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Firefox Split into Multiple Processes
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#1
Firefox 3.5 was shipped to the general public on June 30th, 2009, and now Mozilla is turning its attention to the next iteration of the open-source browser. Upcoming versions of Firefox will share a feature with rivals Chrome and Internet Explorer 8. Essentially Mozilla is looking to implement an enhancement designed to effectively split the browser into multiple processes. In this regard, the Electrolysis project has already kicked off, as Mozilla’s Benjamin Smedberg revealed in mid-June, 2009. If all goes according to plan, displaying web pages will be a task split between multiple processes, in future versions of Firefox. At the same time it’s not just about the web content; the graphical user interface of the browser and the plugins that expand Firefox will also be getting their own separate processes.

“There are several possible benefits of using multiple processes: Increased stability: if a plugin or webpage tries to use all the processor, memory, or even crashes, a process can isolate that bad behavior from the rest of the browser. Performance: By splitting work up among multiple processes, the browser can make use of multiple processor cores available on modern desktop computers and the next generation of mobile processors. The user interface can also be more responsive because it doesn’t need to block on long-running web page activities. Security: If the operating system can run a process with lower privileges, the browser can isolate web pages from the rest of the computer, making it harder for attackers to infect a computer,” Smedberg explained.

Electrolysis is already up and running. In fact Mozilla’s Chris Jones revealed that the phase 1 browser was almost complete in June. Jones even posted a video showing just how a flavor of Firefox with multiple processes would function. The video in question is available for download and viewing. But users can already get a good idea as to what this feature does by running Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 8. Both browsers separate web content by processes. In this regard, each page opened in a browser tab runs in its own process, meaning that it can be controlled independently from the others and from the browser itself. In this regard, Mozilla is trailing behind rivals Google and Microsoft.

Still, while Chrome and IE8 might have a head start, fact is that Mozilla has a shortcut available to try and catch up. Mozilla developers “have borrowed the IPC message-passing and setup code from Chromium. We even have some very simple plugins loading across the process boundary. For the moment we’re focusing on Windows and Linux, because the team is most familiar and comfortable on these environments,” Smedberg added.

Mozilla is looking to wrap up phase 1 of Electrolysis by 15 July and phase 2 by November 2009. Phase 3 will be synonymous with shipping, but a deadline was not offered for it at this time.

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#2
(07-10-2009, 10:57 PM)Sathish Wrote:
Firefox 3.5 was shipped to the general public on June 30th, 2009, and now Mozilla is turning its attention to the next iteration of the open-source browser. Upcoming versions of Firefox will share a feature with rivals Chrome and Internet Explorer 8. Essentially Mozilla is looking to implement an enhancement designed to effectively split the browser into multiple processes. In this regard, the Electrolysis project has already kicked off, as Mozilla’s Benjamin Smedberg revealed in mid-June, 2009. If all goes according to plan, displaying web pages will be a task split between multiple processes, in future versions of Firefox. At the same time it’s not just about the web content; the graphical user interface of the browser and the plugins that expand Firefox will also be getting their own separate processes.

“There are several possible benefits of using multiple processes: Increased stability: if a plugin or webpage tries to use all the processor, memory, or even crashes, a process can isolate that bad behavior from the rest of the browser. Performance: By splitting work up among multiple processes, the browser can make use of multiple processor cores available on modern desktop computers and the next generation of mobile processors. The user interface can also be more responsive because it doesn’t need to block on long-running web page activities. Security: If the operating system can run a process with lower privileges, the browser can isolate web pages from the rest of the computer, making it harder for attackers to infect a computer,” Smedberg explained.

Electrolysis is already up and running. In fact Mozilla’s Chris Jones revealed that the phase 1 browser was almost complete in June. Jones even posted a video showing just how a flavor of Firefox with multiple processes would function. The video in question is available for download and viewing. But users can already get a good idea as to what this feature does by running Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 8. Both browsers separate web content by processes. In this regard, each page opened in a browser tab runs in its own process, meaning that it can be controlled independently from the others and from the browser itself. In this regard, Mozilla is trailing behind rivals Google and Microsoft.

Still, while Chrome and IE8 might have a head start, fact is that Mozilla has a shortcut available to try and catch up. Mozilla developers “have borrowed the IPC message-passing and setup code from Chromium. We even have some very simple plugins loading across the process boundary. For the moment we’re focusing on Windows and Linux, because the team is most familiar and comfortable on these environments,” Smedberg added.

Mozilla is looking to wrap up phase 1 of Electrolysis by 15 July and phase 2 by November 2009. Phase 3 will be synonymous with shipping, but a deadline was not offered for it at this time.

Thanx for this.
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