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FireFox 3.1 Leaves IE in the Dust

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-just-want-fewer-beachballs dept.

Mozilla 435

Anonymous writes "Granted, FireFox 3.1 is just a beta and IE 8 is also in beta, but it looks like Microsoft has some ground to make up when it comes to browser performance. Given that Mozilla appears to be on a much faster cycle than Microsoft with this stuff, it's also possible that it could increase the gap even more before IE 8 is GA, no?"

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And yet (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25440995)

both are slower than Opera.

Re:And yet (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441229)


Their speeds all suck next to lynx!

Re:And yet (5, Informative)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441841)

Well, javascript-wise, maybe not. I've spent the last week doing some extensive testing on pure javascript performance (not DOM-tree manipulation, etc) using a little raytracer [googlepages.com] I hacked up overnight.

Opera is noticably above average, in this respect. More importantly, however, you might note that the Firefoxes are absolutely, hideously bad at memory management. When rendering a big scene here, Safari will do it in a fraction of the time using 60mb of RAM, whereas Firefox 3.1beta's memory usage spirals out of control and into swap space. And the JIT compiler is way broken still :)

Anyway, here are some figures (only meaningful when comparing different browsers on the same box):

IE 7.0.5730.13 -- 10.1 seconds
Firefox 2.0.0.17 -- 9.9 seconds
Safari (win32) 3.1.1 -- 5.9 seconds
Opera 9.60 -- 3.6 seconds
Firefox 3.1b2pre (no JIT) -- 2.8 seconds
Safari (win32) 2008-10-15 -- 1.0 seconds
Google Chrome 0.2.149.30 -- 0.8 seconds
Firefox 3.1b2pre (JIT) -- anywhere between 0.6-35.0 seconds

Simple Really (4, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441013)

This destroys Microsoft's claim that their intimate knowledge of the OS that runs IE will increase performance.

This proves that Microsoft's intimate knowledge of their OS actually inhibits performance of IE and therefore all other Microsoft products.

Microsoft is a victim of their own feature-rich corporate culture. They are a victim of their customers non-uniform demands.

The issue is similar to the ones that have always plagued Java; you have to load massive libraries to do miniscule tasks and that causes noticeable overhead, when they were sadly intended to save time! Firefox is simply more minimal, and it is through their actively sought after security footprint that they deliver better performance by default.

Firefox loads what you need to surf and also lets you modify the experience -- you are in control.

Add with that experience, superior plugins like NoScript, and you also save bandwidth because Flash files don't load by default and scripts don't tie up resources unless you approve them to do so. NoScript was designed for security, but with the added benefit that you get faster performance with it.

Even when you look at Google Chrome, which is also a valid attempt at increasing performance (they flaunt security as a pillar of their design, but their cheerleading is unwarranted), the fact that you can't control scripts that are allowed to run, limits the user and make the user bound to the control of the webmaster, who typically controlled by a business or corporation that is only in it for the money and will infringe on rights of users without any form of conscience or compassion.

Re:Simple Really (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441061)

This destroys Microsoft's claim that their intimate knowledge of the OS that runs IE will increase performance.

Oh? When did they ever claim that?

Re:Simple Really (0)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441251)

Remember those anti-trust cases with the Win95/98 and IE bundling? Yeah, around that time. Along side the 'IE is a vital system component and can't be removed' remarks.

Re:Simple Really (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441329)

Remember those anti-trust cases with the Win95/98 and IE bundling? Yeah, around that time.

No, I don't remember performance being mentioned in the anti-trust cases. And why would they? It would highlight an uncompetitive advantage and weaken their position.

Citation needed.

Re:Simple Really (4, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441419)

They did say that IE was a basic building block of their product and that removing it would slow everything down and would make it suck.

Imagine... a windows OS that sucks.

Mind thrashing, ey?

Re:Simple Really (1)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441529)

That's totally off-topic - what the hell have the antitrust cases got to do with browser PEFORMANCE? That was never an argument they used. Cite your sources please. They merely said it was part of the operating system - not that the fact that it was part of the operating system would make it a much faster browser.

Re:Simple Really (1, Flamebait)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441383)

Back when the U.S. and E.U. governments were suing Microsoft, and Microsoft was trying to defend why it was "impossible" to produce Windows 98 without Internet Exploder.

>>>-- SunSpider java benchmark tests: IE: 107159.4ms, Firefox: 3894.6ms

This is a strange way of putting it. Why not simply say, "IE: 107 seconds, Firefox: 3.9 seconds"??? I guess they thought more digits is sexier.

