Prototype implementation of Gazelle Web Browser
Researchers Helen J. Wang, Chris Grier, Alexander Moshchuk, Samuel T. King, Piali Choudhury and Herman Venter of Microsoft Research published a paper on The Multi-Principal OS Construction of the Gazelle Web Browser.
They see a need for a new kind of web browsers as the way people use the web and web browsers has changed over the past years.
Web browsers originated as applications that people used to view static web sites sequentially. As web sites evolved into dynamic web applications composing content from various web sites, browsers have become multi-principal operating environments with resources shared among mutually distrusting web site. Nevertheless, no existing browsers, including new architectures like IE 8, Google Chrome, and OP, have a multi-principal operating system construction that gives a browser-based OS the exclusive control to manage the protection of all system resources among web site principals.
Their solution is a web browser with its own kernel for a mini operating system named Gazelle.
… we introduce Gazelle, a secure web browser constructed as a multi-principal OS. Gazelle’s Browser Kernel is an operating system that exclusively manages resource protection and sharing across web site principals. This construction exposes intricate design issues that no previous work has identified, such as legacy protection of cross-origin script source, and cross-principal, cross-process display and events protection. We elaborate on these issues and provide comprehensive solutions.
Gazelle might not only what we might see as Internet Explorer 9 some time in the future but Gazelle might be a solution for existing browsers.
Our prototype implementation and evaluation experience indicates that it is realistic to turn an existing browser into a multi-principal OS that yields significantly stronger security and robustness with acceptable performance and backward compatibility.
You find a link to the research paper (PDF) at the bottom of the blog post The Multi-Principal OS Construction of the Gazelle Web Browser.