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Firefox 4's JavaScript Now Faster Than Chrome's

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the when-browsers-jostle dept.

Firefox 352

An anonymous reader writes "Firefox 4's JavaScript engine is now faster than V8 (used in Chrome) and Nitro (used in Safari) in the SunSpider benchmark on x86. On Mozilla's test system Nitro completes the benchmark in 369.7 milliseconds, V8 in 356.5 milliseconds, and Firefox 4's TraceMonkey and JaegerMonkey combination in 350.3 milliseconds. Conceivably Tech has a brief rundown of some benchmark figures from their test system obtained with the latest JS preview build of Firefox 4: 'Our AMD Phenom X6-based Dell XPS 7100 PC completed the Sunspider test with the latest Firefox JS (4.0 b8-pre) build in 478.6 ms this morning, while Chrome 8.0.560.0 clocked in at 589.8 ms.' On x86-64 Nitro still has the lead over V8 and TraceMonkey+JaegerMonkey in the SunSpider benchmark."

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352 comments

FF4 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003162)

FF4 crashes when I try to open Gmail since the change. This makes it slower for opening my mail.

1. connect to gmail with FF4
2. FF4 crashes.
3. Open chrome and go to gmail
4. ??? (train monkeys to joust)
5. Profit

FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, to (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003400)

I've been trying the alphas and betas, but they still haven't managed to fix the numerous memory leaks that have plagued Firefox for so long now.

It's no longer worth opening bug reports, since the community just doesn't want to admit there's a problem in the first place. They'll blame the memory leaks on third-party extensions or plugins, even when these memory leaks arise using a pristine installation without either. Or they'll say it's just a problem with the user's system, even when it happens under many different versions of Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, running on all sorts of hardware, under many different configurations. Clearly, it's a problem with Firefox itself.

Somehow, all of the other browser developers manage to put out browsers that don't leak huge amounts of memory after relatively short browsing sessions. Opera, Chrome, Safari, and even recent releases of IE don't go consuming gigabytes of memory, even after leaving them open for months at a time. Firefox will exceed that in less than an hour.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003554)

The moderating of the parent and grandparent comments are excellent examples of why so many people are fleeing Firefox these days. Instead of trying to fix the memory leak problem, any reports are covered up and otherwise swept under the rug by the Firefox community. Anyone pointing out Firefox's excessive memory usage [slashdot.org] is quickly labeled as a "troll".

The Firefox community has only two options here:
1) Admit that there is a memory leak problem, fix it, and then stand a chance against their competitors.
2) Keep acting like children by sticking their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes, pretending the problems don't exist, and then getting absolutely destroyed by IE, Chrome, Safari and Opera.

Firefox 4 will be the breaking point. If the problems aren't fixed, there probably won't be a Firefox 5 release. Too many people will have fled to the superior alternative browsers.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003586)

As someone who has repeatedly asked for a demonstration of Firefox's supposed memory leaks over the past several years, and has yet to be able to reproduce any of the claimed results, I can say for sure that reports of Firefox memory leaks are absolutely trolls. If you disagree, explain how I could see one of these problems. If I can reproduce it, I will certainly admit there is a problem. Why should one admit to a problem that one cannot perceive? Why would you accuse others of pretending the problems don't exist, when the problems cannot be seen?

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003638)

You display the kind of attitude that makes the Firefox community look like a bunch of infants. Just because you personally can't reproduce a problem that many, many people are reporting, it "must not exist and the reporters are trolls."

It's very easy to reproduce these problems:
1. Download the Firefox installer for your platform from mozilla.org. This could be the latest 3.6 release, or the latest 4.0 beta.
2. Install it. Make sure you do not install any sort of plugins or extensions. We want a clean, default Firefox installation.
3. Browse the web for 30 minutes. Visit a variety of sites, including Slashdot, Facebook, and some of the popular news sites.
4. Use top or the Task Manager or whatever your system offers to see the memory usage of the Firefox-related processes. Notice that they'll be in the gigabytes.

When faced with such a problem, most mature open source projects wouldn't go attacking the problem reporters. They'd accept the reports, and even if the developers themselves had trouble reproducing the issue at hand, at least they'd treat the problems as real and not attack the reporters.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003674)

As I've said, I've tried this. Firefox's memory use tops 200 MB after two weeks. Other browsers go over 200 MB in a few days. I'm not attacking you, just stating for the record that I cannot see a problem. Perhaps on your computer that problem exists. Do not assume that every other Firefox user in the world sees the same problem. I do not. If you don't believe me, look at any number of memory tests that show Firefox using less memory than other browsers: 1 [dotnetperls.com] 2 [lockergnome.com] 3 [lifehacker.com] 4 [tomshardware.com] , and many more!

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003904)

I think they forget that page caching is not a leak.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (2, Insightful)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003926)

You're missing the point; simply because you, me, or the majority experience no memory leak issues does not mean they don't exist. Computers differ enough that it's impossible to say that what works on one system will work on another with a different operating system, different system settings, different software installed, or even different hardware. I'll concede that it's impossible to replicate every possible user installation, but it's likely that the people who report the problem have something in common, even if it's not readily apparent; being hostile toward them for reporting it is arrogant and counterproductive.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34004036)

I didn't say that the memory leaks don't exist. My point is there's no point complaining about them if no one can see them. If no one can see them, no one can fix them. How is pointing that out being hostile? Claiming that every Firefox user suffers from horrible memory leaks is hostile, because anyone can see that it isn't true. Most Firefox users are happy with low memory usage, as you can see from the posts below.

