Servo browser engine adopted by Linux Foundation

Rust-based project that originated at Mozilla is intended to provide a high-performance, safe rendering web engine for embedding in other applications

Servo browser engine adopted by Linux Foundation
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Servo, an open source browser engine originally developed at Mozilla, has moved over to the Linux Foundation.

A modular, embeddable web engine written in Mozilla’s Rust language, Servo shares code with the Firefox browser and is intended to enable delivery of content and applications via web standards. Created in 2012, Servo incubated technologies later incorporated into Firefox such as the WebRender GPU-based rendering system. 

A restructuring at Mozilla in August involving layoffs of 250 persons included some people involved in Rust development efforts. Mozilla has continued to actively invest in Rust, while Servo has continued on as an open source effort. Now, the Linux Foundation has become the new home for the Servo Project, a bulletin published November 17 revealed.

With the move to the Linux Foundation, the Servo project gains a board and a technical steering committee to guide the project’s future. High-level goals of Servo remain unchanged; Servo is intended to provide a high-performance, safe rendering engine for embedding in other applications. Also featuring a parallelized CSS engine, Servo can be integrated into user interfaces, 3D experiences, and other products.

A user of Servo components, though, was skeptical of the Linux Foundation takeover. “It’s good news that someone is taking over the project after Mozilla. It also is a vehicle that will allow others to contribute monetarily,” said Armin Ronacher, director of engineering at application monitoring company Sentry. “However, I do not know if having the Linux Foundation means that Servo has a future as a production browser engine, as it is not driven by a browser developer that has a clear desire to ship it to customers as a browser.”

Running on Windows, Linux, and MacOS, Servo has served as proof that important web components such as rendering and CSS could be implemented in Rust, which has offered safety, concurrency, and speed. Servo also has been ported to technologies such as Android phones and Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality devices.

Servo project developers have contributed to WHAT/WG web standards by reporting specification issues and submitting cross-browser automated tests. Core team members have co-edited standards included in browsers. Participants going forward can contribute to Servo’s future by writing code or documentation, testing nightlies, or donating to cover continuous integration and hosting costs.

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