Mozilla and Samsung have announced they are working together on developing a new web browser rendering engine named Servo. The new engine is intended to form a new core for browsers “to take advantage of tomorrow’s faster, multi-core, heterogeneous computing architectures”. It is an attempt to rebuild a web browser from the ground up aimed at modern, particularly Android and ARM, hardware. That probably explains Samsung’s interest. The engine is being developed using Mozilla’s RUST programming language which has just hit version 0.6.
Servo’s development was kick-started about a year ago. The engine should offer another good competitor to the WebKit engine which powers many well known browsers such as Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Opera browsers including the mobile and tablet versions. One consideration to browser programmers is that Apple’s iOS currently only allows web browsers into iTunes that work with the WebKit engine.
The Mozilla Blog discusses the hopes and aspirations that have brought about the development of Servo: “Servo is an attempt to rebuild the Web browser from the ground up on modern hardware, rethinking old assumptions along the way. This means addressing the causes of security vulnerabilities while designing a platform that can fully utilize the performance of tomorrow’s massively parallel hardware to enable new and richer experiences on the Web. To those ends, Servo is written in Rust, a new, safe systems language developed by Mozilla along with a growing community of enthusiasts.” Projections concerning the timescale of the appearance of Servo powered browsers are not given.
In a similar development, over at the rival Google camp, it was announced that Google will fork the development of WebKit to make a new browser rendering engine named Blink. It seems that Google must also think that current browser engines are not built to make the most of modern computing architectures.
According to a TechCrunch article about the project “Chromium’s multi-process architecture is very different from the rest of WebKit” and “Having to integrate Google’s way of doing things with WebKit and what the rest of the WebKit partners were doing was slowing everybody down.” The name Blink was chosen to signify the project’s focus on speed and simplicity.