1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Azure Replacing Cairo In Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla

Published on 26 July 2011 03:30 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Mozilla
24 Comments

Mozilla Firefox -- particularly the Gecko rendering engine -- has long been a user of the Cairo graphics rendering library. Cairo is also used by GTK+, Mono, WebKit, and many other open-source projects for a vector-based, device-independent 2D drawing API. Cairo now has back-ends for OpenGL, Win32 GDI, Mac OS X Quartz, Direct2D, and many other APIs, but Mozilla developers are doing away with this library. To replace Cairo, Mozilla developers created "Azure" as a new 2D multi-platform graphics library.

Azure has been making some news recently since it's partially responsible for the Firefox 7/8 development builds being so much faster than earlier releases of this open-source web-browser. (Along with Azure has been improvements to reduce Gecko's memory foot-print and garbage collector.)

The Azure library was designed to be a state-less graphics API that's closer to the platform / hardware APIs than is the stateful Cairo API. The new library also requires less format conversions for Gecko's usage than does Cairo. Mozilla specifically designed Azure to be very close to the Direct2D API, but still suitable for targeting OpenGL and other low-level graphics APIs. Azure is also better suited to handle the canvas element of HTML5.

A nice introduction to Mozilla Azure can be found on the Mozilla blog from last April, but since then the project has matured a great deal and is ready for Firefox 7 with further refinements in Firefox 8.

The back-ends for the Azure library are Direct2D, Quartz, OpenGL, Direct3D, and Cairo. On Windows, Direct2D is the primary target for Azure while Apple Mac OS X users will have Quartz, and Linux users have OpenGL. If hardware acceleration fails, Azure can fall-back to having Cairo sit underneath. Cairo is also used for Gecko's printing support. Mozilla's copy of Cairo has also been modified to take advantage of Azure's internal stateless surface API. Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 10 back-ends for Azure are also being developed.

On this blog are some benchmarks comparing Cairo and Azure for those interested.

Mozilla's fierce competitor to Firefox, Google Chrome, meanwhile doesn't use either Azure or Cairo. Chrome is using the Skia 2D graphics library, which is also developed by Google and offers support for multiple rendering back-ends.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Even With Re-Clocking, Nouveau Remains Behind NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver
  2. The Power Consumption & Efficiency Of Open-Source GPU Drivers
  3. AMD R600g/RadeonSI Performance On Linux 3.16 With Mesa 10.3-devel
  4. Intel Pentium G3258 On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Updated Source Engine Benchmarks On The Latest AMD/NVIDIA Linux Drivers
  2. Nouveau vs. Radeon vs. Intel Tests On Linux 3.16, Mesa 10.3-devel
  3. KVM Benchmarks On Ubuntu 14.10
  4. X.Org Server 1.16 Officially Released With Terrific Features
Latest Linux News
  1. Qt 5.4 Going Into Feature Freeze Next Week With Exciting Changes
  2. OpenSUSE Factory Turns Into Rolling Release Distribution
  3. "The World's Most Highly-Assured OS" Kernel Open-Sourced
  4. NVIDIA Is Working Towards VDPAU H.265/HEVC Support
  5. Hawaii Bug-Fixes Start Hitting Mainline RadeonSI Gallium3D
  6. The FFmpeg vs. Libav War Continues In Debian Land
  7. Grand Theft Auto Running On Direct3D Natively On Linux Shows Gallium3D Potential
  8. GCC As A Just-In Time Compiler Is An Interesting Project
  9. Age Of Wonders III Is Still Being Ported To Linux
  10. Git 2.1 To Further Mainline Windows Support Patches
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  2. Debian + radeonsi
  3. Open-source drivers on ATI R7 260X
  4. List of Linux friendly Kickstarter projects
  5. Linus Torvalds On GCC 4.9: Pure & Utter Crap
  6. Porting Mesa to the Playstation 2
  7. ASRock AM1H-ITX: One Of The Best AM1 Mini-ITX Motherboards
  8. Table test