Servo: Mozilla and Samsung Team-up to Develop Next-gen Android Web Browser

Firefox OS

Mozilla and Samsung have announced their partnership to develop the “next generation” of mobile browser for Android and ARM platforms. Mozilla has recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, and the Mozilla Research division is planning to experiment new technologies in the years to come. The company claims that it is now ready to take the most out of the multi-core processors that are going to be used in the mobile devices.

The prototype of this browser and its engine are called Servo, and its code its written in a programming language called Rust, also developed by Mozilla Foundation. Unlike the omnipresent C++, Rust is designed as a developing platform with superior stability and security, but in the same time keeping the advantages of the native code, unlike the C# or JavaScript.

For the users, Rust is promising enhanced speed courtesy of the optimizations made both for parallel processing and for the native support for multi-core processors. Unlike the browsers currently available on the market, Servo will provide complete multi-core processors support, not only for processing specialized secondary resources or for the execution thread used for rasterization, like it happens for the time being. This increase in power will be reflected in the performance of the Web applications run on the new engine, or in the loading speeds of the complex web pages, as Rust will allow the Servo browser to take the most out of the upcoming processors with 16 or 32 cores.

As I mentioned above, Mozilla has a partner for the development of Servo: Samsung. The South Korea-based company is providing assistance in optimizing the code for the ARM platform and also providing Mozilla with the required infrastructure to develop Servo. The world’s biggest smartphone vendor, Samsung is mainly involved in Servo’s integration with the Android platform, but the Asian company always cast glances at alternatives like Bada or Tizen, which might provide an even better control than the one provided by Google for Android.

According to Mozilla, the future of the Gecko rendering engine, is not threatened by Servo. The Firefox migration towards Servo would bring too many disadvantages for the users of this traditional service, and the popular desktop browser will continue to be a part of the Gecko family. But the Firefox OS is not tied in anyway with Mozilla’s tradition, therefore it will integrate a series of improvements brought by Servo.

The source code of the 0.6 version of the Servo browser was officially published a couple of days ago, while the final product with version number 1.0 will be launched sometime next year.