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. CompuLab Intense-PC2: An Excellent, Fanless, Mini PC Powered By Intel's i7 Haswell
  2. From The Atom 330 To Haswell ULT: Intel Linux Performance Benchmarks
  3. AMD Radeon R9 285 Tonga Performance On Linux
  4. Apotop Wi-Copy
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Moves Forward With Unified Linux Driver Strategy, New Kernel Driver
  2. MSI: Update Your BIOS From The Linux Desktop
  3. NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D
  4. 15-Way GPU Comparison With Mesa 10.3 + Linux 3.17
Latest Linux News
  1. Linux 3.18-rc1 Released One Week Early With Many Changes
  2. The VC4 Gallium3D Driver Is Still Moving Along For The Raspberry Pi
  3. Direct3D 9 Support Might Land Within Mainline Mesa 3D Drivers
  4. OpenGL Preview Benchmarks For NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 970
  5. HOPE: The Ease Of Python With The Speed Of C++
  6. Vitesse: Using LLVM To Speed Up Databases
  7. AMD Is Restructuring Again, Losing 7% Of Employees
  8. Linux Testing Of The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  9. Qt 5.4 Now In Beta With Web, Bluetooth LE, Graphics Improvements
  10. AMD's Radeon R9 285 On Linux Offers Good OpenCL Performance
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. NVIDIA Presents Its Driver Plans To Support Mir/Wayland & KMS On Linux
  2. AMD Is Restructuring Again, Losing 7% Of Employees
  3. Bye bye BSD, Hello Linux: A Sys Admin's Story
  4. Open-Source AMD Fusion E-350 Support Takes A Dive
  5. Upgrade to Kaveri, very slow VDPAU performance
  6. ChromeOS Drops Support For EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 File-Systems
  7. Lennart Poettering On The Open-Source Community: A Sick Place To Be In
  8. The Slides Announcing The New "AMDGPU" Kernel Driver