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Investigating the Performance of Firefox 4 and IE9

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the nine-is-bigger-than-four-so-it's-better-right dept.

Firefox 105

theweatherelectric writes "Mozilla's Robert O'Callahan has investigated the performance differences between Firefox 4 and IE9. He writes, 'As I explained in my last post, Microsoft's PR about "full hardware acceleration" is a myth. But it's true that some graphics benchmarks consistently report better scores for IE9 than for Firefox, so over the last few days I've been looking into that. Below I'll explain the details [of] what I've found about various commonly-cited benchmarks, but the summary is that the performance differences are explained by relatively small bugs in Firefox, bugs in IE9, and bugs in the benchmarks, not due to any major architectural issues in Firefox (as Microsoft would have you believe).'"

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Firefox 4 (0)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464054)

It's faster than a turtle!

Re:Firefox 4 (4, Informative)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464096)

I'm liking FF4 so far. I was using Chrome but they never fixed my endless "Sending request" bug, no matter how many times I and others reported it, so I'm giving up on them for now.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464114)

I've only started seeing that on the first few chromium 12 builds. Been using chrome nightly with updates every few days. The latest one I've downloaded today didn't seem to have that bug.

Re:Firefox 4 (3, Informative)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464170)

Google are rubbish at responding to bugs. If they respond at all, it's often a joke.
I'm not using Chrome until there's a menu item for bookmarks. I'm not giving up a whole row just to get to the bookmark button.

Re:Firefox 4 (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464298)

The Mac version has a Bookmarks menu, but that's simply due to the fact that the menu bar shows context menus for any open app. The minimalist approach to chrome is a bit irritating sometimes. I also get irritated with the single 'options' button on IE. Sometimes it makes sense to have various context menus available for easy access. I have to wonder why they didn't take the same approach with IE that they did with explorer, where a hotkey would cause the menu's to appear when needed, and disappear when the key was released.

Re:Firefox 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465540)

I guess you've never pressed Alt in IE.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464382)

There is bookmark icon and in fact you can fill a whole row with various bookmarks / bookmark folders. It's been there since day one. The only difference, I believe, is it was hidden by default on some versions but if you're posting on Slashdot then I would imagine it shouldn't be rocket science for you to make it show.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465012)

I don't want a "whole row" of bookmarks; I use XMarks and have hundreds of bookmarks; how would I choose 10 or so, and why would I want them all the time. It shouldn't be rocket science for Google to say "people expect a menu bar with `bookmarks` on it which they can click on to get bookmarks". I don't mind people experimenting with stuff, but making it less functional/convenient in the name of style is retarded.

The best I can do is have a tab open all the time with all the bookmarks in it and flick to that when I want to open a new page. Either that or click the spanner, then bookmark manager, then click on a folder, then double click on the bookmark. 5 clicks against 2 on Firefox. This is more important to me than this or that javascript test showing a 2.3% speed improvement.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465262)

I sympathize. Chrome could be a nice browser, but I hate the user interface too much to use it. Some prominent developer once said something to the effect of "If you treat your users like idiots, only idiots will use your software". It's foolish and arrogant to assume that everyone's workflow is the same, or that everyone should change theirs to suit your software.

The user interface is too dumbed down, and it's not configurable enough for me.

I don't care how fast a browser is, if I hate it. I stick with Firefox because I like it, not because it renders some unlikely test case faster. While actually using the browser to read pages, a few milliseconds in rendering time don't really matter. Lagged scrolling sucks though and I find Firefox 4.x to be an improvement over Firefox 3 in Linux, with or without 3D acceleration enabled with MOZ_GLX_IGNORE_BLACKLIST=1 (I use the ATI fglrx driver and while it fails some test elements, it seems to work for real world demos)

The only browsing I do in Windows is to check my forums, download drivers and the occasional game patch so it's unlikely that I'll ever install IE9 (I never open IE as a browser anyway... it sickens me)

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466766)

My point was they have a bookmark icon which shows a menu like Firefox but like Firefox if you also want to create your own bookmark folders or just bookmarks in the bar then you can. I had it import my Firefox bookmarks and the functionality of that menu is now identical to Firefox.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464400)

There's an extension that does just that. I was kind of annoyed by it too until I found it. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dneehabidhbfdiohdhbhjbbljobchgab [google.com]

Re:Firefox 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464870)

Oh boy can't wait to try that out... nope

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

Archimonde (668883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466112)

There is somewhat similar to what you are requesting. Try Neat Bookmarks [google.com] .
But well, I'm still using Firefox 4 RC. I just hate missing a proper bookmarks sidebar, find w/o pressing ctrl+f, and most of all, it is not owned by google.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

Draconmythica (1057150) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464798)

I'm liking FF4 so far. I was using Chrome but they never fixed my endless "Sending request" bug, no matter how many times I and others reported it, so I'm giving up on them for now.

Open your proxy settings and uncheck "Automatically detect settings" and your "Sending request" bug will be gone.

Re:Firefox 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35467366)

Cool story bro.

