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Mozilla And Samsung Working On A New Browser Engine

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‘Servo’ engine will be made from scratch using the new ‘Rust’ programming language

Mozilla Research has partnered with Samsung to work on ‘Servo’ – a new web browser engine, developed primarily for Android OS and ARM processors.

According to Mozilla’s CTO Brendan Eich, the upcoming browser is designed “to take advantage of tomorrow’s faster, multi-core, heterogeneous computing architectures” and being written using Rust, a new, experimental programming language developed by Graydon Hoare and Mozilla Research.

This week, Mozilla is celebrating 15 years of building “a better web” through open source software.

Rusty fox

Mozilla has just launched the 20th iteration of its Firefox web browser, and while it features plenty of improvements, the open source community is already looking forward to the next generation of browser engines.

rust-logo-128x128-blkServo is an attempt to build a new browser from the ground up, ready for the “massively parallel” hardware of the future, without the need to dig through old code to track down forgotten bugs and vulnerabilities.

The new engine will be written in Rust, a new systems language developed by Mozilla and a growing community of open source enthusiasts.

“Samsung has already contributed an ARM backend to Rust and the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android, along with many other improvements,” explained Eich.

Version 0.6 of the language, which has been in development since 2006, is available through GitHub code repository since Wednesday. Source code for Servo can also be found on GitHub.

According to Mozilla’s CTO, Rust is intended to serve many of the same purposes C++ does. However, its “safe by default” philosophy prevents “entire classes of memory management errors that lead to crashes and security vulnerabilities”.

“In the coming year, we are racing to complete the first major revision of Rust – cleaning up, expanding and documenting the libraries, building out our tools to improve the user experience, and beefing up performance. At the same time, we will be putting more resources into Servo, trying to prove that we can build a fast web browser with pervasive parallelism, and in a safe, fun language,” wrote Eich.

“We, along with our friends at Samsung will be increasingly looking at opportunities on mobile platforms. Both of these efforts are still early stage projects and there’s a lot to do yet, so now is a good time to get involved.”

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