Matthew Ames

Firefox Multi Process Mode

Matthew Ames - 2016-03-15 - 10:38 am

Recently I heard news that Firefox would be moving from a multi-threaded to a multi-process model, which excited me greatly. Not only is this better for speed, but it also has a great effect on security too, as processes can only talk to each other via an API. There will soon be two process, instead of one. The first is for the UI, and the second is for the content.

However, it is the speed in which I am the most interested today, which is why I have started running the Developer Edition of Firefox (see my stack page for information about which software I use). After a quick change to the default firefox.desktop file so it loads the DE instead of regular edition, I thought I would give the browser a try.

Whooooosh!

Firefox has lost quite a lot of it’s market share in resent years, with Google Chrome initially stealing all of the limelight due to its speed, and I’m quite confident in saying that I found Microsoft’s Edge browser to be thrilling too, as that also seemed to run a great deal faster than Firefox. Now that I’ve tried it though, I can say that when this feature arrives in the mainline release of Firefox, many users will be pleasantly surprised, and we may see many switch back.

If you’re worried about memory usage, fear not because the slight increase does not seem to be all that large. As there are only two processes, UI and content, rather than a new process for every tab.