Got anything else besides anecdotes?

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465122)

It's faster than IE 9 on Linux and OS X!

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465258)

Not true--IE9 is blindingly fast on my Linux box. Of course, it also fails the most basic tests, such as rendering a minimal blank page. :)

Real Benchmarks (3, Insightful)

camcorder (759720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464060)

Only benchmark I care is the real usage of web. Is there any benchmark available that tests sites such as top 30 sites listed on alexa.com, and have some automated usage profiles and compare load time, render time, memory usage etc.?

Re:Real Benchmarks (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464352)

Ultimate browser benchmark: Logging in, and posting on slashdot.

Re:Real Benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464634)

Ultimate browser benchmark: Logging in, and posting on slashdot.

Problem is, currently it seems IE9 wins that one. As one poster said in previous thread, what a cruel practical joke of MS to play on us.

Re:Real Benchmarks (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465814)

Slashdot's crappy AJAX does make for an excellent browser stress test.

Re:Real Benchmarks (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465956)

Wouldn't that be a quirks mode test, not a performance test?

Re:Real Benchmarks (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464392)

What good is that and how are they going to make their tests lean in their favour?

Re:Real Benchmarks (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464422)

I really dont care how well a browser works on goatse

If there was a benchmark based on usage of a list of websites I can almost guarantee that list would be populated by money(corps/sites would pay their way onto the list) OR pranksters would do their best to fudge the list(widespread malware that helps put goatse at the top based on usage stats) A list of specific sites doesnt constitute the whole WWW

Re:Real Benchmarks (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465142)

For the legions of XP users, it's FF4 and IE8.

And for a real benchmark, gmail with lots of labs going is pretty brutal on scripts.

No there's not (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467404)

Because it doesn't let the browser devs wave their e-penises around. The thing is that in terms of speed, all browsers are plenty fast enough for normal browsing. Your internet connection is the limit, or slow ass ad servers, not the browser. I haven't waited on my browser to render in ages. It is always some dumbass ad company who's server isn't responding that hangs the rendering of the page.

So the browsers don't compare that because it isn't somethign they can brag about. You'd have to cache the data just to remove network differences from messing up the results and then it would be something like "Oh look! We rendered the page in 0.02 seconds, slow ass IE took 0.025!" Nothing anyone would care about.

Memory usage is also ignored. Part of it is because it is something that is too abstract for most people so they don't care. Part of it is because many of the browsers don't look so good in that area. Firefox loses to IE rather badly in most of my informal tests, so it isn't something they are going to be interested in going on about. Of course there again it usually doesn't matter. RAM is cheap so who cares if a browser eats it up.

The browser benchmarks are largely contrived because they are good enough speed wise these days for the actual web that people use. The differences that people might notice, things like extensions, stability, etc are much harder to 'benchmark'.

Re:Real Benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35470928)

Mozilla's TP suite of benchmarks is exactly this. We take a snapshot of the top X sites from alexa.com, and measure how long it takes to load the whole suite, memory usage, etc. See http://bit.ly/e8SGfK [bit.ly] for how far we're come over the past year.

MS Firefox FUD? (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464068)

the summary is that the performance differences are explained by relatively small bugs in Firefox, bugs in IE9, and bugs in the benchmarks, not due to any major architectural issues in Firefox (as Microsoft would have you believe).

So MS is spouting some anti Firefox FUD? When did this start? How are we supposed to measure browsers against each other if one (or both) sides aren't telling the truth. My confidence is crushed ... just crushed.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

sigma_epsilon (1701846) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464128)

What is this, FUD about FUD? I've never heard of Microsoft actively discouraging Firefox use in the last few years. Sure, they recommend their own browser, over it, but that's hardly surprising.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464278)

What is this, FUD about FUD? I've never heard of Microsoft actively discouraging Firefox use in the last few years. Sure, they recommend their own browser, over it, but that's hardly surprising.

Microsoft posted several demos comparing the canvas performance with Firefox on the IE blog with IE9 being signficantly faster. They claimed the speed difference on the account that IE9 is hardware accelerated by using the gpu.
This mozilla guy said that their implementation was slower because of an inefficient dom manipulation and security checks they were doing, rather than the actual rendering process which was on par if not faster then the one in IE.
So now he basically just called out the full gpu accelerated browser as a marketing stunt.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464308)

Not to mention they were nice enough to release an H.264 plugin for Firefox [slashdot.org] thus freeing Mozilla from any licensing issues. It supposedly only works native in Windows 7 since Win 7 comes with H.264 support built in, but since it is simply calling the WMP API if you have an H.264 DShow codec installed (personally I like Klite Mega on XP, Vista codec pack for Vista and 7 Codec pack for 7 along with 64 bit MP Classic) it should work just fine.

I think the bigger problem for Firefox isn't IE but Chrome which they keep trying to rip off but failing. I don't run Beta so I can't talk about FF 4 but the last 2 releases of the 3.6.x line have totally sucked. After a half day's usage the thing is blowing through memory like a Vegas hooker through coke, so bad I have to shut it down and restart even with trim_on_minimize enabled.

