in Geeklife

The first multi-process web browser

One of the funniest parts of the explanation of chrome, they brilliantly used a comic format to explain the world

Google today releases a beta of a new multi-process web browser, which makes it look like a mini operating system in itself.

Instead of the old model where you’d have web pages, scripts and plugins running on the same process memory space (with threads for certain things, like images and plugins), now they’ve built a browser called Chrome which puts every tab on a different process.

This is in a way a scary move in terms of how big google is getting (they already pwn Firefox), and how they’re starting to push to us a web operating system, I bet this thing will come with lots of google pre-installed (Google Gears, and what not)… but damn it, this is one of those ideas where you can’t help to say… “Why didn’t I think of that, it’s such an obvious thing to do, put each tab on a different process, and make javascript run in its own damn thread”, so this is why it looks like this will be a trend setter for all of the browsers, in the end competition is good and we can only hope the Firefox team already knew about this and we’ll see similar updates in the future for Firefox. The other thing that doesn’t make this all evil, is that chrome is also open source.

The multi process approach takes an initial toll on your memory, due to the overhead of allocating new processes for every tab you open, but it guarantees more stability, no single page will crash your entire browser since each one will run independently, and once you destroy a page, the OS will truly claim back the memory space.

In any case, you’re better off reading the explanation from Google, brilliantly done in a comic format (which at the beginning sort of scared me, sort of looks a bit like commie propaganda, but it has its fun parts). Leave comments if you want to discuss the subject.

It will only be available for Windows for now, so I’m gonna have to turn on my Windows box to try it, grrrrr.

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  1. No, IE may be multi-threaded but it isn’t multi-processed. Simply open a number of tabs and open up Windows Task Manager. There’s only one iexplorer.exe process.