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The More Popular the Browser, the Slower It Is

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the software-always-gets-slower dept.

The Internet 367

demishade writes "Peacekeeper, the browser benchmark from the makers of 3DMark, comes out of beta and shows an interesting (though perhaps not surprising) tidbit — the more popular a browser, the worse its performance. While it should not be surprising to anyone that IE slugs at the last place, the gap between Firefox and Chrome, is. Once IE's market share goes the way of the Dodo will web developers start cursing Firefox? How long until Google comes out with a JavaScript intensive application that will practically require Chrome to function?"

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367 comments

First (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951191)

Here we are on the Slashdot plains in Africa, looking for that most elusive of species, the First Post...

No surprise (5, Insightful)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951201)

Chrome was designed with JavaScript performance as a top goal. So why are we surprised it performs well?

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951307)

My Firefox does 11 times more work than Chrome. The plugins I run are worth the minor tradeoffs in performance - because it's still speedy.

The value of NOT opening my robe to Google? Priceless!

Re:No surprise (5, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951369)

The value of NOT opening my robe to Google? Priceless!

I think I speak for us all when I say nobody wants you to open your robe to them.

Re:No surprise (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27952015)

I put on my robe and wizard hat...

Re:No surprise (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27952139)

nobody wants you to open your robe to them.

His name is Philip K Dickhead, it doesn't matter if he opens his robe or not, you've seen too much.

However, if his dick is on his head, what is where his dick should be, his forehead?

Re:No surprise (4, Interesting)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951539)

I installed SRWare Iron the other day. According to the publishers, it's basically a Chrome de-Googlified with a few other downstream tweaks (eg using a slightly newer version of WebKit). It seems to run all right, but I'm still typing this on Firefox because Adblock trumps Chrome/Iron's performance & user interface design advantages.

I *like* Chrome/Iron, and when it gets a decent extensibility model I think it'll tear a huge hole in Firefox's market share - but until then, it's going to be not much more than a cool tech demo.

Re:No surprise (2, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951671)

The value of NOT opening my robe to Google? Priceless!

Go ahead. At least they'll see the error of their ways.

Firefox add-ons are a huge benefit (1)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951725)

I ran Peacekeeper with both Firefox 3.5 and Safari 4 on my iMac. Safari was 3 times faster.
But, Safari does not have the add-ons that Firefox does.
So, Firefox is the only way to go for me.

Re:No surprise (5, Interesting)

Ghostworks (991012) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951973)

Sadly, half of the firefox plug-ins I now consider indispensable are the ones that disable functionality or return the user interface to an older style and functionality. Firefox was destined for bloat once they committed to building-in features that would have been more useful as pre-bundled, official extensions (like the anti-phishing technology).

Re:No surprise (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952135)

Don't use plug-ins unless absolutely necessary. I just uninstalled a bunch of bloatware. One of those was NoScript because I felt it created more hassle than the advertising it blocked. Yes popups are annoying, but not as annoying as NoScript constantly disabling websites and me being forced to select "trusted site". It got to the point I was spending more time futzing-around with Noscript than with actually browsing the net.

Also I suspected NoScript of slowing down my computer as it gobbled more-and-more memory. Now the only plugins I use are a flash downloader for Youtube, and ImageZoom so I can see pics on Ebay more easily. That's it. And my broswer runs much better.

As for the article:

The conclusion is ridiculous because the sample size is too small. It's also ridiculous because those of use who remember the early 90s recall that Mosaic and Netscape Navigator were not only #1, but also extremely fast. QED the conclusion that a number one browser is slow.... is false.

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951821)

Only thing slow today seems to be google. Is there some sort of Level 3 outage or something? I know Google News was down earlier in the Northeast but now it seems google video, youtube and search are affected as well.

Anyway... can we stop saying stupid crap like "Once IE's market share goes the way of the Dodo"?

Just because something is declining now that there is a serious competitor in the market place doesn't mean that the decline will go on at the same rate or indefinitely. Look at webserver trends [netcraft.com] .

