As promised, Mozilla has released the first Nightly build of Servo, its new browser engine. This is the first tech demo of Servo, which Jack Moffitt, Servo project lead at Mozilla, described to us in March as “a next-generation browser engine focused on performance and robustness.”
Packages for macOS and Linux are available to download from here: Servo Developer Preview Downloads. Mozilla promises that Windows and Android packages will be available “soon.” And because this is Mozilla, you can check out all the code yourself over on GitHub.
To make the Servo engine easy to interact with, Mozilla has bundled an HTML-based browser UI. It is not yet fully web compatible, but when you first run Servo, you’ll see a new tab page showcasing tech demos and sites that Servo renders well.
Back in April 2013, Mozilla and Samsung announced plans to develop a “next generation” web browser engine using the Rust programming language. They wanted to rebuild the browser from the ground up on modern hardware, ignoring old assumptions that had to be made before multicore and parallel hardware were the norm. The ultimate goal at the time was to bring the technology to Android and ARM, but that has since evolved to an engine being developed for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android. As Moffitt elaborated, “Servo re-imagines the architecture of the browser in the modern landscape of multi-core computers, GPUs, and safer programming languages.”
Still, this is just a tech demo meant to give developers a chance to play and experiment with Servo. Eventually, Mozilla hopes that the Servo engine “will set a new bar for web engine performance” and will be applied not just across the company, but in many kinds of applications built on web technology.