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Firefox 8 20% Faster Than Firefox 5 441

An anonymous reader writes "Thanks to continued improvements to start-up and first paint performance, tweaks to memory footprint and garbage collection, and the addition of a new 2D graphics backend called Azure, Firefox 8 is some 20% faster than Firefox 5 across all major metrics — and actually about equal with Chrome 14 on JavaScript and 2D rendering performance. Azure (which is new with Firefox 7) replaces Cairo, and instead of dealing with Direct2D and Quartz, it allows Firefox to deal directly with the Direct3D and OpenGL subsystems — resulting in a 20% speed boost under Windows, and probably even more under OS X."
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Firefox 8 20% Faster Than Firefox 5

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  • First post (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:02AM (#36719170)

    Your post could've been here if you had a faster web browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:02AM (#36719172)

    I know it's been said before, but this new release system is fucking retarded.

    I'm this close to dumping Firefox on every machine I touch.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:08AM (#36719250) Journal
      Wait: "This new release system" has resulted in a 20% speedup; but you are this close to dumping it because its version numbering scheme is inaesthetic?

      I agree that the race-to-the-highest-number game is silly; but it is the silly, albeit visible, symptom of the FF team having a fire lit under its collective ass by Chrome. Arguably, while a lot of what gets full numbers really should just be point releases, FF's quality today is relatively better than it has been in some time. Are you really going to let the version numbers get in the way?
    • by Infiniti2000 ( 1720222 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:18AM (#36719368)
      Agreed. I thought I was reading The Onion.
    • by Eraesr ( 1629799 )
      So you're going for the alternative.... Chrome 12? Internet Explorer 9?
      Silly you.
    • by brian6string ( 469449 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:35AM (#36719528)

      Firefox 8: "The Ocho"

    • Why are we comparing version 8 to version 5? That's insane. The releases are so fast now they can't even measure adjacent releases to each other!

      This appears to be a damage control sound bite; a way to reassure customers that their project mismanagement has an upside.

    • I know it's been said before, but this new release system is fucking retarded.

      I'm this close to dumping Firefox on every machine I touch.

      I think it's silly to dump both Chrome and Firefox because of their release systems (which are identical - both release a new major version number every 6 weeks).

      I guess you can use other browsers than Chrome and Firefox. But those other browsers release new versions with new features very rarely. Is the *version number* enough of a reason to not use Chrome and Firefox? I don't think so - even though I thought it was silly when Chrome started with it, and when Firefox decided to do it as well.

  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:02AM (#36719176)

    Firefox 6 is so out of date, my parents will probably use it when it comes out.

  • For those confused (Score:5, Informative)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:02AM (#36719180) Homepage Journal
    FF8 is the nightly branch, FF7 is the smaller-than-beta branch ("aurora"), and FF6 is the alpha branch. Mozilla hasn't suddenly started to number their versions geometrically, although that would be hilarious.
    • by loftwyr ( 36717 )

      I was worried. I'm just downloading FF6 Beta and suddenly I'm 2 version behind. This isn't rapid release, this is TARDIS programming.

      • by d3ac0n ( 715594 )

        this is TARDIS programming

        So wait. Does that mean I get a sonic screwdriver with a new download of Firefox?

      • I don't care what the "reasoning" is - this is just ridiculous versioning. At this rate in 2020, we'll be using Firefox 153. It will be confusing for the users.

        The whole purpose of the point system is to separate major changes from trivial changes. 4.01 is a bug fix. 4.1 is an upgrade. 5.0 means you gave your program a whole new look (or possibly a complete rewrite).

        I'm still using Firefox 3.x and hearing they are now on version 8 makes me think the MARKETERS have taken over Mozilla, instead of the per

    • I'm going to start calling FF Final Fantasy. The new and improved Final Fantasy browser 8.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Mozilla hasn't suddenly started to number their versions geometrically, although that would be hilarious.

      Try it and chrome will one up them by releasing Chrome .... google...

      Should I quit this IT stuff and do stand-up comedy?

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      I thought that FF4 was a mistake (it didn't take too long in the market) and they were actually following Fibonacci version numbers.
  • the random mysterious lockups? there are times about 4 a day that firefox locks up to any responses for a few seconds. Most of the time on Slashdot, but I have seen it on MSDN and other sites.

    Some days it's so pervasive I switch back to Chrome.

    • I have the same problem with, CPU usage suddenly hits 100% for a few seconds. But that only happens on my Natty machine, and even only under my user account...which leads me to believe that it is a configuration problem, because it also happens with all plugins/addons disabled.
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:04AM (#36719206)

    You fools are only benchmarking Firefox 8!! Well I benchmarked Firefox 14 and it's plus 10 faster than Firefox 4.