Re:Simple Really (1)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441527)

This is a strange way of putting it. Why not simply say, "IE: 107 seconds, Firefox: 3.9 seconds"??? I guess they thought more digits is sexier.

The sunspider [webkit.org] benchmark outputs its results in ms not seconds so I expect they just copy/pasted.

Back when the U.S. and E.U. governments were suing Microsoft, and Microsoft was trying to defend why it was "impossible" to produce Windows 98 without Internet Exploder.

So the other guy said. I don't understand why they'd claim that in the anti-trust suit - it would show competitive advantage and weaken their position. Citation needed.

Re:Simple Really (3, Informative)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441719)

Because in most programming libraries, time is normally expressed in milliseconds.

LOL (-1, Troll)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441465)

Oh? When did they ever claim that?

You've never been to a Microsoft seminar, have you? To answer you, they spout nonsense like that pretty much at every moment they can muster. Every Microsoft peon mumbles things like that to sound knowledgeable. (paraphrasing) "We have an intimate knowledge of our OS so we have a natural competitive advantage."

Re:Simple Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441265)

Aren't you the fellow who bought his login on Ebay? What would you know about anything you fake 2 digiter!

Re:Simple Really (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441429)

Aren't you the fellow who bought his login on Ebay? What would you know about anything you fake 2 digiter!

However, your argument is as logical as my response to it.

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441395)

"The issue is similar to the ones that have always plagued Java; you have to load massive libraries to do miniscule tasks and that causes noticeable overhead, when they were sadly intended to save time!" - by mfh (56) on Monday October 20, @11:02AM (#25441013)

When you load a library, & call out its API functions to leverage in another executable (usually an .exe)?

You don't LOAD THE WHOLE THING @ ONCE into the calling app's memory space - YOU ONLY LOAD THE FUNCTION PORTION YOU NEED, period.

(API function call loads from .DLL's are NOT an "all or nothing load" into a calling apps' memory space (in-process calls))

----

"Firefox is simply more minimal, and it is through their actively sought after security footprint that they deliver better performance by default" - by mfh (56) on Monday October 20, @11:02AM (#25441013)

AND, FF doesn't do, or is by itself incapable of, doing much of what IE can in Intranet environs for businesses' internal apps (especially those that use ActiveX controls, or even some functions of .NET via say, ASP.NET).

Every considered that much?

APK

P.S.=> It's hilarious sometimes, when you "purely web guys" try to describe HOW the underlying OS really works, as well as its API (because most times, most of you are way, WAY wrong) in Windows, & the person I am replying to here is just yet another example! apk

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441539)

To be fair, I'm pretty sure in *nix this is not the case, calling a function in a library requires the entire library to be loaded into memory. Of course I can't think of a good reason to load a library into an app's memory space, isn't it loaded into shared memory and mapped in to each process that needs it? (AFAIK mapping is almost free compared to loading a library). Libraries do have global variables, so just loading the function likely wouldn't work, you need at least the shared variables, and those variables could well contain function pointers. Plus the function you call could well call other functions, it doesn't seem helpful to just load one section of the library, you'll need the rest anyway.

BTW, I'm not a web person, just also not an NT person.

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (1)

Fruit (31966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441711)

Most unices use mmap() to load executables and libraries. Pages from such libraries are mapped on demand.

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441765)

"Of course I can't think of a good reason to load a library into an app's memory space" - by andymadigan (792996) on Monday October 20, @11:35AM (#25441539)

Less overheads in message passing! Simple...

----

"Libraries do have global variables, so just loading the function likely wouldn't work, you need at least the shared variables, and those variables could well contain function pointers. Plus the function you call could well call other functions, it doesn't seem helpful to just load one section of the library, you'll need the rest anyway." - by andymadigan (792996) on Monday October 20, @11:35AM (#25441539)

Every wondered WHY the use of GLOBAL VARIABLES is frowned upon? This is another reason why (not just because some errant or just other function call changes that value when it feels like it, despite another thread possibly acting on the value it is using currently)... I think you've actually helped make yet another case here WHY using global vars can be 'touchy/dangerous' in fact!

----

"To be fair, I'm pretty sure in *nix this is not the case, calling a function in a library requires the entire library to be loaded into memory" - by andymadigan (792996) on Monday October 20, @11:35AM (#25441539)

The subject's about IE, correct? Does IE run on *NIX variants?? No.

