Mozilla, Samsung team on Servo browser engine for Android


Mozilla is collaborating with Samsung Electronics to build Servo, an experimental Web browser optimized for mobile devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system and ARM processors.

"Servo is an attempt to rebuild the Web browser from the ground up on modern hardware, rethinking old assumptions along the way," writes Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich. "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."

Servo is written in Rust, a new systems language developed by Mozilla over the course of several years. Rust, which reached version 0.6 this week, "is intended to fill many of the same niches that C++ has over the past decades, with efficient high-level, multi-paradigm abstractions, and offers precise control over hardware resources," Eich notes. "But beyond that, it is safe by default, preventing entire classes of memory management errors that lead to crashes and security vulnerabilities."

Mozilla will work to complete the first major revision of Rust by year's end, with an emphasis on cleaning up, expanding and documenting the libraries, developing tools to enhance the user experience and improving performance. Samsung has already contributed both an ARM backend to Rust and the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android, Eich adds.

Mozilla currently offers a mobile version of its Firefox browser for Android smartphones and tablets. In mid-2012, the open-source software development initiative revealed it is also working on Junior, a browser optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad that is designed to replace the bestselling tablet's native Safari browser.

Mozilla is additionally putting the finishing touches on its Firefox mobile operating system, slated for commercial release later this year. Firefox OS (formerly Boot to Gecko) promises a new phone architecture that relies entirely on the Web to enable HTML5 applications with complete access to core device APIs. Telefónica is scheduled to sell Firefox-powered smartphones in Brazil through its Vivo unit. Firefox handsets will be priced in the same range as feature phones; Mozilla is collaborating with ZTE to build the first wave of Firefox devices.

For more:
- read this Mozilla Blog post

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