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Testing a Pre-Release, Parallel Firefox

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the use-what-ya-got dept.

Mozilla 278

Firefox, in its official version, still lacks support for multi-threading (running on different processors), though Chrome and Internet Explorer 8 both have this feature. A Firefox project called Electrolysis is underway to close this gap. A blog author tested a pre-release version of Firefox that loads different tabs in parallel, and he chronicles his findings, including a huge speedup in Javascript vs. Firefox version 3.5 (though the pre-release still lags Chrome in many of the tests).

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278 comments

Good thing (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651364)

This is a good thing. Firefox desperately needs to modernize. About the only killer feature left in Firefox is customization. Other browsers have already caught up to Firefox in speed, features, and standards support.

Re:Good thing (5, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651476)

Other browsers have already caught up to Firefox in speed, features, and standards support.

Many mainstream browsers are speedy, or at least speedy enough, but Firefox does offer a unique mix of features:

Ogg Theora/Vorbis: Currently supported by Firefox, Chrome, Opera
FOSS: Firefox, Chrome (just Chromium?)
Cross-Platform on Win, Mac, GNU/Linux: Firefox, Chrome (maybe just beta?), Opera

For me, both Firefox and Chrom{e|ium} look like good contenders. I've had good experiences with Mozilla products for quite some time, so I'll probably continue with Firefox.

Re:Good thing (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651532)

And really, Chrome is -the- browser to beat right now. If it had a more stable Linux version and had all the addons/themes along with the ability to customize absolutely everything, chances are most Linux distros would ship with it over Firefox.

Yeah, Firefox and Chrome may be the only two competitors with some features, but compared to others, Firefox just can't compete. Things like supporting multi-threading, tab isolation, plugin isolation, JavaScript execution speed, and general UI responsiveness are all things that Firefox really lacks. Right now, the ability to customize and the fact that its available in Ubuntu without needing extra repos, are about the only things that are keeping me from using Chrome full time.

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651604)

Yeah and a *real* adblock extension.

Re:Good thing (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651776)

Right! I mean, apart from cross platform stability and the add-ons and the themes and the ability to customize everything and the adblock, what have the Firefoxes ever done for us, eh? Splitters!

Re:Good thing (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651804)

Chrome's Adblock together with a decent hosts file work well enough for me. And it's a lot faster than FF 3.5, especially on a slow CPU like Atom.

Re:Good thing (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652012)

If it had a more stable Linux version

What? The beta is pretty rock solid for me. There's one annoying, persistent bug in HTML5, which I haven't bothered to get annoyed about since I don't really see enough HTML5 video to care.

But until fairly recently, Flash was crashing a lot for me. That meant I ran Konqueror a lot, because crashing an entire window full of tabs is still better than crashing all windows full of tabs.

I ran the Chrome nightly builds until there was a stable beta. There were occasional and annoying bugs, but I would often go for weeks without problems. Worst case, a tab crashes, you hit refresh -- but days and weeks pass between those. Honestly, the released version of Firefox was less stable overall, at the time.

had all the addons/themes

I'm not sure how good it's going to be, or how likely it is to work at all, but I did hear people proposing ways for Chrome to run Firefox extensions. However, it does have plenty of its own.

along with the ability to customize absolutely everything

I'll definitely give you that. There are things I've seen Firefox extensions do that Chrome extensions can't touch, yet. But that's actually a nice tradeoff -- Chrome extensions are somewhat limited, but it means that if you try to install, say, the YouTube downloader, it'll only touch your data on Youtube.com, it'll say so, and Chrome will enforce it.

Still, I think it's possible to have our cake and eat it, too.

the fact that its available in Ubuntu without needing extra repos

Why is this a blocker?

I guess, from a privacy/security standpoint, I could see an argument, but from sheer usability, you can actually point and click on a deb to both download Chrome and automagically enable the extra repos.

Re:Good thing (2, Interesting)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652026)

I've found chrome to be a decent brower, and the tab-process thing is very cool, but it doesn't quite live up to the hype I think. It isn't significantly faster than FF on my system (mostly FF falls down in specific, but fairly rare, situations), the UI isn't notably better, and in many ways it's a lot less polished than FF. E.g., if you enable emacs-style editor commands in GTK (which applies to text-entry boxes), they "kinda" work in chrome, but it also steals some keystrokes it shouldn't, which can be infuriating (hit C-n 5 times to move down 5 lines, and .. oh shit it created 5 new browser windows instead!); this works much better in FF.

Still, they clearly have some nice ideas, and I'd like to at least try out chrome more (I guess the bugs will get fixed eventually), but currently chrome also has some nasty interactions with X that periodically result in my window manager crashing...

Re:Good thing (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651750)

Wait a sec. Does any other browser provide NoScript functionality?

Re:Good thing (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651960)

Does any other browser provide NoScript functionality?

Great question. I (finally) mostly moved from IE to Firefox for three main reasons: Firebug, AdBlock, and NoScript. The web development and manipulation of Firebug is nice (but has been replicated largely in IE8), and there are ad blockers in IE and Chrome now as well. However, I got tired of any random website running arbitrary code on my computer and NoScript handles this pretty nicely.

I have other small addons for Firefox that are handy, but NoScript and FireBug are really the only reason I keep using Firefox. As others have said, Firefox really feels like a slow kludge sometimes. What's the point of tabbed browsing if all your other tabs lock up when loading a new tab or refreshing the content in another? Actively using multiple tabs in Firefox feels like multitasking in Windows 3.

Re:Good thing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651994)

Opera has "NoScript" built right into the browser. Tools->Preferences->Advanced->Content->uncheck "enable javascript"/"enable java"/"enable plug-ins" (For whatever you wish to block)
To add a site to the whitelist, right click on the page->Edit Site Preferences->Scripting->check "enable javascript", Content->check "enable java"/"enable plug-ins" (For whatever you wish to unblock)

Frankly, I still think it's silly that functionality that's only present in a plugin is considered a feature of the browser itself -- there's plenty of extending plugins for Opera, but the IMPORTANT functionality (Ad Blocking, Script Blocking, etc.) is all included without the need to search it out.