The bottom line is that anyone who wants a memory problem in Firefox fixed simply needs to post a description of the problem so that others can see it. But instead of that, all we get are posts about Firefox users being arrogant and counterproductive. How is that supposed to help?

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003682)

It's very easy to reproduce these problems: 1. Download the Firefox installer for your platform from mozilla.org. This could be the latest 3.6 release, or the latest 4.0 beta. 2. Install it. Make sure you do not install any sort of plugins or extensions. We want a clean, default Firefox installation. 3. Browse the web for 30 minutes. Visit a variety of sites, including Slashdot, Facebook, and some of the popular news sites.

I've done that. Several times over the years. But:

4. Use top or the Task Manager or whatever your system offers to see the memory usage of the Firefox-related processes. Notice that they'll be in the gigabytes.

didn't happen. Only time was with FF4 b5/b6 memory leak because of a bug in their new audio API. Chrome OTOH happily ocupies several hundred MB RAM after just 3-4 hours of usage.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003722)

Sorry to burst your bubble but I'm right now on a Dimension 8250 P4 2.53 w/ 512MB RAM w/ Ubuntu 10.10 Openbox. 15 tabs open in FF 3.6.11 and top shows 250MB total used out of 512MB. With about 100-150 for OS + Services and desktop manager it's actually pretty snappy. I do remember the days where after a few tabs opening and closing would cap me off at 800MB and be thrashing but now I really don't see it. You just can't tell someone the program is taking too much memory and not tell them what pages you have loaded and other specifics, there is no way I can just say it's using too much memory to a developer and he/she will be able to go through hundreds of thousands lines of code and figure out what went wrong, I'm sorry it just doesn't work like that. Bitch all you want but until your willing to meet half way I don't know what to tell you.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003728)

Admittedly, I haven't followed your instructions exactly. I have Firefox 3.6.11 from the Ubuntu repositories for 10.10, rather than what one would retrieve from mozilla.org. Also, I have several add-ons active, though only Adblock Plus would potentially filter out things that might add to memory leakage--and wouldn't more plugins use more RAM? ps output shows that it's been running for an hour I have twelve tabs open, including Facebook, Yahoo! mail, Instapundit and New World Notes, both of which tend to have lots of embedded flash videos, Slashdot of course, flickr, and other stray web pages. Ubuntu System Monitor shows firefox-bin using 348.3 MB and plugin-container using 218.3, total well under a gigabyte.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003792)

It's very easy to reproduce these problems:
1. Download the Firefox installer for your platform from mozilla.org. This could be the latest 3.6 release, or the latest 4.0 beta.
2. Install it. Make sure you do not install any sort of plugins or extensions. We want a clean, default Firefox installation.
3. Browse the web for 30 minutes. Visit a variety of sites, including Slashdot, Facebook, and some of the popular news sites.
4. Use top or the Task Manager or whatever your system offers to see the memory usage of the Firefox-related processes. Notice that they'll be in the gigabytes.

I have had firefox running for over a week now. I've visited numerous sites, loads of tabs of Slashdot, had previously many open tabs on furaffunity and various sites but eventually closed them. There is one window with a god awful amount of tabs, infact all the monster.co.uk's jobs for Glasgow and that has been sitting there since Monday. So, you would think this would be a good candidate to observe you problem. Now, my system as a god awful amount of memory too, yet.. What is Firefox using?

According to http://dl.dropbox.com/u/58565/firefox-memory.jpg [dropbox.com] It's just over 300MB and I was expecting far more with the amount of tabs I have open. I doubt foxyproxy or firefox sync (the only addons I have) magically made the "memory leak" go away.

Can you explain why I am not seeing this issue please?

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003812)

im using a 4 beta i downloaded last week. i dont have any extensions installed but i did install flash so i can use youtube. ive had my browser open since i installed it and youre right its using 5838 MB of ram says the win vista taskmgr. lol i didnt realize it was so bad! ive got 12 gb ram so its not like a huge problem but thats still not very good at all.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (4, Informative)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003658)

It's not a memory leak problem. This is pretty obvious when, after weeks of continuous use, Firefox's memory usage remains more or less constant.

However, Firefox does have a memory fragmentation problem. After continuous use, the program will become noticeably slower on certain tasks which it previously had no issues with. This is particularly the case if you're visiting more intensive webpages. Often you're better just restarting it after the first 100 or so tabs.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003756)

Memory fragmentation [pavlov.net] will cause a program to use more memory, not cause it to slow down. Since Firefox moved to jealloc [pavlov.net] in 2008, memory fragmentation in Firefox is low. As with memory leaks, these problems were fixed years ago, but users still complain that the problems are being ignored and not fixed.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003774)

Fragmentation can certainly cause a program to slow down. If memory is fragmented significantly, you're going to see a lot more page faults as memory is accessed. With an OS like Windows that's aggressive in moving memory out to disk things will certainly slow down.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003856)

Memory fragmentation will not directly cause a program to slow down. If there is bad memory fragmentation, it could possibly cause a program to consume all RAM, which would in turn increase the number of page faults, causing a slowdown. But in that case users will complain about memory use and hard disk activity, not a slowdown.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003992)

Call it what you want, all I know is that Firefox continuously consumes more and more memory on every system I've used it on, without ever freeing any. It also gets progressively slower as the day goes on until it is unusable and must be restarted.

