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The More Popular the Browser, the Slower It Is 367

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

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  • First (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 14, 2009 @10:59AM (#27951191)
    Here we are on the Slashdot plains in Africa, looking for that most elusive of species, the First Post...
  • No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tedgyz (515156) * on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:00AM (#27951201) Homepage

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

    • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:06AM (#27951307) Journal

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

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

      • by Spazztastic (814296) <spazztastic AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:11AM (#27951369)

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

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

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:21AM (#27951539)

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

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

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It seems to run all right, but I'm still typing this on Firefox because Adblock trumps Chrome/Iron's performance & user interface design advantages.

          Look closer next time. Adblock is part of Iron. Take 15 seconds to download and install the ad block list from their News page:

          News

          12.03.2009: New Iron-Release: 2.0.168.0

          Today we release a new Iron based on Chromium 2.0.168.0. There were updates to Webkit and the Javascript Engine V8, so the new Iron version should be significant faster. Additionally we improved the the adblocker.

          14.12.2008: New Iron-Release: 1.0.155.0

          After Chrome 1.0 is released, you can surely download a new Iron, too. We have also updat

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jurily (900488)

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

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

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

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ghostworks (991012) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:53AM (#27951973)

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

        • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:03PM (#27952135) Journal

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

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

          As for the article:

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

          • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

            by fprintf (82740) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:38PM (#27952609) Journal

            I thought the same way about NoScript until I read here on Slashdot about changing the settings to "allow for top level domains". Now 90% of the web works the way that it should and I am still somewhat protected against cross-linked scripts.

            I must say I keep skipping the updates to NoScript since the dust-up with AdBlockPlus began. I'll stay on the old version that doesn't attempt to hijack my ABP settings, thankyouverymuch!

            • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

              by More_Cowbell (957742) * on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:49PM (#27952751) Journal

              I must say I keep skipping the updates to NoScript since the dust-up with AdBlockPlus began. I'll stay on the old version that doesn't attempt to hijack my ABP settings, thankyouverymuch!

              They reverted that change almost immediately (with the next update). There was even a note of apology from the developer... you are safe to update.

            • There are an whole slew of browser attacks which occur via JavaScript, Flash or Acrobat, and NoScript is extremely effective at stopping these.

              That's it's role.

              An side effect is that some ads are rendered less obtrusive.

              However, for blocking ads, you're best off grabbing Adblock and subscribing to the relevent filterlists.

          • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

            by Kozz (7764) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:45PM (#27952715)

            If you want to download a Youtube movie (MP4), create a Firefox bookmark on your toolbar with the following URL:

            javascript:if(document.location.href.match(/http:\/\/[a-zA-Z\.]*youtube\.com\/watch/)){document.location.href='http://www.youtube.com/get_video?fmt='+(isHDAvailable?'22':'18')+'&video_id='+swfArgs['video_id']+'&t='+swfArgs['t']}

            When you're on a Youtube page, click that bookmark button and voila! You don't need a flash downloader plugin. (Not until Youtube changes this ability, I suppose)

          • by SonicRED (15265) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:50PM (#27952765)

            and ImageZoom so I can see pics on Ebay more easily.

            Liar.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by somersault (912633)

            Use Adblock to block ads, and noscript to block scripts. I used to have both, but as you say it ends up just being a pain navigating to a new site, wondering why something isn't working and then remembering about noscript (some poorly designed pages won't render at all without javascript..). but Adblock is enough for me by itself.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo (196126)

            That's an oversimplification. Different add-ons perform differently. Seems obvious but apparently a lot of people don't realise it.

            AdBlock+, for example, makes the browser faster in many cases by removing crap that would otherwise slow it down. FlashBlock is the same. Sure, they add some tiny delay as they scan the loaded page, but it's nothing compared to the delay produced by having to download and render the stuff remove.

            Other add-ons have barely any effect at all since they can be turned off most of the

      • by Qubit (100461) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:08PM (#27952191) Homepage Journal

        My Firefox does 11 times more work than Chrome.

        Oh, I see. And most browsers go up to ten?

        Exactly.

        Does that mean it's better? Is it any better?

        Well, it's one better, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be browsing along at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your browser. And it's like the SPAM is just pouring in from everywhere around and there's no way out. Where can you go from there? Where?

        I don't know.

        Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra boost of browser power, you know what we do?

        Put it up to eleven.

        Eleven. Exactly. One step better.

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

        by nobodylocalhost (1343981) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:35PM (#27952555)

        You can use this if you want your privacy:
        http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php [srware.net]

        Personally, i use firefox for its plugins. adblock+, linkification, noscript, firebug, tamper data are the reason why i stick with firefox. If they were to be available in srware iron, i'd switch over in a heartbeat.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:44AM (#27951821) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:00PM (#27952079) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

        • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:11PM (#27952215) Homepage Journal

          I basically only use IE as a preview tool when I'm developing websites so I'm not biased towards IE.