Re:Good thing (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652252)

Well, problem is:

ogg - no one (general public) really cares. FOSS - no one really cares. Cross platform - no one (general public, again) really cares.

The general public care about stability, outright speed and UI response.

I gave up on Firefox long ago (basically as soon as chrome came out, and then, safari 4 - as a user who used it way back when it was called Phoenix) because it has no killer feature I actually need/want.

Chrome has multiple threads. It makes a massive difference when browsing javascript heavy pages in multiple tabs. Safari has the coverflow history/bookmark system, which is just awesome for someone like me who never bookmarks stuff and wants to go through their history to find that page from 3am last night that had the info i want...

Re:Good thing (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652340)

This is admittedly not an issue for a ton of people, but Chrome/Chromium is less architecture-portable as well, since instead of being all C/C++ or some other portable language like most browsers, its JavaScript engine [google.com] directly emits native code.

It can currently do x86 and ARM, which covers almost everyone, but does mean that it can't run it on, for example, PPC macs, so I can't use it on my PowerBook, which is actually the machine that I'd most appreciate a faster browser on.

Re:Good thing (1)

crazybilly (947714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651690)

Agreed. Unfortunately, I have quibbles with the rest of the browsers as well.
  • Opera != FOSS
  • Chrome and Epiphany's customization and extension selection suck
  • IE. enough said
  • Safari = Mac
  • Midori, Kahaekahakehshaz and Konqueror are all unusably buggy (or were last time I checked)

If Opera would open up their code, I'd dump Firefox like a bag of rocks.

Oh, the only other thing FF is great for is web development: Firebug is irreplaceable (although I haven't yet used Opera's DragonFly). For every day browsing, though, I run a FF profile without Firebug--it drags Google Aps (reader and gmail) down too much, so I'm sure I could get by just using it when I'm coding.

Re:Good thing (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651832)

Midori is now pretty stable.

Konqueror is now pretty good, except that it seems to have become unstable.

Arora is fast and well designed, but has a bug that makes t refuses to accept perfectly valid SSL certs, and does not let you force it to accept them either.

None of them (including Opera) can handle large numbers of tabs open at once anything like as well as Firefox plus tree style tabs.

Re:Good thing (1)

vipw (228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652162)

Which Arora bug is that? I work on Arora and I haven't seen it reported.

Re:Good thing (2, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652294)

Safari works pretty well on Windows too since 4.x. Its my browser choice because its mostly the same on both platforms, and coverflow history is just awesome.

Re:Good thing (2, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651694)

Other browsers have already caught up to Firefox in speed, features, and standards support.

They're lacking the 'Eat your Memory' feature.

A true breakthrough (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651372)

For the hungry CompSci master's thesis and for the fidgeting moron who can't wait an additional 100ms for the page load.

Ahh, progress.

Re:A true breakthrough (1)

cripeon (1337963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651608)

I'm not sure if you're trolling, but the tone of your post is extremely sarcastic. That's an absolutely terrible attitude to have.

Progress isn't defined by large leaps, but by the small steps that allow them.

Re:A true breakthrough for faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651756)

suck a dick you cock-loving fucker

Re:A true breakthrough for faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651842)

NIGGERS. Galactus [wikipedia.org] is the ultimate Space Nigger.

He makes the ultimate white man, the Silver Surfer, his bitch.

Re:A true breakthrough for faggots (2, Funny)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651900)

The Silver Surfer's not white, he's sliver. Just sayin.

Thread != Process (5, Informative)

kiltyj (936758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651390)

Firefox, in its official version, still lacks support for multi-threading

Firefox certainly supports multi-threading. A thread [wikipedia.org] is not the same thing as a process [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Thread != Process (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651432)

There is no reason FF couldn't use separate threads to handle the threading of separate tabs. As it is, if any tab locks up, then the whole set of tabs gets stuck. Whether you use a process to separate each tab or you simulate it with threads, the difference is merely architectural.

The shared memory and object resources is the bottleneck with threads, but there is no reason why a single process couldn't render separate tabs completely separately.

Re:Thread != Process (5, Interesting)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651576)

Read bug 40848 for the list of technical issues. Amongst other things, document windows may display and communicate with each other, or refer to each other, which leads to race conditions, etc.

(The process documented in 40848 also explains why this idea has taken 9.5 years and some skunkworks outside/despite the open development process to get this feature to this point.)

Re:Thread != Process (1)

ParanoiaBOTS (903635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651606)

There is no reason FF couldn't use separate threads to handle the threading of separate tabs. As it is, if any tab locks up, then the whole set of tabs gets stuck. Whether you use a process to separate each tab or you simulate it with threads, the difference is merely architectural.

The shared memory and object resources is the bottleneck with threads, but there is no reason why a single process couldn't render separate tabs completely separately.

You sir, are incorrect. Multithreading has a shared memory space, and therefore is still vulnerable to the locking issue that firefox is prone to. When you spawn a separate process, you are acquiring a memory space that is separate and distinct. This makes it so that the process will only lock / kill itself. A process can multithread, a thread exists in the context of the process that spawned it.

Re:Thread != Process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651684)

A tab doesn't need to have crashed to lock up. If I click on three "Read More.." links on the /. main page, I get a lock up as it tries to lay out the comments.

5 seconds later, it continues again.

While, indeed, all those tabs share a memory space, there's no reason this instance (where the tabs don't care about each other) need to lock up the UI.

In the post-e10s world, I'd get... err... I'd get the same behavior, but usable chrome - I'd be able to look at my bookmarks, but not scroll the page I clicked the links on. Yeah, that's really useful there...

