be just fine with the situation.

Imagine what the internet would do if the latest Starcraft worked only
on Nvidia cards, but some quick driver hacks proved that it ran just as
well on AMD?

Given the UA string experience I've had, absolutely nothing.

and there's very few financial motivations for excluding part of
your audience.

How is this calculation different for something like Google flight search? What about gmail?

The fact is, if someone decides the part of the audience being excluded is unimportant enough, they'll just exclude it if it makes their work building the app at all easier. And _that_ is the financial motivation: reducing the amount of work needed to make the app work and test it.

Until just recently, actually, one of the biggest
concerns about WebGL I consistently heard was that the audience reach
was limited because IE and mobile Safari weren't on board.

That's because IE and mobile Safari have enough market share that people decide they care about them. This is a pure self-interest calculation, not something about excluding people being bad. Excluding people who're marginalized enough seems OK with everyone. :(

I have a hard time imagining those same
developers will willingly deny any large portion of their audience

Ah, the keyword: "large".

There is an argument to be made that hardware vendors may use this as a
method to lock showcase apps into their own hardware, or pay other
developers to target their hardware.

You mean like what Google has done in the past with "Chrome experiments" and vendor prefixes and sniffing? Or like Apple has done with the Apple Store website (which they broke in Firefox for several weeks with changes like this)? Nah, could't possibly happen in this space...

This happens on the desktop all the time, of course, and nobody complains.

Yep. It happens on the web all the time too, and almost nobody complains. In fact, people cheer it on.

but I still feel the other motivations are strong
enough to counteract most bad behavior in that case.

I really hope you're right... Past experience is not making me sanguine on the matter. :(


[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=754754 and https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=921532 and https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=759599 and https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=760559 and so on and so on; these were the ones I conveniently had in my inbox right now.

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