It's about Windows & IE (inclusive of its abilities to run ActiveX controls, which you DO see used in web apps, especially .NET ones (e.g.-> CrystalReports)) on the portion I am talking about here.

APK

P.S.=> By the way, if you're faced with ENTIRE LIBRARIES loading ALL of their functions content into another calling applications' memory space on *NIX? That's rather inefficient, wouldn't YOU say??

I.E.-> Using GLOBAL variables is dangerous (potentially), & calling an entire LIB into memory, when all you NEED is a fraction of its size (in a particular function)??

A waste of memory space, especially if you load ALL/EACH/EVERY function section in *NIX libs that call said functions from *NIX libraries on disk (into memory)... massive memory waste on functions you do NOT need loaded!!!

AND

Massive process-to-process messagepassing overheads probably would result as well!

(PLUS? Generally, global variables are frowned upon, & I THINK you've hit upon 1 of the reasons why also)... apk

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441773)

Windows memory maps executable images, including DLLs.

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441789)

I'm not sure about this as its a relatively obscure part of OS/app interaction, but I thought only the parts needed to be paged in were loaded when the shared library was loaded - the right parts are known at compile time as the linker does its thing.

For dynamically loaded libraries, the OS doesn't 'load' the dll, it maps the dll into the app's address space, (you might like to check out rebasing to see what happens when the dll's conflicts with address range already used). Once mapped, only the parts that are needed are loaded in the usual manner (when there is a page fault) as the app uses part of the dll.

However, take the above with a pinch of 'look it up for yourself'.

I do know that .NET apps load all their library code in, especially those that are secured with strong names - the loader has to load it all in order to verify that no-one has tampered with it, and it has to load all dependant libraries and they have ... so sometimes your .NET load performance really sucks. Apparently they're going to do something about it (not sure what) but the WPF guys have said that if you want your WPF apps to perform, do not use strongly named assemblies.

Re:Simple Really YOU HAVE INCORRECT FACTS! apk (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441677)

[...]especially those that use ActiveX controls [...]

Wait, are you really claiming ActiveX is an advantage?

Re:Simple Really (3, Insightful)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441433)

All your points are valid except the first one:

This destroys Microsoft's claim that their intimate knowledge of the OS that runs IE will increase performance.

To be precise (by pulling numbers out of my ass), if IE had 50% of Firefox's performance to begin with, and embedding into the OS gave it a 50% advantage, it'd still only have 75% of Firefox's performance. But MS's claim could in theory still be true.

Of course, given their all-around incompetence it's probably not true.

As for Google Chrome, it makes perfect sense to bind the user to the webmaster's control. After all, for many important things like e-mail, calendaring, and many more, that webmaster is probably Google. (After all, how many yahoo.com or live.com users would install a Google browser?) And Google loves it when you can't block their cookies or stop them from doing whatever they want to spy on you.

Re:Simple Really (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441497)

As for Google Chrome, it makes perfect sense to bind the user to the webmaster's control. After all, for many important things like e-mail, calendaring, and many more, that webmaster is probably Google. (After all, how many yahoo.com or live.com users would install a Google browser?) And Google loves it when you can't block their cookies or stop them from doing whatever they want to spy on you.

This can't be true because Google said they would do no evil. Unless OH SH-

Re:Simple Really (5, Insightful)

ifrag (984323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441659)

Firefox is simply more minimal.

Hmm, I must have been teleported to some alternate reality where IE actually has more features than Firefox. The way I see it, even the barebones FF install has more than standard IE. One glance at about:config would confirm that.

Re:Simple Really (5, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441739)

This destroys Microsoft's claim that their intimate knowledge of the OS that runs IE will increase performance.

Really? Where was this claimed?

This proves that Microsoft's intimate knowledge of their OS actually inhibits performance of IE and therefore all other Microsoft products.

That's quite the leap there. Where's your evidence to bridge those thoughts?

The issue is similar to the ones that have always plagued Java; you have to load massive libraries to do miniscule tasks and that causes noticeable overhead, when they were sadly intended to save time! Firefox is simply more minimal, and it is through their actively sought after security footprint that they deliver better performance by default.

I don't think anyone said using libraries increased performance. What it does do is allow you to build an application faster, because you don't need to re-invent the wheel. You're also acting like speed is the only important factor here. I've been using IE8 beta more because of the built in developer tools, and being able to switch between IE8 standards mode and IE7 mode... which means I don't have to check FF's rendering as much. Besides, IE8 is so fast, that it hardly seems worth if it FF is faster.. either will be great for browsing, because both are now really really fast. It's not like the ridiculously slow IE7.