          Dodos are extinct, as long as IE is installed by default in Windows, IE will not be extinct for a long time. Want to see what extinction of a web browser looks like? [wikipedia.org]

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

          Analysts don't determine what browser people use, they just try and predict it. If analysts are controlling the browser market it is through FUD and self fulfilling prophecy.

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

          That's my point. There is no guarantee what is going to happen. It could get worse it could get better it could stay the same. Saying it with certainty just makes people look stupid.

          • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

            by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:37PM (#27952591) Homepage Journal

            Dodos are extinct, as long as IE is installed by default in Windows, IE will not be extinct for a long time.

            Netscape 4 was pre-installed on computers long after people stopped using it. Just because it's available doesn't mean it isn't effectively extinct. There's also the question of whether Microsoft will conceded defeat if their market share drops too low. It's perfectly possible that Triton will stop shipping with Windows. At least as an end-user browser. (It may be maintained as a legacy ActiveX control.)

            Analysts don't determine what browser people use, they just try and predict it. If analysts are controlling the browser market it is through FUD and self fulfilling prophecy.

            What is the purpose of prediction if it doesn't create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Analysts direct companies toward the solutions that make the most sense in the future market. Companies pay quite a bit of money to have an analyst tell them these things so they can be as competitive as possible. Most of it is absolute B.S. IMHO, and often gets companies into a lot of trouble. But that does not negate the very real effects these analyses have.

            That's my point. There is no guarantee what is going to happen. It could get worse it could get better it could stay the same.

            Everything is a probability. I can say with a high degree of confidence that I will be going to work tomorrow. Yet in reality, I could get a cold. Or a family emergency could develop. Or there could be a snow day in May tomorrow.

            That last one has about the same probability as any of the current versions of Internet Explorer recovering market share.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              People stopped using NN because it started to suck. It would crash on me multiple times a day.

              There's also the question of whether Microsoft will conceded defeat if their market share drops too low.

              There's also the question that the Mozilla foundation could disband in 2011 if their market share doesn't significantly increase and Google doesn't feel the money it's paying, that accounts for the majority of Mozilla's revenue, is worth it. Especially now that they have their own independent browser offering.

              Analysts are notroriously wrong a large portion of the time You can also find plenty of examples on this si

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by AKAImBatman (238306) *

                People stopped using NN because it started to suck. It would crash on me multiple times a day.

                And people have stopped using Internet Explorer because it has started to suck. It's the vector for a number of viruses and it does a poor job rendering many websites. What's your point?

                If people stop using IE completely, it will be extinct regardless of whether or not Microsoft ships it.

                Analysts are notroriously wrong a large portion of the time

                Doesn't matter. They still determine the course of much of the market

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

        So what would you prefer we say? "This browser is dead!"? "This is an ex-browser!"? "It's gone on to meet his maker!"? "It's joined the choir invisible!"? "If they hadn't nailed it to the OS, it'd be pushing up the daisies!"?

  • Mosaic (Score:4, Funny)

    by Evelas (1531407) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:01AM (#27951227)
    So does this mean that Mosaic is the most efficient one out there?
  • chrome experiments (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darkvad0r (1331303) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:01AM (#27951233)
    How long until Google comes out with a JavaScript intensive application that will practically require Chrome to function? It already exists, in the form of http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ [chromeexperiments.com]
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:12AM (#27951383) Journal
      You know when you try to use Google Reader and Google Mail and Google Anything on your browser with a poor Javascript engine (even the good ones occasionally fail), it sometimes blows up?

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

      At least Google eats their own dog food on a large scale.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

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

  • Not so surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:06AM (#27951309) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shin-LaC (1333529)

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

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

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

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

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

        If this was IE vs. another browser, I could see that being the case. But since we're talking about a beta revision of the same browser, I find that stateme

    • They were testing popular browsers. Safari beta is popular. Firefox beta is unpopular.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Halo1 (136547)

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

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

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

    • Re:Not so surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:13PM (#27952255)

      Well here are some simple reasons for this trend.

      1. The more popular the browser the more well established the code is trend. Meaning Popular Browsers are older thus have an older code base. And because it is popular you are more careful not to break anything.

      2. Popular Browsers have more safeguards and checks. IE runs a ton of Broken Code, hence why it loads up so much junk and renders it OK. Firefox does a middle ground at this. The less popular browsers the more it follows the stricter standard creating it to load faster as it has less checks.

      3.Popular Browsers have more features which can slow it down
       

      • Right.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        Right.

        1. How do you explain that IE8 is the youngest of the non-beta's and the slowest.

        2. Why is it then that IE has more problems with standards? Does it check so much for broken html/css/javascript it can't even deal with standard compliant code? Oh and then explain how a trailing , in javascript FAILS under IE but not firefox.

        3. So, IE8 has more features then firefox...

        Something tells me you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Did you ever actually use any other browser then the one that

  • Are you serious? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:06AM (#27951313) Homepage Journal
    If you look at it from a popular/performance perspective, you are going to find that, generally, the newer software is better performing, because that is a selling point above the competition. It will also be the least popular because it is newer.
  • How about this possibility?