Of course on Vista and Windows 7 I can't even recommend it anymore, it simply isn't as secure as Chrome and IE since they refuse to support low rights mode thus making their browser the least secure of the bunch. I can't hand my customers a browser that runs at higher privileges when interacting with the source of just about every nasty they get exposed to, it is just a bad idea.

So I'd say Mozilla needs to quit worrying about bullet points and start worrying about their code. The more features of Chrome and IE they tack on the more Gecko begins to fall apart IMHO, and while adding sandboxing for plugins (aka Chrome) is a good idea the Gecko engine doesn't seem to work well with it and refuses to release memory after say watching a flash video. The future is mobile, with green computing not far behind so now is NOT the time to just "throw more memory/cycles at it" if you want to be on people's laptops/netbooks/nettops/MIDs.

When you blow through a gig and a half of RAM and slam the CPU almost on every page load on a nettop after running barely half a day? Yeah you might want to look into that guys. It has gotten bad enough that I've had to switch to a Chromium based just to be able to watch videos or have more than two tabs on my nettop. Having to shut down FF every couple of hours and relaunch just to get memory back was something I thought we had left behind with FF 2.x.x.

I hate to say it as usually it is a bad idea, but maybe it is time for a rewrite? Maybe a low rights, sandboxed and tab isolated FF simply isn't possible with the current Gecko code. If so they need to be quietly rewriting FF in the background while updating FF 4 to give them something to ship. Just a thought but I need to support everything from netbooks to quad core gaming PCs and right now FF just isn't cutting it on the lower end machines, at least IME.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464622)

Not to mention they were nice enough to release an H.264 plugin for Firefox [slashdot.org] thus freeing Mozilla from any licensing issues. It supposedly only works native in Windows 7 since Win 7 comes with H.264 support built in, but since it is simply calling the WMP API if you have an H.264 DShow codec installed (personally I like Klite Mega on XP, Vista codec pack for Vista and 7 Codec pack for 7 along with 64 bit MP Classic) it should work just fine.

Firefox was free from any licensing issues ANYWAY. OS X, Windows and Linux all have multimedia frameworks. It would have been relatively straightforward for FF to utilise them for video media types it didn't handle natively.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (2)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464638)

If I recall correctly, the MS H.264 extension also caused extreme memory bloat/leakage.

Also, a lot of the rewriting you're talking about as needing to happen has in fact been going on, in the open for anyone who's interested to see. Heck, mobile Firefox already does use process isolation and it's coming to the desktop version next. The project is called electrolysis. Honestly, a lot of what you're saying sounds like the usual uninformed trolling about how old Gecko is and how badly it needs to be overhauled as if that work isn't being done. It's a foolish assumption because all Gecko development happens in the open and anyone with the desire to can see and confirm that in fact large portions of the code have been rewritten during the Gecko 2.0 development window (what do you think they've been spending the last 18 months doing?) and are continuing to be already for post-2.0 Gecko.

In case you're interested, here's a list of the major work done on Gecko during the 2.0 development timeframe.
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1961093 [mozillazine.org]

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464660)

Not to mention they were nice enough to release an H.264 plugin for Firefox [slashdot.org] thus freeing Mozilla from any licensing issues. It supposedly only works native in Windows 7 since Win 7 comes with H.264 support built in, but since it is simply calling the WMP API if you have an H.264 DShow codec installed (personally I like Klite Mega on XP, Vista codec pack for Vista and 7 Codec pack for 7 along with 64 bit MP Classic) it should work just fine.

Bullshit, they didn't free Mozilla from anything, Mozilla still has to pay a licensing fee for copies that are running on other OSes if they want support, given that MS just created a plug in to use a library already in Windows. And not even all currently used versions either, I'm not sure about Vista, but it doesn't do squat for those of us on XP.

If you haven't actually loaded up a copy of what Mozilla has been doing over the last year+ of work, what precisely do those browser versions have to do with anything? Additionally, even during the 3.5x period, the memory use was well below the competition.

But then again, I'm guessing your some sort of shill and that this isn't going to have any impact.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464932)

Yes, they did free Mozilla from the necessity of having to license in order to play h.264 within Windows 7. Just because that doesn't affect you in your little world doesn't mean that it has no affect at all. The 17.5% of Firefox users on the 28% of desktops running Windows 7.0 can freely watch h.264 video using the license that Microsoft bought and paid for. That is not an insignificant number.

As for Mozilla's responsibility for other platforms, if they simply deferred video playback to the OS as Internet Explorer and Safari do then they would have no responsibility whatsoever for any platform. If the user of said OS happened to have a codec installed that plays h.264, Firefox could play it and Mozilla would have absolutely no licensing responsibilities. They would also gain the ability to play a wide array of existing video formats as well as forward compatibility with new formats as they become available.