    I appreciate the benefits of rapid versioning and release cycles, but really, this is ridiculous.

    • You fools are only benchmarking Firefox 8!! Well I benchmarked Firefox 14

      Boy, are you behind. I just downloaded Firefox 17 and it blows Firefox 15 out of the water!

      • Forget that, I am using Firagafox 51 for a more-potent browsing experience.

    • Firefox 61 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:21AM (#36719390) Homepage Journal

      By my calculations, if Firefox had started this version numbering scheme with its start in 2004, we would now be running Firefox 61.

      If they Mozilla had adopted it in 1998, this would be Firefox 113.


      • by Njovich ( 553857 )

        I think when they started out they just used a different browser name every version?

        • by Tukz ( 664339 )

          No, it was Firebird for quite some time, untill they got forced to change it in 2004.

    • You fools are only benchmarking Firefox 8!! Well I benchmarked Firefox 14 and it's plus 10 faster than Firefox 4.

      It needs to go to plus 11

    • FFIX would be really confusing.

  • simply because they split the rendering... surly it would have been better to test it and leave a "compatibility " view there ?

    and what about support for PowerPC ?


    John Jones

  • Apple's browser is built on OpenGL and GPU accelerated, nice to see Mozilla finally recognizing this vastly superior technology.
    • Aye, but Firefox has to deal with the challenge of running on a lot more systems. Also, I think all cocoa applications on Macs run on top of OpenGL anyways. :P
  • What happened to them, I'm still on 5 :)

    • Re:Firefox 6 & 7? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:24AM (#36719430)

      From what I can tell, Mozilla seems to have four versions of Firefox being developed and/or maintained at any given time:

      Current - Whatever is currently released. Only bugfixes usually get ported to this release. Currently FF5.
      Beta - Feature-frozen and reasonably stable, but not quite ready for prime time. Will be the next release. Currently FF6.
      Aurora - Feature-frozen, but not stable. Early QA happens here, though it gets more fleshed out in Beta. Currently FF7.
      Nightly - This is where the new feature development happens. Currently FF8.

      When it's time for release, everything gets promoted: when FF6 is released, FF7 will become Beta, FF8 will become Aurora, and new development will start on FF9.

      I kind of like the idea of putting new code through two entire cycles of public testing. All the same, I do wish that Mozilla would add a Long-Term Support cycle every few versions, akin to Ubuntu's LTS cycle, that people could count on to be supported for more than just a couple of months.

      It is true that sane IT departments upgrade their browsers regularly, but not all IT departments are driven by sanity. This is a sad fact that Mozilla needs to account for, and there's a tested model out there that isn't too dissimilar to Mozilla's own. They should seriously look into adapting the differences.

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        Essentially a copy of Debian development:

        Someone should make an ISO standard for naming, or a design pattern for standardized naming, or similar.

      • So, 3 versions from now it will be 20% faster.... isn't that kind of a let-down? I saw the headline, it seems to be presenting it like it's an amazing feat.
      • FF just pushed me ("Strongly Recommended") to upgrade to Firefox 6. My favorite part is after the upgrade installs, then it runs a check to see which of my plugins are compatible. Hmm, you think maybe it would be a useful feature to run the check BEFORE doing the upgrade so then I can make an informed decision about whether to upgrade?

  • ...I will have to wait for Firefox 20 just to have a browser that is 100% faster than Firefox 5 ?!?
  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:14AM (#36719326)

    Do you have any idea how it complicates Web contracts? We used to be able to say "your website will be compatible with current version-2 of the browsers" but now that would be ridiculous. We'd never be able to deliver since we would be stuck in a infinite testing loop.

    We'll have to start writing "your website will be compatible with Firefox 5" and by the time we deliver Firefox 12 will be available. I guess we'll have to add a clause about how Microsoft, Google and Firefox are all teenagers who compare their peni- I mean version numbers to feel good about themselves.

    Apple aren't being childish with the whole issue and using sane version numbers. And Opera has been out for quite a long time, though they do seem to be jumping into the version bandwagon as of late.

    • by migla ( 1099771 )

      Could you state a date before which the browsers are compatible? Something like this:

      -"Ahoy, sweet customer! We will make sure the product is compatible with $LIST_OF_BROWSERS released before $MONTH $YEAR

  • by leonbev ( 111395 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:23AM (#36719408) Journal

    We just got our web site rendering correctly under Firefox 5, and now there not one but THREE new versions in beta that we also need to test with.

    Just a quick note from the web developers and web site QA testers around the world to the Firefox development team... you're really starting to piss us off.

    • Wait until FF automatically disables your plugins because the next "Major" version isn't supported. I am not sure if this is fixed yet, but it has cause me to set all my browsers in our company not to automatically upgrade due to a needed plugin.
    • Must write some really convoluted CSS/HTML. I've never really had something render differently in Firefox 3.6 vs. 4 or 5. If it renders in both IE7 and IE8 AND any version of Firefox, it will render in just about anything modern.

