Mozilla plans to release Electrolysis (multi-process architect.) with Firefox 36

Electrolysis (e10s) is one of the core improvements for Firefox that Mozilla is currently working on. The feature adds so-called multi-process support to Firefox in a way similar to how Chromium-based browsers make use of it already. Advertisement

A multi-process architecture that separates the browser’s core from open websites and plugin contents improves not only the stability of the browser but also the security of it.

This should not be confused with sandboxing though even though Electrolysis is the gateway to make that happen later on.

Mozilla implemented Electrolysis in Nightly channel versions of the Firefox web browser back in February. The implementation was experimental back then and disabled by default.

Tests showed that work needed to be done, especially in regards to stability but also compatibility with add-ons.

Work has continued on Electrolysis and a roadmap was released recently by Mozilla developer Chris Peterson which puts Mozilla’s current development and launch plans in regards to the feature on paper.

It needs to be noted that the roadmap is not set in stone and that bumps in the road may delay the project.

Firefox Multi-process architecture roadmap:

  • July 18, 2014 - Milestone 1: make E10s usable for average Nightly users but is not enabled by default.
  • July 21, 2014 - Firefox 34 development begins. Mozilla wants to use the six weeks that follow to get Nightly users and add-on developers to test e10s and especially add-on compatibility.
  • September 1, 2014 - Firefox 35 development begins. Mozilla plans to reach Milestone 2 in this development period. When Milestone 2 is reached, Electrolysis is at a point where it can be enabled for Nightly users.
  • October 13, 2014 - Firefox 36 development begins. This is the version of the browser where Firefox’s multi-process architecture will be moved from channel to channel (Nightly > Aurora > Beta > Stable) so that it is released to the stable channel of the browser on February 16, 2015.

Add-on Compatibility

Add-ons that are not compatible right now are among others Adblock Plus, LastPass, RequestPolicy, Greasemonkey, HTTPS Everywhere, BluHell Firewall or Video Download Helper.

More info here:

This is a great step in the right direction for firefox and one step closer to sandboxing

Electrolysis is still not in the stable, or even beta, channel.

I installed Firefox Developer Edition 46 on Windows 10. The content process, plugin-container.exe, is run at medium integrity level, just like firefox.exe (and most applications). It is also run as a job, but with only one limit: Breakaway OK.

Not much sandboxing. :-\

Already IE7 on Vista ran its content process at low integrity level (and Chromium runs them at untrusted, with or without AppContainer).

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Mozilla intends to remove support for NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016. Mozilla has announced their intent to deprecate so called XUL-based add-ons in favor of what they call the WebExtensions API. Most plugins will be dead if XUL-based add-ons with XPCOM access are gone. Simple as that. The new APIs would only allow for a severely limited in functionality, severely stripped down plugins! at best.

Gone will be add-ons that e.g. let you change major bits about the Firefox user interface (e.g. tabs tree add-ons), add-ons that allow you to do more “advanced” stuff than just showing or slightly altering websites, such as e.g. restarting the browser upon click (unless mozilla kindly provides an API for that, which won’t be compatible with Chrome, of course). Add-ons like NoScript will be severely limited in their feature set as well. Say byebye to Greasemonkey and hello to Tampermonkey, with it’s limitations. Want that add-on that lets you change the new tab page for something else or enhances that page? Maybe it will be available, maybe not, depending on if and when mozilla kindly provides WebExtensions APIs for such things. And of course, depending on if there will be an author creating this entirely new add-on from scratch.

What this also means: Almost all your existing add-ons will be broken, entirely, save for some Add-on SDK add-ons, namely those that don’t do anything fancy. Sure, even today, lots of add-ons break, and some add-ons will not get updated when they do and there are no suitable replacements. However, with this change, almost every add-on will be completely broken and in need of major updating by the extension authors. Good luck with that.

It is safe to say, that Firefox will not be Firefox anymore as far as extensions go, but instead will become yet another Chrome-clone.

Sad news to me . . . When the change comes I will switch to another browser, and I’m sure many others will leave Firefox.

There are hidden agendas and financial reasons involved in these changes. By dumbing down the browser by removing the the highly functional plugins and extensions.

Plain and simple Firefox as its user’s know it is going to die very soon.