But your argument isn't a technical one. You (and Mozilla) have political and ideological reasons for why you think that there is only room for "The One Format," and that is fine. I can understand the disdain for known patent encumbered formats given the garbage Unisys pulled. Fortunately, in both cases, more level heads define the standards and they intentionally leave the formats open, lest we be stuck with whatever garbage happened to be "good enough" at the time that the standard was rubber-stamped until a room full of conflicting agendas manages to reconsider a decade too late.

And if you define "shill" as someone who doesn't masturbate along to your narrow world view which includes restricting the choices of others because you disagree with them, then yes, I am absolutely a shill.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465098)

Obviously, you are a shill, my mistake for thinking otherwise. You make it sound like MS is in some fashion being generous. No, they aren't, they're doing this to keep people locked into their OS. It's a business motive, and quite frankly, you'd have to be stupid not to see through it.

Mozilla is standing up for their users, and the users of unpopular OS, deferring to the OS is a bullshit solution to the problem. That's largely the sort of thinking which led to Flash being the format of choice for online content, you knew that if it was supported it would work correctly. But it was problematic because for most of that time Macromedia only supported Windows and Mac, which meant that if you were using another platform you were effectively shut out of sections of the web.

It's not ideological or political in nature, I've seen what happens when shills like you convince people that it's OK to section off blocks of the web because their favorite OS is supported. Ultimately everybody suffers because websites can no longer offer up the sorts of choices that people should have in operating environment.

Oh, this is rich, the guy who just defends MS for monopolist tactics, is accusing me of wanting to restrict the freedoms of other people. What's next attacking me for supporting healthcare reform as being a fascist move to force people to give up their essential freedoms?

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465360)

Ah, its the old bullshit "completely free software stack for rendering the web" argument from a browser that already happily uses Flash, QuickTime, and WMP in order to render a lot of the multimedia content on the web.

Here is an idea.. stop using each and every external component installed on peoples computers that turns out to be required to render the existing web, or stop using this bullshit inconsistent argument when firefox is already more than happy to use other 3rd party stuff to render the existing web.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467172)

And this flash support has been problematic for linux users. Using Firefox 4 I can happily watch videos encoded in the webm format. Flash has had problems on amd64. At times it seems to be unsupported, other times it has been compiled to use instructions unsupported by my newcastle cpu. The need for open source software isn't just a philosophical one, but also a practical one.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465020)

Bullshit, they didn't free Mozilla from anything, Mozilla still has to pay a licensing fee for copies that are running on other OSes if they want support,

So you'd be happy if MS also provided licensed versions and plugins for OSs they don't own? Seems a little unreasonable. As to XP, it's ten years old, again it's not reasonable to complain that they're not releasing new enhancements to old software they're not selling anymore. It's not like anything on XP is broken by this, they're just not adding new functionality to it anymore.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465568)

It's not like anything on XP is broken by this, they're just not adding new functionality to it anymore.

They should be providing support. Ford still makes parts for cars they dont make any more. Even if they didn't other companies can.
The only reason they refuse to support XP is to try to drive people to upgrade.
If a company chooses to end support for a piece of software they should lose ALL rights over that software.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467060)

Bullshit AC, total and complete bullshit. Is Apple providing support for System 9? Is FOSS still providing new code and enhancements if you are still on Ubuntu 6, which isn't even half the age of XP? Of course not. The fact that MSFT still provides security fixes after a decade and supported Win2K for over a decade (released late 99, last patch June 2010) just shows they give a hell of a lot more time to switch than ANYONE in the business.

But whether you admit it or not there are several flaws in XP that simply can NOT be fixed the worst of which is the fact that the ENTIRE OS was designed to be run as admin and is a royal PITA to run any other way. While this is fine for your average geek that follows best security practices, that is a teeny tiny niche compared to how many XP users are out there. Now you can't even complain about the cost anymore since you can buy Win 7 HP in triple packs for as low as $100 if you shop around, which is just $33 a piece and if you don't have but one PC go in with a couple of family members or neighbors and voila! Cheap Windows 7!

The simple fact is Windows 7 security is light years ahead of XP, the entire OS is better designed to intelligently use the resources available with smart caching even based on what time of day you normally runs apps, and it has everything from speech recognition to memory testing built in to make your life easier. Sticking with a decade old OS two versions behind is frankly stupid and just asking for trouble, but if that is what you want MSFT still gives you patches for another THREE years to give you more than enough time to migrate.

This circa 2004 Sempron machine I use as a nettop is the last XP machine in my possession and as soon as I come across a copy of Windows 7 Starter (since I've found its stripped down design works best on really weak hardware like nettops) I'll be saying goodbye to XP once and for all. If you want to cling to an outdated more risky OS that is your business, but expecting MSFT to go through the not inconsiderable expense of backporting new features to an OS they don't even sell anymore which is two versions behind is just ludicrous, when there is NOBODY that supports OSes that old besides them. Nobody.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466926)

Oh what a classic FOSSie reaction, just like the moonies or any other religion, at the sight of anything wrong instead of asking logical questions like "Why is it doing that" you start drooling and foaming at the mouth and screaming shill like a redneck screaming nigger. How typical and sad.

