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Mozilla Unleashes the Kraken 363

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has released the first version a new browser benchmark called Kraken. Mozilla's Robert Sayre writes on his blog, 'More than Sunspider, V8, and Dromaeo, Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and forward-looking applications. We believe that the benchmarks used in Kraken are better in terms of reflecting realistic workloads for pushing the edge of browser performance forward. These are the things that people are saying are too slow to do with open web technologies today, and we want to have benchmarks that reflect progress against making these near-future apps universally available.' On my somewhat elderly x86_64 Linux system Google Chrome 6.0.472.55 beta completes the Kraken benchmark in 28638.1 milliseconds, Opera 10.62 completes it in 23612.4 milliseconds, and the current Firefox 4 nightly build completes it in 19897.5 milliseconds."
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Mozilla Unleashes the Kraken

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  • Obvious... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:16AM (#33584308) Homepage

    How about IE performance? Too bad to even mention?

    • by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:29AM (#33584344)
      It's still running.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's still running.

        You mean it hasn't crashed yet?

      • Re:Obvious... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by edgrale ( 216858 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:50AM (#33584450)

        It's still running.

        Laugh all you want but I have had it running on IE 8 (Windows 7 64 bit) for the past 5 minutes and it is still stuck at the first stage. So I think we have a legitimate reason why Internet Explorer was not included...

        Also got a warning that "A script on this page is causing your web browser to run slowly."...

        • by daid303 ( 843777 )

          IE7 (on WinXP 32 bit) stops at the first test because of a script failure. Are you sure it still ran?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zumbs ( 1241138 )
      From TFS:

      On my somewhat elderly x86_64 Linux system

    • How about IE performance? Too bad to even mention?

      I started it on the latest IE 9 Preview, but it seems like it's taking at least around 3-4 times as long time to finish as Chrome or Firefox, so I aborted it. :-(

  • Javascript (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:16AM (#33584312) Homepage

    Shame it only benchmarks one small part of the browser - Javascript.

    • Re:Javascript (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:31AM (#33584354)

      The scary bit is that the world is quickly moving in a direction where serious desktop applications will be written in... Javascript.

      So much for Java, .NET ; as soon as its possible to earn money through the Google App store for your Web app there will be a torrent of these applications being release to the world.

      The web browser is the new platform.

      It feels like going back 20 years in time.

      • Web apps most often still need a corresponding back end application suite as well, so while JS (more likely, frameworks such as JQuery on top of JS - I don't imagine anything being written in straight JS), Java and .Net still have a significant place, although its going to be more of a symbiosis than a domination of one tier over the other.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by noidentity ( 188756 )

        The web browser is the new platform.

        It feels like going back 20 years in time.

        Except that you now need what was then a supercomputer just to run Hello, world.

      • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

        Well, there is a difference this time. Last time (1995-2000) they tried to make javascript run on the server side. This is nonsense.

        Today, it's just the client getting thicker. Which is fine in my view, and JavaScript fit the bill.

        Of course, if you regard javascript as the thing you look up examples for in Google in order to program it, you're screwed. JavaScript is a great and powerful language. JQuery is there to iron out the main differences in most browsers. Short of that and with the help of CSS3, HTML

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:25AM (#33584326)
    ways suspicious when someone releases a benchmark that shows that their software is better than others, especially when other benchmarks have shown FF as slower than Chrome or Opera. I hope this isn't one of those M$ style tests that find the bits that their own software does well and others badly and test that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AberBeta ( 851747 )

      If you hadn't noticed, every synthetic benchmark released from a browser vendor favoured their engine, at time of release. At least Google had balls to call it v8bench.
      While I believe all benchmarks (and non-comprehensive ACID tests) to be 3dmark-style pissing contests where they encourage developers to fast-path specific used functions, I have more confidence in Mozilla producing another (Dromaeo also tried to have a more realistic workflow).