Re:Thread != Process (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652074)

Maybe you should consider looking at your build. I don't need more than one finger to count the number of times a tab has locked up in Firefox (any version in at least the last 2 years). That makes it at least as stable as any other program I have used in that time.

Or do all these complaints about Firefox==slow|unstable|whatever come from Windows users? In which case, I would suspect something else is wrong, because the Linux and OS X versions have been rock solid for me.

Re:Thread != Process (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651764)

When you spawn a separate process, you are acquiring a memory space that is separate and distinct. This makes it so that the process will only lock / kill itself.

Ah, you must be new to this whole programming thing. Even separate processes can block on semaphores and shared memory.

Re:Thread != Process (2, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651696)

Because it's hard to write renderers that catch all edge cases and harder still to sandbox a single thread of execution within a process. Just as the OS, to a degree, "owns" the process and can thus manipulate its environment, the process is the "owner" of its threads and is largely responsible for making sure they don't do anything improper.

Since on every OS platform a lot of work has gone into security in the past ten years, why reinvent the wheel? (Although, apparently, Google has already done this with Google Native Client, go figure.)

Re:Thread != Process (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651618)

If you're going to assert that Firefox does indeed support multi-threading, I think it'd be more informative if you could post evidence that Firefox is in fact threaded than the difference between a thread and a process. Or is the issue here that people are incorrectly using the term multithreading? If thats the case, I think you should make that point instead. Whatever your point is, its like saying Intel supports SLI. PCI Express is not the same as ISA.

Re:Thread != Process (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651854)

If you never see more than 100% CPU in top, it probably doesn't, and I've never seen that, and it doesn't run multiple processes either.
Chrome, however, runs several processes, even for plugins (often called "exe" because Chrome spawns /proc/$$/exe.)

Re:Thread != Process (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651654)

The writer's mistake is more basic than just conflating threads and processes. You left out the parenthesis:

still lacks support for multi-threading (running on different processors)

Which not only conflates cores and processors, but also suggests that multithreading isn't useful if you don't have multiple cores/processors.

When I was writing the concurrency chapter [sun.com] in the Java Tutorial, the experts would give me a very hard time if I allowed even a vague suggestion that this was true. The fact is, threads are extremely useful even if you only have one core to work with. For example, any well-written GUI program will not handle user interaction in the same thread with other functions; if it did, the GUI would freeze every time the program were waiting on something.

Multithreading is a big topic these days because everybody wants to maximize their utilization of all these n-core processors. But it's not a new topic.

This mistake seems to be very common [google.com] . Which leaves me confused as to what's new here. It's not parallel downloading of files — Mozilla/Firefox has always done that. A more robust parallelism mechanism? Or maybe they're copying Chrome and giving each tab its own process (not thread!).

Re:Thread != Process (1)

whhyohwhyslashdot (1546467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651734)

While generally I agree with you on the OP confusion on many accounts a good GUI does *NOT* need threads, event driven programming is very capable of powerful and responsive UI.

Re:Thread != Process (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651830)

while true that good event driven programming can get the job done, certain things (such as working with large data sets, e.g. can't be broken easily into pieces to process in less than 100ms) can be much much easier to do with proper threading.

Re:Thread != Process (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651932)

I might have this wrong, but I believe event-driven programs are, by their nature, multithreaded. This might not be obvious if you write a program by plugging event handlers into an event framework, such as MFC. But multithreading is still going on in the framework.

Re:Thread != Process (4, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652146)

I might have this wrong, but I believe event-driven programs are, by their nature, multithreaded. This might not be obvious if you write a program by plugging event handlers into an event framework, such as MFC. But multithreading is still going on in the framework.

You're wrong. Let's look at the MFC example in more detail. I'll talk about what Windows does quite a bit, but the gist of how it works I think is common to virtually all GUI systems (including Java Swing and X, though don't count me as an authority).

Here's a sequence of steps to follow to illustrate:

  • Start Visual Studio (I used 2008 Professional)
  • Create a new "MFC Application" project with default settings (multiple documents, doc/view architecture, MFC standard, MFC in shared DLL, no compound doc support, no DB support)
  • Compile and run (I started with ctrl-F5 rather than debug)
  • Open Task Manager, ensure that the Threads column is active
  • Find your test program and note it has 1 thread

MFC is a relatively thin wrapper around the Windows API. The way that you program using the raw Windows API is as follows. The startup procedure (WinMain I believe) creates a new window and displays it to the user. As part of the creation of this window you pass a function pointer that is the address of the callback function that should respond to "messages" that Windows sends your program.

I don't recall the exact signature of the callback function, but it takes four parameters. The first is a pointer to the window that receives the message (so you can use the same procedure for multiple windows). The second is an enum that's the type of the message -- e.g. a button press, mouse click, resize, etc. -- and the third and fourth are message-specific information (e.g. what button was pressed or what the new size is).

Finally, what WinMain does is start the message loop. This is essentially an infinite loop which retrieves then dispatches the next message. (This is often hidden in a "run" function on similar by frameworks such as MFC or Qt.)

So let's consider the path of an event that occurs. Say the user presses 'e'. Windows determines which window is supposed to be notified of the key press, in this case whatever has focus. (There are parenting relationships too, but I won't get into that.) It translates that event into a message it will pass the program -- WM_KEYDOWN. (There's also a WM_KEYUP message.) Windows adds the WM_KEYDOWN message to the application's message queue.

At some point the message loop in WinMain will run (hopefully -- if not, I believe this is exactly what Windows means when it says a program isn't responding). It will retrieve the WM_KEYDOWN message then dispatch it. Retrieving it consists of removing it from the message queue, and dispatching it consists of calling the callback function. (Both of these are hidden from view behind API calls GetMessage and DispatchMessage.)