And since I just pointed out that since it calls the WMP API it should work fine on all current Windows OSes from WinXP up that shouldn't be a problem,strike one, and if Linux or OSX wants H.264 support on Firefox they can look at the code and adapt it themselves. or better yet Firefox could drop their NIH bad attitude and just support whatever the OS supports by calling whatever native player they have, or even call VLC since it runs on all and plays all. Strike two FOSSIe

And nobody gives a shit if the code you are gonna release a year from now is great if your current code is shit which makes strike three and you're out! The current version is what is being passed out to millions and its crap, as I pointed out the memory usage after a half day is just pathetic.

On this standard nettop with NO plugins save for ABP and NoScript after a half day of real world usage, 5 to 6 tabs and watching around 3 videos an hour I find that FF slowly but surely refuses to give memory back. It is bad enough that sites recommend the "trim_on_minimize" trick which you know something is wrong when you are recommending browser hacks simply because once a tab takes memory FF refuses to give it back when the tab closes, but after 10-12 hours of usage FF has managed to blow through the entire 1.5Gb of RAM all by itself and start hitting the swap which slams the CPU at 100% and practically shuts down the machine. So just like the old 2.x.x crap it is shutdown and relaunch just to get FF to give back memory, that sucks!

So you scream shill and troll all you want little FOSSie, stick your head in the sand and convince yourself there is nothing bad here. meanwhile everyone and their dog are switching to Chrome, even average Joe users are bringing their machines to me and I find Chrome on the desktop because in their words "Firefox is slow" "Firefox is sluggish" "Firefox made the whole machine act slower" etc.

So if FF don't fix the problems with the release of FF 4 and instead just worry about the bullet points I'll be switching all my customers over to one of the Chromium based, probably Comodo Dragon. So if you don't want to accept there is a reason why Chrome based have jumped up and grabbed huge numbers that is your business, but if FF doesn't want to end up with numbers as low as Seamonkey (BTW did you notice Flock dropped Gecko and went Webkit? Why? Because it gave them "better performance" their words) they might want to worry less about bullet points and more about their memory usage and CPU slamming.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467254)

or better yet Firefox could drop their NIH bad attitude and just support whatever the OS supports by calling whatever native player they have, or even call VLC since it runs on all and plays all.

Well then, I must have some strange alien version of Firefox, even though it claims to be Firefox 4.0 RC, because I have never encountered a problem playing any video including H.264. My copy of Firefox is obviously using the codecs I have installed on my system (Windows 7 and VLC).

after 10-12 hours of usage FF has managed to blow through the entire 1.5Gb of RAM all by itself and start hitting the swap which slams the CPU at 100% and practically shuts down the machine. So just like the old 2.x.x crap it is shutdown and relaunch just to get FF to give back memory,

I have never seen this problem and have never seen FF use anywhere near 1.5GB of RAM on any of my computers. Slow? Sluggish? Sorry, I'm not seeing it. And trust me, if FF was 1/100 as bad as some people are claiming, I would have dumped it a long time ago.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35467920)

or better yet Firefox could drop their NIH bad attitude and just support whatever the OS supports by calling whatever native player they have, or even call VLC since it runs on all and plays all.

Well then, I must have some strange alien version of Firefox, even though it claims to be Firefox 4.0 RC, because I have never encountered a problem playing any video including H.264. My copy of Firefox is obviously using the codecs I have installed on my system (Windows 7 and VLC).

Or it's playing in Flash, or any site you've tried it on is serving WebM in its place. Firefox 4.0 RC1 on Windows 7 does not play h.264 unless you have Microsoft's plugin installed.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35469684)

So what you are saying is that Firefox is not at fault. All of the problems posted by the great Microsoft lover Hairyfeet are actually down to the Microsoft plugin and not Firefox itself. Makes sense that Microsoft would sabotage the competition.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464598)

What is this? FUD about the FUD about the FUD? Or more accurately, FUD that the OP was in fact spreading FUD by claiming non-FUD to be FUD?

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464140)

Pick a browser. If that works for you then well done. If you dont like it then pick another.
Politics, morals & fanboi-ism aside none of the browsers are really that bad any more.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464560)

Except for Opera, I don't like its rendering of text.

Seriously, HTML is standard, fonts are third party and should render the same each time. SO WHY DONT PAGES IN ALL BROWSERS LOOK THE SAME. :3

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465028)

Except for Safari, which is not even real browser... *runs away*

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464202)

Joking aside, I am kind of curious what thuis "as microsoft would have you beiieve" comment is coming from. I haven't heard any of this fud. Is it some back and forth that the browser fanatics are following? If so they'll be happy to know that the rest of the world s really doesn't care very much, and will continue using whichever browser their preferences dictate.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464300)

Essentially, Microsoft wrote a whole bunch of benchmarks intended to test out new IE9 features.