This is precisely the reason I ditched Firefox and started using a browser that I can leave up for weeks or months at a time without any problems.

Re:FF4 has some pretty serious memory leaks still, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003796)

Jeeze! If you just quit playing Farmville, it'll all clear up. I saw that damn thing consume over 500 meg.

Re:FF4 (1)

joshier (957448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003718)

I have no extensions running anymore to try and cut down the extremely numerous times it crashes. It's never done that before. It'll crash on any web page and my firefox has been recently reinstalled. I will most likely downgrade to an older version. I always report the crashes and put my email in too.

Re:FF4 (1)

Mr_Postman (1913980) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003784)

Same here, except that I switch to Namoroka instead of Chrome when Minefield b0nks. This is two or three nightly builds in a row they've been crashing Gmail.

Re:FF4 (0, Troll)

wmac (1107843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003860)

How many software projects have come up with a Beta 8!!! in their version 4?!!

This alone is an indication that the software engineering process in Mozilla.org specially Firefox has gone out of control. The software standards have degraded to a record low and open source with large numbers of out of organization comitters is showing its disadvantages.

I used FF4 until Beta 6 and I should say it was the most torturous software test experience I have had in my 25 years of experience in software industry. I guess I will never again beta test any Mozilla software.

Yeah.... So? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003190)

Javascript sucks...

So now it can suck faster?

Re:Yeah.... So? (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003260)

Well, if it sucks, maybe you should implement a vacuum cleaner with it.

Re:Yeah.... So? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003292)

Javascript sucks...

So now it can suck faster?

Like your mom on my dick

6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003194)

I'll be able to do one more mouse click every three weeks or so.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003274)

Having good javascript runtimes will help the web go to the next level. This is useful for the gaming industry to tap into the non-gamers and casual gamers pool, e.g. this this port of quake that is able in javascript as a proof of concept:

    http://code.google.com/p/quake2-gwt-port/

But this can also be useful for non games usage: applications such as google street view and google earth could soon be embedded in regular webapps without the need for flash plugin for instance.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003488)

I'm not looking forward to 'the next level' of the web. It will only have more dancing and blinking crap on the page.

Want to make you site fast? You don't need Ajax, Flash, or any other "Hype du Jour". Toss it all out, stick with plain old HTML and make it look decent with simple CSS. Wham, your site is now an order of magnitude faster. You don't need those five load balancers and those twenty application servers just to serve up a page that could easily run on one server when you actually had a clue.

The Web is rapidly going the way of television: once it was about content, then ads came 'to pay for the content' and now it is all ads with the absolute minimum of content. Spreading a two paragraph article over eight pages just to have more ad impressions. Six pictures that just have to be in a slide show. Ads. Profit. Bottomline.

Get me a bucket, I'm going to hurl...
 

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (4, Interesting)

Jahava (946858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003636)

I'm not looking forward to 'the next level' of the web. It will only have more dancing and blinking crap on the page.

Want to make you site fast? You don't need Ajax, Flash, or any other "Hype du Jour". Toss it all out, stick with plain old HTML and make it look decent with simple CSS. Wham, your site is now an order of magnitude faster. You don't need those five load balancers and those twenty application servers just to serve up a page that could easily run on one server when you actually had a clue.

Want to view content? I agree with your theme in that case, and there are plenty of sites out there that are designed around just that: simple presentation-focused static content display.

However, most of the impetus for "Web 2.0" has not been around content viewing, but rather about utilizing the web browser as an effective, cross-platform thin client for applications. Now, granted, some sites are (ab)using AJAX and whatnot for purposes ranging from nefarious to just annoying, and there is some spillover from the dynamic application-based web pages into the static information-based ones, but it's generally kept in balance by the ease with which people can transition to a competing website if yours is too annoying.

Recent advancements in Javascript execution speed are oriented towards polishing the thin client experience and capabilities. If fast Javascript execution becomes ubiquitous, sites can design much more successful thin clients because they can take that execution speed for granted. It's not all just flashing lights and annoying ads: take a look at the stunning Deluge BitTorrent Client's Web UI [deluge-torrent.org] to see how nicely "Web 2.0" can be used.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34004004)

Now, granted, some sites are (ab)using AJAX and whatnot for purposes ranging from nefarious to just annoying ... it's generally kept in balance by the ease with which people can transition to a competing website if yours is too annoying

So what keeps you here?

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003508)

Faster javacript is also good when you visit Websites that were written by your Redneck third cousin who is also your wife (i.e. none too bright):

For example NBC.com's feedback site made my firefox freeze for about 10 seconds when I visited it yesterday. 6ms faster response on a "good" javascipt site might translate to a full second faster on a poorly-coded site..... i.e. waiting 9 seconds to "unfreeze" nbc.com instead of 10 seconds. For me that would make it worth switching from Chrome to Firefox.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003600)

>>>worth switching from Chrome to Firefox

Or SeaMonkey which I've been trying these last few days. It has the same engine as FF4 but with far less bloat (~150,000 vs. ~300,000 kilobytes). Copied from another guy's post yesterday:

Q: Why not use Firefox instead of Seamonkey?

