Firefox enables Multi Process for all

firefox logo word

Mozilla has published Firefox 54, enabling multi process for all. Unlike Chrome, Firefox maintains a lower memory usage among the top browsers.

Multi-Process splits tab process into multiple process. Chrome has used multi-process since 2008, and you can see the benefits in speed. For Firefox, the e10s project has been in development for a while now. They released the features into Firefox nightly last year. You had to disable plugins or invert some flags to get the features, though. Now everyone can enjoy the benefits of the multi processes.

Four content Processes

Firefox has gone with four content processes for all the tabs in the browser. On the other hand, Chrome assigns each tab a separate process. Using only four processes for content results in a lower memory footprint than would otherwise be needed. The user interface gets its own separate process.

Splitting into multiple processes also means tabs wont take down each other. If one tab misbehaves, this wont affect the general responsiveness of the browser. However, since processes are ultimately shared across tabs, you are not entirely immune. A tab gone rogue could at least take with it some of the other tabs.

With multiple process, the browser will make better use of multiple cores on the machine. Different cores could split the process load across. The result is a much smoother experience.

Leaner Memory Usage

According to benchmarks, Firefox has a consistently lower memory usage across the top browsers. As mentioned before, the browser achieves this by spawning fewer processes.

firefox using lesser memory than chrome and edge

In the blog post, the team continuously brag about having “met the right balance between speed and memory usage”. Chrome has long been faster, but a perennial memory hog. Each new process introduces an extra memory overhead, and Chrome doesn’t mind.

You can download the latest version of Firefox to get a feel of the new features.

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