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Firefox Mozilla Software Upgrades IT Technology

Firefox 4 Regains Speed Mojo With No. 2 Placing 98

Posted by timothy
from the greased-lizard-not-so-terrible dept.
CWmike writes "With the release of Firefox 4 Beta 7 this week, Mozilla has returned to near the top spot in browser performance rankings. According to SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite tests run by Computerworld, the new browser is about three times faster than the current production version of Firefox in rendering JavaScript, and lags behind only Opera among the top five browser makers. Mozilla launched Firefox 4 Beta 7, a preview that includes all the features slated to make it into the final, polished version next year, on Wednesday. Beta 7 was the first to include Mozilla's new JavaScript JIT (Just In Time) compiler, dubbed 'JagerMonkey,' which shot the browser's performance into the No. 2 slot behind the alpha of Opera 11."
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Firefox 4 Regains Speed Mojo With No. 2 Placing

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    because I was first!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I get 404s unless I change the url to slashdot.org/...

  • Isn't there some test that's like a consistent snapshot of popular websites, with some automation to navigate around them like a normal person would? You know, a performance test that actually might matter?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, there's not, because the outcome would inevitably be "every browser is fast (and you won't notice a difference) given enough RAM, CPU power etc". In reality, it's not things like Javascript microbenchmark performance that matter: browsers CAN be faster or slower, but whether you can get a few ms less on Sunspider is going to be lost in the noise. The real differences will stem from other factors.

      As such, the whole thing is basically a giant red herring. I'm not sure why Mozilla is playing along here, ei

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2010 @08:03AM (#34205698)

        No, there's not, because the outcome would inevitably be "every browser is fast (and you won't notice a difference) given enough RAM, CPU power etc". In reality, it's not things like Javascript microbenchmark performance that matter: browsers CAN be faster or slower, but whether you can get a few ms less on Sunspider is going to be lost in the noise. The real differences will stem from other factors.

        That's because you're looking at it wrong. JS performance isn't going to improve the current browsing experience, that is perfectly true. The part you are missing is that the JS performance matters for FUTURE browsing.

        Why, you ask? One word: Flash. HTML5 exists purely to replicate most of Flash in native HTML. Flash is heavily scriptable and runs complex apps (see any heavily produced Flash game) with passable performance (most of the performance problems with Flash are due to the way the graphics stack was designed [it sucks]). If Canvas, Video and Audio tags are going to replace Flash, the JS needs to be comparable to Flash's ActionScript performance — preferably better to insentivize migration.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          How about if you don't give a flying fuck about Flash anyway? Not (just) because it's an evil closed-source monstrosity, but because I don't want a video-internet at all?
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I don't know. Personally, I find that IE (6,7, and 8) on my XP machines to be terribly slow. Even simple things such as opening a new tab cause quite a bit of lag. I'm not sure how it keeps up in raw JS execution speed, but the experience as a whole is pretty slow. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera on the same machine are all sufficiently fast, except for Firefox's startup time. As are the more recent versions of IE on Vista/7 are also sufficient. I do understand what you are saying, that most browser
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I recall IE6 as being pretty speedy at the time, but not working right if you followed standards of course. These days anything is faster than IE on XP, though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by InvisiBill (706958)

      For standard website browsing, the biggest bottleneck is probably going to be the network connection. If you're talking about a handful of seconds to download a page, then a few milliseconds here and there on some Javascript isn't going to matter, like AC said. However, AJAXy webapps that make extensive use of Javascript may show a lot more difference if each Javascript function takes an extra 100ms to run. I think that's the point of these JS benchmarks - everything else is pretty much the same, so we'r

      • by klui (457783)

        reddit loads noticeably faster using b7, esp with threads with over 500 comments.

  • If you look at the graph [arewefastyet.com] you see this was coming for a long while now, the x64 version will also be fastest in a short while (presumably second to Opera - I don't know their x64 speed - but on windows Firefox x64 would be #1).

    This is a great achievement from the development team who consistently improved the performance from 'quite bad' to 'competetively fast', so kudos to the developers. Please don't stop now, it seems you can still stretch performance quite a bit...
    • Adding the JIT was obviously improve performance massively. Now the path for JS optimization is much more difficult.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      Opera doesnt have a 64-bit binary.. at least for Windows.
      • by thijsh (910751)
        Hence my conclusion that on *Windows* Firefox x64 would be #1. ;)
        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Well, I imagine that most Javascript code ends up being pointer-heavy when compiled, and I'm not sure that the extra registers are going to offset the downsides of double-sized pointers.
  • by ttsiod (881575) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:32AM (#34205306) Homepage
    Verified with my SW-only Javascript 3D renderer, try it on your own here [semantix.gr], or just look at the submitted benchark results [otenet.gr]:

    On my aging PentiumD/2.8GHz:

    • 13 frames per second with Firefox 3.6
    • 18 frames per second with Chrome 7
    • 27 frames per second with Opera 10.6
    • 44 frames per second with Firefox 4.0beta
    • by Fackamato (913248)

      What about the latest Chrome? 9.x

      • by ttsiod (881575)
        Run Firefox4 and Chrome9 on your machine, and report back... :-)
      • by rsborg (111459)

        Chrome 9 is dev. The analagous test would be with Chrome 8 (beta). On my old-ass "IBM" thinkpad T60 (centrino duo w/ ATI gfx), I get 20fps on Chrome8, and 24fps on FF 3.6.12.

    • by PitaBred (632671)

      I cracked your top 15 with 67.84fps with 64bit Firefox from 10/15 (it's the only one stable with Flash still) and a mobile i5-520M. Just FYI ;)

    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      That's probably due to hardware acceleration. But you really should test Opera 11 and Chrome 8.
  • URL doesn't work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fackamato (913248) on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:05AM (#34205406)

    The link on the front page goes to http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/11/12/037241/Firefox-4-Regains-Speed-Mojo-With-No-2-Placing [slashdot.org] which doesn't work. The same URL without "news." works.