A: "Yes, Firefox web browser, Thunderbird email and news client, Sunbird Calendar, and NVU HTML editor are useful programs. The Mozilla/SeaMonkey suite, with all of this functionality, is about 11M compressed, whereas the separate applications are each about 35M compressed. So, the live-CD, instead of being 60M would be 85M and would be too big to run in RAM in a PC with 128MB.

"Why are the separate applications so big compared with the Mozilla/Seamonkey suite? Simply because the Mozilla suite has a lot of common code shared by each module, whereas the separate applications have to duplicate that code. This creates a gigantic size bloat, not in the spirit of Puppy."

- Puppy Linux FAQ
- Barry Kauler 2006
http://www.puppylinux.com/faq.htm [puppylinux.com]

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003978)

Seamonkey definitely feels snappier than FF every time I try it, and able to gracefully withstand much heavier browsing (why? Less reckless code in UI / more cautious with changes there / doesn't have to accommodate extensions? UI which, running also via js, isn't the most speedy type by design...); a bit funny, considering the stated goals at the start of Phoenix effort.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003724)

I would just turn off JS for that site. If it becomes unusable by doing so, well, good riddance.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003972)

>>>I would just turn off JS for that site.

You can't do that if your browser is frozen for ten seconds. You have to sit and wait.

Quake II was released in 1997. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003594)

Quake II was released in 1997. That's 13 years ago. At the time of its release, Intel's top-end CPU was the Pentium II running at 233 MHz, and even that had only just been released. Most Quake II players were still using Pentium or high-end 486 systems.

Today, a decade and a half later, we have cell phones that are many hundreds of times faster than those Pentium and Pentium II systems, and desktop systems that are thousands or tens of thousands of times more powerful. Yet with all that raw processing power, JavaScript still barely allows us to do what we could do way back then.

I don't know if you've tried it yet, but that version of Quake II that you've linked to runs quite poorly on very modern hardware when using Chrome (which has the best JavaScript implementation around).

If JavaScript doesn't let us easily do what we could do before, we'll never be able to get further ahead.

Re:Quake II was released in 1997. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003946)

Quake II was released in 1997. That's 13 years ago. At the time of its release, Intel's top-end CPU was the Pentium II running at 233 MHz, and even that had only just been released. Most Quake II players were still using Pentium or high-end 486 systems.

Well Quake II did use a 3D Graphics Card. When JavaScript gets OpenGL support and direct access to the graphics card, it should be able to run Quake II on a Pentium II machine too.

Posting Anon, so as to, not loose moderations.

Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003886)

...help the web go to the next level.

What the fuck does that mean?! Fuck you! You're a spammer/marketing dweeb!

Quake2... Christ!

Who cares... (0, Flamebait)

Jellyman72 (1888002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003202)

Cue browser fanboy hooliganism....

What's the benefit ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003234)

From my POV it's more important which browsers are chosen by web developers to implement web applications. The question is: are all current browser implementations compatible to each other ?

Re:What's the benefit ? (0)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003280)

You don't implement web applications in the browser, they are implemented in the server.

If you write valid HTML5 and the browser does not accept it, file a bug.

Is that simple enough?

Re:What's the benefit ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003326)

I'm so glad I'm not having to run all web servers at my home. Sure, you load your application on the server, but JavaSCRIPT runs on a browser. This is not server based JAVA but browser based JS. I need it to run faster because I have an application that very much needs JS to run faster on browsers. Why? Because my target audience is the world and not just the US. This means that I want to load applications on the users computer that they can run partially locally. We need this faster, computers faster, and Internet faster everywhere to make applications better for the user.

Re:What's the benefit ? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003416)

The question is: are all current browser implementations compatible to each other ?

No. No they aren't. Not all browsers support the same DOM properties. Some have different names for the same data and other just don't support some items. It's a mess to program for every JS implementation.

What Mozilla giveth, Slashcode taketh away. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003236)

Why do I have a feeling that Slashcode's terrible AJAX interface is going to get even worse in the near future?

This is quite possibly the lamest e-peen measuring contest ever.

Re:What Mozilla giveth, Slashcode taketh away. (5, Funny)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003644)

Yea, what is even more irritating is they keep subjecting us to it. Even thought the boxes stay checked I have had to go to my user preferences and turn on and then back off the new comment system several times in the last two weeks. I hate it, based on the comments I read here on Slashdot just about everyone else hates it two. Some of them are just Luddites that want the Slashdot of 1997 period but the rest of us just hate because its an awful way to browse and read comments, awful (GET IT TACO AWFUL) so many other sites have gotten it write, if you feel he need to update the look and feel of Slashdot go look at what others are doing!

thats great but.... (2, Insightful)

samfisher5986 (1927786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003288)

Its great Firefox are working on certain areas of speed but they seem to always do it in the wrong areas or more to the point that their browser is built on top of a slow memory leaking turd. I run a computer with a E2200 on win7 at work. Firefox is sluggish, I've even tried the latest beta and its still slow. Chrome is very fast somehow and so none of these tests are that relevant to me. I haven't liked Firefox since version 2.

Re:thats great but.... (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003324)

Given that a lot of the browser is implemented in JavaScript, it should also make the browser itself faster.

Re:thats great but.... (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003902)

Note the times for this article, however. The benchmarks that they are running are taking less than half a second from loading the JavaScript code to finishing running. That's a fairly good test for typical web pages, but it's a pretty pointless benchmark. Any script that does that little will run at an adequate speed with a fairly naive bytecode interpreter.