      • by Jurily ( 900488 )

        While I believe all benchmarks (and non-comprehensive ACID tests) to be 3dmark-style pissing contests

        I want a benchmark that shows a large Slashdot article loading over 3G (at -1, no Javascript). For some reason it still completely freezes Firefox.

        Sadly, it's the only browser out there with Noscript and Adblock.

    • by paziek ( 1329929 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:33AM (#33584370)

      Its not like only MS and Mozilla as browser vendor released their own benchmark in with their product is doing good.
      Besides, whats so bad about it? Ain't it obvious they are gonna include in their benchmarks stuff that they feel is important and as a consequence - made it good during browser development?
      It just shows that other browsers than FF lack in some areas, with might - or might not - be important.

      • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:03AM (#33586400)

        The major browser Javascript engines (with the apparent exception of IE) are all now within the ballpark of each other. And they all make slightly different tradeoffs and are optimized for slightly different conditions, and have all released benchmarks that illustrate the strong points of their browsers.

        If you look at v8bench (Google's Javascript benchmark), sunspider (the Webkit Javascript benchmark), and now Kraken (Mozilla's Javascript benchmark), you'll see that the latest browser versions are basically within 5-30% of each other on identical hardware. Which one comes out ahead depends on whose set of optimization parameters you think is most important.

        Attacking Mozilla for doing the same thing every other major browser maker does (not that your post was, but other posters have) is silly.

    • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:41AM (#33584414) Journal

      One of Mozilla's longstanding issues with some of the other benchmarks is that they test toy problems that take longer to set up than to run. Yes, that favors browsers with JS engines that set up for execution quickly, and that portion of the engine is important. It doesn't show the real speedups for intensive applications in the browser, though. Optimizing the slow parts is the priority of most people right now, and getting the application set up a little faster at the beginning isn't as big a deal unless you have a lot of small scripts in one page.

      An earlier blog post by Sayre [] and some of the comments to it display some of the issues.

    • by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:46AM (#33584424)

      Why don't they just grab the (say) 200 most visited sites on the internet, copy the JavaScript and use that to benchmark instead?


      • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:02AM (#33584494)

        Because the amount of time it takes to run the javascript on the top sites is pretty small (which is what the IE team was talking about around IE8's release). Performance on those sites mostly doesn't depend on whether your JS engine is the one in Chrome dev or the one in IE7. I only say "mostly" because I wouldn't be surprised if gmail is in the top 200. ;)

        If you're going to worry specifically about JS performance (which is an assumption; the IE team is still saying that this focus is a mistake and to some extent they're right), you want to be benchmarking things that are gated on JS performance. That means identifying t the things that are slow with current JS engines and that people would like to be doing but can't because of said slowness, whatever those things are, and benchmarking those.

    • Lies, damned lies and benchmarks.

    • by Grismar ( 840501 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:25AM (#33584606)

      Have you considered that it may well be the other way around?

      If Mozilla, Google, MS, Apple or whoever truly believe that those particular aspects of a browser are the most important, doesn't it make sense that they would optimize their browsers for those aspects? I think it makes sense that they would write tests for the exact same aspects that they have been optimizing their browsers for, -because- they believe these are the key aspects.

      Lacking an objective measure, all you can do right now is decide with whom you agree the most and probably use their browser or another browser that ranks well on their test - if these benchmarks are a critical decision factor for you.

    • Would be funny is someone releases a benchmark which shows that their software is less capable than others.

    • I use Firefox exclusively on my laptop. Speed is not its strong point. The main reason that I use FF is for a few add-ons that I now find necessary (mostly Vimperator to get vi keybindings). Speed is a reasonable trade off for me to have such a customizable browser, and I always assumed that the speed loss may have been due to the XUL stuff.

      I think that FF being slow is common knowledge these days. I think that Mozilla is trying to show that the reason their browser is slower on some (most) things is becaus

    • other benchmarks were released by Apple (sunspider) and Google (v8) (and the last one is actually from Mozilla)

      I believe Mozilla is actually always striving for the best of the community unlike the 2 big giants, they've always proved to do so. (afaik!)

