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Firefox bloke blasts Microsoft IE 9 hardware acceleration claims

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A New Zealand-based Mozilla programmer has spanked Microsoft's marketeers for making what he believes to be misleading claims about Internet Explorer 9's hardware acceleration credentials.

Robert O'Callahan is so narked that, just one day after Microsoft confirmed IE 9 would be pumped out to the world on 14 March, he once again sounded off against "the myth of full hardware acceleration".

"I'm not here to bash IE9, just its marketing," he wrote in a blog post.

"Microsoft's message that IE 9 is the apex of what a browser can do with the GPU is nonsense," said O'Callahan, before going on to claim that "Firefox's rendering architecture makes better use of the GPU, by design".

The Mozillian programmer took particular issue with how long the first Release Candidate version of IE 9 took during an HTML scrolling testcase.

"Microsoft's claim to hardware-accelerate 'the entire Web platform' was always ridiculous because 'the entire Web platform' contains features like HTML parsing, Javascript execution, and DOM manipulation which are simply not suitable to run on today's GPUs, and IE 9 does not do so. (I'm assuming that Microsoft's 'hardware acceleration' means 'uses the GPU' ... if it actually means 'uses hardware', that isn't saying much :-),)" he chided.

"Microsoft's disdainful statement that '[other browsers are] choosing to accelerate only pieces of the Web platform' is hypocritical, because that's exactly what they do themselves."

In September last year O'Callahan described the term "full hardware acceleration" as bogus and said Microsoft, which has only developed IE 9 for Vista and Windows 7 users, did not have a "monopoly" on the three levels of hardware acceleration the company detailed in this post.

Mozilla, whose Firefox 4 finally hit Release Candidate status yesterday, has been making a big thing of the fact that its forthcoming browser does support Microsoft's aged Windows XP operating system.

The Register has asked Microsoft to comment on O'Callahan's criticism of IE 9. We'll update this story if we hear back from the firm. ®

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