Firefox Lorentz Beta (likely to be the Firefox 3.6.4 release scheduled for early May) was released today for testing purposes. So what is so special about this Beta release? Out Of Process Plugins (OOPP) or plugins running as their own processes. This come nearly a year from when Multi-Process Support Coming to Firefox was announced.
A fine example of the use of OOPP is Search Results Chrome « The Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog where a mis-behaving plugin will not cause the entire browser to crash. Currently though only a couple plugins are supported, but as Percy demonstrates, you can add other via about:config.
Right now, it only runs QuickTime, Flash, and Silverlight on their own process, but you can also manually add other plugins via about:config.
For example to have the Adobe Reader plugin running on its own process, create a boolean preference in about:config, name it dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.nppdf32.dll, set it to true, and restart. For Java, the preference must be named dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npjp2.dll. You just need to know the name of the library (which you get from about:plugins), and create the preference accordingly.
Whilst this may be great for people who use Firefox to visit sites which incorporate these plugins (especially Quicktime) there is a downside. Because each plugin runs as its own process you are using more memory. Percy conducted a simple test running YouTube videos in their own tabs
…with Flash running in-process and out of process, and found around 220MB and 240MB in each case, or about a 10% overhead. But I guess your mileage could vary significantly depending on the plugin and the actual content. Please feel free to share your results here.
Again it is important to under this is still in Beta and may or may not be incorporated into the upcoming Firefox 3.6.4 due next month.Further this feature is currently part of Windows and Linux builds only.
Source: Mozilla Links