Windows figures out what callback function needs to be called, then calls it with that window handle, the WM_KEYDOWN message, and information about what key was pressed. The callback function does its thing, then returns. Returning transfers control back to Windows (inside DispatchMessage) which then transfers control back to the application in the message loop, and the program then retrieves and dispatches the next message, if available. (If not, it blocks until one is available.)

The point to notice in this process is that at no point is another thread created. When Windows originally notices an event, it simply places a message into the application's message queue. When the application retrieves and dispatches a message, that is done with simple control transfers within that thread.

While it's true that this sort of programming doesn't quite look like what you get from MFC, .Net, Java Swing, Qt, etc., you'll find a lot of people out there who will say that it's still event-driven programming. And more to the point, if you accept that those other frameworks I named *are* event driven, they all build on a similar foundation. In any of them, I'm virtually positive that, while you're handling an event, if you block, the program hangs.

You can give this a shot in your favorite event-driven framework and report back -- just plop an infinite loop in there.

TLDR version (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652254)

Sorry, didn't realize I wrote so much. Here's the tl;dr version:

I'm pretty sure that all or almost all major GUI programming frameworks proceed by handling one event at a time. An event isn't handled until the previous one is done being handled. This is all done in a single thread.

Re:Thread != Process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30652196)

Depends on the framework. Most X frameworks use a single threaded model. Windows needs a thread for every top level window, but I wouldn't suggest Windows is the place to look for good design.

Re:Thread != Process (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652240)

Windows needs a thread for every top level window, but I wouldn't suggest Windows is the place to look for good design.

I don't know for certain, but I don't buy this without some support. Can you cite a source?

Tabbed processes would be better (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651396)

Multithreading still relies on a single point of failure - the shared memory space.

By doing what Chrome did, and breaking each tab instance into its own process, any single tab can crash/hang without affecting any other page.

I know when I load an MPG video that it sometimes hangs the browser, and I can't do anything (close/minimize/switch away) while the media player is being loaded. This sometimes causes me stress.

Re:Tabbed processes would be better (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651426)

Stop surfing porn at work then.

Re:Tabbed processes would be better (4, Informative)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651628)

In fact, Electrolysis aims to have tabs in a separate process from the browser UI as a first cut, then work on separate tabs in separate processes. That's not enabled by default, though, so the guy who wrote this blog post wasn't testing it...

Summary is wrong! (5, Insightful)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651402)

Firefox does support multithreading, what it doesn't support is multiprocessing. Firefox runs as a single process, whereas Chrome has a separate process for every site, plugin and extension.

Re:Summary is wrong! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651466)

Currently if I start firefox twice the second request goes to the first process. With a simple tweak you could allow the second process to start and get a multiprocessing firefox with perhaps a one line change.

I know thats not the point, but are we trying to go the long way around to our solution here? Sometimes it is best not to build an operating system into your application.

Re:Summary is wrong! (1)

DragonDru (984185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651538)

So how does this relate to poorly written scripts that peg out one of my cpus?
Will both of my cpus be pegged out or will I be able to kill just the one tab with the bad script in it?

Re:Summary is wrong! (2, Interesting)

vipw (228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652260)

It doesn't relate at all. Javascript is single threaded. If the same thread that runs the js is supposed to process user input, it would never notice the attempt to kill the tab.

The real issue is that threads can't be safely terminated, but processes can be. This is why people want each tab to be a process.

FireFox is great, but... (3, Interesting)

NormHome (99305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651464)

Don't get me wrong, I love FireFox and it's my preferred browser but I do feel like it's falling behind in a lack of ability to take advantage of certain hardware and software advances.

First as noted, FireFox does not really take advantage of multiple Cpu core's and there's no official 64 bit version. I've read that the developers opinion is that why have a 64 bit version if the most necessary plugin, flash is not available in a 64 bit version so why bother. But Sun does make a 64 bit JRE and that's half the battle and I honestly believe that if a 64 bit official version of FireFox were released that would spur Adobe to jump on the band wagon and produce a 64 bit Flash plugin.

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651496)

Android uses chrome, the iPod uses Safari. Both browsers support small screens by letting the user drag the finger/pointer to pan. I am not aware of firefox doing this. It may be a trivial UI tweak but firefox won't work on a phone until it works.

Re:FireFox is great, but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651586)

Fennec [mozilla.org] is Firefox's version of a mobile browser, with finger/pointer panning.

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651514)

Why would that spur Adobe to make a 64-bit version? As much as people hate it around here, it would take a 64-bit version of IE being the default to really spur them. I look at our website statistics and over 80% of our hits are from some type of MSIE. This causes much gnashing of teeth, but...

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652024)

Why would that spur Adobe to make a 64-bit version? As much as people hate it around here, it would take a 64-bit version of IE being the default to really spur them. I look at our website statistics and over 80% of our hits are from some type of MSIE. This causes much gnashing of teeth, but...

You've got the right idea here. I wonder if Gnash went 64bit before Flash, would that help its adoption?

Re:FireFox is great, but... (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651616)

and there's no official 64 bit version. I've read that the developers opinion is that why have a 64 bit version if the most necessary plugin, flash is not available in a 64 bit version so why bother. But Sun does make a 64 bit JRE and that's half the battle

Flash is used on just about every site out there. Java isn't. About the -only- issue I've had with Java not being installed was that I had to use the simple uploader to upload pictures on Facebook. I haven't had a Java plugin installed in 2-3 years and haven't experienced any loss due to it. However, the lack of Flash would make most sites unusable that the average person goes to A) YouTube B) Flash game sites C) Flash cartoon sites like Homestar Runner D) A -lot- of sites have Flash for navigation.

I honestly believe that if a 64 bit official version of FireFox were released that would spur Adobe to jump on the band wagon and produce a 64 bit Flash plugin.

Who would use it? I still use a 32 bit OS because I see no need in switching to a 64 bit OS. I'm currently running Ubuntu 32 bit on a 64 bit CPU, I really don't see the need in changing. Really, I don't expect to upgrade my RAM past 2 GB anytime soon and there isn't any software that is 64 bit only, but a lot of software is 32 bit only.

