Electrolysis: multi-process Firefox

firefoxFirefox will soon break out of its legacy architecture of a single process to a 2-process software. The project Electrolysis (aka E10S) team is working on separating out the web content rendering work in a child process of the main browser process. If you are a Firefox user you might have noticed that the ride gets bumpy after you open 8/10 tabs. With the E10S functionality the GUI tabs, buttons and menus are supposed to remain responsive.

As you might know already, multi-process architecture is a well-proven model for browsers. Google Chrome uses it and you might have noticed how fast and responsive the browser is, albeit at the cost of more memory. However, as memory comes very cheap nowadays, it’s not a bother for most users. Google Chrome is currently the most popular browser around.

The functionality will be available in Firefox 48 Beta and if everything goes well it will be release on Aug 02, 2016 (as per the plan at the time of writing). E10S had already been enabled for some of the beta audience since Dec last year and is being phased out to more beta users. Firefox 48 beta will have E10S for all users.

Though it will be releases in version 48, E10S will not be available for a large set of users – Windows XP users, users with screen readers, RTL users, and even extension users. And it will be phased out, first only for 1% of the Firefox user base.

The good news is, the release criteria for version 48 has been met and you can expect a pleasant experience whenever you get it. If you do not want to wait, you can test drive Firefox 48 beta and help the team in uncovering issues.

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