Wednesday, January 20, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Porting Firefox to Apple Silicon

Gian-Carlo Pascutto:

Once the compiler was working, a similar exercise needed to be done with all the Rust crates we depend on. The need to update the compiler and the reliance of some crates on the exact compiler version, especially parts dealing with SIMD support, would end up biting us later on as it made it hard to push Apple Silicon support forward to an earlier release of Firefox without potentially affecting other platforms.

[…]

While we can port the open-source parts of Firefox to 64-bit ARM ourselves, Netflix and some other video streaming services such as Hulu, Disney+, or Amazon Prime require their video to be decoded with closed source, proprietary DRM software.

[…]

If we force this decoding process to run under emulation, we would be able to use the existing Intel x64 decoder modules and have them communicate with the main browser that was running natively.

[…]

More of a concern was user reports that some antivirus software was flagging all our Universal Binaries as malware, and corrupting the Firefox installation the moment the update arrived.

The software was using machine learning techniques and presumably observed that our combined Universal Binaries didn’t quite look like any other legitimate software it had ever seen before.

Previously:

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