  • Firefox 8 is not even in the alpha. It will change a lot by the time it reached the users. So, i think there is no point in statements such as "Firefox 8 is 20% faster than firefox 5".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It'll be alpha on Friday, beta on Sunday, released next wednesday and discontinued next friday.

  • Chrome and Internet Explorer (as of version 8) support per-tab processes. That is the one major feature I would like Firefox to implement so that if a page's JavaScript or Flash goes bonkers it doesn't take down all my tabs.

    Also, Google is changing the way their accounts work in a few weeks that will prevent users from being able to access multiple Google accounts in the same browser. I am not entirely sure on the particulars, but wouldn't per-process tabs work around that to allow us to have multiple Gmail

  • by equex ( 747231 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:47AM (#36719642) Homepage
    I am already using version 21, its the pre pre pre alpha pre beta pre pre gamma delta pre RC pre build, I'm so bleeding edge I have to buy tampons at the store. My insurance company wont even insure my computer because all my software are practically from the future.
  • by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:06AM (#36719906)

    Most of the comments have been about the version numbering...

    I'm curious about the change to rendering. It seems to me they're saying, "these OS layout engines (Quartz et al) are too slow - we'll just route around them". Understandable, but it's kind of a shame that they'll presumably be re-solving a lot of the problems that Quartz et al deal with (e.g. are they going to do their own font rendering?), and I wonder why their concerns can't be addressed by altering Quartz.

    I'm not criticising the decision, I'm just curious as to the reasoning that goes on when such decisions are made. (I'm always interested in the practical examples of why those lessons they drum into you at university about the myriad benefits of code reuse, standing on the shoulders of giants etc don't really pan out in the real world.)

    Is the job they're doing fundamentally different? (such that rendering via Quartz was the wrong idea in the first place)
    Is there some key component that fundamentally could not be in Quartz? (maybe, embedding videos or somesuch)
    Is it that Quartz isn't open source (or Apple cooperative enough) and so Mozilla can't realistically get them to fix it in a sensible timescale?
    Is it that they'd have to do this with all the vendors, which isn't feasible?
    Is it that abstracting on top of different vendors' APIs turns out to be too much of a headache? (maybe a pure-Quartz implementation would be as fast as the OpenGL version but it's all the Mozilla layers above Quartz that are sub-optimal?)

    I wonder if their rendering engine will be released as an independent library that Gnome/KDE etc could incorporate if they wanted to.

    • Re:Rendering (Score:4, Informative)

      by jesser ( 77961 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:20AM (#36720058) Homepage Journal

      I'm curious about the change to rendering. It seems to me they're saying, "these OS layout engines (Quartz et al) are too slow - we'll just route around them".

      Precisely the opposite. It's our previous abstraction layer that's too slow, and we're replacing it with a thinner one, starting with the easier things like Canvas. See Introducing the Azure project [] and Azure vs Cairo [].

    • by BZ ( 40346 )

      Actually, Quartz might end up getting used as a backend for the Gecko-internal Azure API on Mac at least for a bit (just like Direct2D will be on Windows). See [] for some discussion of the tradeoffs here. There's some discussion about why it might be preferable to use a GL backend instead of Quartz on Mac (long story short, a GL backend is needed anyway for Linux and Android, and at that point it might make more sense to use it on Mac to

  • by Aggrajag ( 716041 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:20AM (#36720054)
    Hopefully Adobe updates Square as it is still at version 10.1.
  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:43AM (#36720330) Homepage

    When I saw "Firefox 8" in the title, I fell into a panic. What happened to 6 and 7? People weren't meant to upgrade their browsers to new major version numbers weekly! No one could possibly survive that pace, their mouse buttons will burn out at the furious pace necessary to install that often! Think of the effect that has on the women and children!

  • by JumpDrive ( 1437895 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @02:35PM (#36724236)
    I think it is time for an ask Slashdot. It appears that Firefox developers are going to ignore users requests to stop this numbering and release scheme. Which leaves a number of corporate and general web developers in a lurch.
    I used to work for a web development company and it was always a pain to keep or get web-sites working with various versions of browsers.
    With Chrome I would have told customers , "Hey, if it happens to works with Chrome that's just great, but we can't continually test against new versions of Chrome".
    Now I work for a medium size company and we have limited the number of browsers our internal web interface will work with. Currently it is with Firefox. But now it appears that we are going to have to move away from Firefox. I hate to go back to IE but it appears that is where we are heading.
    Sorry Firefox, but we can't just keep regression testing at your whim.

    So maybe it is time for someone to ask, what is the recommended browser for corporate use?

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."