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Mozilla To Bring Multi-Threading Support To Firefox?

There is no denying that Firefox is one of the more popular browsers to exist today, but with the likes of competitors such as Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari snapping away at its heels, it should be of little surprise that Mozilla is keen to offer consumers a more compelling web browsing experience in order to maintain user satisfaction. And apparently, the next major goal for the developers over at Mozilla will be to bring multi-threaded support to the web browser. Now this should be interesting.

Do you find yourself sometimes wishing that the good developers over at Mozilla would finally be able to deliver a web browser that is not only light on resources, but also fast enough to put itself on a par with some of the more established players in the web browser market, such as Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari? Well, the good news is that Mozilla has definitely got plans to unveil such a browser, as news has surfaced that the browser vendor is now aiming to bake in some form of multi-threaded support into a future version of Firefox.

Why is this so? Well, if you will remember, Mozilla first announced a couple of weeks ago that it has discovered how the act of running garbage collection more frequently on Firefox was reportedly capable of reducing the browser's memory bloat by as much as up to 80%. In fact, this discovery was significant enough for Mozilla to justify pushing the feature into the latest Aurora build for Firefox.

However, it turns out that the increased frequency of running the browser's garbage collector also serves as a double-edged sword, as Mozilla is claiming in its recent blog post that the cost of garbage collection is expected to go up as the heap size of the process increases. This essentially means that the browser's garbage collector has got more work to do, and the consequence is that it is expected to cause pauses in the browser's user interface. And that is precisely what Mozilla is trying its best to avoid in order to ensure that it can continue to deliver a proper web browser experience for the consumer, although the biggest obstacle lies in the fact that the document object model, which is also known as the DOM, is single-threaded in nature.

And Mozilla's solution? Well, the browser vendor is claiming that the best way to deal with the issue "is to have each DOM assigned to its own processor, and the easiest way to do that is to have a few processes that can each be assigned to their own CPU". However, as The Inquirer has clearly pointed out, this is not an actual example of building in multi-threading support into the web browser, although it concedes that it is capable of producing similar results. Indeed, Mozilla has also confirmed in its blog post that its long-term goal will be to deliver a multi-threaded DOM, although it also claims that the act of doing so is " far enough away and risky enough where we know that there will be lots of value in building a multi-process browser for quite a while".

So, it seems that a multi-threaded version of Firefox is still on the cards, except that Mozilla has got no plans to throw its hand on the table anytime soon, especially when the browser vendor clearly sees the value of going with the multi-process route for the time being. However, be it multi-process or multi-threaded, it does not change the fact that users can expect to see some improvements to the Firefox web browser, at least in the form of lower resource consumption.

Source: Mozilla Product Team Blog via The Inquirer

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