|Mozilla Firefox Replacing Gecko With Servo|
|Written by Nikos Vaggalis|
|Monday, 30 January 2017|
The time has finally come for Firefox to upgrade the aging Gecko rendering engine that served it for 20 or some years.The upgrade will enable Firefox to take full advantage of modern CPU's and GPU's, and result in lighting fast performance improvements on both desktop and mobile devices.
It wouldn't be that easy however.Switching from a solid, long serving and well proven engine to something new, constitutes a formidable task, especially when the project in question, the Firefox browser, is live and in production.
For this reason the transition will be facilitated with the aid of yet another project, project Quantum, an independent, community-based web engine sponsored by Mozilla, which is going to act as the bridge between the two ecosystems, until the transition completes:
"By taking an incremental approach and merging proven components from Servo to Gecko as they are ready, users won't have to wait long to start seeing dramatic improvements to Firefox stability and performance. We're going to ship major improvements in 2017, and we'll iterate from there."
Quantum then, will leverage the high-performance components of Servo to bring more parallelization and GPU offloading to Firefox.These high-performance core components in active development are:
Servo as a project is still considered experimental, as such it has a lot of catching up to do till it's considered a feature rich and complete replacement of Gecko;the fact however is that it continuously evolves and will soon be good enough for making its very first appearance as part of a future Firefox developer build.
As such Servo has two long term goals to meet:
incrementally replace the components in Firefox with the ones written in Rust and shared with Servo,
to determine product opportunities for a standalone Servo browser or embeddable library (e.g., for Android).
These are further broken down into several sub-tasks, as they appear on the project's Roadmap.
The 2016 goals that were completed, were:
while others still on the to-do list are:
Basing on Rust looks yet another reason that might slow the project's progress down, since this new systems programming language, despite its advantages in security, safety and parallelization, is still in an infant or experimental state.
Nevertheless, Servo is actively looking for contributors, so if you feel like it you can download, build and get started with Servo from it's Github's repository.
There you'll find several open issues you could contribute to such as :
Saying that, the best way to get started, is by going through the Hacking Servo - Quickstart guide
So a lot to expect in the not so distant future, advancements that could reestablish Firefox as one of the most popular, cross platform browsers out there.
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|Last Updated ( Monday, 30 January 2017 )|