For Windows its even worse, why would someone pay extra for an OS? If its pre-installed people may use it, but most of the time even Windows 7 is shipping in 32 bit versions. Unless you want a huge amount of RAM, theres little need to get a 64 bit OS.

Re:FireFox is great, but... (2, Insightful)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651664)

64-bit is great for everyone who owns cameras of any modern make and makes use of said cameras, especially consumer video and modern digital SLRs. Editing that stuff and manipulating it in batches takes a ton of RAM.
You don't need to be a pro you just need to own a camera(s) and have a couple kids. Heck there's a jillion contributors to YouTube who would benefit from 64-bit and more ram. Most of them probably don't even know it.
The right question to me is "Why are we still using 32-bit?"

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651746)

As I sit here happily running 32-bit firefox in Windows 7 64-bit, I'm having trouble understanding what photo editing has to do with the need for a 64-bit web browser.

Re:FireFox is great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651824)

As I sit here happily running 32-bit firefox in Windows 7 64-bit, I'm having trouble understanding what photo editing has to do with the need for a 64-bit web browser.

Because people who need a 64-bit system for things like photo editing also want to run web browsers. That really didn't occur to you?

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652070)

As I sit here happily running 32-bit firefox in Windows 7 64-bit, I'm having trouble understanding what photo editing has to do with the need for a 64-bit web browser.

Because people who need a 64-bit system for things like photo editing also want to run web browsers. That really didn't occur to you?

It occurred to them, as you might have noticed by them specifying that they use a 64-bit OS that allows them to run the 64-bit photo editors, and a 32-bit browser works just fine. You failed to point out how changing from a 32-bit browser to a 64-bit browser makes a difference to photo editing when the OS is already 64-bit.

If you have 12 gigs of ram? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651996)

How can you make use of 12+ gigs of ram with a 32bit OS? I had to use a 64bit OS just to take full advantage of my hardware.
I wish my CPU were 128bit and I could expand my ram by the hundreds of gigs.

Re:If you have 12 gigs of ram? (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652180)

erm... 1. the linux PAE kernel supports up to 64GB of ram... and is 32 bit 2. 64bit cpus support up to a theoretical 16 billion gigabytes of ram, though right now most only implement around 48 bits for page addressing, which is still 65 TB of ram (I think, too lazy to grab a calculator). In other words, your 64bit cpu supports hundreds of gigs of ram, it's your motherboard that's a sissy.

Re:If you have 12 gigs of ram? (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652184)

just realized: 1 TB = 1024 GB. so, 64TB of ram for 48 bits of addressing.

Re:If you have 12 gigs of ram? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652192)

How can you make use of 12+ gigs of ram with a 32bit OS? I had to use a 64bit OS just to take full advantage of my hardware.

*Technically* you can (look up Physical Address Extensions (PAE)) but consumer Windows doesn't really support it and we'll ignore it for now.

I wish my CPU were 128bit and I could expand my ram by the hundreds of gigs.

64 bits gets you 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes bytes of memory: that's over 18 trillion gigabytes. I think you'll be set for now.

(Okay, this is a red herring; 64-bit CPUs don't actually typically support 64 bits of address space. The Core processors seem to support "only" 48 bits for addresses -- but this is still ~260 tibibytes.)

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651766)

The right question to me is "Why are we still using 32-bit?

It's sufficient *unless* one needs to access tons of RAM (e.g., for video/photo editing, huge database, ...), and it's faster than 64-bit. So, for +95% of computer uses, 32-bit is fine.

Re:FireFox is great, but... (2, Funny)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652098)

Yup, I managed to convince my manager that with the rollout of windows 7 to all our new PCs (we sell PCs) that 64bit should be the norm.

So we can now boast "computers with 4GB of ram" and point out to the customer that our machines (and none of our competitors nearby) can use all of it AND the nice big 1GB vid card they just plonked into it :)

Of course there's a few problems, one person just asked me why his program he has been using since windows 3.1 doesn't work...

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651636)

First as noted, FireFox does not really take advantage of multiple Cpu core's and there's no official 64 bit version.

Ahh nostalgia ... who would have thought back then that in 2010 a web browser would ever have the need to take advantage of multiple cores!

Re:FireFox is great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651720)

Once you start running plugins in separate processes you don't really need 64bit plugins for a 64bit browser.

-Posted from 64-bit Safari with 32-bit Flash (and 64-bit ClickToFlash)

Re:FireFox is great, but... (4, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651840)

Uuum, sorry? I use 64 bit Flash on Linux right now. Yes, from Adobe.
They still call it alpha, but apart from it sometimes hanging the browser for a minute at start, but then working... and a bit of memory leaking... it is no different from the r32 bin Windows release version.
Also, video playback is much faster with it.

Also, no 64 plug-in is a lousy excuse. As we use Flash on 64 bit systems trough multilib/“emulation” since forever.
Oh, and since my Firefox is self-compiled, I’m pretty sure it also is 64 bit. :)

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652080)

They still call it alpha, but apart from it sometimes hanging the browser for a minute at start, but then working... and a bit of memory leaking... it is no different from the r32 bin Windows release version.

So, you mean it works exactly like the Windows release version? ;-)

Re:FireFox is great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30652088)

So why exactly did you need > 4GB of RAM in a Browser? I know it's firefox but still....

Re:FireFox is great, but... (1)

vipw (228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652276)

Of course it takes advantage of multiple cpu cores. Just look how many threads it's running.

The first sentence is wrong (5, Interesting)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651518)

On so many levels !! first of all - The title of the Electrolysis page clearly mentions using multiple processes - where the heck did anyone mention multi-threading? Secondly - multi-threading is not the same as running on different processors. You can potentially split a program into user level threads just to simplify code. Third - firefox already supports multi-threading. The only problem is that threads are still connected to the same PID and killing that in windows/linux/mac will kill all threads along with it. The original article states they are starting from a chromium base. That may be the reason for speedup in Java scripts test ?

