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Firefox Upgrades News

Mozilla's New JavaScript Engine Coming September 1 222

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the believe-when-it-parses dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has reached an important milestone as its new JavaScript engine, 'JaegerMonkey,' is now faster than the current 'TraceMonkey' in a key benchmark. Mozilla wants JaegerMonkey to be faster than the competition and launch on September 1, which means that JaegerMonkey will make it into Firefox 4.0."
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Mozilla's New JavaScript Engine Coming September 1

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  • Competition (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:49AM (#32900600) Homepage Journal

    I know Firefox is open source, but is it wise to broadcast their intentions so publicly months in advance? Especially when it has to do with competing against other browsers.

    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:52AM (#32900660) Journal

      Please elaborate Why not?

    • Everybody is trying to improve their Javascript execution speed, so it's really not a big slip. Really, you can't blame them, after all, it lets you play Javascript games like Game! [wittyrpg.com] that much faster!

      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Keyslapper (852034) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:06AM (#32900942)
        Agreed. The JS engine is probably the only area FF is trailing the rest of the market by a wide margin. It's not like they're announcing they're getting further out in front of the pack. Announcing they're finally coming up to par in this area is the best thing I've heard about FF since ... well ever.

        This might give me reason to hold out for FF4 rather than switching to Safari or Opera.
        • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:12AM (#32901064)

          Nah. The best thing would be if they finally separated everything into their own threads so that the entire UI would not lock just because Javascript in some tab is busy, or some download stalled, or a big table is being rendered, or whatever.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Keyslapper (852034)
            I was under the impression that's what 4.0 is doing. On MacOS, I get an extra FF icon in the Dock when I run into sites with Flash ...

            Did I miss something?

            And yeah, 3.6.x was so bad I upgraded my primary browser to the beta. Since then, no CPU drain at random, no out of control heat issue until I force kill it, and no framework lockup when I'm editing a long response on FB. It still freezes the edit box momentarily, but only rarely, and never crashes out or kills performance on the whole machine.
          • I’m sorry, but that’s your own damn fault.
            The thing is, that modern JS has stopped assuming that its users are complete retards, because as you may know, this did not work out so well.
            So it leaves you the choice how the threading works, by just offering worker threads as a tool, and not enforcing them.
            (Even before that, there were always setTimeout and setInterval, which I used to simulate asynchronous network sockets over object tags in what, 2002?)

            But if you don’t use them, of course the

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Everybody knows that everybody is trying to buff their JS scores; both because the Web2.0 gods demand it, and because not having the best sunspider scores causes your e-penis to shrivel. It isn't exactly a skunkworks secret weapon kind of feature.

      The only way that they could really hide from a remotely sophisticated adversary(ie. a group that includes anybody remotely capable of making a competing browser), would be to sacrifice openness in a pretty huge way and make it so that only internal devs could s
    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BZ (40346) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:08AM (#32900998)

      Mozilla is not just open source, it's also open. Open in the sense that all project management (and indeed everything else) is done in the open as much as possible. There are no secret project crash landings of the sort that Chrome was or the current iteration of the Safari JS engine, unless there are external requirements for such (as there were with WebM).

      This has the benefit that project contributors who are not Mozilla employees can fully participate in goal-setting and development. It does have the drawback that competitors can borrow the ideas, and possibly even ship them first; this happens all the time. This is viewed as an acceptable cost of doing business in an open way.

  • They are trying to conquer the browser market.
  • Free as in Beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DIplomatic (1759914) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:53AM (#32900680) Journal
    It really blows my mind that there is such fierce competition between internet browsers. It's rare to see this level of intense drive and innovation for a free product.
    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      As long as they keep racing towards a standard it is a great thing, there was definitely equally fierce competition a decade ago but it was far less productive
    • To be fair, the same argument that is used against Google could be leveled against Firefox. The browser/search is not the product, it is merely the means to generate the real product: users. The users are the product and they and their habits are sold to the advertisers. Obviously Firefox is still largely community driven, but when you get down to brass tacks it takes money to run a project as large and complex as Firefox has become, that money comes from selling user behavior.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BZ (40346)

        > it is merely the means to generate the real product: users.

        No, the real product is an open web not tied to a particular technology. Users are just a means to that end.

