Codenamed River Trail, the project was revealed this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, and the company has open sourced an early version of the technology in the form of a Firefox add-on.
The technology was unveiled a day before Google released a new version of its Chrome browser that includes Native Client, a sandboxing technology for securely running native code inside a browser. Google is pushing Native Client because it too can give browser apps access to multiple cores and vector instructions, but Mozilla prefers to keep native code out of the browser.
"The promise of the web is that it's cross-platform, that it's source driven, that it evolves with time. Native Client doesn't actually solve any of those problems that the web actually solves," Mozilla open source evangelist Chris Blizzard told us this summer.
"Once you download the native code, there's no opportunity for browser optimization. There's no opportunity for all kinds of things. You have to keep in mind that the evolution of browsers over the last several years has been that we have made a 10X improvement on existing sites. The evolution of browsers has made everyone's applications faster, whether or not you've updated that site in X number of years.
"With Native Client, all of that disappears. The fast innovation we've seen on the web disappears. A source code–based world means that we can optimize things that the user hasn't even thought of, and we can deliver that into their hands without you, the developer, doing anything."