Re:The first sentence is wrong (1)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651826)

Please mod parent up.

Also, the description is very wrong and needs updated/corrected.

Re:The first sentence is wrong (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651874)

That may be the reason for speedup in Java scripts test?

Sorry, in this case it really is “JavaScript (scripts) test“.
Java is something completely different than JavaScript. As much as C++ and Python are different, but the first one was partially inspired the second one. Java was originally called Oak. And JavaScript can be called ECMAScript. Maybe that makes it easier to keep them apart. :)

Greatgreat! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651530)

W W W Working ing ng g f fi fine for m m me. K Ku Kud Kudo Kudos! !

ummm... (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651570)

Process-per-tab shouldn't speed up Javascript unless you're doing something else in a second tab that's hogging CPU. Most likely the Javascript performance gains came simply from the fact that he was using a 3.7 branch of the code. Which is kind of sad, considering bleeding-edge Firefox still lags behind Chrome by a considerable margin.

Re:ummm... (4, Informative)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651644)

Lags behind Chrome on a particular benchmark (Sunspider). Ignoring for the moment the Sunspider tests that are purposefully slower in SpiderMonkey than in other JS engines (by using extension features that only SpiderMonkey implements and that slow the test down if implemented), that leaves the question of how relevant Sunspider is.

In my testing, Chrome is anywhere from 4x faster to 4x slower than Firefox on various JavaScript/DOM/canvas tasks. It really depends on the task, as expected: if nothing else different jit heuristics will lead to better or worse performance on the same code even if all else is identical.

Re:ummm... (2, Informative)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651668)

But yes, you're right that the multi-process parts of electrolysis (which this guy didn't enable and hence wasn't testing) have nothing to do with JS performance.

Multi-threading != running on different processors (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651572)

still lacks support for multi-threading (running on different processors)

Multi-threading is running multiple threads of execution on a single cpu, which has been done on single-cpu processors for decades. That's not multiprocessing [wikipedia.org] .

I thought this was a tech site.

What next - an article about how someone just bought a new hard disk to upgrade their ram, because it was cheaper than chips and a lot bigger?

Re:Multi-threading != running on different process (2, Insightful)

Corson (746347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651798)

I think multithreading means launching multiple execution threads and it's up to the scheduler to assign each thread to a logical CPU, based on load. If you write and run a program that spawns two threads on a dual-core machine, with no other CPU-intensive software running, then you will notice that each thread is executed on a distinct CPU (core).

extensions (1)

gandalfu (1713422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651666)

Ill wait for firefox to use my cores, for now im quite happy with the extensions, cant live without firebug, adblockplus, webdeveloper.....

thank god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651678)

maybe now firefox won't need both cores

Processors do not matter... (1, Interesting)

bradbury (33372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651704)

You are observing a competition between the browsers and the CPU manufacturers. And the thing that you fail to understand is that "it does not matter". I am NEVER going to buy another machine with an Intel processor (because they burnt me a decade ago) and I view payback as sweet. Current CPU's are more than fast enough for most applications, i.e. a Pentium IV Prescott (single CPU) (which I inherited, so didn't have to purchase) works fine. N years ago (perhaps 8-10) I was able to work and be productive using a Pentium Pro @ 200 MHz (circa Y2000). Anyone who needs/wants more processing power is dumping the electricity down the non-productive heat drain (e.g. gamers) or pursuits which will never produce anything of use (e.g. SETI@HOME).

Yes, I am taking direct aim at people who really don't know what they are doing. So sue me. Or perhaps more productively engage in a constructive discussion with me with respect to the most efficient way to use the resources at our disposal and how to get to the point where that is the focus of our society rather than consume, consume, consume (electricity or otherwise). You decide.

The bottom line is that you have to run up against the fact that a decade ago CPU's could satisfy any reasonable need for processing power. Now all one is buying CPUs for is "fluff" -- watching TV on ones computer, playing games, etc. I.e. it produces nothing, it contributes nothing, it is simply a consumer computing mentality -- my computer exists to entertain me. Sad IMO. "Yes, I completely support driving society into a non-productive cloned mentality" (i.e. one manufacturer rules all). "I support current business models because that will contribute to driving us into submission". One has to ask oneself, "When will Intel say "stop"? When will they say we dedicate ourselves to a more efficient, less Earth-damaging) processor, like ARM?" or "We embrace competition because it will further motivate our developers to be creative?"

The processors have been more than sufficient for a decade or more. What you are currently witnessing is whether or not one should view the competition as being valuable. I would currently argue not, and therefore Intel is proceeding towards a monopoly, in which it cares little about the customer. Which is the same place I found myself in the mid-1990's when the chose to desupport the Intel camera that I was using. Does the concept of "sorry, we are going to force you to upgrade" (because it increases our profit margins) ring any bells?" (I don't care that your current computer is completely sufficient for your needs -- you need to do more, need more, that requires an upgrade, etc. Watch my commercials to prove that that is the case.)

If the old software/hardware works fine then be comfortable with it. Do not easily accept that upgrading is a requirement.

Regards
Robert Bradbury

Re:Processors do not matter... (5, Informative)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651808)

You do realize that your Prescott Pentium IV is more power hungry than Intel's current faster offerings, right? Perhaps you should buy an AMD if you despise intel and would like to be greener.

Re:Processors do not matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651810)

Yeah, I sure loved waiting hours for tasks to finish on a Pentium 4.

Re:Processors do not matter... (4, Informative)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651852)

Do realize that your P4 consumes a lot more power [tomshardware.com] than a previous-generation (65nm) Core 2 Duo, and in some tests even more than a Core 2 Extreme. Modern 45nm chips use even less power. So really, you're dumping money down the power/heat drain by not using a newer processor. Even if you don't need the speed, it makes a difference in terms of the electric bills. Your point about electricity is completely and entirely invalid.