      Sunspider shows Safari as fastest, V8 Chrome as fastest (at least last I checked), and the Mozilla bench was a more mixed result.

      but anyway back to the point, why would you believe Google and Apple and not Mozilla?

    • by nmoog ( 701216 )
      I'm not sure it's really a case of Mozilla trying to trick anyone... after all, they happily (well, probably not _happily_) admit that they aren'tfastyet []
    • The charitable way to look at it is that each vendor writes a benchmark for the aspects of the browser which they think are most important, and those aspects are also obviously what they've put the most development emphasis on since they're regarded as the most important.

      If you write a benchmark against your top development priorities and a rival eats your lunch despite having a different set of development priorities, you're probably not a top-tier vendor.

  • Am I the only one? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mystery00 ( 1100379 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:32AM (#33584360)
    Am I the only one who has had enough of these benchmark tests? I don't care about your milliseconds! What I want is low RAM usage (how about concentrating on THIS Mozzila?) and more features/plugins.
    • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:39AM (#33584404)

      Well... Mozilla _has_ concentrated on low RAM usage in the past. The actual memory usage of Gecko is significantly lower than its competitors if you load some pages and measure it.

      At this point, they're actually trading off space for performance (e.g. making some core objects slightly bigger to improve certain performance characteristics).

      • Well... Mozilla _has_ concentrated on low RAM usage in the past. The actual memory usage of Gecko is significantly lower than its competitors if you load some pages and measure it.

        Not that I want to complain but comparing memory usage for Firefox and Opera on my work laptop (running Windows Vista Business 64-bit, C2D) and Firefox and Safari 5 on my home system (fully patched OS X, Core i7) I have to say that Firefox is disappointing when it comes to memory usage. Compared to Opera it's a resource hog on my work laptop, if I start Opera and Firefox at the same time and use Opera over the day with only some minor Firefox usage it will still use 50% more RAM than Opera at the end of the

        • by BZ ( 40346 )

          Interesting. One question. Is this a Firefox profile with extensions installed? If so, which ones? Whenever I've looked over here (Linux and Mac), recent Firefox has used less memory than recent Opera....

          • Well, the memory usage definitely gets worse if I have Web Developer, Firebug, Screengrab and YSlow installed. But even without these add-ons it still feels like memory usage could be lowered, if performance reflected the amount of RAM being used then I wouldn't mind it most of the time but when the browser as a whole still feels sluggish compared to Safari, Opera and Chrome it kind of annoys me.

            • Whenever I've tested, Firefox uses less memory than other browsers. I haven't noticed it being slow for years -- back when I was running it on a 266 MHz computer and there was little or minimal caching of the chrome it was so slow I first thought the UI was written in Java. Can you provide specifics about what particular sites make it take more memory than other browsers, or what activities feel sluggish?
              • It is mostly a general feeling of sluggishness compared to Safari (on OS X) and high memory use compared to Opera (on Windows). As an example, I had to restart it earlier today after it topped 1 GiB of RAM, since then I've had 3-4 tabs open, all containing internal web service function listings and current memory usage for firefox.exe is supposedly just short of 300 MiB (though this is with Web Developer, Firebug, YSlow, Adblock+ and Screengrab installed). As a comparison, my current Opera session has been

    • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:02AM (#33584490) Journal

      For this particular Slashdot page right now, with both browsers opened fresh for it, Firefox 4.0 beta 6 uses 23 megabytes less resident memory than Chrome 5.0.375.125 does. It also uses about 1800 megabytes less virtual mapped memory, not that that matters nearly as much, but it's a big number in difference.

      Epiphany 2.30.2 uses 11 megabytes less residential still, but about as much virtual as Chrome.

      Galeon 2.0.7 uses about the same residential memory as Firefox and about twice as much virtual.

      Midori 0.2.6 uses 5 megabytes less residential than Firefox, and about 1850 megabytes more virtual.

