April 4, 2013
Samsung To Lend a Hand To Build Mozilla’s Servo Browser
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Last year, Mozilla announced plans to help produce a brand new programming language. Though it closely resembles the larger “C” language, it is meant to create applications and programs which use large boundaries in order to protect the integrity of the program and the system running it. Mozilla is also using this code to power a “Next Generation Web Browser Engine” called Servo. Though the company still claims the language is not product-ready and still susceptible to breaking, they´ve also landed a new major partner this week in Samsung.
Mozilla says the Servo browser engine is nothing short of an attempt to rebuild web browsing from the ground up, using new and modern hardware. As they build, they´re taking the time to rethink “old assumptions” about performance and security. When paired with Rust´s code, Servo should be able to take full advantage of any hardware and deliver “richer experiences” around the web.
Mozilla has also announced the two companies plan to bring Rust and Servo to Android and the ARM system-on-a-chip architecture. This will allow Mozilla and Samsung to begin exploring Servo on mobile devices in the hopes to improve this experience. Samsung has already chipped in an ARM backend to Rust and will facilitate the cross-platform transfer to Android. This code is now available on GitHub.
Though they only announced their intentions for Rust last year, Brenden Eich, the chief technological officer of Mozilla, says the company has been working on the language for several years. This language is now in version 0.6 and, according to Eich, is “rapidly approaching stability.”
In an interview with CNet, Eich said the point of Rust is to create a safer version of the language C++ that can take advantage of the hardware, but also maintain safety.
Eich also says Rust will be designed to help devices, such as smartphones, take full opportunity of the multi-core processors which are quickly becoming standard. Samsung´s upcoming Galaxy S4, for example, can have up to eight cores, depending on where it´s purchased.
A smartphone may have eight cores, but that doesn´t mean the phone is able to take advantage of all that speed.
"As you add more cores, because of the power wall problem, you actually have to reduce the CPU clock frequency," said Eich in his interview.
Other programmers agree: unless apps are threaded to run on multiple cores, having the power of four or eight cores is useless.
“In the coming year, we are racing to complete the first major revision of Rust — cleaning up, expanding and documenting the libraries, building out our tools to improve the user experience, and beefing up performance,” writes Eich as he closes up his celebratory blog post.
“At the same time, we will be putting more resources into Servo, trying to prove that we can build a fast web browser with pervasive parallelism, and in a safe, fun language. We, along with our friends at Samsung will be increasingly looking at opportunities on mobile platforms.”
Eich invites all programmers and tinkerers to take a peak at their code and even contribute to the project if they have any ideas.