Mozilla tackles the browser memory conundrum

  • 29 August 2014
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By Paul Krill | InfoWorld  Posted on August 29, 2014
Mozilla's Servo browser engine project looks to improve DOM (Document Object Model) memory management, with the JavaScript garbage collector to be tasked with managing native-code DOM objects.
The approach would be an alternative to reference-counting for tracking pointers between low-level DOM objects, which can bring about complications like the leaking of memory objects. "We have a new approach for DOM memory management, and we get to use some of the Rust language's exciting features, like auto-generated trait implementations, lifetime checking, and custom static analysis plug-ins," say Josh Matthews and Keegan McAllister in a Mozilla Research blog post this week.
Giving the garbage collector responsibility for managing these DOM objects requires complex interaction between Servo's Rust code and the SpiderMonkey garbage collector. "Fortunately, Rust provides some cool features that let us build this in a way that's fast, secure, and maintainable," Mozilla's researchers said. Mozilla partnered with Samsung on Servo, which is intended to leverage multicore, heterogeneous architectures, and plans to productize Servo in the 2015 timeframe.
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