Software

Mozilla whips out Rusty new Firefox Quantum (and that's a good thing)

Landmark build promises to be faster, slimmer, better at multi-threading

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

32 SHARE

Mozilla has pushed its much-hyped "Firefox Quantum" browser build into public beta.

The build, also known as Firefox 57, is being hailed by Mozilla as the most significant overhaul of Firefox in years, boasting a rewritten browser engine and the integration of multiple new components.

Nearly a year in development, Firefox Quantum will aim to make better use of modern PC hardware than previous versions, while also looking to reduce memory footprint. Among the updates, says Mozilla, is the ability to use multiple cores – something Firefox hasn't done in the past.

"Firefox has historically run mostly on just one CPU core, but Firefox Quantum takes advantage of multiple CPU cores in today's desktop and mobile devices much more effectively," Firefox VP Nick Nguyen explained today.

"This improved utilization of your computer's hardware makes Firefox Quantum dramatically faster."

The use of Mozilla's own Rust programming language is also among the new features in Quantum. The browser's CSS engine has been rewritten in the systems coding lingo to be both faster and better able to multi-thread. Rust aims to be a memory safe, concurrent and fast alternative to C. We're big fans of Rust here: it's a secure, thread-friendly and elegant evolution of C/C++.

Mozilla also says it will be bundling in the recently acquired Pocket reader application, and introducing an interface based on the Photon project. That interface will be used for both the desktop and the mobile (iOS and Android) builds of the browser.

In introducing Quantum, Mozilla makes no secret of who the primary targets for the upgraded browser will be.

Looking to win back some of the legions of users who in recent years abandoned the slow, dated Firefox for Chrome, Mozilla says its new browser will not only catch the market-leading Chrome in performance, but will "often" be faster to load and will take up 30 per cent less RAM than the notoriously memory-hungry Google browser.

In addition to the beta release, Mozilla is kicking out a developer edition of Quantum that includes both the test build and additional Mozilla developer tools. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

32 Comments

More from The Register

Go away, kid, you bother me: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla kick W3C nerds to the curb

Web standards body dressed down in spec spat

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

The Live bookmarks, preview features, that is

Mozilla and Yahoo! trade sueballs over Firefox-Google search deal

'Your search is trash and you stopped paying ' vs. 'we had a deal you can't walk away from'

Mozilla changes Firefox policy from ‘do not track’ to ‘will not track’

Browser will stop asking nicely for privacy protections

Mozilla wants to seduce BOFHs with button-down Firefox

Control. Control. Control

Mozilla-endorsed security plug-in accused of tracking users

Web Security says there's nothing nefarious to its URL collection

Mozilla accuses FCC of abdicating its role, ignoring comments in net neutrality lawsuit

Legal battle #433 over Pai's push to kill off rules

No D'oh! DNS-over-HTTPS passes Mozilla performance test

Privacy-protecting domain name system standard closer

Apple: Er, yes. Your iCloud stuff is now on Google's servers, too

You can't escape The Circle

Mozilla grants distrusted Symantec certs a stay of execution, claims many sites yet to make switch

Delay 'in the overall best interest' of Firefox users