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"Igalia announces Wolvic, a new browser project with an initial focus of picking up where Firefox Reality leaves off"

Today Igalia announces Wolvic, a new browser project with an initial focus of picking up where Firefox Reality leaves off.

XR (eXtended Reality, an umbrella term for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and similar technologies) systems have advanced quite a bit recently, and experiencing them today is eye-opening. Mozilla invested a lot into R&D in XR in the late 2010s, and in late 2018 they released an experimental browser called Firefox Reality. It was a great entry into the XR field, helping establish what a browser in these devices really looks like, and figure out the unique challenges. Today we’re excited to take up this experiment and continue this work as a complete project.

We at Igalia believe the Web is important to the XR space in a large number of ways. XR systems which provide an immersive OS need web browsers to be part of that. Entering a “reality” without access to everything that already exists on the Web would be pretty terrible.

Additionally, WebXR opens new avenues to navigate, share, and experience information driven from within the browser itself. Reimagining a browser for an immersive OS is new ground, and that newness means browser choice is currently limited.

As major contributors to all the major web engines, maintainers of a few official WebKit ports, collaborators on several browser projects, and experts in multimedia, graphics, and embedded systems, we feel that we are well suited to take up this task. As of today, Igalia has secured partial funding over the next two years, and will continue invest ourselves. However, to be really successful, and build a healthier ecosystem, we know that we’ll need to find additional partners. If your company is interested in the XR space, please reach out and talk to us

Today, standalone or tethered devices for XR are the most popular options, and we believe that is important. Our first focus is on AOSP-based, stand-alone XR systems and HarmonyOS tethered systems, including: Oculus, Huawei VR Glass, HTC Vive Focus, Pico Interactive, and Lynx. We are also hoping to begin working with companies such as Qualcomm and Lenovo to get the browser running on their XR devices.

Wolvic is about to enter stores still in a somewhat beta phase as we begin to transition some of the features previously provided by Mozilla and work through various issues. Please, help us put it on a great track by filing any issues you find against the github repository.

Interesting name. Why did you choose it?

Great question! We’re glad you asked.

First, there is something of a tradition among browsers to have an animal association. There is, of course, Firefox. Brave has a lion as a mascot, there are Puma and Dolphin browsers, and many smaller and historical browsers and projects within the browser space are named after animals. Since our initial effort takes over where the fox left off, keeping it in the canine family felt nice, while recognizing that it will follow its own evolutionary path.

It’s also well known that wolves are very important to maintaining the health of ecosystems in which they exist. The browser ecosystem is very important to us at Igalia, whether in the traditionally 2D space of the Web or the 3D space of WebXR. We believe we can play an important role in helping keep the web ecosystem healthy and balanced.

Furthermore, there is a metaphorical aspect to it. From Romulus and Remus in Roman mythology to Akela in the Jungle Book, wolves in mythology and literature are often shown rescuing, nurturing, and the pack protecting protagonists who turn out to play quite important roles. In practice, wolves and humans have, for millennia, had a close relationship. The first animals ever domesticated by humans, wolves have helped us get around, helped us hunt, guarded livestock, and kept us safe. Wolves are pretty unique in this regard.

Finally, it doesn’t hurt that the name looks cool and the domain was available.