Re:Entertainment (2, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651914)

You have a fairly complicated comment there. Let's dig a little.

This has so many red herrings I will skip it entirely. The second part gets more interesting.

"...productively engage in a constructive discussion with me with respect to the most efficient way to use the resources at our disposal and how to get to the point where that is the focus of our society rather than consume, consume, consume..."

"Being productive" is more than creating text & spreadsheets. "Make the recreation more efficient". *TV* is one of the most inefficient recreations out there! Not the show - the timing schedule. A lot of "risky" shows are arriving with 16 episode contracts instead of 24, spread out over longer periods to eke out some more "remember me" mindshare. However, it was the internet entertainment multiverse that thrashed the TV mentality to smithereens. Instead of having to wrench our lives to see "our show" for seven months of the year, batch it on Hulu and churn through it on four Saturday Graveyard blocks from 2AM to 7AM. Remember the misery of "nothing good being on"? And even when you're watching it, you can do low level work during the boring scenes. I gained two virtual years of life back while still being satisfied with four show's worth of entertainment.

But if you're now looking askance at processing power, "the cool work" these days eats processor power like a hog. Multimedia editing audio commercials, online collaboration, enterprise accounting, onscreen CAD, information modeling rendering, etc. I bought a quad core machine precisely because the "document machines" couldn't cut it.

Sorry, bud... Processors still matter! (2, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652030)

The bottom line is that you have to run up against the fact that a decade ago CPU's could satisfy any reasonable need for processing power. Now all one is buying CPUs for is "fluff" -- watching TV on ones computer, playing games, etc. I.e. it produces nothing, it contributes nothing, it is simply a consumer computing mentality -- my computer exists to entertain me.

I have an Athlon XP 3200+. It's a nice chip, and all, a 32bit one. And for many tasks, it is more than adequate. But when watching flash video full screen on my 32" HiDef TV, it's very jerky. Yes, it's because of Flash being poorly optimized. But it's also what I want to do with my computer, because I DO watch TV. And rather than spend too much money to get Cable TV or Dish, I've switched to all 100% online TV. It saves me $75/month and is a better user experience! I no longer have to pre-plan my viewing, I just watch whatever's available when I want, on demand, right from the beginning of the show.

But while it works well on the Mac mini in my bedroom, and my Dell laptop, it doesn't work so well on the old Athlon. So, I go to Pricewatch.com and buy a new Athlon X/2 motherboard/video card combo upgrade board with 2.1 Ghz of RAM for $150, and now I have a 64-bit, dual-core MB, good RAM, fast processor. Flash plays nicely, and all for less than the cost of a decent DVD player.

Are you still telling me that the CPU doesn't matter? Maybe you are happy with the ancient processor from 10 years ago, and for many tasks, it's probably good enough, but not for everything...

Sorry about your camera, dude. I use a $59 generic digital camera I got in the shrink-wrap isle at the local Best Buy. It's 10 Mpixel with optical zoom, records decent quality video, and came with a free 2 GB memory card. It doesn't have every bell and whistle, but does a good job taking pictures and video. Armed with rechargeable batteries and a cheap external USB drive, my pictures cost almost nothing at all and I don't give a hoot about compatibility since it uses standard flash cards and image format. (JPG/WMV)

What else do YOU want?

Re:Processors do not matter... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652140)

Get off my lawn! You kids and your fancy-shmancy calculatamigigs. ;-)

Re:Processors do not matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30652156)

Riiiiggghhhttttt...such fluffy things like compiling applications, _working_ with video or music, visualization, CAD, simulations, data analysis...

Just because you got stuck in 2004, love to heat your room eletrically and all you do is text editing drawing conclusions for the rest of the world is pretty shortsighted.

Did it ever occur to you that people update because usually it provides them some extra value? Maybe, if you think hard, you can even remember that intel didn't force you to update your driver (or whatever you mean by stopped supporting). You should've just stuck with your working system but apparently something made you update it....

Re:Processors do not matter... (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652282)

Who is modding this crap up?

Anyone who needs/wants more processing power is dumping the electricity down the non-productive heat drain (e.g. gamers) or pursuits which will never produce anything of use (e.g. SETI@HOME).

What about CAD, or complicated simulations? Are you saying that modern methods of research and engineering don't produce anything of use?!?

The processors have been more than sufficient for a decade or more ... If the old software/hardware works fine then be comfortable with it. Do not easily accept that upgrading is a requirement.

Yeah, and automotive technology has been more than sufficient for 80 years or more; who really needs to got more than 50 mph, or have air conditioning? I'm not really sure what your even complaining about. Are you trying to say spending resources on having fun is unethical, and that there's no point in increasing the standard of living? And what does any of that have to do with parallel processing?

Inevitable (0)

diefuchsjagden (835254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651724)

Why is this such a big issue? Multi-threading will make its way to FF when its good and ready to, by which point I fear Chrome will have a strong enough foot hold to give Google the Leg up it needs, with its vast financial backing to keep FF a second best Browser I used it from day one until Chrome hit and I just switched the interface being more intuitive, and streamlined or so it appeared to this damaged brain? It's only a matter of time until Google's world Domination is complete as they rightfully usurp Micro$oft and take their thrown, I only hope it does not go to Google's head as it did with M$ and lead to bad products such as Windows 98(!98SE), ME || Vista but we shall see, as they say "only time will tell"

No multithreading in FF? (1, Interesting)

Corson (746347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651762)

I just checked in Task Manager and Firefox has 27 threads open. You were saying?