The things that really benefit from JavaScript speed are long-running scripts. Consider something like a Flash game that runs for minutes at a time. When I compile programs, the compiler typically spends a second or so of CPU time running optimisations. This can easily save several seconds of CPU time over the total run time of the program, but would be pointless for a short-lived web script. This trade changes when the scripts are running for a long time.

Modern JavaScript implementations do dynamic optimisation based on run time profiling. This is what the trace stuff was all about. Trace-based optimisations work by finding a set of basic blocks that run in a particular order - irrespective of where they are in the source code - and creating an optimised sequence (without any branches except to leave the trace), so the common-case execution of a sequence of functions / methods does not involve any jumps. Benchmarks that complete in well under a second won't give this kind of stuff any time to kick in.

JavaScript implementations need to be optimised for two things: fast start up (very noticeable to the user) and CPU usage for longer-running scripts. These benchmarks are only really testing the former, while things like the canvas tag and WebGL are making the latter more important.

Re:thats great but.... (1)

gaiageek (1070870) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003422)

2nd that. I recently started using Chromium on a trial basis because Firefox's memory problems got out of control (Win7, 4GB RAM) requiring me to restart the browser every day. If Firefox's memory problems aren't fixed with 4.0, I feel pretty certain the switch will be permanent. The main thing keeping me on Firefox was Adblock Plus, but I've found that Adblock for Chrome does nearly as well. If anyone can recommend a better browser with ad-blocking that handles 40-50 tabs open over time without becoming sluggish, I'd love to hear about it. This problem has definitely gotten me interested in the idea behind Chrome OS: that the browser needs to be more tightly integrated with the operating system. Having to restart Firefox every day and wait for it to reload all my tabs reminds me the days of having to restart Windows 95/98 just to fix unexplained sluggishness.

Re:thats great but.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003456)

Just use Opera. Done deal.

Re:thats great but.... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003478)

<quote>that the browser needs to be more tightly integrated with the operating system.</quote>

That will probably never truly happen.

When IE was 'integrated' into Windows - it caused an anti-trust lawsuit.

Also, when you have browsers which are meant to work across different operating systems (firefox is an example, chrome/chromium and opera others) - then doing so becomes significantly more difficult, or other OSes will get left out. Firefox's GPU acceleration works only in Windows if I remember correctly.

Also, integrating browser with the OS will make things far less secure.

Re:thats great but.... (1)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003500)

I hear this argument a lot, that people have to restart their browsers once a day. Why is that a problem?

Re:thats great but.... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003666)

I frequently keep the browser open to keep the current-day version of a daily changing web site available the next day when I didn't find the time to read all of it.

Fortunately I don't need to restart the browser daily; maybe it's because I use AdBlock and NoScript.

Re:thats great but.... (1)

RMS Eats Toejam (1693864) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003776)

Well, it may not be a problem for you, since you spend more of your time sucking fat dick than actually using computer. In a nutshell, you should never, ever have to restart a program to keep it usable. Doing so means the program you are using is a pile of shit. Now that you learned something, please continue fucking yourself.

Re:thats great but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003678)

It used to be the case that Firefox was a big memory hog with memory leaks everywhere. But over the years, they've really fine-tuned and plugged a huge number of memory leaks. So you'll find that from all the browsers, particularly Safari, MSIE, and even Opera 10.5, Firefox memory usage is (surprisingly) the lowest.
Javascript and thus your overall browsing experience really improved significantly from Firefox v3, while version 2 was extremely slow and a memory hog.

Opera used to be the fastest, cleanest, most compact browser, but I've really become disappointed by the memory usage of their 10.x browsers.

I still use a Intel P3 450mhz pc with 512mb memory as my primary machine, so browser processing speed and memory usage is extremely important for people in my case.

My browser can beat up your browser any day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003296)

At this point it's really a pissing match since the differences between each are very little speed wise.

Benchmarks (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003322)

I am sure this will set off a whole series of arguments over benchmarks, tuning, fairness, etc. But from this article I will just take this: I don't care which one is fastest to the few dozen milliseconds, they are probably all in the same "class" now. Everybody wins. (I can sorta understand not including IE, but wonder why they didn't include Opera?)

Now that Javascript is so much faster, perhaps the browsers can focus on giving some type of automated/intelligent control over when it is used and how so older machines won't come to a CRAWL because of all the cutesy animation and junk spread over most big sites now. (And no, NoScript doesn't cut it- too complicated for most users, not automatic, too easy to break Javascript that is actually needed, etc). Suppress time-delayed actions, disable tight loops, throw artificial delays in loops under user control, visually tag elements to manually "play" on-demand only or stop after X seconds. I know, keep dreaming.

Re:Benchmarks (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003366)

I am sure this will set off a whole series of arguments over benchmarks, tuning, fairness, etc. But from this article I will just take this: I don't care which one is fastest to the few dozen milliseconds, they are probably all in the same "class" now. Everybody wins.

I agree. Even IE 9 should be good enough by now, to not much JS that much of a bottleneck when loading web pages, even pretty JS heavy ones.

Also, as for tuning, there's no secret that Mozilla has tuned Firefox 4 particularly to win Sunspider and V8.