  • I love stories who run like this: "Not-released-software A is faster than Not-released-software B". Great news! Carry on!

    • by tepples (727027)
      Someone who posted a comment to a previous Slashdot story about JS performance explained it to me like this: By the time you've finished developing whatever web application you're working on, the browsers mentioned in the article will have been released (barring DNF style incompetence). Deployment on end user machines is another matter, especially across major version changes.
    • Except the code is right out there for you to obtain.

  • Grab an average computer, browse with Firefox, then browse with Opera or Chrome. You'll quickly see that these benchmarks mean nothing unless you are visiting a VERY javascript heavy website.
  • Plus the Aros interface of the menu/tab bars really makes the fonts unreadable

    • by Velorium (1068080)
      +2 on the memory thing. I'm experiencing it on both Win7 and OS X with all addons disabled. I'm starting to consider other browsers, most likely Opera.
  • But when it comes to Firefox, I'd rather have a plugin that would allow the use of the operating system codecs (if available) to play HTML5 video encoded in h264. That, along with the built-in support for Ogg Theora and WebM, would allow us not to care about codecs from a user perspective.
  • the organizer/editor for bookmarks is so bad (eg, where is the export a folder of book marks to email function, where is the scan for rendundant book marks button, where is..)
    when nevercooky is not in the default install
    when the new addon webpage looks like a commercial for useless crap, instead of a guide to all of hte addons
    when pdf handling still sucks in the default,and is, in my hands, number one cause of crashes
    the browser lets other people see stuff like what type of browser I am running, and doe
  • It's "JaegerMonkey" or "JägerMonkey" if your keyboard has umlaut available. But certainly not "JagerMonkey" - q.v. https://wiki.mozilla.org/JaegerMonkey [mozilla.org]
  • I hope this performance improvement really shows in the release version of the program, and I hope it runs fairly lightweight on system resources. I've been using Firefox since my high school days and I really loved it up until a year ago or so. About the time Chrome came out, Firefox was eating up so many of my system resources (so what if I use six year old hardware, it's adequate!) that it was making it hard to get things done on my computer and have Firefox running simultaneously. I switched to Chrome f
    • by D Ninja (825055)

      The problem is, the performance improvement to the Javascript engine does not equate to running light on the system resource usage. My guess is you aren't going to see all that much of a difference there. (However, as an avid Chrome user, I haven't actually verified my claims with Firefox.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sure JS speed is nice, but the reason I switched to Chrome was simple, the UI is actually responsive.

    Launching new windows/tabs in FireFox is noticeably slow, whereas Chrome is almost instant. Rearranging tabs, slow on FireFox, snappy on Chrome.

    Try loading a large page in FireFox, while its being rendered the entire UI locks up tight. When I do Google searches I tend to open 10-20 tabs at once with the results I find interesting, then go back and look at them all. Again with FireFox this is a slow operation

  • You know what? If a page takes 200 milliseconds longer to run because JS performance isn't quite as fast who cares?

    None of these browser speed wars addresses the problem that when I watch Hulu on machines that aren't top-of-the-line state-of-the-art, the video is jumpy often to the point of unwatchability.

    My pipe is fat enough and the computers I'm using can do fullscreen video just fine. It's Flash, especially on Linux, that kills performance. Most video sites still use Flash, as do a lot of those fun l

    • You know what? If a page takes 200 milliseconds longer to run because JS performance isn't quite as fast who cares?

      None of these browser speed wars addresses the problem that when I watch Hulu on machines that aren't top-of-the-line state-of-the-art, the video is jumpy often to the point of unwatchability.

      My pipe is fat enough and the computers I'm using can do fullscreen video just fine. It's Flash, especially on Linux, that kills performance. Most video sites still use Flash, as do a lot of those fun little games, etc., and the only only alternative to Flash in most cases is to go without the site or functionality. Flash is what makes web browsing slow. Every other performance issue is like line noise in comparison.

      Old times, when some company abandons/will abandon your computer/OS or you can't decide whether to join the herd (windows) or run linux/BSD, you always had Firefox at your mind. You would think it would have Firefox support and would run it one way or another.
      Now, they dropped PowerPC binaries (because their cool looking addressbar not working) and speak about dropping anything below SSE3. Publicly that is...
      Code is being infested by completely unportable x86 specific ASM to join cool kids with JS asm accel

  • I have had faster browsing times with Opera as well. My problem with Opera is that is not as usable as FF or Chrome. My biggest bugaboo with Opera is in trying to copy and paste from the window to my email so that I can send info to a friend. I do a lot of that and I cannot do it with Opera. It just will not copy and paste outside the browser itself. It works well from screen to screen within the browser but it just does not work from browser to message or anywhere else outside the browser itself. Tha
  • This story makes me curious: how has JavaScript implementation speed improved over time? I see a lot of benchmarks comparing recent versions of browsers, but does anyone have a comparison against, say, Firefox 1.0? Also, how do current JavaScript implementations stack up against current implementations of other languages, such as C, Lua, or Python?

  • At cost of? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ilgaz (86384)

    In other news, OS X PowerPC was dropped and there is also a crazy talk about dropping anything=SSE3. They really lost the design philosophy of Firefox or anything Mozilla. What happened to portability especially when nobody likes their mobile offerings? How many times they must learn to think outside X86 PC?
    Firefox in speed race with a company who controls/knows about every single device they shipped (Apple) and another who can spend couple of billions of dollars in no time without even noticing it (Google)

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