Add with that experience, superior plugins like NoScript, and you also save bandwidth because Flash files don't load by default and scripts don't tie up resources unless you approve them to do so. NoScript was designed for security, but with the added benefit that you get faster performance with it.

Performance is not the end-all be-all of browsing. I'm sure someone so included could whip up an add-in like NoScript in IE as well.

Even when you look at Google Chrome, which is also a valid attempt at increasing performance (they flaunt security as a pillar of their design, but their cheerleading is unwarranted), the fact that you can't control scripts that are allowed to run, limits the user and make the user bound to the control of the webmaster, who typically controlled by a business or corporation that is only in it for the money and will infringe on rights of users without any form of conscience or compassion.

I'm not sure most users care as much as you about controling scripts. For example, I'm looking forward to see what features FF comes up with, because I think there are other new features in IE8 that look pretty compelling, like WebSlices and Extenders.

Re:Simple Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441857)

Of course that having internal knowledge of the OS doesn't give any crucial advantage.

I don't know about Windows but in the OS Linux, Firefox is getting slower and slower with every new version.

Benchmarks were versus IE7 ... (5, Insightful)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441017)

It's perhaps a bit confusing to mention IE8 in the subject as it was not compared to FF3.1 - IE7 was. I.e. a more apples-to-apples test might have been production FF3.0 versus IE7 or better yet, beta FF3.1 versus IE8.

Having said that, the speed improvements are very impressive, in what ChannelWeb says and other reports. And yea, FF3.1 is setting a darn high bar for IE8 - bring it on FF!

Re:Benchmarks were versus IE7 ... (5, Funny)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441257)

Don't worry, I'm sure we'll still get a bunch of uninformed posts from people who didn't read the article, talking about how they're not surprised Firefox 3.1 outperforms IE8 when IE8 wasn't benchmarked.

I don't know... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441019)

yes?

And "GA" Means? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441029)

Given that Mozilla appears to be on a much faster cycle than Microsoft with this stuff, it's also possible that it could increase the gap even more before IE 8 is GA, no?

By "GA" do you mean "shoved down our throats"?

Tired of Perma-Beta (4, Interesting)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441037)

Is it just an excuse to get you a free pass on bugs?

Re:Tired of Perma-Beta (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441245)

No, "Vista" gets you a free pass on bugs. "Beta" is the new "stable".

Re:Tired of Perma-Beta (3, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441291)

Huh? Firefox 3 is in production. Firefox 3.1 is in beta. As in real beta, not out yet, in testing.

I won't use FF 3.1 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441595)

I'm holding out for FIrefox 3.11 for Workgroups

Java != Javascript (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441039)

When is the press going to realize that Java != Javascript? (Or Java !== Javascript, even!) Comparing "Java" performance between browsers is meaningless. (And isn't what SunSpider does anyway.) Comparing JavaScript performance has a very real impact on the users.

Re:Java != Javascript (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441177)

If they haven't caught on by now, they never will.

I still have early web development books that make the same mistake.

Behold the power of branding.

MOD UP (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441401)

parent (and grandparent!)

Re:Java != Javascript (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441301)

When is the press going to realize that Java != Javascript? (Or Java !== Javascript, even!) Comparing "Java" performance between browsers is meaningless. (And isn't what SunSpider does anyway.) Comparing JavaScript performance has a very real impact on the users.

I was surprised about that too. Mozilla was working on a faster javascript engine, and suddenly it's their Java performance (which comes from the JVM, right?) that blows IE out of the water.

Looks like the summary is as bad as the article it tries to summarise.

Re:Java != Javascript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441469)

I work on Java performance for a living. Their two benchmark results are meaningless. If the JDK in IE is anywhere near state-of-the-art, there's a good chance they could assign one guy for a week to tune their heuristics to do a better job at doing whatever it is that these benchmarks do, and then their performance would be very similar.

Re:Java != Javascript (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441563)

When is the press going to realize that Java != Javascript? (Or Java !== Javascript, even!) Comparing "Java" performance between browsers is meaningless. (And isn't what SunSpider does anyway.) Comparing JavaScript performance has a very real impact on the users.

Not me, I use NoScript. Unless it's vital JS, I won't permit it to run and therefore it won't affect my experience (and you can't get a rubust solution to disable JS for IE -- only on Firefox.)