Re:Benchmarks (1)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003374)

That's solved by Flashblock (or, even better, completely deinstall flash if you can: I only use Flash for YouTube and starting with Firefox 4 even there won't be necessary, thanks to native WebM video) and most importantly Adblock Plus with a subscription to Easylist. Your browser will suddenly become much faster.

Re:Benchmarks (2, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003426)

Flashblock only stops Flash, not Javascript animation. First it was animated GIF, then Flash, and now it is Javascript animation. Animated GIF and Flash are both easy to control. But Javascript animation is a whole different story. And although Adblock helps, a lot of the stuff is not ads.

Web site designers don't seem to give a damn how much horsepower their site need or use. It is apparent when you try to browse the web using an older machine, or a smartphone. And on a portable device, all that extra "crud" eats up the battery fast.

Re:Benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003804)

You *could* get the NoScript extension. It lets you disable what sites can/can't use scripting.

Re:Benchmarks (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003836)

>You *could* get the NoScript extension. It lets you disable what sites can/can't use scripting.

And from my original posting:

"(And no, NoScript doesn't cut it- too complicated for most users, not automatic, too easy to break Javascript that is actually needed, etc)."

NoScript doesn't really manage stuff, it is just a series of allow/deny logic. It requires a lot of user interaction, knowledge, and time. Most people have none of the three and would just end up "breaking" most sites. It is not the solution that I had in mind.

Re:Benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003440)

Now that Javascript is so much faster, perhaps the browsers can focus on giving some type of automated/intelligent control over when it is used and how so older machines won't come to a CRAWL because of all the cutesy animation and junk spread over most big sites now. (And no, NoScript doesn't cut it- too complicated for most users, not automatic, too easy to break Javascript that is actually needed, etc). Suppress time-delayed actions, disable tight loops, throw artificial delays in loops under user control, visually tag elements to manually "play" on-demand only or stop after X seconds. I know, keep dreaming.

i think fixing the bugs on file would be a better use of time instead of worrying about your 400MHz PC. besides, just use scripts from userscripts.org [userscripts.org] to fix the "big sites" sites. if userscripts are too complex for one then one should stay off the internet.

buy an upgrade or gtfo my internets.

Re:Benchmarks (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003558)

That is a really crappy attitude. You are completely ignoring:

1) Older machines
2) Phones
3) Portable devices/pads
4) Thin clients
5) People who don't want to see such crap or who are severely distracted/annoyed by it.

And it doesn't matter HOW fast your machine is- good design is good design. Making assumptions about what device the user is using and not caring, or just not caring at all, is bad design.

Re:Benchmarks (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003780)

I guess lots of people I know who are not so computer-savvy would call you a douche.

Re:Benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003616)

>I can sorta understand not including IE, but wonder why they didn't include Opera?

FAQ says:

Why isn't Opera/IE/something here?

Right now, the performance tests are run on a Mac, which means no IE. Also the tests rely on a "shell" JS engine that runs in a command line. It doesn't test browsers. We'll change that, eventually.

Re:Benchmarks (1)

wile_e8 (958263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003740)

But from this article I will just take this: I don't care which one is fastest to the few dozen milliseconds, they are probably all in the same "class" now. Everybody wins.

Isn't competition so much nicer than having a monopoly one one browser that hasn't been updated in years?

Re:Benchmarks (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003810)

>Isn't competition so much nicer than having a monopoly one one browser that hasn't been updated in years?

Oh yes. It is wonderful to have multiplatform, competition, and standards based. Throw in some open source and community driven stuff too and it is really nice!

The Best Java Script Engine Available... (2, Informative)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003334)

...is NoScript. They have brought my Java script load times down to 0.00 seconds. Thanks, NoScript.

Re:The Best Java Script Engine Available... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003524)

I always thought being able to actually execute JavaScript is a prime requisite of JavaScript engines.

Re:The Best Java Script Engine Available... (1)

Flushdot Is Bad (1921064) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003648)

or you could look at it as it brings javascript execution time up to infinity.

no Internet Explorer comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003338)

oh wait, maybe the tests are still running.

Re:no Internet Explorer comparison? (2, Informative)

falc (689160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003522)

from http://arewefastyet.com/faq.html [arewefastyet.com] :

"3. Why isn't Opera/IE/something here?
Right now, the performance tests are run on a Mac, which means no IE. Also the tests rely on a "shell" JS engine that runs in a command line. It doesn't test browsers. We'll change that, eventually."

Seriously... (0, Flamebait)

LMahesa (1582059) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003348)

... who really cares? Why should this twitch anyone's eyebrow, nevermind be deemed newsworthy? It may have been amusing when they first started, but now?

Re:Seriously... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003370)

The Firefox developers care. Because it means that they finally are no longer much slower than the competition (given the small difference in the current benchmark, I'd say a more accurate headline would be "Firefox has caught up with Chrome speed).

Thanks for the hard work (4, Interesting)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003372)

Seeing that Firefox on a few weeks ago was starting to lag pretty severely behind Chrome, I applaud and thank the Firefox team for their hard work. This is also a boon for their technique, the so-called "shotgunning" method of pushing through compilation the old way if it will complete faster than the optimizations. I had become afraid I might have to move to Chrome, looks like that won't be necessary.

As a developer I completely understand the dislike of the "everything in a browser" attitude, but we need to look beyond that. The next version of ECMAScript will give us the security we've been wanting, and this round of browsers will give us the speed we need. Enabling universal, secure process level interaction between machines is the goal. You can think of it as widgets, .Net, or whichever other poison you want, but Javascript is free of ownership and frankly a damn good language when written properly.

