Mozilla Servo Browser Engine Will Be Available For Testing In June
It is been known for some time that Mozilla is working on a new browser engine called “Servo” that will be a successor to their current “Gecko” Engine. The “Servo” engine was built from the ground up using Mozilla’s new systems programming language, Rust.
Today, Mozilla has announced that they are planning to release Servo for testing starting from June 2016, but also noted that the engine will not be ready for rollout as an everyday browser for quite some time yet.
The Mozilla Servo engine is built with parallelism in mind; in fact, it is completely designed around parallel tasks. This should provide a boost in rendering speed on multi-core processors, the vast majority of desktop and mobile processors in use today. Servo also aims to be significantly more secure than Gecko or any current engine, with better memory management and handling of data races. The engine will support 64-bit Linux, 64-bit OSX, Android, and Gonk (Firefox OS) and has been created by Mozilla Research and being built by a global community from individual contributors to companies such as Mozilla and Samsung.
The current Firefox engine called “Gecko” is designed nearly 15 years ago, when multi-core processors are not common. Due to the older codebase Mozilla is not able to develop a proper multi-process architecture for the browser. Firefox even started “Electrolysis” project to implement multi-process support in Gecko. Nevertheless, the Electrolysis project has been put on hold after a couple of years of work and it did not provide much tangible results. Currently, Firefox only separates the plugin process from the main one.
Google Chrome has multi-process support for a long time. It runs each tab, plugin, extension and so on in separate processes. However, this is done at the browser level and the WebKit rendering engine in Chrome, is still single-process. WebKit2, a proposed successor, is designed with multiple processes in mind.
Therefore, if Mozilla successfully deploys “Servo” before WebKit2, then it will be the first true multi-process, multi-core supported browser engine.
You can find more information about the “Servo” engine by visiting the official website at Servo.org. The website also has instructions on how to install and run once it is available for testing.