Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

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Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

Postby gordon_freeman » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:33 pm

Hi, I've preferred Iron Browser to Chrome / Chromium for a while now and have just installed it as my default (and only) browser on my new (to me) laptop with Arch Linux. However I'm having a few issues, Iron doesn't seem to support H.264 video (although WebM works fine) or WebGL -- both technologies that I'm sure are provided natively in Chrome and Chromium.

Given that Arch linux is a 'build from scratch' distro, at least in terms of package selection, I don't know if it's just a case that I'm missing some codecs / packages to enable support for these. Can someone help me please?

If it is simply a case of installing the correct packages and re-building Iron from source then which codecs and/or packages do I need to install?
If Iron does not 'natively' support these technologies then will they be included in a future release soon? Again, it's my understanding that both Google Chrome and the open source Chromium feature these technologies and Iron is based off of the same source code is it not? So it should be 'easy' to enable these right?

I hope someone can help me with these queries.

Thanks
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Re: Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

Postby bksening » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:12 pm

For H.264 support, the H.264 codec is not part of the Chromium source-code. Plain Chromium executables do not support H.264 and Iron is not getting it for free nether.

Each browser vendor that supports H.264 (eg. Google and Apple) has paid for a (not cheap) license to include the codec in their branded browsers. As far as I know SRWare does not have such a license, so Iron browser cannot support H.264.

For WebGL, my question is has Iron activated all the necessary flags/options for GPU hardware acceleration?
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Re: Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

Postby alx_max » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:11 pm

Then is there a way to use the system installed codecs in order to get the H264 support?
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Re: Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

Postby gordon_freeman » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:03 pm

Ahh I see, I did not realise that H.264 was a closed / licensed codec -- thanks @bksening!

As for WebM though, seems to work fine for me in Iron [ Version 22.0.1250.0 (158531) ] built on Arch Linux [ 3.6.4-1-ARCH ]

A lot of videos on Youtube (and most other websites) still require Flash Player (which I have not installed) other videos work fine -- I'm assuming these have been converted to WebM or some other open/HTML5 supported codec.

So yay for Iron Browser!!
:ironvschrome


-- perhaps some bright spark will develop an open source implementation of the H.264 codec for Linux and other 'open' platforms?
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Re: Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

Postby gordon_freeman » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:54 pm

Hmm been looking in to this H.264 thing a bit more and whilst as a web developer and a supporter of open source I'd rather see WebM and/or Ogg Theora for HTML5 video (or possibly the BBC's Dirac, although I don't know if that's open-source!) it's looks likely that H.264 is here to stay and will probably become a de-facto standard. But for users of Linux at least (and possibly other *nix based OSs) there's GStreamer!

I don't know how gstreamer's h264 capabilities work within / around the licensing issue(s) but it's there, it works (via libav / ffmpeg), it's widely available and already has quite a wide install base (at least within the Linux communities).

I don't know if any of Iron's Devs read up on the forum but will it be possibly / likely to build Iron with support for GStreamer with libav: avdec_h264 / ffmpeg ffdec_h264 ?

That would be 8-)
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Re: Native H.264 and WebGL support in Iron?

Postby bksening » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:07 pm

It looks like the Chromium dev team nixed GStreamer support long ago. For details, see this WontFix'ed Chromium bug starting at Comment 9 and further comments from other Chromium devs:
http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issue ... d=32861#c9

"Thanks for sharing your concerns. I understand that support for pluggable codecs would be very cool, but it's in direct conflict with Chrome's security sandbox and goals. Dynamically loading and executing codecs at run-time is something the sandbox explicitly disallows. The alternative of loading all gstreamer codecs at start time hurts new tab/startup performance too much. Finally, support for gstreamer on Mac/Windows isn't quite at the level as it is on Linux, and writing three separate backends (DirectShow, QuickTime, gstreamer) would further complicate the implementation and provide inconsistent results across operating systems.
In summary, we really wanted Chrome to behave and run the same on all platforms and have all media playback happen inside the sandbox."

That means it's up to outside party Chromium modifiers to integrate GStreamer support if it's going to happen.
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