Last updated: 2022-09-20
Questions about Igalia, funding, and the team behind Wolvic
Who is funding Igalia?
Generally speaking, Igalia is funded by a wide variety clients. Some of our contracts allow or encourage us to discuss the work; others do not.
Igalia works on a lot of things, from graphic drivers to multimedia, as well as the web platform. Igalia’s model expands the ability for investment into the web platform and web engines. We think that is not only good for businesses, developers, and users, but fundamentally useful to the long term health of the Web.
Igalia itself re-invests in things we feel are important, but that we think under-served or else very, very interesting. Very often we are able to find good alignments with client work. Igalia is also the maintainer of a few official WebKit ports, including WPEWebkit, which powers millions of devices. We are able to do this and build a team around a diverse combination of investments, which in turn makes WebKit better and helps the larger web ecosystem remain healthier. Our ideas around XR are not dissimilar.
How is Wolvic itself funded?
Igalia has been investing in the XR space for the last few years. We’ve discussed numerous opportuniuties, and last year demonstrated an experiment based on Firefox Reality (see Why did Mozilla choose Igalia?, below). Given a demonstrable idea, we began talking to companies in the XR space with an interest in having an open source browser. Some of those organizations have committed to multi-year funding, and we are in talks with more. Igalia has also committed to some multi-year funding of its own.
Why did Mozilla choose Igalia?
It was actually the other way around: Igalia came to Mozilla. We’ve been interested in the XR space for the last few years; for example, we did a lot of work on XR support in WebKit (see Who is funding Igalia?, above). Last year we demonstrated an Android port of a WPE-based browser, including one which ran on an XR device through a fork of Mozilla Research Lab’s Firefox Reality. As a result of this work, we approached Mozilla about our interests.
What did Mozilla pay Igalia to do this?
How many people are working on Wolvic?
It is currently about the same size as the original Firefox Reality team. Like many other Igalia projects, efforts scale based on interest and investments that we are able to find. As mentioned in Who is funding Igalia?, above, some of this work and interest began with initial seed investments from Igalia itself a few years ago. These investments, and the size of the team, have grown over the past two years as we began to have demonstrable work and ideas, as well as interested parties willing to help provide additional funding.
Many experts at Igalia play roles in helping in various ways, from standards related work, to triaging issues and testing, to builds and releases, as well as by looking for opportunies, both direct and adjacent, to expand more work through increased funding.
Which platforms are currently supported by Wolvic?
Currently we are focused on relatively capable stand-alone Android/AOSP based operating systems and HarmonyOS tethered systems, including: Huawei VR Glass, HTC Vive Focus, Oculus Quest, Pico Interactive, and Lynx devices. We are not currently focused on some legacy devices like the Oculus Go.
Is Wolvic going to work on non-Android or AOSP-based operating systems?
It is not in our immediate plans, but the future will be shaped by the number of partners we can find, their needs, and our ability to succeed. Certainly more costly efforts without funding and which need additional or redundant code or new architecture need to be prioritized less than obvious needs where there can be considerable code-reuse. That said, we are excited to see how Wolvic will expand and mature.
Is Wolvic going to support Augmented Reality features?
It is on the roadmap, yes. There are, however, currently several things which are taking higher priority. Development priorities will certainly be shaped with the help of partners and funding.
Is Wolvic planning to stick with GeckoView?
Wolvic currently uses GeckoView. That said, as part of our experimentation in 2021, we showed a version of Firefox Reality backed with WPE WebKit through an abstraction layer. Igalia’s plans include developing a robust abstration layer for Wolvic that will allow it to be somewhat more decoupled from the underlying engine, thus allowing different engine backends. There is no intent to “remove GeckoView”, but rather to offer compatibility and options as things develop and change over time.
Will Wolvic support syncing to Firefox accounts or sending tabs?
We are very interested in supporting this, as it was an interesting and very useful feature of Firefox Reality. We expect to have some kind of syncing functionality available in the near future. Whether we will be able to sync with Firefox accounts will depend on a number of factors, not all of them under our control.
Why are some websites not showing the enter-VR button when opening them with Wolvic?
The answer to this is both simple and complex. The simple answer it that these sites are providing that functionality based on whether the user agent claims to be the Oculus Browser (or some similar key which effectively amounts to the same), and we are telling the truth about who we are. Creators, please: don’t limit features based on the UA string!
The complex answer involves understanding that this is an all-too-common problem for browsers. The truth is that all browsers — literally all of them — have problems like this: A list of sites in the wild which have been built in such a way that they will only work if a browser spoofs another agent, which they do. There are many efforts at the standards level going into solving this, but the reality is that it is complex to untangle: There is a very delicate balance between providing sites information to do or know useful and benign things, and opening doors to all sorts of problems.
How does search work in Wolvic?
How can I contribute to Wolvic?
You can visit the repository to see if there are any open issues that catch your attention, or if there’s any part of the code you can improve. Also, since Wolvic is based on an open source browser engine, contributing to those engines helps improve Wolvic!
Where can I find the roadmap for Wolvic?
We have not published one yet. Internally, we are working on creating a high-level roadmap and have some plans, but what we publish and are able to achieve, and in what timeframes, will ultimately depend on the funding we are able to assemble.