      Arora 0.10.2 uses about twice as much residential memory as Firefox, and about twice as much virtual.

      Dillo only needs 11 megabytes to render the page, but that doesn't have JavaScript and only shows a handful of comments without being able to get more.

      Fennec 1.0 uses about the same memory footprint as Firefox 4.0 Beta 6, despite being the small-device Mozilla browser.

      What is your exact complaint about Firefox's memory use? Are you still experiencing the huge memory leakage and growth from the 2.0 series?

      • What is your exact complaint about Firefox's memory use? Are you still experiencing the huge memory leakage and growth from the 2.0 series?


        • It would help if you would post some steps to reproduce the problem. If nearly no one else can see the problem, you can't expect them to fix it.
          • What do you mean? Firefox has had memory leaks since forever, there are no steps to reproduce the problem, just open up Firefox and leave it for a couple hours.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What I want is low RAM usage

      Ok, so you want a lighter, leaner browser...

      and more features/plugins.

      And at the same time more feature-rich.

      Wait, what?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mystery00 ( 1100379 )
        I meant that Firefox still has RAM leaks.
        • It's gotta be one of your extensions. I run Firefox non-stop for a week at work and rarely close it during that week. I have noticed no leaks.

          This is testing, debugging and running various web pages at work developed by some less than stellar programmers (and some very competent ones too.) I frequent Slashdot and a few other places around the web for reference material as well. I couldn't tell you how many tabs I open and close on a weekly basis.

        • I'm sure every browser has memory leaks. Is there a particular thing you do that leaks lots of memory? If so, what is it?
          • I'm honestly surprised you're even asking this, I thought Firefox's leaking problem has been common knowledge for years now. =S
    • I've got 8Gb, why does Firefox still constantly swap to disk?

      If I open a bunch of pages RAM usage says (eg.) "about 500Mb" for firefox.exe but the pagefile-delta column constantly says "I'm thrashing!" and the browser is almost unusable. Wait ten seconds for each mouse click to do something.

      • by Nikker ( 749551 )
        If Firefox is eating that much RAM file a bug report or face the fact you've been pwnd by the virus du jour.
  • As made popular in the Pirates of the Caribbean films? Fortunately theres plenty of prior art on this legendary sea monster, so they can't sue you.

    • Or the original Clash of the Titans years before Johnny Depp was on 21 Jumpstreet? Or in 1870 when Verne mentioned it? Or in 1830 when Tennyson wrote of it?

      It's also an actual myth, many of which are feature in the Titan films and in Pirates of the Carribean films, too. I don't think they need to worry about a trademark over an old Norse fishing legend.

  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:09AM (#33584532) Journal

    Google wins in their test []! (that curiously heavily exploit recursion and other good parts of the V8 engine)

    Microsoft wins in their tests []! (that curiously heavily test only DirectX acceleration)

    ... and now, Firefox wins in their test []! (which has yet to be disassembled to reveal how they dodge Opera and Chrome from winning, when they use to in all others, including independent tests like Peacekeeper)

    • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:17AM (#33584564)

      You forgot the part about Apple winning in their test (sunspider), and the curious cache of the values of the sin() function in their JS engine that just happens to be the right size for that test.

      Fundamentally, browser makers optimize their engine for what they consider important. They also put the things they consider important into benchmarks. The result is somewhat predictable.

      Now Peacekeeper is an interesting mention, except I've actually looked at its code. This is a benchmark that measures things like 10,000 calls each of which removes 20 elements from an array that starts with 100,000 elements. It has (failed, interestingly) attempts to browser-sniff and run different code in different browsers. I wouldn't take its numbers to mean much of anything, in general, without some careful study of the exact tests you're looking at. Of course it's also measuring a lot more than just JavaScript; in that sense it's better than most of the benchmarks out there, if you think it manages to correctly measure the things it claims it's measuring.