Every time I hear stuff like that I just picture those little dogs that bark at big dogs.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952079)

Anyway... can we stop saying stupid crap like "Once IE's market share goes the way of the Dodo"?

Like it or not, IE is going the way of the Dodo. It's not market trends that are determining that, it's the fact that IE is an absolutely craptastic browser that the market has taken a dim view on. If anything, it has held up fairly well in the trends despite a growing disdain for its existence.

When every analyst in the market (short of those on the Microsoft payroll) is allied against you, you're not going to maintain a leading spot forever.

My personal expectation is that IE market share decline will accelerate over the next year rather than slow. i.e. The hockey stick effect tends to work both ways.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27952149)

google news was down this morning in the southeast. I seem to recall google being slow yesterday afternoon.

More Than Just Web Browsers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951219)

I have a Wii, and I have to spend hours masturbating before it finally ejaculates.

Mosaic (4, Funny)

Evelas (1531407) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951227)

So does this mean that Mosaic is the most efficient one out there?

Re:Mosaic (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951271)

So does this mean that Mosaic is the most efficient one out there?

I'm willing to entertain the notion that yes, it would be extremely fast if you got it running on modern hardware. It wouldn't do much of course, but what little it did would probably be faster than any current browser.

Re:Mosaic (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951619)

You're missing the point. The moral of the story is that if you make a browser that takes an average of 3 days to render a page and locks up the entire computer while doing it, it will be the most popular browser around!

chrome experiments (5, Interesting)

darkvad0r (1331303) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951233)

How long until Google comes out with a JavaScript intensive application that will practically require Chrome to function? It already exists, in the form of http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ [chromeexperiments.com]

Of Course, the Google Web Toolkit (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951383)

You know when you try to use Google Reader and Google Mail and Google Anything on your browser with a poor Javascript engine (even the good ones occasionally fail), it sometimes blows up?

Yeah, the Google Web Toolkit [wikipedia.org] (which I believe they are all using for a front end) basically produces code that produces one metric ton of Javascript and HTML that gets dumped on the client's browser. It's not just an application, it's a whole library of Java APIs that produces a ton of Javascript that could become the de facto standard one day. I'm betting it won't but I've asked why more sites aren't using it [wikipedia.org] on Slashdot before.

At least Google eats their own dog food on a large scale.

Re:Of Course, the Google Web Toolkit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951465)

Let's not forget gears, for which 64 bit linux users must jump through hoops :P It's necessary for offline gmail, and others... but it's there for firefox. So google may have their own browser agenda, but they are doing at least a fair to middling job supporting firefox :)

So to make your browser a real success... (1)

bostei2008 (1441027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951253)

be really really wicked slow.

Re:So to make your browser a real success... (1, Informative)

telchine (719345) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951411)

be really really wicked slow.

correlation != causation

Re:So to make your browser a real success... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951811)

assert(you->understandsHumor() == false);

Javascript is disabled on my browser (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951259)

I could care less about the performance of javashit. It is almost universally used to annoy the user and only rarely to improve the user's experience.

G1 browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951267)

I'm still astounded by how unstable and slow Google's G1 browser is. It's the main reason I haven't looked at Chrome yet.

Re:G1 browser (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951449)

I'm still astounded by how unstable and slow Google's Android browser is. It's the main reason I haven't looked at Chrome yet.

There, fixed that for ya, come again...

Causation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951279)

Maybe we're getting the causation reversed. The slower the browser, the more popular it is.

Not so surprising (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951309)

Once IE's market share goes the way of the Dodo will web developers start cursing Firefox?

Do the words "TraceMonkey" mean anything to the authors? It's the core Javascript engine of the upcoming revision of Firefox. And it is fast. Some benchmarks suggest that it is highly competitive with V8 (Chrome) and SquirrelFish (Safari).

(Speaking of which, isn't it a bit disingenous to compare Safari 4 BETA to the current version of Firefox? Why not compare the Firefox beta then? Smells of yeller-bellied journalism to me.)

