Firefox's New Quantum Build Promises to Kickstart the Browser

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 14, 2016

Back in August, Mozilla delivered a number of updates for its Firefox browser that created a bit of fanfare, but the browser has steadily lost market share to Google Chrome. Still, if you've been a fan of open source for any length of time, you are familiar with Firefox's status as a pioneering browser.

Now, Mozilla has announced plans to kickstart Firefox innovation with a next-generation browse project called Quantum. Here are details. 

As Computerworld notes:

"Dubbed Quantum, the new engine will include several components from Servo, the browser rendering engine that Mozilla has sponsored, and been working on, since 2013. Written with Rust, Servo was envisioned as a replacement for Firefox's long-standing Gecko engine. Both Servo and Rust originated at Mozilla's research group."

 Mozilla's Medium post on Quantum also notes the following:

 "Over the past year, our top priority for Firefox was the Electrolysis project to deliver a multi-process browsing experience to users. Running Firefox in multiple processes greatly improves security and performance. This is the largest change we’ve ever made to Firefox, and we’ll be rolling out the first stage of Electrolysis to 100% of Firefox desktop users over the next few months.

But, that doesn’t mean we’re all out of ideas in terms of how to improve performance and security.

Quantum is our effort to develop Mozilla’s next-generation web engine and start delivering major improvements to users by the end of 2017. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a web engine, it’s the core of the browser that runs all the content you receive as you browse the web. Quantum is all about making extensive use of parallelism and fully exploiting modern hardware. Quantum has a number of components, including several adopted from the Servo project.

The resulting engine will power a fast and smooth user experience on both mobile and desktop operating systems — creating a “quantum leap” in performance. What does that mean? We are striving for performance gains from Quantum that will be so noticeable that your entire web experience will feel different. Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth. Animations and interactive apps will respond instantly, and be able to handle more intensive content while holding consistent frame rates. And the content most important to you will automatically get the highest priority, focusing processing power where you need it the most."

 The Quantum-enabled version of Firefox will be released in versions for Windows, macOS, Linux and Android.