      One other thing, by the way: I fully expect that on Kraken shipping Chrome and Opera are faster than Firefox 3.6.

      • One other thing, by the way: I fully expect that on Kraken shipping Chrome and Opera are faster than Firefox 3.6.

        Firefox 3.6 is pretty sluggish compared to the latest 4.0 betas, and I beleive that b6 will have a lot more JS optimisation enabled.

        So yeah, I'd expect FF 3.6 to be the slowest of the bunch. Excluding IE of course, which is in a whole different league of slow.
        Actually, there are probably several empty leagues between FF/Chrome/Safari/Opera and IE

        • by BZ ( 40346 )

          > So yeah, I'd expect FF 3.6 to be the slowest of the bunch.

          Right. Which is consistent with other JS tests, so no mysteries or benchmark-skewing by Mozilla needed there... ;)

          > Actually, there are probably several empty leagues between FF/Chrome/Safari/Opera and IE

          That may or may not be the case with the IE9 betas, depending on which benchmarks you use. Though there's some weirdness; see [] the paragraph starting "One last issue that

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phizi0n ( 1237812 )

      Actually FF4 nightlies beat IE9 in many of the IE9 testdrive tests. FF4 has the same Direct2D, Direct Write, and DirectX 9 hardware acceleration that IE9 does but FF4's javascript engine is better which gives it better FPS in those tests. FF4's javascript engine is a lot faster and there's still lots of room for improvement. FF4 Beta 7 will have the new javascript engine but it's already been merged to the nightly trunk branch so you can try it now if you want. Firefox had hardware acceleration first (in ni

  • Unfair method? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TeXMaster ( 593524 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:17AM (#33584568)
    Comparing the FF4 nightly builds against the latest released versions of the other browsers is quite unfair. So I tried this thing on my Intel Core2 Duo T9400 @ 2.53GHz laptop, and Opera 10.70.9046 (the most recent alpha available from Opera) and that gives me 12841.5 ms +/- 2.5%. OTOH I don't have FF4 nightly builds here ... can somebody actually run a comparison on the _same_ hardware to check all the most recent available builds of all browsers?
  • Biased? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danwiz ( 538108 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:54AM (#33584700)

    We believe that the benchmarks used in Kraken are better in terms of reflecting realistic workloads

    Or just better in terms of reflecting where their product is strongest?

    Isn't it just a little bit suspicious when the browser people release a benchmark that scores their own browser as the fastest? Intel's benchmark in 2002 [] was known to have emphasized performance traits specific to Intel chips.

  • How did mozilla leash the kraken in the first place? or maybe it was godzilla that did that?
  • Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @06:59AM (#33584726)

    My browser's performance has always been "good enough". Can we talk about ergonomy, reliability, compatibility, please ?

  • by hAckz0r ( 989977 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @07:45AM (#33584974)
    Mozilla Unleashes the Kraken []. I just wonder if this is somehow a 'Freudian slip', just to remind the world of how vulnerable the competition is?
  • Meanwhile, when I actually use my web browser in the real world, Chrome seems much faster than Firefox. So what do I need any kind of synthetic benchmark to tell me what I already know? I'll find out who's faster when they release a non-beta. If performance matters that much to my experience, I may switch, but whoever I use better support the types of plug-ins that I want. Chrome is just about there. It's nice to see rapid innovation and competition in the browser again.

  • So I saved a few seconds on opening the browser. Now I can waste twenty by waiting for graphic and java bloated pages to open down a congested line on a badly configured web server!
  • with linux (kubuntu 10.04 64 bit). Completely froze Firefox 3.6.10pre. While it might be faster on Firefox, you can still use the browser while benchmarking with Chromium. Mozilla seriously needs to give each tab in Firefox it's own process. Try opening an article on slashdot with 300+ comments, while browsing at -1 and using the option that displays all comments. On my Quad Q6600 with 6GB Ram Firefox freezes for almost 20 seconds and is completely useless, unlike Chromium that let's me read other tabs whil

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