        > and their habits are sold to the advertisers.

        What does Firefox sell, exactly? I'd really like to know.

        > that money comes from selling user behavior.

        Not quite. That money comes from partnerships with search engines. The only thing "sold" is whatever you decide to submit to a search engine, and only if you use the little search

        • by Haffner (1349071)
          I would imagine they also get some chunk of any of those bloatware toolbars idiots install...
        • Actually, I thought FF sold competition vs IE to Google. With Chrome the future of FF looks bleak when contract renewal comes up. http://techcrunch.com/2008/08/28/mozilla-extends-lucrative-deal-with-google-for-3-years/ [techcrunch.com]
          • by BZ (40346)

            > Actually, I thought FF sold competition vs IE to Google.

            FF doesn't "sell" anything to Google. Google pays for any searches that are done on Google via the FF search bar. So do other search providers.

            > With Chrome the future of FF looks bleak when contract renewal comes up.

            Does it? Google has search deals with FF and Opera. Why does Chrome change that calculation?

            Google is not in the business of building a browser to build a browser. They're in the business of selling advertising; everything els

            • Google has Mozilla Corp. between a rock and a hard place.

              Google could say "Hey, we're not going to pay you for referrals any more."

              What do you think is going to happen? That Mozilla will remove Google from the search engine dropdown? That Mozilla Corp will promote the #2 search engine instead, which just so happens to be owned by their largest competitor, Microsoft?

              More importantly, if they do either of those things, how do you think the users will react?

              • by BZ (40346)

                > That Mozilla will remove Google from the search engine dropdown?

                Presumably not, since it's there because it's the search engine users want, not because of the money.

                Note that in some locales, where Google gives worse results than other search engines, it's not the default search engine.

                Now your point seems to be that if Google were to do this then Mozilla would lose revenue. This is probably true.

              • by tibman (623933)

                the users will change the search engine to their fav again? That's not so different than IE 7.

              • by TheLink (130905)
                > What do you think is going to happen?

                If I were IBM, I'd donate some money to keep Mozilla going. The more choices there are the more likely some CxO is going to just pay IBM to not have to think about them :).
          • Google won't do that unless Firefox disappears from the charts. Google isn't interested in promoting Chrome, it's interested in promoting their search engine that shows their ads. Cutting Mozilla's money would probably give some competitor (Yahoo?) the opportunity of serving web searches for all the Firefox users, which are still buttloads more than Chrome.

    • Re:Free as in Beer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:31AM (#32901382)

      It might be because they're free that there is competition to innovate. It doesn't take anything for someone to switch to a different browser, so getting them to stick with one is a bit trickier. No one is going to go into purchase rationalization mode over a free download like they might over a car that turns out not to be as cool as they hoped. From the perspective of a Microsoft or a Google, once you can lock in the loyalty of the end users, then its easier to steer them towards your other products, including for-pay products. Hell, even Netscape was giving away Navigator hoping people would pick up their server offerings to go along with it. Mozilla, on the other hand, needs to keep people in the open, standards-based ecosystem because that forces all the vendors towards the center and creates are more cross-compatible environment.

    • I think that in this case, it's free as in Jägermeister.

      There are a number of reasons why that's a terrible idea. Remind me to tell you some time about that night in Augsburg back in 1986. I hear they still won't let Americans stay in that hotel.

    • There isn’t. It’s just that some idiots would not have all those extreme stories without making it into “TeH FIGHTZ0RZ oF TeH CeNtUrIeZ!!!11!1one(lim (x->0) ((sin x)/x))

  • by revlayle (964221) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:56AM (#32900746) Homepage
    Drunk monkeys are going to be running the new JS engine.... still better than IE
  • Nightly benchmarking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr. Spontaneous (784926) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:59AM (#32900798)
    For those of you who want to track the progress of Mozilla's JS efforts, visit the self-descriptive ARE WE FAST YET? [arewefastyet.com]
    • For the colourblinds amongst us... can you describe the graph please.
  • This is a welcome improvement, sadly it's still miles behind competing browsers... They still have to slash their benchmark stats in half to beat existing performance of Chrome, Safara and even IE9! Highly interactive webapps still won't run as smoothly in Firefox as in other browsers, which is a shame. I really love FireFox as a developer, but I have to say the slow speed is the biggest drawback. This is something that deserves proper attention from experts who really care about it, but now they have given
    • by sd.fhasldff (833645) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:24AM (#32901266)

      I think you're missing the point of what is being benchmarked. Mozilla hasn't released benchmarks of their new JS engine with both "method" and "tracer" JIT combined. They are being evolved separately, but are (according to Moz) complementary. Thus, we don't know how far they actually are from their goal yet.