Re:Java != Javascript (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441831)

I believe going to the relevent Security Zone settings and disabling Active scripting will do the exact same thing.

Re:Java != Javascript (0, Redundant)

deander2 (26173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441745)

good god, what language uses a "!==" operator?!? i want to filter it out from all future job searches. =P

Re:Java != Javascript (3, Informative)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441871)

In JS, it's "not identical". It means "don't try to do any implicit casting - not only must their values be the same, but their type must be the same too"

I get pinged on it all the time when I'm running other people's JS through http://www.jslint.com/ [jslint.com]

Re:Java != Javascript (1)

ourasi (1044686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441759)

SunSpider is a JavaScript test, from the page: "This is SunSpider, a JavaScript benchmark. This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, not the DOM or other browser APIs."

Re:Java != Javascript (1)

neilobremski (1344051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441795)

Yes, thank you for noting this :)

Re:Java != Javascript (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441849)

No kidding. Who even HAS the Java plug-in installed anymore? It'd be hard to come up with another set of benchmarks that looks, at the outset, to be meaningful and in fact is utterly worthless. More quality journalism from Slashdot.

What's "GA"? (5, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441049)

Is "GA" a common abbreviation? I assume it's a contraction of "generally available", but I did think of, and discount, a few other possibilities first given it's used in conjunction with IE8;

God Awful (too obvious)
Grizzly Adams (not sure where the bad 80s drama comes into things)
Ground to Air (IE could be a Weapon Of Markup Destruction..)
Goatse Arse (Ass if you're American)
Gabon (.ga is the country code for there..)
Standards Non-compliant (using Microsoft Alphabet)

Re:What's "GA"? (1)

Daniel Weis (1209058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441133)

"Standards Non-compliant (using Microsoft Alphabet)" Brilliant!

Re:What's "GA"? (4, Funny)

rrhal (88665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441139)

When Microsoft releases a product it goes from CTP (Community Technology preview) to RTM (Release to Manufactuing) to GA (Genuinely Assinine).

Re:What's "GA"? (2, Funny)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441143)

Hey man, don't mess with Grizzly Adams. IMHO, that show was just full of retro campy goodness. Plus, he has a full-grown pet bear waiting to attack.

Re:What's "GA"? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441567)

If that bothers you then I strongly suggest you avoid working for the Dept of Defense (DOD) or reading a text message (lolz!).

Re:What's "GA"? (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441673)

Genuine Advantage? (FireFox now has a genuine advantage over IE7)
Genetic Algorithm? (They are interbreeding the best FireFoxes?

Does this really matter? (4, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441063)

How many people are going to try a browser because "it is faster?" It is great for the people who already use Firefox, but the majority of new Firefox users had the kid who knows computers down the street install it for them. Those using IE are probably going to continue to use IE until someone manages to get across to them how bad an idea it is, or until whatever apps they are using at work which only work in IE are replaced.

Re:Does this really matter? (4, Insightful)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441223)

I don't know about that. I switched to, and am still using, Chrome since it seems much faster. For many people, all they use their computer for is the web browser, so a faster browser could be significant.

Yes it really does matter (1)

GuloGulo (959533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441277)

I am one of many people in my circle of associates that has been waiting for improvements such as this.

I stopped using Firefox (and IE before it) specifically because the speed wasn't up to par, and am now happily using Opera.

Also, I don't really agree with your other point, it smacks of the same opensource arrogance that permeates discussions around here. Firefox is not so much better tha IE that your scenario actually makes sense and the assumption that people are ignorant or are forced to use IE is just wrong.

Re:Yes it really does matter (1)

mauriatm (531406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441821)

I am one of many people in my circle of associates that has been waiting for improvements such as this.

Without knowing who your "associates" are and how large/important they are, I would say this is irrelevant.

I stopped using Firefox (and IE before it) specifically because the speed wasn't up to par, and am now happily using Opera.

This I don't understand: "speed wasn't up to par". Is there some objective means to tell when something is fast or slow for yet emerging technologies? It sounds more like you are simply saying that you used whatever was fastest until you found something faster.

Also, I don't really agree with your other point, it smacks of the same opensource arrogance that permeates discussions around here. Firefox is not so much better tha IE that your scenario actually makes sense and the assumption that people are ignorant or are forced to use IE is just wrong.

Agreed. Although, I would say that for most people usability and reliability trump speed and "open-sourcy-ness".

