Friday, February 18, 2011

Chrome WebGL a no go, methinks

So, Chrome has WebGL on by default ... if you have hardware OpenGL 2.0 support, so far as I can tell. Well, I suppose modern Direct3D support on Windows would also suffice, given their ANGLE compatibility library.

One of the Linux computers I use regularly has no such support, so WebGL content doesn't render at all. Said computer is a little over two years old, so I suspect I'm not the only one with problems.

Saying "Sorry, the web doesn't work on your fairly modern computer" isn't good enough.

Until WebGL just works on everyday computers and handhelds across Chrome and Firefox and Safari (and Opera?), it's a no go for me.

Anyway, if I'm misunderstanding the state of Chrome WebGL support, let me know, but for now it's just vaporware in my book.


  1. Hi Tom,

    Sorry WebGL isn't working on your linux box. Does this machine have an ATI graphics card? We recently had to turn off WebGL on all Linux ATI chips due to a bug in the driver causing X server crashes.

    Unfortunately, this is one of the major issues with any 3D api for the web: it's at the mercy of the underlying platforms, and Linux graphics in particular is notoriously difficult. We plan to add software rendering support so all users will at least see something, even if it's slow.

  2. It's actually an onboard Intel thing. Software fallback would be great! I understand the difference could still be qualitative and eliminate usability for awesomeness, but I think it would still be "good enough" for saying that WebGL was part of the web.

    Adobe has software fallback planned for their new 3D features, too, right?

    Thanks much for the feedback.