Mozilla has announced Firefox 54, the latest version of its flagship web browser, promising a range of benefits, including a speed boost.
Although its star has not been in the ascendant for some time, Firefox retains a loyal following and this latest update could put it back in contention, as it offers multi-process, multi-thread browsing, which shouldn’t cause the memory bloat that plagues browsers like market leader Chrome.
The system, called “Electrolysis” or E10s, after the process of splitting water into its core elements, means that each tab now has its own process, but according to Mozilla’s own figures, uses “significantly less RAM” across all operating systems compared to other browsers by limiting the total to four.
It’s described as the largest change to Firefox code since it began. By using up to four processes, it means that a heavy web page in one tab won’t slow down less complex ones in other tabs.
Mozilla believes it has found the sweet spot between multi-process and memory bloat and refers to it as the “Goldilocks Browser”. Google Chrome, in contrast, uses an infinite number of processes, eventually slowing down the browser and operating system to a crawl.
The company is inviting people who have migrated from Firefox, which has a fraction of the market share of five years ago, to try again and see the difference.
“We are pushing forward in building a completely revamped browser made for modern computing. It’s our goal to make Firefox the fastest and smoothest browser for PCs and mobile devices. Through the end of 2017, you’ll see some big jumps in capability and performance from Team Firefox.” said the company.
Also included is a revised download button and panel, and support for Burmese/Myanmar localisation.
Firefox 54 is available to download in stable form from today, while version 55, which further hones the process, is available to developers.