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Firefox 'Electrolysis' reaches the one per cent

Content-UI split slowly sliding out of beta

Mozilla has moved ahead with its cunning plan to split the browser window from the underlying content processing.

First discussed in June, "Project Electrolysis" splits Firefox into a UI process and a content process.

If it works, the change in architecture would keep tabs and menus operational even if someone's created the kind of browser-killer Web page we know and love; further into the future, it's also a chance to better sandbox content for security and performance.

One thing at a time: what Mozilla has announced is that the first stage of Electrolysis is now landing on the select group of users that's going to crash-test Firefox 48.

With around half of Firefox 48 beta users now running the new architecture, Mozilla's going to anoint one per cent of ordinary users – giving it about the same number of guinea pigs as it already has in the beta population.

If there are no catastrophes, the architecture will get rolled out to the rest of Firefox 48 users.

Sometime in 2017, the outfit will roll out the splitting of Web content processing into individual processing silos.

The work of hardening sandboxing could land even sooner: “In parallel to work on multiple content processes, we’re also working on building a hardened sandbox for content processes. The goal for sandboxing is to restrict what access processes that host web content have to the browser and to the operating system. This will help secure Firefox against a range of potential exploits. If all goes well in testing, this work could see release this year.” ®

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