Threading to boost Firefox on multi-core chips

Turns up in the nick of time

Mozilla's developers have announced plans to add application multi-threading to Firefox over the next two years, a feature already partially enabled in its main rivals, IE8 and Google Chrome.

As well as allowing the software to take advantage of multi-core microprocessors to boost responsiveness, the enhancement would also improve browser stability, the company said in a news blog on the subject.

The unnamed project will happen in several phases, with the phase one 'bootstrap' due to complete by the middle of this July. Further phases will add and debug more complex elements of the new browser, with phase two due to complete by November.

No timescale is given for the phases beyond that point in time, which suggests that multi-threading Firefox could turn out to be a project that takes well in 2010 to even near completion.

The goal is to end up with a browser capable of running each tab as an independent process, which would stop a hang in one from crashing the whole program, as would currently be the case. "Security sandboxing will be covered in a later phase," notes the blog.

Other uncertainties include whether Mozilla will start using the open source networking stack taken from Chromium - also used by Google's Chrome browser - in place of Mozilla's own Necko.

"There have been mutterings about taking the chromium network stack wholesale (replacing necko, basically). This may or may not be the fastest path to success: it really depends on how hard it is to map the APIs together and how much we're willing to change callers versus re-implementing the XPCOM API on top of the chromium stack....needs discussion and a decision within a month or so. If we take chromium networking, we should probably do it on Mozilla-central in parallel with phase I, says a wry note by the project developers.

Mozilla's problem is that its main rivals Internet Explorer 8, and Google's Chrome, are ahead of it in the multi-threading stakes, both of which implemented tab threading. As some developers have pointed out, this architecture can, in certain circumstances, be less efficient when working on less capable processors. Quad core processors, for instance, will be the exception rather than the rule for at least another year.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Firefoxmozillaie8Google Chrome

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?