Javascript is currently a hugely competitive area. Every browser revision is trying to boost performance. (Including Microsoft.) It only makes sense that the older and cruftier engines would have a harder time competing with the newer and more nimble engines created by these upstart competitors. However, with the exception of Microsoft who's stuck updating JScript (haha, bundle FAIL!), all the other competitors can and are swapping out engines for faster and faster performance.

Re:Not so surprising (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951723)

So they didn't evaluate something with a feature it doesn't ahve yet.

Hay, they should ahve run them on the yet to be released 5Ghz 64Gig machine.

Re:Not so surprising (2, Insightful)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951743)

(Speaking of which, isn't it a bit disingenous to compare Safari 4 BETA to the current version of Firefox? Why not compare the Firefox beta then? Smells of yeller-bellied journalism to me.)

It could be that most of their Safari visitors are using the beta, while most of their Firefox visitors are using a release version. Since they're trying to correlate a browser's market share with its performance, it would make some sense to choose the most common version of each contender.

Disclaimer: I am not saying this is the case, just offering it as a possible explanation.

Re:Not so surprising (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952017)

It could be that most of their Safari visitors are using the beta, while most of their Firefox visitors are using a release version.

So FutureMark is telling us that the number of Safari 4 users who have explicitly downloaded the beta upgrade, significantly outnumber the Safari 3 users who got it bundled, managed, and updated with their Operating System?

If this was IE vs. another browser, I could see that being the case. But since we're talking about a beta revision of the same browser, I find that statement highly suspect [hitslink.com] .

Re:Not so surprising (1)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952081)

(Speaking of which, isn't it a bit disingenous to compare Safari 4 BETA to the current version of Firefox? Why not compare the Firefox beta then? Smells of yeller-bellied journalism to me.)

The press release may be a bit unfair. But the other link (http://service.futuremark.com/peacekeeper/browserStatistics.action) does compare FF 3.5 (beta 4). It ranks 4th, behind the Safari beta, Chrome2 beta and Chrome1 release.

Re:Not so surprising (2, Informative)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952133)

Do the words "TraceMonkey" mean anything to the authors? It's the core Javascript engine of the upcoming revision of Firefox. And it is fast. Some benchmarks suggest that it is highly competitive with V8 (Chrome) and SquirrelFish (Safari).

(Speaking of which, isn't it a bit disingenous to compare Safari 4 BETA to the current version of Firefox? Why not compare the Firefox beta then?

They did, the results are in the article linked under "gap between Firefox and Chrome [futuremark.com] ".

Are you serious? (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951313)

If you look at it from a popular/performance perspective, you are going to find that, generally, the newer software is better performing, because that is a selling point above the competition. It will also be the least popular because it is newer.

Re:Are you serious? (4, Insightful)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951573)

Newer software is better performing? If only that were generally true. Newer software is almost always *more capable*, but better performance from any given upgrade is far from guaranteed, even in the world of FOSS.

Not cause and effect (2, Informative)

Sandor at the Zoo (98013) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951317)

How about this possibility?

"Sucky non-standards-compliant browsers aren't popular"

I'm not saying this is the case, but any decent software developer can write a web browser that's really fast. Getting it to actually render the right stuff all the time takes a lot more work, error checking, and additional code. That's going to slow things down.

Re:Not cause and effect (4, Insightful)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951657)

Sucky non-standards-compliant browsers...

You just described IE.

...aren't popular

But you lost me here.

Re:Not cause and effect (5, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951713)

Interesting idea, but the Acid3 test seems to disagree. In order of fastest to slowest browser (taken from TFA), the test results are (according to Wikipedia):

Safari 4 Beta: ------ 100/100
Chrome 1.0: --------- 79/100
Opera 9.64: --------- 85/100
Firefox 3.0.10: ----- 71/100
IE 8: --------------- 20/100

I do, however, agree with another poster who pointed out that it's odd that Safari was the only beta included. If they'd included Opera and Chrome's preview releases they'd have scored 100 on the Acid3, and potentially higher on the speed tests too.