      Check out http://www.arewefastyet.com/ [arewefastyet.com] for benchmarks and description.

      From what I can gather from the associated bug report, the "fatval" optimizations are also not applied to the portions of JS code that is traced... which would imply that the better job the tracer engine does, the less the "fatval" optimizations are applied.

      The result is that an unknown "free" speed increase is waiting in the wings. What the magnitude of this increase is... well, that's the question, isn't it?

      Does 1 September seem like a really tight deadline? Yes, sure does, but more in terms of stability and robustness than actually getting to a specific speed milestone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641)
        The tracer JIT is able to compile most methods into very tight assembly code because it is able to determine the types of each variable at compile time. For the methods that can't be compiled with the tracer JIT, they have been run by the interpreter, which is very slow compared to JIT compilers. With the new method JIT, methods that can't be compiled with the tracer JIT will be run by the method JIT instead of the interpreter. This is the meaning of the statement the tracer JIT (orange) and method JIT (bla [arewefastyet.com]
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:17AM (#32901166)

    Don't get me wrong, I love FF but I am worried about what happens after the deal with google expires.

    FF doesn't put out an MSI version of their windows package and doesn't do GPO policies *natively*. This stuff is all 3rd party after the fact and FF updates.

    Meanwhile I read on /. that Chrome can use the same GPO as IE natively. (I can't find it, though)

    Once Google pumps out MSIs for Chrome and its GPO support is common knowledge, FF will have lost the corps for market share.

    • by vbraga (228124) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:25AM (#32901284) Journal

      I never understood why Mozilla Foundation refuses to release proper GPO support in Firefox. Why neglect the corporate market?

      • by RebelWebmaster (628941) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:52AM (#32901748)
        For what it's worth, there was a session on enterprise deployment at the 2010 Mozilla Summit last week. Official MSI support is coming (there are patches posted to the relevant bug), hopefully for Firefox 4. GPO support is more difficult due to the wide number of settings supported by Firefox and complications with their version numbering and update settings. That said, there are extensions for it at least. Basically, that segment is getting more attention, even if it isn't moving at lightning speed.
    • Don't get me wrong, I love FF but I am worried about what happens after the deal with google expires.

      Realistically, it won't expire anytime in the foreseeable future. Google is very happy about the deal with Firefox - they get put as the default search engine for 25% of web users. If that translates into any positive amount of search share - and it does - then Google won't stop the deal with Mozilla.

      The Google-Mozilla deal isn't charity from Google. It helps them to compete with their actual competitors - Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, etc.

    • Don't get me wrong, I love FF but I am worried about what happens after the deal with google expires.

      FF doesn't put out an MSI version of their windows package and doesn't do GPO policies *natively*. This stuff is all 3rd party after the fact and FF updates.

      Meanwhile I read on /. that Chrome can use the same GPO as IE natively. (I can't find it, though)

      Once Google pumps out MSIs for Chrome and its GPO support is common knowledge, FF will have lost the corps for market share.

      I doubt that ever happen. Google gains money from this deal and Firefox market share is still huge and way above Chrome

      Not only that, but even if Firefox had a smaller market share, Google would still keep the contract like they do with Opera

      Finally, Google has been pretty much "non-evil" lately, I wouldn't see them do that, they've good relations to Mozilla, and they don't gain much by having Chrome "beat" Firefox. But the future will eventually tell.

  • Wha? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ITBurnout (1845712) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:36AM (#32901470)
    Sometimes when reading Slashdot I find myself taking a step back and marveling at how a sentence like "Mozilla's new Jaegermonkey Javascript engine for Firefox, which will launch on September 1, is faster than Tracemonkey in key benchmarks" actually makes sense to me. It is the 21st Century, and we talk funny.
    • It is the 21st Century, and we talk funny.