Seriously? (1)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651856)

> Firefox, in its official version, still lacks support for multi-threading (running on different processors)

Seriously? Someone from Slashdot wrote this?

is firefox the greatest ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30651908)

what can you say about firefox? i s it the most popular now a days ? or there are other browsers that dig this firefox to the ground? regards, robert [blogspot.com]

Will foundations like mozilla stand up to big biz? (1)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651926)

I made the switch from Firefox to Chrome, and I have not looked back. The idea of an individual process per tab intrigued me when Chrome was first released. The fluid tab/window transition is an awesome feature, which dragged me over to the other side. I tend to have 3+ windows with 30+ tabs each. Is a individual process per page really the most viable solution. I want my web applications to be even distributed across all my cores, not abstract nesting. Each page is free to crash on its own, though if a plugin crashes, the plugin crashes for all tabs. Sometimes, when I close 50+ tabs, Chrome takes a crap right in the middle of the parade (something Firefox did somewhat less of). I seem to be completely satisfied with Chrome, and I have no reason to return. Implementing a feature I already have in Chrome is not going to excite me enough to make the switch back. When browser games become even more popular, and they start accessing graphics hardware directly, individual processes are a good idea since they would nest the abstract layer. The only thing that ever brings me back to Firefox are the wonderful addons like firebug, imacros, and noscript. But the large number of addons I had installed was also a determining factor for me to leave firefox, which I felt was kind of like leaving a wife after she puts on weight.

incomplete story (1)

shiretoko (1600199) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651938)

While the code name is electrolysis, it is called Content Processes. According to this https://wiki.mozilla.org/Content_Processes#Phase_II:_Parallel_Improvements [mozilla.org] , the project is still lagged behind on completing Phase 2, projected to be completed November 1st, 2009. The real multiprocess work isn't even going to hit until Phase 4, which is going to be months from now. I'm really not sure what the author of that blog tested, since the only multiprocess aspects of the electrolysis build are disabled by default, requiring dom.ipc.plugins.enabled to be set to true in about:config. It is not necessary to compile the build yourself either, as the latest electrolysis nightly build can be found here: http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-electrolysis/ [mozilla.org] precompiled for your enjoyment, not that it matters.. since it's so early in the development process that there is no benefit whatsoever outside of helping them track bugs.

so can I still assign affinity? (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651962)

because otherwise it will peg both my cpus whenever I go to one of those websites. And why can't ff handle these still? It's ridiculous that this browser can still hang cause of some website waiting for some unavailable resource.

Javascript testing is pointless (-1, Troll)

bradbury (33372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30651976)

You are making the point that being able to run Javascript more efficiently is good. I would argue that any external program being able to run another program (i.e. executing Javascript) on ones computer is fundamentally evil and bad. It is MY computer! No external sources of programs should be able to use it for computing unless I have explicitly approved them. To do otherwise is "theft" (of my CPU resources). Failure to recognize this on the part of browser manufacturers/distributors contributes to the problems in which we currently find ourselves enmeshed. I don't want to run Javascript except under very explicit circumstances. I did not startup my browser to run other people's programs. Every single browser should on every single page that requests the ability to run Javascript -- i.e. say "May I?" -- until that point is reached any advancements in Javascript speed are completely useless to me -- because I view it running Javascript as anti-green, anti-security and anti-moving the world in a forward direction. HTML was laid out as a language to display information -- it was not laid out as a language (once enabled by Javascript) to allow advertisers (or others) to manipulate ones personal computer. One of the biggest mis-steps in the history of HTML/web development was Netscape's development of the ability of the server's to control the browser's through Javascript. That destroyed the fundamental principles of the web (your machine is your machine and I am simply providing you with information, which BTW works as a model for Google (with whom I have no connection with) but simply points out how they got it right the first time around, and we are going to have to work very very hard to recover those principles). Otherwise we are going to have to put up with a web where suppliers are always sticking their noses into our business in order to sell us something. Which if they did it with a passive browser would be fine (IMO), but once they do it with an active browser (i.e. Javascript enabled) they are a friggen pain in the rear end.

So Firefox, get the message. There are lots of us who DO NOT WANT friggen faster Javascript, in fact we would prefer, if like chromium, there were a startup option to completely disable it! (Though I can now effectively start Firefox w/o Javascript by "fudging" the preferences file. In which case the battle is forwarded to the vendors that insist that one "must" have Javascript for their sites to work -- go shove one's Javascript in a dark place, if you have designed your web site so that it only works with Javascript enabled, which was NOT the way the web was envisioned, and being drawn and quartered would probably be too good for you, I'm debating in my mind the difference between being keel-hauled and impaled...).

The bottom line is that browser vendors focused on Javascript performance are next-to-useless. The real test IMO is vendors who replace the default gtk poll function with something more intelligent that reduces power consumption (more green) while maintaining performance (but both Firefox and Chromium have yet to do that -- in spite of the fact, that at bug reports have been filed, at least with Firefox)) -- so the user base awaits... [1]

1. It would appear that neither the Firefox nor the Chromium developers have bothered to strace their primary processes (the ones which accumulate the CPU time) and recognized that there are a significant number of poll() and/or gettimeofday() calls which seem to by and large DO NOTHING). Any programmer concerned with efficiency would suggest there is either a flaw in the process model or a flaw in the implementation. Sad, that even in this modern era (where if the ice caps melt and you are living in a coastal area you are going to need to relocate), consideration of CPU use under Linux is going so disregarded.

Re:Javascript testing is pointless (1)

shiretoko (1600199) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652130)

You missed the part about Chrome OS and everything becoming a web application, not a static web site. If all modern web browsers can run javascript like native code, it will change the way programs are distributed, and in fact, will lead to a safer computing environment, since you won't have to install any of it locally. In the meantime, look into noscript if you're that concerned, and look forward to better web applications that run like native applications.

Firefox if I am allowed only one browser (1)

Rsriram (51832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30652308)

I use Chrome for the speed. But on some websites, I am forced to use Firefox, especially when there are forms and text boxes with formatting tools in the browser.

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