Re:Not cause and effect (4, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951833)

"Sucky non-standards-compliant browsers aren't popular"

No, those are the ones that are popular. What people don't like are browsers that adhere strictly to the standard when the web is full of pages that don't.

Features Create Popularity... (5, Interesting)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951319)

Features create popularity, and popularity pushes for more features as users cry that the next browser over has something it doesn't. This create bloat.
Then again, over time, isn't this what happens with almost all software? They get more and more features as time goes by, and get bigger and consume more resources. Look at the size/requirements of any linux distro with a graphical system over the past 10 years.
No one wants to lose features, and users complain too much, so the only way to get a faster thing with less features is to fork it, or start anew (which is what the lesser popular browsers have often done).

Re:Features Create Popularity... (1)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951675)

I think it's more like "Shipping your browser as the default on Windows" creates popularity...

Re:Features Create Popularity... (2, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951913)

That doesn't explain why Firefox is so slow compared to Camino, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc. If you were Microsoft and had a browser, you'd try to ship it with your OS too. Last I checked all popular linux distros ship with a browser (generally Firefox being the default) and OS X ships with Safari.

The problem historically hasn't been that Microsoft ships IE, but that its very difficult, if not nearly impossible to separate it from the OS completely.

Additionally, this isn't the 'problem' that the article talks about, its talking about it being slow. Tighter integration with the OS should make it faster, not slower. You're mixing up the real problems at hand here.

Re:Features Create Popularity... (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951885)

Also, popularity tends to impede progress. The more people are using a software or hardware product, the more you have to lose by breaking compatibility with old version or doing something zany. Meanwhile, more obscure products have a greater need to do something a little zany in order to carve out their niche.

In other words... (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951325)

Either:

1) up and coming browser makers see speed as an easy differentiating factor and target their browser for it; or

2) Newer products tend to be faster since they have the older ones to compare to. And newer products also are "up and coming" and thus have lower uptake than "old and entrenched" ones. or;

3) the public puts very little value on browser speed. Those spending their resources optimizing for it rather than other features get few users as a result.

Re:In other words... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951701)

3) the public puts very little value on browser speed.

perhaps because the most aggravating delays in loading a page are caused by problems which the browser can't solve

As much as I dislike the phrase, (2, Insightful)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951335)

this really is a case of correlation not implying causation. Otherwise firefox's market share would have decreased from v2 to 3, and will decrease again when 3.5 is released.
Sure, it's a "fact", but I'll bet that in 5 years time this won't be the case. This "tidbit" does not allow us to make sensible predictions about the future of browsers.

Re:As much as I dislike the phrase, (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951789)

You need to compare the increased size to the increased size of the other browsers over ther same period of time. Check those numbers.
Example:
If Firefox increased in size by 10%, but was still smaller then competing browsers, the other browsers would take the hit.

Not that you are wrong, just pointing out why your examples isn't valid.

"...correlation not implying causation..."
Why do you hate that phrase? it's a good one, and something people always forget. Granted it's annoying when someone misuses it, but that's the person not the phrase.

A similar correlation has already been noted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951349)

...with actors.

CPU Usage Observations with FF and Xorg on colors (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951351)

Some of the ones where they had the graphics/colors rolling around:
CPU Usage: 96% Xorg, 2% Firefox.

I've seen that happen on several other sites that have javascript doing funny things with the colors/images. Makes the entire machine/interface hard to use.

Question (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951359)

I keep seeing reviews of how fast a browser is/isn't. Am I the only one that really doesn't care? All Browsers render faster than I can read the page anyway. I care about the way the browser looks/feels/renders/features. Am I missing something?

Re:Question (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951869)

In cases with extremely JS heavy pages, the browser may not be able to render faster than you can read.

see chrome experiments [chromeexperiments.com] . While most of the stuff is useless twiddling, some of it, like Canvas3D [chromeexperiments.com] , may find its way into real websites (in this case, probably facebook) not too long from now.

NoScript and Adblock, Again (5, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951387)

Javascript performance still doesn't matter for most users, and power users largely have Javascript disabled or blocked. Maybe Google needs to release a killer app that relies on Javascript and has borderline performance on anything slower than Chrome.