Re:Does this really matter? (4, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441873)

There are people who will use 1 browser because it is "the internet".
there are people who will use 1 browser because it is God's only browser and there is only one.
There are people who will use 1 browser because they cant be bothered to change.

And then there are people who will want to latest, fastest, feature-rich, talked-about browser. And if FF gets "superfast" stickers all over it in the popular press and blogs, people will want to use it. Nobody really wants to be stuck with yesterday's slow old slowness, not in the Internet Age. We've all been conditioned to always go for the upgrade, give us any reason and very many of us will.

Poor Summary (3, Insightful)

allcar (1111567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441067)

As far as I can see, this is a comparison of Firefox 3.1 with IE7, not IE8 as the summary seems to imply. I am as happy as the next man that FF3.1 is faster, but as a benchmarking exercise, this is pretty limited. How about a comparison including IE8, Opera, Chrome and Safari?

Re:Poor Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441129)

Firefox javascript performance is slower than Chrome, Safari, and Opera. (But IE is way behind)

AwfulBar (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441089)

Does the AwfulBar in 3.1 still force you to match against EITHER everything (meta tags, page titles, history) or only what you type?

If so, not interested.

Re:AwfulBar (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441217)

some of us happen to like the new Awesomebar.

Re:AwfulBar (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441413)

And some of us dislike it with a passion - but evidently the Firefox devs are not willing to accommodate us....

Re:AwfulBar (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441785)

And some of us installed "Old Location Bar" add-in within 20 minutes of installing FF3 because, as somebody so eloquently put it, "If I'd wanted to check my bookmarks, I would have *opened* my bookmarks".

Re:AwfulBar (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441367)

Use bookmarks with keywords and enjoy FF goodness.

But, but, FF suxors !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441097)

It's suxors bad. Don't like it. I won't say hate it, but it's worthless to me, and so it would seem to the makers. Volunteer software suxors !! I would much prefer to see browsers for sale. At least this way, there'd be real competition, and real progress. As it is, all these years later and it still suxors !! The only browser I ever liked was the one that came with OS/2 Warp, the original IBM one. Everything after suxors !!

50% still use IE6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441101)

I don't know where that leaves Firefox, but it isn't a nice place.

Re:50% still use IE6 (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441505)

That how it it where I work.

I think they are stuck with it because of a few in-house POS internal web sites.

MS lemmings rule this place.

this is not news (5, Informative)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441103)

If you've even remotely been keeping up with FireFox, WebKit and IE progress, it's no surprise that IE8 fares poorly. It fared poorly the day it was released, which was about two months ago. Why are we getting this story now?

As a side note, IE8 does fix the pathologically bad performance IE6/IE7 exhibited on certain SunSpider benchmarks. That alone should improve its overall SunSpider score by an order of magnitude. Its javascript engine will still be 2-3X slower than FireFox and Safari, but it will at least be in the same "ball park".

Re:this is not news (2, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441207)

The article doesn't compare Firefox to IE8. It uses IE7.

Microsoft's foolish mistake (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441123)

For the life of me, I can't understand why Microsoft continues to abandon its strength.

It feels like the .NET koolaid is coming even to the IE team. Microsoft's .NET push now borders on maniacal, standardizing on .NET and in places where it should not be standardized. Performance matters, particularly when processors aren't getting any faster, just more parallel. Microsoft's has left C++ to languish, has all but abandoned C, and as such has no real performance tool in their own arsenal.

At the same time, the OSS community is actually slogging through and solving some of the difficult problems of making large projects in C++ that perform - getting better experience with the STL, when to use and when not to use, changing compilers to respond, developing automated testing methodologies to overcome what the compilers can't detect, and so on.

There should be no reason for the Windows desktop to be stagnant for fast applications, but Microsoft has basically abandoned it and is pushing developers to do the same. All the new display stuff in Windows requires .NET.. one wonders, how long will it be before Linux has similar systems but are presented as a simple C library that any system can use, regardless of whether it is a managed platform or not.

Re:Microsoft's foolish mistake (3, Informative)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441227)

It feels like the .NET koolaid is coming even to the IE team. Microsoft's .NET push now borders on maniacal, standardizing on .NET and in places where it should not be standardized. Performance matters, particularly when processors aren't getting any faster, just more parallel. Microsoft's has left C++ to languish, has all but abandoned C, and as such has no real performance tool in their own arsenal.

But IE isn't built on .NET is it? And there are improvements in MSVC in VS2008 for both C and C++ and they've had OpenMP and a much improved STL for two versions now.