Now give me an 100% on the Acid3 test please, that way I'll have multiple tools to leverage against my boss next time he asks me to make a web app IE6 compatible.

Re:Thanks for the hard work (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003428)

Call your Microsoft reps, and tell him about your boss, he will take him to golf and you will use ie9 !

Re:Thanks for the hard work (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003590)

So what you are saying is that Mozilla doesn't have enough golfers?

Re:Thanks for the hard work (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003754)

exactly, they need to spend more time on the green with PHBs if they want a larger corporate adoption.

Re:Thanks for the hard work (1)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003688)

Seeing that Firefox on a few weeks ago was starting to lag pretty severely behind Chrome, I applaud and thank the Firefox team for their hard work. This is also a boon for their technique, the so-called "shotgunning" method of pushing through compilation the old way if it will complete faster than the optimizations. I had become afraid I might have to move to Chrome, looks like that won't be necessary.

You don't seem to understand how JaegerMonkey works, or what the SunSpider benchmark actually tests. The entire speedup here can be attributed to Firefox not compiling JS "the old way." Instead of defaulting to bytecode like they were previously, they always emit compiled instructions via Nitro's assembler. And given how the SunSpider benchmark works, all that is being tested is their parsing plus Nitro's assembly. The SunSpider benchmark doesn't even run long enough for Mozilla's tracing engine to be a significant factor (because the benchmark was created by Apple to showcase the performance of Nitro). So, not to be dismissive, but it seems like Apple (as the creator of Nitro) is more responsible for the speed increase.

Kudos to Mozilla for the overall improvement, but I'd really like to see results on a benchmark not so heavily biased to such uncommon use cases (compilation speed without hot path optimizations). In particular, I'd like to see benchmarks of common use cases that factor in the performance of their tracing engine, which is the piece of their stack that Mozilla has invested so heavily in. The Kraken benchmark provides some interesting stress tests along those lines, but it's still very narrowly targeted and not representative of current or anticipated use cases.

and yet Firefox still can't use 1 core... :( (5, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003510)

Tell me, mr anderson, what good is javascript performance if you are unable to use multiple cores?

I wish someone would get on this and make firefox work with multiple cores better. As it is I use the "|" character in my home page settings to open about 20 tabs-- forums, review sites, slashdot, economics blogs, etc....and firefox slows to a grinding halt for about the 15 seconds (just timed it) it takes to render all those pages.
Chrome does it in about 4 seconds and pegs all 4 of my cores to 100%.

Please Mozilla, I know this would require a serious redesign, but it's seriously needed. Hitching while scrolling up/down because a tab is loading in the background (I make use of middle click to open tabs in the background extensively) is very annoying.

Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003516)

Benchmark performance?

Who cares! Real world usage or nothing!

Re:Wait, what? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003772)

Yeah, a good benchmark would be how long it takes to show a Slashdot page with 500+ comments.

Interesting? (3, Informative)

mseeger (40923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003526)

I really don't see the point in a posting like this. Its all

        My _______ (1) is _______ (2) than yours

with typical choices for (1):

- car
- wife / husband / significant other
- d*ck
- browser
- javascript
- OS

and choices for (2) like:

- faster
- harder
- more expensive
- longer
- more open
- prettier

Now that we have covered all these discussions, can we move on please?

CU, Martin

Re:Interesting? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003608)

OK, let's try to fill according to your instructions ...

My wife / husband / significant other is longer than yours.
My d*ck is more expensive than yours.
My javascript is harder than yours.

Hmmm ... somehow doesn't work that well ... :-)

Re:Interesting? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003884)

You're just jealous that my wife is harder than yours.

I can only see one use case for faster JS (1, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003536)

Really, all this focus on faster Javascript puzzles me. JS, used correctly, should be a thin layer of glue, representing only a fraction of the total run time for a browser. The only real use I could begin to see would be if they could apply the same speed-ups to the Actionscript engine within Flash to improve the decoding of Hulu's encryption system - but since all the client sees is the bytecoded form of the decryption, not the AS source, and since this speedup is in the JS in the browser rather than the AS of Flash, I have to ask, "what good is making JS run faster?"

The biggest "slowdowns" I see with JS are mostly due to poorly written JS doing busy loops waiting for "stuff" to happen, rather than doing completion routines (as in the whole asynchronous part of A JAX?). No speed ups in the engine will make a busy loop run faster or take less CPU time. If we could break programmers of the busy loop habit, perhaps by making JS be truly multithreaded, and providing proper blocking APIs (semaphores, message queues, etc.) it might make a difference.

Re:I can only see one use case for faster JS (2, Insightful)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003624)

Really, all this focus on faster Javascript puzzles me. JS, used correctly, should be a thin layer of glue,

That was the original idea of JS. It's already being used much more heavily in current web apps. But the main point of speeding it up isn't for today's websites, it's so that websites can do entirely new things without bringing the browser to a crawl. Think image processing, online mini-games, and no doubt hundreds of more imaginative uses.

Re:I can only see one use case for faster JS (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003684)

Think image processing, online mini-games, and no doubt hundreds of more imaginative uses.

All of which would be better done with a native app.