On a whim, they compared IE9's performance to Firefox's, and in the process, uncovered some (huge, in some cases) performance bugs in Firefox. The IE9 team then offered some suggestions as to what might be causing the bugs based on their experiences optimizing IE9.

Rather than take this as some helpful advice, Firefox is treating this as FUD.

The linked article includes some fixes to the problems, but this is entirely academic, as the fixes aren't part of the current release candidate and if I understand the roadmap are off the table until Firefox 5, whenever that happens.

Meaning that Firefox 4 is in fact slower than IE9 in pointless rendering benchmarks designed to test new features that no one uses.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464746)

It seems IE9 performance is coming through also in tests made by others than MS and to mimick real world use (if you count web gaming as such :) http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20029827-264.html [cnet.com]

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466522)

It's kind of interesting, really. I think Microsoft as a whole dislikes Mozilla, but it has often seemed like the IE team itself enjoys the competition. Without Firefox, we'd very likely be in a world similar to IE6 still; Mozilla's existence is what gives these guys job security, in a way. Mozilla, though, certainly doesn't seem to reciprocate.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467272)

Essentially, Microsoft wrote a whole bunch of benchmarks intended to test out new IE9 features.

On a whim, they compared IE9's performance to Firefox's, and in the process, uncovered some (huge, in some cases) performance bugs in Firefox. The IE9 team then offered some suggestions as to what might be causing the bugs based on their experiences optimizing IE9.

Rather than take this as some helpful advice, Firefox is treating this as FUD.

That was something I immediately noticed. The author goes through a bunch of the benchmarks where IE9 claims to be faster than FF and with each one admits that the problem is bugs in FF.

But that's OK. The problem isn't in FF's "architecture", it's just "bugs". What a maroon.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (5, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464312)

> Joking aside, I am kind of curious what thuis "as microsoft would have you beiieve" comment is coming from.

This blog post [msdn.com] , which was linked to in the article. Especially the last section ("Full Hardware Acceleration is the Difference") would lead the reader to believe that the difference was architectural.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

phizi0n (1237812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466146)

There's actually been multiple blog posts by Microsoft and one by Opera too about how other browsers don't have "full hardware acceleration" but Mozilla has been open, honest, and accurate when they describe what acceleration API's FF4 uses on each platform.

Re:MS Firefox FUD? (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465080)

IE9: Readable fonts Firefox 4: Blur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464146)

About the only performance benchmark I care about is the legibility of fonts, ever since Firefox 4 broke their font rendering in pursuit of this pointless "faster than IE9" rendering battle.

Great, both browsers can now render useless browser animations really fast, I guess. Too bad this is entirely useless, as I never recall thinking "gee, I wish my web browser could draw this web page EVEN FASTER."

Instead it's generally "gee, I wish Firefox didn't require 1GB of memory for no reason" or "gee, I wish a single tab couldn't freeze the entire browser." (Neither of which are fixed in Firefox 4, incidentally.)

But never "wow, I wish pages that already draw imperceptibly fast drew faster."

Re:IE9: Readable fonts Firefox 4: Blur (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464674)

It's probably your machine, you should report it to them. I haven't had any trouble reading fonts in Firefox 4, I've been using them constantly since about beta 2 or so, and I have yet to hit a stage where I couldn't read the fonts or they were blurry. More likely this is some sort of incompatibility with your video card that needs to be sorted out.

Re:IE9: Readable fonts Firefox 4: Blur (4, Informative)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464692)

Funny enough, Firefox' "broken" fonts are thanks to using the same DirectWrite that IE9 uses. However, MS disables DWrite for fonts and uses GDI instead when running sites in compatibility mode. When running in standards mode, IE9 and Firefox have identical font rendering (there's a big MozillaZine forum thread with screenshots if you're interested). Also, some recent MS hotfixes for DWrite have noticeably improved font rendering. Have you used a recent beta with an updated system? But in the end, if you're not happy with the font rendering, you can always disable the hardware acceleration through the options.

Re:IE9: Readable fonts Firefox 4: Blur (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467230)

You don't have to get blurry fonts with DWrite - it has a "GDI compat mode". I don't know why neither IE9 nor FF4 use it.

More then one? Automated testing? (1)

miruku (642921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464168)

Ach, yet another up-to-date yet incomplete picture of what is going on with the latest browser speeds. Great they've done the work, but my head is starting to spin from all the recent related posts on this matter.

Is there not a site/service that compiles speed/etc info from automated tests on browser nightlies/etc? Surely it can't be that hard (for someone, unlike me, who can programme :)?

Re:More then one? Automated testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464216)

That's not massively hard. Before someone could do that you just need to define what "speed/etc" means so that it is both measurable and meaningful in relation to real world web usage. Now _that_ is difficult.

If a collection of javascript test cases is enough for you, please see www.arewefastyet.com [arewefastyet.com] .

Re:More then one? Automated testing? (2)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464242)

You mean like http://arewefastyet.com/ [arewefastyet.com] ?