Personally I have backed up 44.02 (and will back up every version until the final change) and all my extensions. Even after the change I will continue to run a previous version of Firefox and plugins rejecting updates, and in the sandbox for security.

I for one cannot understand why they would or even want to make these changes. I guess they want to be more like Chrome. It started with Australis and now it carries on.

Thousands and thousands of Firefox users have stated that if they wanted Chrome they would have downloaded Chrome, and against much backlash from the current community they insist on the changes. This is going to come back and bite them in the a$$. Their market share from long time users will drop like a bomb.

Indeed very sad news for us the users, well I guess all great things come to an end.

Relevant links:

WebExtensions API is related to Electrolysis (and later Servo).

Firefox 64-bit for Windows already has limited NPAPI-support: Firefox 64-bit Web Browser for Windows Now Available - Future Releases

Good to get rid of that old API.

" The biggie is any rework of the extension APIs that will eliminate “deep” customization and functionality. This has been one of the best attractions to Firefox. On one hand, a requirement to substitute certain APIs, one-for-one, is inconvenient, but is tolerable if there is a good reason for it, other than “making Firefox work just like all other browsers” – an enormous mistake. But eliminating the low-level XUL-overlay and javascript capabilities will make some of the very best extensions impossible. This path is so suicidal, that I feel and hope that either it will be reversed, or that a well-supported path for the browser will be maintained indefinitely that supports XUL and intimate, low-level customization. "

Firefox has some sort of deranged agenda to develop Firefox into something that nobody wants – the whole time claiming to be listening to it’s loyal end users input. They are listening to someone, but obviously not the users. That is apparent from the outrage and comments in all the forums and boards that have payed attention to this catastrophe that I have seen.

If only one of the forks stays true to the current model and maintains a repository for plugins then that’s where most loyal/hardcore Firefox users will flock to, and they will see their browser market share soar.

It’s always disappointing to see customisability go. It sounds like they join the Chrome bandwagon because they can’t beat it. It makes me dislike the one browser of power to rule them all some more.

Well spoken sir, well spoken. The bright spot is Pale Moon. It might be the one to save us all ? ;D

Firefox with Servo will at least be fast: Mozilla’s Servo Is Whooping The Other Browsers In Performance

Asa Dotzler: Firefox 48 Beta, Release, and E10S

Firefox 50 (Nightly) running the content process (still only one) at low integrity level.

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After Electrolysis cometh Servo: Servo Nightly Builds Available

Future Releases: Update on Multi-Process Firefox

Malwares can use open instances of browsers, an example can be given smiles as terrible pop-up. What would that change?
Browsers bathed in the Chromium code hangs too much what would be the cause?
Firefox sometimes slightly increases the memory consumption, but there comes a halt as pages. Not with a constancy of Chrome browsers.

If that process runs in the browser’s sandbox, it will not be able to do much, depending on how well made the sandbox (and the OS, and the malware) is.

The second long term multi-process feature is security sandboxing. Security Sandboxing makes use of child processes as a security boundary. Sandboxing work begins in Firefox 50 with the introduction of our first Windows sandbox. This is an early, laying the groundwork sandbox and is not yet hardened. Over the next few releases, the sandbox will be added to Mac and Linux and will become more restrictive and protective.

Windows nightly builds now available

Servo Developer Preview Downloads

Mozilla writes about Firefox 54 and Electrolysis, but when I installed Firefox 54 64-bit on Windows 10, multiprocess was disabled. After I had enabled it, there was only one content-process. I had to increase the number of processes.

Since the last time I looked at Firefox on Windows, the content-process’ integrity level has been changed from medium to low. It is still not run as a job object. It is at level one:

Did you try to make that process number to 999 >:-D
I am sure Firefox is still lagging :-TD I am very good at install-uninstall Firefox after every release and promises from them!

No, only ten, up from one.

Firefox is moving in the right direction, but it is moving quite slowly.

Firefox 54.0.1: “Today’s release is the first to run Firefox using multiple operating system processes for web page content, making Firefox faster and more stable than ever. Learn more about how multiple processes strike a ‘just right’ balance between performance and memory use on the Mozilla Blog. Dive into the details (including performance benchmarks) on Medium.”