All posts in “Firefox”

Mozilla Coming Around on H.264

WHATWGSince I wrote about the H.264 vs. WebM a year and a half ago, basically nothing has happened. WebM has been cordoned off to test implementations of Aurora/Chromium and never slipped out to the public eye. No precedents have been set, no patent infringement cases, no royalties paid. Beyond the web, H.264 is exploding and WebM is growing flaccid. Where is WebP?

In my previous post, I declared Mozilla was in a tough spot due to patent infringement and lack of indemnification no matter which way they turn. That still seems to be the case, but as Ars puts it, pragmatism is beating out idealism and Mozilla is dipping a toe into the H.264 water (with B2G as a testbed, sigh). But still, this is a good thing and we’ll all be better of for it.

Better hurry and decided on something. That 2022 deadline is approaching fast. Or is it 2014?

The WHATWG just needs to take over.

64-bit Firefox 3.7 Benchmarks

Since I don’t have all the time in the world, I haven’t been benchmarking the newer builds I’ve posted lately. In particular, I’ve never benchmarked the 64-bit Firefox 3.7a1 against the 32-bit nightly. A kind soul pointed out that my builds yielded no speed gains and are inferior to the official Mozilla nightlies. Having done numerous builds of 64-bit WebKit (pre-WWDC), and testing against the 32-bit WebKit and finding no gains, I didn’t doubt Firefox suffered the same fate.

But it seems faster. Everything seems faster. New iPhone OS releases always seem faster, new point releases of OS X seem faster, new stuff just seems faster. So I decided to spend most of my day trying to quantify this seemingly faster build.

Here’s what I got.

Mozilla JavaScript performance test suite. I ran ALL tests, which takes about 30 mins, so I have one result per browser. The nightly wins by .5%!!

Mozilla JavaScript performance test suite.

Bigger Numbers Are Better

I ran this three times for each browser and took the average. The beetle build wins by 2%!!

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark

Smaller Numbers Are Better

V8 Benchmark Suite – Version 5
Ran this three times and took the average. The beetle build wins by 5%!!

V8 Benchmark Suite - Version 5

Smaller Numbers Are Better

Some cheez generic browser benchmark site. Never heard of it. Ran the test three times and took the average. Firefox nightly wins by 3%!!


Bigger Numbers Are Better

Tab Loading
Here is where the seeming speed gets put to the test. Loaded a cross section of 25 sites in 25 tabs. Used the ol’ iPhone stopwatch, ran three times from a warm launch and took the average.

Tab Loading

Smaller Numbers Are Better

Well, look at that. The beetle build whomps Firefox by over 30%!!

Yes, the nightlies might be better. I’m pretty sure they’re more stable, I’m positive they’ll at least load Flash, and they’re probably even better optimized for your machine. My builds are optimized for myself, more tuned for 10.6.x and 64-bit so I’m going after the bleeding edge.

Oh yeah, here’s the Firefox nightly and the beetle build used in these tests.

Intel-Optimized Camino 2.1

caminoThough WebKit trounces the competition on the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, it is a different story in everyday use. There seems to be some kind of memory issues that can result in the spinning pizza/beachball of death. As you open more tabs, this becomes more common. Also, when leaving WebKit open for extended periods (and not downloading a new nightly), CPU usage can go through the roof.

Because of these issues and the fact that I’ve been working on a project that requires a massive number of open tabs, I’ve moved to Camino. If you don’t know about Camino, go check it out. It’s a lightweight, cocoa browser with the Gecko 1.9.x rendering engine. And it kicks Firefox’s ass! There are a lot of things missing, but what you gain is speed. (Also, there are a ton of little things like being able to tab through links on a page).

I’ve been using the 2.0 Beta 3 release for a while and decided to push things a bit. Although Camino is already pretty well optimized for the Mac, I applied my Firefox build knowledge to try to take it further. While the JavaScript benchmarks are almost identical between my build and the official build, the overall browser experience seems to be faster. I know this is very subjective and means nothing, but the perceived difference is real for me.

So, I’m releasing an Intel-Optimized build on my downloads page. In the next week, I’ll upload my .mozconfig for Camino to see if there are further tweaks the community can point me to. For now, I just want to get the binary out there and some feedback.

So, comments please…

Firefox 3.5 beta 4 (Shiretoko) Intel Optimized Build

Is now on the downloads page. I noticed there is now default support for mozilla geode and gestures aimed at Win7. A couple people have advised me on how to make this build even faster. Once I’m out of my sickened stupor (hope it’s not swine flu), I’ll post an update.

Firefox 3.1 Intel Optimized Build



Update: Shiretoko 3.1b4pre is now available, some new numbers and a slightly updated FAQ.

BeatnikPad has been offering G4/G5/Intel optimized builds of Firefox 3.0.x and earlier for a number of years now and I’ve grown somewhat reliant on them. This has been a great service to the Mac community and I really appreciate all of Neil’s efforts. He is not only timely with the builds, but is very good with user support as you can see in his comments.

I’ve been using WebKit, Minefield, and increasingly Opera as my main browsers for a while now (and Bon Echo (Firefox 2)) and have recently been running Shiretoko (Firefox 3.1) to take advantage of TraceMonkey. But I’ve been longing for an Intel optimized build and haven’t found one, so I’ve made one.

Shiretoko 3.1b3pre had a SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark of 1333 and Shiretoko 3.1b4pre clocks in at 1449. The regex engine is vastly improved, while 3d/access/math took a hit. I think I can optimize further with the browser config, but don’t have time at the moment.

I’ve also made a few adjustments to the default config, namely turning on TraceMonkey and other minor tweaks to eek some additional speed out.

Go To Downloads Page

Mini FAQ

What’s the deal with all these weird names?
Non-official builds cannot use Firefox branding. I guess I could call it something else, but everyone in the dev community knows this particular version as Shiretoko.

Is Shiretoko Japanese for something?
Yes. Since dev builds are named after parks and this one is named after the Shiretoko National Park in northern Japan. (thanks Mike).

Is this going to break my existing Firefox?
No. You just cannot run them simultaneously.

Will my add-ons work?
Maybe. Firebug works and that’s all that matters to me.

Will you be doing nightly builds?
Yes. Since there is the demand for it, I will start nightlies once my current data crunching project is finished (I cannot interrupt this project every night). I expect to have this done by the end of March.

Will you build for different architectures?
No. Intel is where it’s at.