[whatwg] suggestion for HTML5 spec

Dirk Pranke dpranke at chromium.org
Mon Aug 2 19:20:24 PDT 2010

On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 7:09 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> On Mon, 2 Aug 2010, Dirk Pranke wrote:
>> On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 6:56 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>> > On Mon, 2 Aug 2010, Dirk Pranke wrote:
>> >> >
>> >> > Why would a user ever want anyone to disable their GPU acceleration?
>> >>
>> >> I believe I've heard people say that they might sometimes want this for
>> >> power management, i.e. performing the same computation on the GPU might
>> >> take more power than performing it more slowly on the CPU. I imagine
>> >> this would depend on the specific configuration and computations
>> >> involved, though.
>> >
>> > This seems like a matter for the user, not the Web page, though.
>> Ah, I knew you were going to say this. I agree, but I can also imagine
>> that the way the user selects this is by choosing one of two different
>> resources from a page, just like we do today for videos of different
>> bandwidths.
> It seems better to have a way for the user agent to automaically negotiate
> the right bandwidth usage based on user preference, too.
> Any setting like this that we offer authors _will_ be misused, possibly as
> often as used correctly. Unless there's a really compelling reason to have
> it, it seems better to let the user be in control.

If users can choose between two links on a page labelled "high FPS -
will destroy your battery" and "low FPS", they are in control, in a
way that is easily understood by the user and allows them to make the
choice at the point in time that it matters. Compare this with
changing the streaming settings on QT Player or Windows Media Player,
or even toggling the "use the video card" button on your laptop (and
hoping that the content is smart enough to degrade gracefully instead
of choking).

We've seen this exact same argument play out over the last fifteen
years in video on the web. The technology for detecting and adjusting
bandwidth dynamically has been around forever (actually implemented,
even), and yet for every one multi-bitrate stream available on the
web, I imagine there are very many more that are single-bitrate. A big
part of the reason for this is because doing it this way is (in my
opinion) a better user experience.

That said, I do also agree that it opens up the possibility for abuse
or incorrect usage (just like it's possible to send a HD stream down a
modem line). And, I'm not actually advocating a solution here one way
or another, just attempting to answer your question.

-- Dirk

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