For my interest, when have major OSS projects "changed compilers" to respond? I can't think of any examples.

Re:Microsoft's foolish mistake (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441655)

You apparently don't follow the history of GCC:
- 3.4 introduced huge ABI-breaking changes, and was not as standard-compliant as they felt it should have been
- 4.0 was their "screw it, let's throw a lot away and get it right" release, which sucked a little despite being more compliant and having some great new tech
- 4.1 was amazing, benefitting from 4.0's new technology and fixing (most of) the bugs
- 4.2 was not such a big deal compared to 4.1, as far as I know
- 4.3 again was fairly great, bringing great performance increases, and is now at least as mature as 3.3 was

My point is that the differences between these minor releases have been fairly dramatic at times. They have been at least as big as the changes between MSVC major releases. It's just that FSF thankfully doesn't have MS's marketing department that slaps a new year-number-version on every minor upgrade, calls it a big deal, and sells it for even more money.

Re:Microsoft's foolish mistake (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441323)

go lookup linq etc.., there's a lot that Microsoft are doing in .net to make it a lot more parallel.

also you can write managed c++ code with little performance drop (though I don't know how much of the .net framework the people writing the test were using).

BTW I still think that system or high performance code should be written in something like C++ but for everything else .net is ok.

Re:Microsoft's foolish mistake (1)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441333)


Yes but does .NETcraft confirm it?

Re:Microsoft's foolish mistake (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441749)

But TBH, C# with .net is way nicer than C++ without. I can't stand the latter.

Fair tests? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441153)

I don't see that the things they mention are fair or informative tests. Yes, there's some browser infrastructure involved but other components are doing most of the work:

  • papervision3d.org is entirely down to the Flash plugin
  • a 3D Java render is entirely down to the Java plugin
  • sunspider - OK, fair enough, we've known about speed problems with string concatenation in IE since sunspider appeared
  • ACID - yes, this isn't a priority for this release for IE so this isn't news either

Maybe Firefox 3.1 is much faster than IE 8 but this article doesn't tell me anything new.

Re:Fair tests? (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441683)

In a nutshell, you already know that half of their tests are conceptually wrong and the other hald conclusively show that IE sucks. What is that new thing you were expecting to read?

FF3 doesn't work, bring on 3.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441167)

I hope 3.1 gets out the door soon. FF3 won't work on my mac at all - crashes, bad page renders, missing css, broken javascript.

which is still better performance than I get with IE.

Re:FF3 doesn't work, bring on 3.1 (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441361)

I hope 3.1 gets out the door soon. FF3 won't work on my mac at all - crashes, bad page renders, missing css, broken javascript.

Really? It works perfectly fine on my macbook.

Product launch isn't the telling point (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441179)

What Microsoft will do is push updates through Windows Update to speed up the IE8 JavaScript engine, upgrade users to another minor release, etc, whatever needs to be done. It allows them to get to market faster. Microsoft's got the push-update down to a fine art so they don't have to have a better product at release date. I'm loving Chrome right now.

What's so surprising? (3, Informative)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441211)

It's not like IE has not been a slow dog in javascript performance and standards adoption. Yeah, IE 7/8 are supposed to be an improvement, but since IE is years behind and their development cycles seem to be as slow as their javascript engine (probably due to compatibility) it's not like IE 8 or 9 is going to catchup with the rest of the browsers easily.

BTW, those benchmarks in TFA were probably run with the new tracemonkey javascript engine disabled (it need to be enabled manually in about:config). And my firefox nightly version passes 93/100 on the acid 3 test.

maybe now (0, Troll)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441247)

but by the looks of things firefox will have a lot of catching up to do when we start getting more than just a couple of cores in out cpus

Yes, but how about stability? (4, Informative)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441259)

I don't know about the rest of the world, but Firefox 3.0.3 sucks on my three XP machines. Version 3.0.2 worked just fine. I let Firefox upgrade itself to 3.0.3 and it immediately started crashing. It crashed so much that I actually had to use IE to download a copy of 3.0.2 to downgrade Firefox on those machines. And Firefox 3.0.3 crashes on my Ubuntu machine far far more often that earlier versions ever did (although I'm still using 3.0.3 on Ubuntu).