When we're just talking about loading web pages, no one is yet within shouting distance of FF with a good Adblock filter list.

JS benchmarks seem somewhat pointless for now. 99% of what we do on the web happens instantly (if you have a low latency connection) on all browsers if we stop the ads from loading.

Re:NoScript and Adblock, Again (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951919)

When we're just talking about loading web pages, no one is yet within shouting distance of FF with a good Adblock filter list.

Have you even tried this or are you just trying to provoke? I switched permanently to Chrome on my windows workstation at the office, just because everything is just so much more snappy compared to firefox, even when using adblock.

FF wokrs very well... (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951391)

... with NoScript enabled.

No I'm not bashing, I just went to the website with NoScript enabled and wondered why the benchmark didn't work for a sec...hehehe

Re:FF wokrs very well... (1)

IcyNeko (891749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951529)

Actually, I already do curse Firefox. it's slow, memory intensive, and overall just a beast. Sometimes I resort to Opera or chrome. Other times, I go back to IE6.0. How funny is that?

application that will practically require Chrome (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951405)

Then I, and many others will probably never use said app.

By the way, have any of you guys tried the "basic HTML" version of GMail? I actually find it to be quite nice and I greatly prefer it over the default JavaScript version.

Re:application that will practically require Chrom (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951901)

I like it way more than the JavaScript one. At least on basic HTML I can choose where to open an email, at the JavaScript I'm forced to open within the same window.

Now, I can't stand any of gmail user interfaces (also, I don't like to trust all my mails to it), that is why I use POP.

What a fascinating correlation (5, Insightful)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951417)

It's so unfortunate that researchers these days don't realize that correlation can easily be a coincidence, and not a real relationship between two variables. It is especially unsuited in this case given the tiny number of data points and, oh, the convolution of these results with other factors like OS bundling (Windows/IE) and time on market (All 3, most significantly Chrome).

A more interesting (and likely actually related) set of data would be browser performance vs. market growth rate. Where are those numbers?

Also, web developers don't curse IE because it's slow. In fact, many pages are still static and don't feature nifty DHTML tricks, so the slowness of IE has no effect on the page at all. We web developers curse IE because it's not standards compliant and because making both the CSS and those nifty DHTML tricks WORK in IE is like eating barbed wire. Firefox has acceptable Javascript performance and is mostly standards compliant, and the existence of the Firebug plugin makes it invaluable as a web developer's test browser. I don't think web developers will curse a browser like Firefox for slow Javascript performance like we curse IE for violating all the standards.

The more popular (5, Funny)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951443)

These guys are idiots.

It's obvious that the last letter in the name being a vowel has more to do with performance than popularity.

from low to high performance - a,e,i,o,u

These seems fishy (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951455)

The science behind this seems questionable at best... especially seeing how IE isn't popular so much as just saturated throughout the market.

Has to be said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951469)

Correlation != Causation

Done and done.

Correlation != causation (1)

hee gozer (1261036) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951471)

By that definition, if Firefox would limit network traffic to a mere 28kbps it would be on top. And RMS would browse the web faster then anyone.

People have benchmarked browser engines for years. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951481)

I've seen reports before on such trivia as render times, render accuracy, etc. Benchmarking browsers and rendering engines is nothing new.

What's so special about FutureMark(C)'s software? Or is it their advertising budget which desserves attention? I hope they really had to pay for their full-page ad here on /.

How long until Google comes out with a JavaScript. (3, Insightful)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951485)

"How long until Google comes out with a JavaScript intensive application that will practically require Chrome to function?"

Ans: never

because 80-90% of the market will choose not to
bother with that application because they don't
know how to DAU-EN-LODE and install a different
browser.

Re:How long until Google comes out with a JavaScri (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951519)

because 80-90% of the market will choose not to bother with that application because they don't know how to DAU-EN-LODE and install a different browser.

In that case, Google will just email their browser install file to them, because 80-90% of those people will be more than happy to click on anything in an email.

