Multithreaded Firefox 50 puts more extensions in sandboxes


— 1:30 PM on December 22, 2016

As the gamers in our audience know, multiple CPU cores help the most when software is written to take advantage of them. The fine folks at Mozilla have been working feverishly to improve multi-process support in the foundation's Firefox web browser, and today's Firefox 50 release represents a big step towards this goal. The Foundation says the improved support for multiple processes should make the browser more responsive, secure, and stable.

In early August, Firefox 48 included multi-process support for a portion of the browsers' user base. In September, the Firefox 49 release could spin a selection of browser extensions into their own processes. The just-released version 50 of the browser contains multi-process support for a wider range of extensions. Mozilla now has plans for all extensions to run in their own process in Firefox 51.

Mozilla says its multi-process support has increased responsiveness by 400% under normal conditions and 700% during page loads, though the testing methods were not detailed. The Foundation has also combined multi-process support with sandboxing for increased security. The use of multiple processes also reduces the chance that a poorly-coded web page in one tab could bring down the entire browser session.

The Mozilla Future Releases Blog has more detailed information about multi-process support in Firefox and its benefits. Those who have heard enough and just want to download the latest release can click here.

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