MOZILLA HAS UNWRAPPED 'Firefox Quantum', a major overhaul of its web browser that's been designed for multi-core, modern devices.
The firm first announced 'Project Quantum', an effort to create a next-generation engine for modern computers by leveraging technology from the Servo research project, this time last year.
Some of the fruits of this effort have already made their way to users, including WebVR support and the use of the WebAssembly language, and more optimisations are coming to the firm's next-generation 'Quantum' browser.
The browser, which ditches the '57' moniker in favour of something more fitting, offers major improvements in the speed department. Firefox Quantum is "two times faster" than Firefox was a year ago, and Mozilla claims that it's "often faster than Chrome, while consuming roughly 30 per cent less RAM."
That's according to a new Speedometer 2.0 benchmarking tool, which, is an open source tool developed by, er, Mozilla.
These performance gains are largely down to the use new CSS engine, written in Firefox's own Rust programming language, which sees the browser taking advantage of multi-core desktop and mobile devices.
"This improved utilization of your computer's hardware makes Firefox Quantum dramatically faster," Mozilla said.
"One example: we've developed a breakthrough approach to laying out pages: a super fast CSS engine written in Rust, a systems programming language that Mozilla pioneered. Firefox's new CSS engine runs quickly, in parallel across multiple CPU cores, instead of running in one slower sequence on a single core. No other browser can do this."
Firefox Quantum will also prioritise tabs so that the one you're actively using downloads and runs before other tabs you have open in the background.
Mozilla says the firm has also carried out a "browser-wide initiative to zap any instances of slowness you might encounter while using Firefox", which has seen 468 issues fixed.
It's not all about speed, as the user interface will also be changing with Firefox Quantum. As part of its Project Photon initiative, Mozilla will rid of the ugly curved tab design currently seen in Firefox and will able to take advantage of high-resolution screens.
"Firefox Quantum feels right at home with today's mouse and touch-driven operating systems: Windows 10, macOS High Sierra, Android Oreo, and iOS 11," Mozilla said.
Separately, Opera has pushed out version 48 of its web browser, which brings with it a new pop-up search tool that doubles up as a currency converter, a screenshot capture tool and added support for Edge and Yandex for its bookmark-importing tool. µ
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