Re:Yes, but how about stability? (2, Informative)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441755)

I had the exact same problem on Gentoo. Turned out the combination of the just-released Flash 10 and the latest Flashblock was driving Firefox insane. I disabled Flashblock and it's fine now. Give it a try. Flash 10 is much faster^H^H^H^H^H^H less slow than Flash 9, so Flashblock isn't quite as necessary anymore.

features? (0, Flamebait)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441305)

Does this version have the geotracing thing built-in? If so, I'm not touching it at all. I'm sure as fast as this may be, it would be even faster if they took out some of the "features" like awesomebar and made them into plugins that those who wished them could install.

Re:features? (1)

Rayban (13436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441705)

If you read any of the stories about Geolocation, it isn't installed by default.

The only thing installed by default is the infrastructure so you can plug in any provider of location, including installing an extension that fakes out location data (or lets you provide it on-demand).

Without additional installs, it's just a bunch of interfaces with nothing hooked up.

Control+Tab (3, Informative)

Comtraya (1306593) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441327)

Last time I checked, Ctrl+Tab switched tabs in Firefox 2, it's just a new flashy display in 3.1

Re:Control+Tab (1)

SethKinast (1217080) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441653)

The Ctrl+Tab thing actually kills my productivity. I'm used to focusing on the tab I want at the top and Ctrl+Tabbing until it's highlighted. I may or may not actually remember what the tab looks like.

check out MSDN's page on what CSS IE8 will support (2, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441415)

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc351024.aspx [microsoft.com]

If they had simply added to this list: CSS 3 columns, multiple backgrounds, and
border-radius, I think I'd be pretty satisfied with it. *sigh*

Well, that's also not taking into account the abysmal js performance
it's going to have compared to FF3.1, Safari/Chrome & Opera.

At least they got most of CSS 2.1 in there. We can treat it as the
retarded sibling, rather than the quadriplegic sibling that has to be
turned a couple of times a day so it doesn't get bed sores.

I think IE8 will be a great competitor to Firefox.

Firefox v1.5.

Comparing Java and Flash... not JavaScript (1)

rsk (119464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441431)

The article seems to be comparing Java and Flash load times as both the examples the writer gave are of Java and a giant Flash application... neither of which test true browser loading performance and "JavaScript" performance as I'm sure most people are curious about.

This is like me reviewing the new Honda Accord by saying it's 10x faster than the Lexus when being dragged by a tow-truck.

Super-internet-logic fail

still yet... (1)

nx6310 (1150553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441519)

IE sadly remains superior in foreign speaking societies where sometimes lack of standard compliance designs in websites makes it the obvious choice.

More complete benchmarks (1)

nneonneo (911150) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441525)

About a month ago I ran a set of benchmarks to test IE8, FF3.0, FF3.1, Opera, Chrome and Safari on a number of JS and DOM benchmarks. The results are a little outdated (both WebKit and FF3.1 have made big strides in performance in this month alone) but should stand to compare where IE8 is (not IE7). I'll give you a hint: not favorably.

The test and analysis is at my blog [blogspot.com] and the raw data is here [google.com] .

Um (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441605)

IE 8 is a major revision.
FF 3.1 is a minor revision.

Just about any version of Opera is faster than them both.

Learn to compare things.

SilverLight Test? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441651)

Where's the SilverLight test, huh? I bet IE wins that one..

Now, can they cut down the spam? (4, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441687)

I mean, OK, it's nice to have the name and URL both in the dropdown from the location bar, but do they have to use so much space doing it?

Camino had that months earlier, without burning nearly as much real estate on it.

VERY misleading summary! (4, Insightful)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441715)

The summary mentions IE8 more than once, but the article is comparing Firefox 3.1 to IE 7 (yes SEVEN - you know, the OLD one!)

The Javascript engine in IE8 is much faster than the one in IE7, so it's a pretty unfair test in the first place and should never have been posted in the first place.

Many posters above already seem to be confused about the IE7/8 thing.

Holy cow Microsoft (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441725)

Still no support for border-radius or box-shadow, even in "-vendorPrefix-box-shadow" form since it's still a draft?

Same goes for Opera, BTW.

ff annoyances (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25441783)

I use Firefox 3.x all the time and it seems to me the FF folks are so eager to get a grip on the market that they decided that some annoyances are acceptable. Such as, the Bookmarks click right after starting FF that shows the "Edit this bookmark" dialog instead of the actual bookmark list, an effect similar to the result of clicking on the star icon in the location bar (1 [mozilla.com] , 3 [google.com] , ).

Firefox's SVG improves, IE marketshare drops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25441847)

Just lovin' it.
Just addin' some SVG links to http://svg.startpagina.nl

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