Re:I can only see one use case for faster JS (1)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003878)

The sensible answer: Web apps have various advantages over native apps (and of course, various disadvantages). For example, easy collaboration, and no installation or upgrade procedure for the user. There's even a security benefit: if a user wants to play some silly game, it's much safer to run that in a browser than it is for them to download and install something potentially dodgy. Native apps aren't dead, but web apps have a place too, and there's enough reason to expand what they can do.

The other answer: The best technology doesn't always win. Even if web apps were an entirely bad idea (and I don't believe they are, see above), they're out there. If Mozilla said "Our JS is fast enough now, anything more should be a native app", it would be Firefox that died, not web apps.

Re:I can only see one use case for faster JS (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003984)

For example, easy collaboration, and no installation or upgrade procedure for the user.

There's no reason a native app should be any less capable of networking than a web app. Installation is trivial

There's even a security benefit: if a user wants to play some silly game, it's much safer to run that in a browser than it is for them to download and install something potentially dodgy.

There is no security benefit. The browser is not a sandbox. Putting all this capability into javascript increases the attack surface, and conditions people to just run whatever crap they find on the internet.

The only real reason web apps have any traction at all is that it's easier to deliver advertising with them.

Most of Firefox is written in JavaScript. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003734)

I know, I know, it's damn near impossible to believe, but the Firefox developers voluntarily chose to write a huge portion of Firefox in JavaScript and XML (XUL). The rendering engine and network stack are written in C++, but just about everything else is implemented using JavaScript and XUL, including all of the UI.

This is why JavaScript performance is so important to Firefox. While other browsers didn't make the same mistake, and wrote the bulk of the browsers in a real language like C++, the Firefox developers chose what is probably the stupidest architecture possible. A slow JavaScript implementation means their entire browser is slow, rather than just any web pages that might use JavaScript in some way.

Re:I can only see one use case for faster JS (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003786)

If all you want the browser for is to do the same kind of stuff that we were doing ten years ago, then Javascript "should be a thin layer of glue". And your modern browser should be seen as nothing more than a pimped up version of Lynx.

That is not what I want. The combination of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and big pipes make it possible to write applications that can run on multiple platforms, and (more to the point) be updated across their entire user base by simply uploading the new version to your website. Not to mention that the browser provides all the fussy user interface code already, so you can concentrate on getting the app's core functions right.

I agree that the most egregious problems with JS coding have to do with poor programming, but that is not a technical issue. Faster JS will allow Google and other "Web 2.0" players to write more interesting web apps. Novice programmers will always be with us-- there is no technical way to avoid that.

However it is nearly possible now to use Javascript routines that prefetched links, did background evaluations of the page's conformance with generally accepted standards, and then color coded the links so you could avoid going to sites that were too amateurish to tolerate. But that kind of thing will require fast JS (and a biggish pipe).

Do not ever write games in Javascript D: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003570)

Here's why you never write games purely in javascript

1. Cheating = Your source code is completely exposed (and more so than flash.) So any new game you put up is going to be "finished" in 30 seconds with all achievements and a 2 trillion point score.
2. Multiplayer griefing = If all the game's logic is in javascript, then it's a simple matter of changing things so you have an advantage.
3. Malware = Developers are not all the same, when an entire motive of a game is to garner ad revenue, then the game is going to be riddled with holes that either allow the player to rig the "ad" viewing experience,or remove it entirely, just like back in the day of 'ad tool bars' and bots.

Re:Do not ever write games in Javascript D: (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003714)

1. Cheating = Your source code is completely exposed (and more so than flash.) So any new game you put up is going to be "finished" in 30 seconds with all achievements and a 2 trillion point score.

So what? Anyone doing that would just deprive himself from the fun of playing.

2. Multiplayer griefing = If all the game's logic is in javascript, then it's a simple matter of changing things so you have an advantage.

That only applies to multiplayer games. For those I'd expect the game logic to reside mostly on the server anyways. For games where this is not appropriate, JavaScript is not the right choice, I agree. But that's not the category of games which I'd expect to be browser based anyway.

3. Malware = Developers are not all the same, when an entire motive of a game is to garner ad revenue, then the game is going to be riddled with holes that either allow the player to rig the "ad" viewing experience,or remove it entirely, just like back in the day of 'ad tool bars' and bots.

In short, you can block ads in the browser. Yes, that's nothing new, and nothing specific to JavaScript and games.

Sure but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34003660)

Have they fixed the memory leak(s)?

No argument (1)

gVibe (997166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003738)

I really was (am) trying to fully embrace Chrome. But everyday, I find reason (most not directly Google's fault) not to fully switch. Firefox 4 is becoming everything I was looking for in a browser....speed, support, compatibility. There are certain things linked to my browser that just make some tasks easier, and I am finding that not very many sites that offer Firefox extensions to their products/services are simply not interested in porting the extension to Chrome. I find this disheartening...but changing to a new service is more work than I wish to do, especially multiple times over. So I keep two browsers installed at all times to ensure I can get done what I need to do without slowing down on senseless lack of support from some company's.

What about the File API? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34003928)

Does Firefox support the new File API yet? The same as Chrome and Safari, not the older one which was Firefox-only.

Re:What about the File API? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34004030)

Firefox has had HTML5 File API support for a while now (it works in my FF 3.6). Try it out at http://html5demos.com/file-api [html5demos.com] . It works for me in Chrome and FF (not sure about safari).
 
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