Mozilla has unveiled Firefox 54, its web browser’s newest version. Its main feature is that multiprocessing is enabled by default for all versions and users while aiming to gain performance and stability by taking better advantage of the PC’s hardware.
Mozilla has been pondering about using multiprocessing in Firefox since 2009, implementing it in Project Electrolysis (e10s) in 2015 and enabling it in Firefox 48 last year so a small number of users could test it.
Google pioneered this technique by enabling it in Chromium, which is the basis for Chrome and other browsers such as Opera or Vivaldi. As the technique’s name suggests, Google creates a process for each tab and extension that loads web content besides the general process that runs the interface. The great performance and stability both brands offer is due to this, even at the cost of a large resource consumption, mainly of RAM memory.
Mozilla has opted for a different system by separating the interface process from the process that manages content. The next step is the one featured on Firefox 54. The brand has opted for enabling up to four processes to run all of the open tabs. The goal is to “achieve the just right balance between speed and memory usage”, which is very interesting, especially for PCs with a limited memory capacity.
A better usage of the PC’s hardware and a greater stability is achieved by separating the tabs in different processes since running a heavy and complex tab has a much lower impact on the speed and responsiveness of the rest of the open tabs.
Mozilla ran some tests comparing Firefox’s RAM memory usage to Edge and Chrome in Windows; to Safari and Chrome in Mac, and to Chrome in Ubuntu, discovering that Firefox used significantly less memory than the rest of the web browsers.
These are essential improvements in order for the free web browser to gain ground on Chrome and be placed right where it belongs in the current Internet.