Re:How long until Google comes out with a JavaScri (1)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952075)

If there are two sites and the one requires me
to first click on something and install it,
and the other JUST WORKS and I DON'T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT A SINGLE THING to make it work, then your market is not going to want to bother with the former. Have you ever dealt with a large number of end users? Obviously not. Most people have already spent an evening figuring out the LABORIOUS COMPLEKSITY of installing flash which has more than enough power to run any kind of app that you might want to do in Java Script. Get real.

Firefox performance boost (4, Informative)

tha_toadman (1266560) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951501)

Try this, Firefox users.

Here's a way to speed up your Firefox and make it MUCH MUCH faster.

1. Type "about:config" into the address bar and hit enter.

2. In the filter field, find and alter the entries as follows:

Set "network.http.pipelining" to "true"
Set "network.http.proxy.pipelining" to "true"

Set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0". This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

Enjoy!

Re:Firefox performance boost (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951533)

And why should any of that be necessary? Why not just be able to access it from the menu bar?
Where is the documentation on the "about:config" page and all it's options?

Re:Firefox performance boost (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952071)

And why should any of that be necessary? Why not just be able to access it from the menu bar?

It would be a nightmare navigating your way around the settings menu if everything that's configurable was in there. Most people never need to configure any of that stuff, so why confuse and bemuse them by including it in the menu bar dialogs?

It would be the equivalent of having all windows registry options configurable from the control panel.

Correlation, not cause (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951557)

There's a lot of other factors in play to help determine browser marketshare. Among them:

1) Bundling with OS
2) Feature completeness
3) Product maturity
4) Cost

I think when you look at these, it helps explain why browsers are popular or not.

Opera: Fast, Lots of features, lots of maturity, but not bundled with OS, for a long time was not free, and thus not widely adopted.

Chrome: Fast, few features, not mature, not bundled with OS, Free. Yet still managed to grab 1% of marketshare almost instantly because of Google's ability to communicate the value of its innovations, its intentions with the project, and Google's overall good reputation with consumers.

Firefox: Fast-ish, lots of features, bloating as it matures, not bundled with Windows, but comes bundled with many Linux distros, free. Built up marketshare to where it is today through long, gradual, incremental struggle, FOSS activism, discontent with Microsoft IE, and word of mouth.

IE: Bundled with OS. Managed to obtain marketshare due to anti-competitive behaviors that put Netscape out of business, proceeded then to basically cease development and ignore its many faults until Mozilla and other projects finally caught up. Was really a lot more vulnerable to competition than anyone would have ever thought, because Microsoft over-reliance on OS integration, bundling, and pricing out the non-free competition. Once a good, Free alternative was available, IE started losing marketshare steadily, and will continue to do so.

Safari: Bundled with OS. Market penetration on Apple platform is basically 100%, although many Mac users may prefer to use Firefox or another Mozilla product such as Seamonkey or Camino. But Apple's platform represents a small minority of overall web browser market. Availability on Windows hasn't made much of a difference, as it doesn't offer anything compelling that puts it ahead of Firefox or Opera, and is mainly useful for web developers and iPhone developers to test with.

It's also worth noting that speed of rendering is not all that high on my list. Speed of resolving DNS, speed of resolving URLs, downloading resources makes more of a difference to me than speed of rendering. But the main features I value in a browser are that it is capable of working with web sites I want to use (and embracing open standards to get there is important to this end), and that it has all the features I want, and is exensible so that I can add features that I come up with.

Next most important would be security, although if I really thought of it I'd probably put that ahead or on equal footing with features and interoperability.

Speed and lightweight footprint are about dead last, although if they're not fast and lightweight enough, I'll complain about it, I probably wouldn't switch from Firefox unless they released something that was an unmitigated disaster on these two criteria.

To put it into perspective, I used to connect to BBSes on a 2400 baud modem back in the day, and could read text almost as fast as I could download it over a telnet session. That's about my limit for "too slow". If a graphical and script-heavy page feels slower than plain txt @2400 bps, that's a problem. For the most part, rendering takes a small fraction of a second and isn't a huge inconvenience. In fact, I almost find Chrome's speed of scrolling to be jarring.

