Wolvic 1.3 Released

February brings the release of Wolvic 1.3, and we’ve added a lot so there’s a lot to share!

First up, we’re pleased to be bringing support to the Pico4, Pico4E, and Meta Quest Pro. The Pico support is based on the OpenXR backend, which allows for things like hand tracking and, through the use of XR layers, better visuals, better performance, and lower battery usage.

In fact, we’ve switched to using OpenXR by default on all devices, which is a huge step forward in code maintenance. The Pico, HuaweiVR, and Meta devices all share the same code, and thus all platforms benefit from the same fixes and improvements. Among those improvements are a number of low-level features and fixing a major memory leak, as detailed in the Notes section later on. This does mean we’re removing the deprecated OculusVR backend on Meta devices soon.

Another benefit of using OpenXR is that the brand new hand tracking support we’ve just added, should work on all the platforms supporting it, like recent Meta or Pico devices. We have an early prototype of in-view hand rendering and gesture recognition, and expect improvements over the next few releases.

The OpenXR migration came with a couple of regressions. First, we lost the background dimming when watching fullscreen videos because it was based on already deprecated OculusVR layer APIs. Second, we no longer show the battery levels for the controllers, as OpenXR doesn’t support that capability yet.

In terms of user interface, we’ve added support for file uploads using a custom widget of our own making, so that’s also in a sort of early-prototype phase. On the download side, we’ve added image thumbnails to the list of downloaded files, and also a contextual menu that permits sharing downloaded files with other apps. We also improved the downloads screen so that longer filenames are better handled.

In another big step forward, we’ve added support to install browser extensions (.xpi files) from local files. This is a big win for extension developers, as it enables them to test out their extensions without having to get them into Mozilla’s repos first. In order to be able to install extensions from local files, users need to enable a setting in the Developers Preferences. Thanks to Ayaskant Panigrahi for contributing the code to make this possible!

Furthermore, Wolvic has now support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Whenever a PWA manifest is available on a given web page, Wolvic shows an icon in the URL bar allowing users to install the application. In this release, PWAs are added to a new section in the Library (along with bookmarks, downloads, and history), but the plan for the future is to use native APIs to add those apps to the system environment.

Finally, we’ve changed the User Agent string in Wolvic to announce itself as itself — previously, Wolvic still identified itself to sites as Firefox Reality. This change should fix some site compatibility issues, especially where a widely-used video framework refused to serve videos (a bug has been filed and is being addressed).

It is possible this change could introduce new site compatibility problems, so if you experience that, or if you’ve found a new problem or other issue, please let us know on GitHub.

Release Notes