      Quite obviously you don't work in a Unix/Linux environment. Grok, grep, apt-get, rpm -ihv name.rpm, su, man (which has nothing to do with a man), cat (which has nothing to do with cats), tar (which has nothing to do with tar and feathering someone or the LaBrea Tar Pits), or chmod.

      I think you'll find people have been talking funny for centuries, depending on what your definition of funny is.
    • But of course we talk funny! All the good product/project names (i.e., which actually make sense) have already been taken, by copyrighting, trademarking, or otherwise.

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:07PM (#32902062)

    I dumped FF for Chrome a few months ago and I am not looking back... To be honest, the JS performance wasn't the main problem. It had stability and resource issues. We owe a lot to FF for freeing us from the tyranny of IE but the future is with Chrome or Safari (and to a lesser degree Opera).

    • by bunratty (545641)
      It's interesting that no one seems to be able to provide specific information on these supposed stability and resource issues. It's classic FUD [wikipedia.org].
      • It's interesting that no one seems to be able to provide specific information on these supposed stability and resource issues. It's classic FUD [wikipedia.org].

        I am sorry. I wish it were but the only FUD around here is your reply to my post. FF's problems are what are known as facts [wikipedia.org]. I'd post screenshots of resource utilization, etc, but rebutting your comment is not worth the effort because it is patently false. FF's continual decline in market share speak for itself.

      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        Agreed. Chrome and Safari are both much more likely to have stability issues on both Mac and Windows, as far as I have seen. Safari 5 is a nice browser, but should be labeled beta. Chrome has an amazing Javascript engine, but the rest of the browser is mediocre (rendering of complicated HTML is significantly slower than Firefox, for example - just try scrolling to see it, or look at some non-Javascript benchmarks).

        Resource utilization hasn't been an issue with Firefox in *years*. This was a problem with

        • When (if, but it seems likely lately) mozilla will beat everyone at the javascript game i bet they'll say javascript performance isnt all that important (its true it's not all that important) ;p

  • http://arewefastyet.com/ [arewefastyet.com]

    NO.

    (But it's getting good! - that Firefox javascript engine performance day-to-day or almost performance improvement graph)

  • Will it be enabled on 64-bit systems? I've been missing out on all of these speed improvements over the last several years because I use 64-bit Linux with 64-bit Firefox and the new javascript engines have only been enabled for 32-bit Firefox.

  • Okay, obviously not, its got its fair share of the market.

    My thought here is however, instead of working on things that aren't really that important, how about they step back and focus on making Firefox not suck.

    You know, like back when it was simple and didn't try to be the worlds browser testbed?

    I embed Gecko in a couple applications, using it because I get a 'web' rendering engine (lets face it, HTML isn't enough anymore) AND XUL which means I can create a common GUI using XUL and not maintain different

  • The speed of Javascript is the *least* of my critera to use in judging a browser (seems like reviewers and developers are operating under some misguided credo where "foreign" software providers running unexamined software ON MY MACHINE is a *good* thing. While open source, an Internet site is free to change their Javascripts at the drop of a hat (unlike an open source browser where one at least some has some community review and reasonable confidence in security/reliability). So any web site which uses Javascript is open to compromise and therefore could become a mal-Javascript distributor.

    If the purpose of HTML and Standards is to distribute *information* and not to use *my* CPU cycles or sell me things (aka distribute commercials) I'd be much more interested in browsers that use the fewest CPU cycles in an unused state (or a "used" state displaying static HTML) or reliably restore sessions when requested.

    The overemphasis on how fast Javascript runs seems to be due to a lack of serious thought as to how to make browsers better at doing what they were designed to do -- which was *not* to run "web-apps". We used the Internet very successfully for over a decade to provide information -- not to run apps -- if it wasn't (isn't) broken why the emphasis on fixing(?) it?

    I note this with an aside that the U.S. Government (NIH NCBI) no longer allows complete access to its *public* databases, e.g. PubMed, by browsers which do not have Javascript enabled. (One is compelled to ask *who* for the most part paid for that information but can no longer access it?).

    A "good idea" is something which doesn't break something which used to work just fine when it is supposed to be improving on it.

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