Re:More then one? Automated testing? (1)

miruku (642921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464542)

Pretty much! Maybe that could be a bit more explanatory, but the blocker currently is that their Linux test box [arewefastyet.com] charts are rather broken.

Re:More then one? Automated testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35466310)

That's a mobile (ARM) device, not a box.

Does the average user even notice? (2)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464244)

I am not sure I even care, as long as pages load reasonably quick (this one loads in about 1-2 seconds using FF4 RC over a Roadrunner cable modem), that is fast enough for me. I am more interested in things that save ME time, like password addons, dragable tabs, quick zooms, form fillers, etc. I have about 10 add-ons to help with this and generally I do not even think about it. Maybe if I were running some ridiculous AJAX app, but come on, to load Slashdot or TMZ or whatever the average user uses?

Does the average user even notice? How many people sit around with a stop watch and complain a page took an extra 0.25 seconds to load?

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464296)

As for the browsers in question, I can't personally speak.

However, what I can say is this: there are irritating bugs shared by both ff3 and chromium based browsers (caching implementation), and I'd suspect they'd be present on safari as well. If IE4 has fixed the problem, and IE doesn't have it, it's likely the average user would notice, I suspect: I've experienced 2-3+ second waits when going to a page because the browser is too stupid to be able to actually go to the page and ignore the cache.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1, Interesting)

wampus (1932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464358)

My benchmark is pretty simple: Can I plan Entanglement without the fan spinning up? IE9 and Chrome don't spin the fan up, FF4 does.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465246)

Running Entanglement on a 1.2 Ghz ULV dual core with WIn 7, I just noted the following:
  • Chrome hits between 20 and 28% of CPU usage.
  • FF 4 RC 1 was between 18% and 42%, but spent most of the time at around 35-39 percent,

Interesting test, and interesting game also, but I do not play a lot of games.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464900)

I wish they'd try and compete on some useful things, like just trying to catch up with the competition on the multi-process front. Netscape/Mozilla have always been bad about monolithic archs. Besides better security and stability, I went to be close just the bits that are using all the CPU and memory without having to reload all of me tabs.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465662)

Mozilla is working on multiprocess. The project is called electrolysis and is already being used for mobile Firefox.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35470132)

We should expect it in five years then, at the pace Mozilla develops things.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

mpol (719243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464950)

I see this reply all the time on slashdot. But just this week I found out that at my work, where we have simple P4 machines, a simple javascript animation causes Firefox to use 100% cpu.
That's quite a lot. So I think javascript performance still can be improved. It's just one animation that runs continuously, on my own site: http://chaosmongers.org/ [chaosmongers.org]
So dismissing speed improvements is not something I do anymore. I do think speed improvements can and should be made.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465168)

That is an interesting observation. I just went to your site using FF 4 RC and noted that when I used your menu system at the top it was spiking at around 52% CPU usage. This is on a 1.2Ghz dual core ULV Intel processor and Win 7. I see that occasionally when running a Youtube video, etc. It generally does not affect UI speed, but does cause the CPU to spike and the fan to run.

I can also say that the latest Chrome browser does not do that on the same machine when on your site. Memory usage is about the same between the two browsers.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

dFaust (546790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465660)

Well, it's hard to define "average user", but I will say that at work we have several popular, commercial web apps that we use for various internal things (bug tracking, timesheets, etc.) that are staggeringly faster on Chrome 9 and especially 10 than on FF3 or Safari 4 or IE < 9 (I can't speak for 9). So much so that it's immediately obvious to your average non-technical person that has to interact with these apps. So much so that these average non-technical people are jumping ship to Chrome after trying it out just once because they're so impressed with how much faster things are.

Not that the features and plugins you're talking about aren't super nice to have, but to answer your question: from my experience, yes, the average user notices.

Re:Does the average user even notice? (1)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466838)

How does Firefox 4 compare?

So... (3, Interesting)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464250)

Benchmarks that Microsoft use are inherently favoring Microsoft and benchmarks that Mozilla use are inherently favoring Mozilla. That's surprising isn't it?

At least I commend the investigative work done here and the fixes applied to FF4. I hope we can see those before the final release!

Re:So... (2, Informative)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464712)

Firefox 4 is already at RC stage and won't be changed for the final release unless a showstopper bug is found. More likely is that they'll land for Firefox 5, which is supposedly coming 3 months from now. It's also possible that some of the fixes could land for a 4.x or 4.0.x release if they're proven stable and relatively risk-free.

how about not killing my cpu and usability (2)

inkscapee (1994086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464390)

I'd be happy for Web sites that don't run crappy buggy lardy scripts that bring my quad-core to its knees, and browsers that quit jettisoning useful functionality. With Firefox you have to install plugins to mitigate its usability defects. Which is a loser game because FF upgrades break plugins and you can't count on plugin authors to keep up. For example, remember the good old days when the URL bar kept a chronological history of pages you had visited, so it was dead easy to go back in time? Not any more, now it's some weird thing that keeps sites I rarely visit in the list but not the most recent, and you have to faff around in the History menu. After all these years there is still no decent cookie manager. No one-click clear the URL bar. No one-click clear the Google search bar, and it used to keep a history of searches which was very handy but not anymore. eh, lusers don't count...