IE was better.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951605)

Managed to obtain marketshare due to anti-competitive behaviors that put Netscape out of busines

IE was better than Netscape, and, Apache did more to kill Netscape than Microsoft did. Netscape's money business was going to be selling expensive web servers to enterprises, and Apache gave one away for free.

Re:Correlation, not cause (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#27952049)

Once a good, Free alternative was available, IE started losing marketshare steadily, and will continue to do so.

Well, thanks for your opinion. But what about someone like me that likes IE8 enough not to bother with Firefox anymore?

Firefox wins by association (3, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951583)

Unable to run Peacekeeper
Your browser either does support JavaScript or it has been disabled. Peacekeeper requires a JavaScript enabled browser with cookies enabled.

Apparently, NoScript is the fastest browser available.

Rendering engine (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951613)

I wonder where the choice of rendering engine enters this discussion. I love Firefox but it is a tad heavy with the addons I use. Even before I start to install addons a bare Firefox profile does not feel as snappy as I believe it should. As much as I can't really adapt to Opera as my full-time browser it does feel snappier even when loading adverts etc than Firefox when blocking them. I have heard WebKit is a snappy rendering engine, Konquerer and Safari both seem to match that appraisal, so I wonder what Firefox would perform like if it were using WebKit instead of Gecko. I heard ages ago of a project that was aimed at doing just that, but ain't heard anything since; anyone know if it stalled?

Blazingly Fast Javascript (1)

Pinkybum (960069) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951703)

If the web was really going to focus on "performance" the W3C should start working on a tag. Thus alleviating the browser from munging though all that text and then compiling.

Re:Blazingly Fast Javascript (1)

Pinkybum (960069) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951741)

If the web was really going to focus on "performance" the W3C should start working on a precompiled_bytecode tag. Thus alleviating the browser from munging though all that text and then compiling. (Re-posted because I can't have angled brackets in plain-old-text how lame.)

Re:Blazingly Fast Javascript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27952013)

applet
 
Now why oh why don't we use that one? That's right, it stinks.

Javascript performance (4, Insightful)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951705)

I've heard a lot of talk about Javascript performance as intensive Dynamic HTML applications become mainstream.

Most of the apps I seen really don't have that much Javascript when you compare it to the amount of code that is in your typical desktop app or server side application. And ultimately many of the functions are small.

What I've noticed is instead their is a difference in the rendering engine itself. Javascript might be a single line to change the CSS of an element or change the visibility attribute, but then the browser takes forever to collapse the item...or the CPU spikes when some huge element of a big page disappears and the whole page has to move over/up/down.

Are we really talking about how fast the DHTML engine responds or is Javascript really that stinky slow that changing the element underlying take a while. I'm not sure I care if calculating primes in JS could made faster. Isn't most of Javascript just mapping down to a C++ library below it?

Re:Javascript performance (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951975)

>Are we really talking about how fast the DHTML engine responds or is Javascript really that stinky slow that changing the element underlying take a while.

Mostly it's the time taken by the browser to reflow and repaint that slows things down - not the javascript itself. Minimizing reflows and repaints is a big part of optimization.

So what? (2, Insightful)

lucag (24231) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951783)

The linked article seems to be quite devoid of propercontent ... after a test of some browsers on just one computer (and, I guess, just one OS) they deem that there is an inverse correlation between popularity among the people visiting their site and performance.
Not quite what I would call an accurate and scientific approach!
This being said, there might be a grain of truth in the very fact that the more popular the browser the more "corner cases" are exercised (and thus have to be implemented). By corner cases, I do not mean what the standard dictates, but what you find (ab)used on way too many pages.

Javascript (4, Funny)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951907)

How long until Google comes out with a JavaScript intensive application that will practically require Chrome to function?

Like slashdot, you mean???

Reverse the conclusion (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951947)

Assuming this correlation means anything, which it may not, it's more likely to be this:

The less popular your browser is, the better/faster it has to be to compete.
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