Mozilla releases first Servo Nightly build

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 2, 2016
Updated • May 22, 2018

Mozilla released the first public Servo Nightly build yesterday for Mac and Linux devices to give interested users options to play around with the new web rendering engine.

Servo is a new browser engine created by Mozilla Research and built by a global community of individuals and companies including Mozilla and Samsung.

Source code of the project is written in the Rust programming language. Servo is designed for application and embedded use, and designed to be compatible with the Chromium Embedded Framework which companies such as Valve use in their own products.

Servo Nightly build

Note: The released Servo Nightly build is a prototype that you cannot yet compare to established web browsers. You will encounter display issues on many sites, and functionality concentrates currently on displaying websites.

Servo Nightly builds are provided for Mac and Linux devices only currently. Instructions on how to get Servo running are provided on the download page and are easy to follow. Extract the archive after downloading it, and execute ./ if you are on Linux, or drag from the extraction directory to the Applications folder and run it from there if you are on a Mac.

The browser displays a new tab page on start listing sites that it renders fine for the most part. You may click on any to load them, or enter URLs manually instead to test them out.

Many sites won't render correctly at this point in time, but that is to be expected for such an early build.

The interface is as bare bones as it gets. You get an address bar to search for content or load sites directly, and a menu that displays the open tabs currently.

As mentioned earlier, this preview build is not designed to replace existing web browsers, at least not for the foreseeable future.

The Servo team published a short video showcasing the first Servo Nightly build.

The new tab page links to four tech demos that you can run using the browser. You may run those demos in other browsers as well by copying the URL and loading it in the browser.

The demos seem to run faster using Servo than any other browser you load it in.

The release of the first Nightly build of Servo marks an important milestone in development. While it may take a long while before anything mainstream comes out of it, it highlights that the project is making good progress.

Please note that the builds won't auto-update currently. This means that you will have to download them separately whenever updates are made available.

The team plans to publish Windows and Android versions soon as well.

And Firefox?

You are probably wondering how Servo relates to Firefox, and whether Mozilla plans to integrate Servo or part of it in the Firefox browser.

The Oxidation project aims to integrate Rust into Gecko and Firefox, and with it comes the opportunity to ship Servo components in Gecko/Firefox.

A long term goal of the project is to replace Gecko components with those written in Rust and shared with Servo.

Mozilla releases first Servo Nightly build
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Mozilla releases first Servo Nightly build
Mozilla released the first public Servo Nightly build yesterday for Mac and Linux devices to give interested users options to play around with the new web rendering engine.
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  1. Guest703 said on July 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Because, Dave, Rust/Servo IS the only product that matters.

  2. Kowal said on July 5, 2016 at 12:05 am

    The Rust language was developed to give Mozilla an edge in building more reliable software. The concept behind the language are really interesting. Potentially you get the speed of c and c++ without all the memory issues etc. And you don’t need a garbage collector to attain this so this translate into better performance. In the long run this could be a real competitive advantage for Mozilla. I read somewhere that Dropbox rewrote part of their back end in Rust (was in GO) to increase performance.

  3. Dave said on July 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I don’t see the point in this. Why aren’t Mozilla focusing on their only product that matters?

  4. DamFx said on July 3, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Rust for life, this language is just amazing.
    However I still think firefox needs more fancy features (easily to switch off) to keep normies.

  5. Earl said on July 3, 2016 at 2:37 am

    At that point in time when Servo is capable of replacing Gecko–because it can handle every requirement demanded of rendering engines, then it will be just as “slow” and bogged down with the processing required of it as any other engine.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  6. Danny said on July 3, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Great, more Chromium…

  7. Andrew said on July 2, 2016 at 8:07 am

    With everyone hating Microsoft and edge (and rightly so w/ the whole IE6 and trident fiasco), it seems we are getting more of an oligopoly with engines out there, yet Microsoft nowadays is the underdog. Main contesters, where before we had Gecko, Trident, Webkit, and a bit of presto, now it seems we have webkit and it’s derivatives (mostly blink) and just edgehtml. It’s kind of sad, but then again, given W3C is mostly funded by the big players, and them implementing DRM instead of keeping to their open source “code”, I guess that is expected. I am still waiting for something like Firefox did back in the day, to bring the whole industry to the next evolution.

    1. Adam said on July 5, 2016 at 1:02 am

      No, there is not only webkit/blink and edgehtml. Gecko is still very popular in Europe.

      1. Andrew said on July 5, 2016 at 6:16 am

        As is Trident, but the direction that mozilla is taking gecko, it seems eventually the difference between gecko(servo) and Webkit(blink) will be indistinguishable.

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