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464996)

No one-click clear the Google search bar

A surprise to me as well. What's wrong with the Neo-Diggler dude?

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465054)

Not that it makes up for the usability flaw you pointed out, but you can use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+K and CTRL+L to automatically mark the entire search or URL field contents.

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (1)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465672)

Jetpack should make extension compatibility a much better experience as it gains traction. https://jetpack.mozillalabs.com/ [mozillalabs.com]

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (2)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465790)

No one-click clear the URL bar.

F6 selects the text in the URL bar. In practise this is more general than clearing. You can simply start typing and the previous text will be gone (and if you don't want to type new text you don't have any reason to clear it). On the other hand you can also for instance, simply copy the text, or move your cursor and edit it.

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (1)

error_logic (1160341) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466360)

The sad thing is that F6 requires an add-on to restore its old functionality in FF4; it was changed to selecting the active tab, rather than the URL bar text...

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35467538)

Ctrl+L selects the URL bar text in both Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4.

Re:how about not killing my cpu and usability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35468338)

Damn....

F6
Ctrl+L
Alt+D

Any other shortcuts to the same thing? Just a while back I argued that FF's UI really isn't particularly 'cluttered', but sounds like keyboard shortcuts are all over the place.

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464574)

That's not biased at all. "Well, IE9 was faster, so I messed around, tweaked some settings and built a script to make FireFox faster...so Firefox is faster!" Well, why didn't you do that in IE9, too? At least do your best to make them both the fastest they could be.
I mean, yeah, if we had the same size car, and I put more motor in it than you and won, would that really be fair to say all of the models of my car are superior to the models of your car?
Jesus. Journalistic Integrity doesn't exist in nerdland, apparently.

Re:Wow... (1, Informative)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464732)

Out of curiosity, did you actually read the article? The work he did to make Firefox faster was in Firefox' code, not in the demos. The only changes he made in the demos were to better expose the underlying issues causing performance differences (like adding more fish to the tank demo so that FPS limiting isn't confounding the results).

firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464578)

i think it will be faster than others

NEVER hang the UI (4, Insightful)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464882)

What's stupid is the wrong stuff is being concentrated on.

If google maps loads in 3 or 4 seconds doesn't matter to me. What I want is for the whole browser not to hang its UI anytime one website is doing stuff. I hate opening tabs in the background and having the browser be unusable until they load.

And this is on a quad core i7, 8gb of ram.

Re:NEVER hang the UI (0)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465178)

What's stupid is the wrong stuff is being concentrated on.

No, what's stupid is that you make a statement that shows you misunderstand the fact that a blog post by an individual Engineer does not represent the priority or scope of items that a large organization like Mozilla is able to work on.

Your pet beef *is* being worked on and it's called Electrolysis.

Re:NEVER hang the UI (2)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467490)

Not just electrolysis. Per-compartment GC, landed in Firefox 4, helps this a bit, along with other-thread finalization. Web sockets help a bit. Generational GC or something similar seems likely to land in Firefox 5, this will help a bit too.

Re:NEVER hang the UI (0)

caywen (942955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35469236)

Well, unlike you, I want more. I want Google Maps to be fast and fluid. I also want the vast majority of browsers to have a lot of performance room to spare so that the *next* version of Google Maps will not only be phenomenal, but continues to be fast and fluid. Stability is good, but we are right to be demanding more.

Hardware acceleration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465144)

The very idea you need hardware acceleration to get acceptable performance out of a 2d browser is extremely suspect to me. Compared to what hardware is capable of when not subject to browsers abstraction there is still massive room for improvement in this space.

Personally all I want is to be able to load a web page containing a table of hundreds of thousands of rows while not having to use GBs of memory or wait 20 years for the page to render.

If you really want faster general purpose browsing performance fix the fricking ad networks.

Question (0)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465650)

Is Microsoft still doing that thing where IE9 detects standard Javascript benchmarks and cheats on them, or have they also figured out how to detect when people insert no-op statements into them and "optimise" those too?

Re:Question (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35473290)

IIRC that turned out to be dead-code detection noticing what was effectively a delay loop and removing it as it did no useful work. The changes people made that stopped it skipping that part just confused the dead-code detection enough that it wasn't sure the optimisation was safe.

FYI: I'm no fan of Internet Explorer and I know who I trust least between MS and FF, but please don't spread anti-IE FUD. It only makes others look as bad as them (for using their tricks), and good god there is plenty of real crap to throw without having to resort to the less concrete stuff.

Mr Potato Gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35468814)

That 'Mr Potato Gun' game is not fun at all. I played for about an hour but couldn't get past the first level. Thumbs down...

FF or IE ? No, I have K-Meleon (1)

luk3Z (1009143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35469628)

I rather stay with K-Meleon and start in less than 1 sec. (with KM loader).
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