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

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

  • by TibbonZero (571809) <TibbonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:07AM (#27951319) Homepage Journal
    Features create popularity, and popularity pushes for more features as users cry that the next browser over has something it doesn't. This create bloat.
    Then again, over time, isn't this what happens with almost all software? They get more and more features as time goes by, and get bigger and consume more resources. Look at the size/requirements of any linux distro with a graphical system over the past 10 years.
    No one wants to lose features, and users complain too much, so the only way to get a faster thing with less features is to fork it, or start anew (which is what the lesser popular browsers have often done).
    • by SashaMan (263632)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TibbonZero (571809)
        That doesn't explain why Firefox is so slow compared to Camino, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc. If you were Microsoft and had a browser, you'd try to ship it with your OS too. Last I checked all popular linux distros ship with a browser (generally Firefox being the default) and OS X ships with Safari.

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

        Additionally, this isn't the 'problem' that the articl
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:47AM (#27951885) Homepage
      Also, popularity tends to impede progress. The more people are using a software or hardware product, the more you have to lose by breaking compatibility with old version or doing something zany. Meanwhile, more obscure products have a greater need to do something a little zany in order to carve out their niche.
  • In other words... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JanneM (7445) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:07AM (#27951325) Homepage

    Either:

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

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

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

    • by westlake (615356)
      3) the public puts very little value on browser speed.

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

  • this really is a case of correlation not implying causation. Otherwise firefox's market share would have decreased from v2 to 3, and will decrease again when 3.5 is released.
    Sure, it's a "fact", but I'll bet that in 5 years time this won't be the case. This "tidbit" does not allow us to make sensible predictions about the future of browsers.
    • by geekoid (135745)

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

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

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

  • Question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by compro01 (777531)

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

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

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:12AM (#27951387)

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

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

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

    • by pipatron (966506)

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

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

  • by BlitzTech (1386589) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:14AM (#27951417)
    It's so unfortunate that researchers these days don't realize that correlation can easily be a coincidence, and not a real relationship between two variables. It is especially unsuited in this case given the tiny number of data points and, oh, the convolution of these results with other factors like OS bundling (Windows/IE) and time on market (All 3, most significantly Chrome).

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

    Also, web developers don't curse IE because it's slow. In fact, many pages are still static and don't feature nifty DHTML tricks, so the slowness of IE has no effect on the page at all. We web developers curse IE because it's not standards compliant and because making both the CSS and those nifty DHTML tricks WORK in IE is like eating barbed wire. Firefox has acceptable Javascript performance and is mostly standards compliant, and the existence of the Firebug plugin makes it invaluable as a web developer's test browser. I don't think web developers will curse a browser like Firefox for slow Javascript performance like we curse IE for violating all the standards.
  • by Propaganda13 (312548) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:15AM (#27951443)

    These guys are idiots.

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

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

  • The science behind this seems questionable at best... especially seeing how IE isn't popular so much as just saturated throughout the market.
  • by AbbeyRoad (198852) <p@2038bug.com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:17AM (#27951485) Homepage

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

    Ans: never

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qzukk (229616)

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

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

  • by tha_toadman (1266560) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:19AM (#27951501)

    Try this, Firefox users.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Enjoy!

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tha_toadman (1266560)

        Why not just read this: http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config_entries [mozillazine.org]

    • by Qubit (100461) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:22PM (#27952381) Homepage Journal

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

      Then why isn't it turned on by default?

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

      The page you linked to has this to say about that entry:
      "Note: Pipelining is not well-supported by some servers and proxies. Things may break -- use with caution."

      So it might work, or it might break your interactive banking session online. I'd be wary of giving this to anyone who didn't already know how to poke at about:config.

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

      From the docs:
      network.http.pipelining.maxrequests (Integer)
      Determines the maximum number of HTTP requests in the pipeline (sent sequentially without waiting for a response). Values greater than 8 are assumed to be 8; values less than 1 are assumed to be 1. Default value is 4.

      It looks like you'll get 8 requests, maximum, not 30.

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

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

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

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

    Chrome: Fast, few features, not mature, not bundled with OS, Free. Yet still managed to grab 1% of marketshare almost instantly because

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

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

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:24AM (#27951583) Homepage Journal

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

    Apparently, NoScript is the fastest browser available.

  • Interesting Tell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:25AM (#27951593)
    This just in: People don't choose their browser based on Javascript performance alone.
  • I wonder where the choice of rendering engine enters this discussion. I love Firefox but it is a tad heavy with the addons I use. Even before I start to install addons a bare Firefox profile does not feel as snappy as I believe it should. As much as I can't really adapt to Opera as my full-time browser it does feel snappier even when loading adverts etc than Firefox when blocking them. I have heard WebKit is a snappy rendering engine, Konquerer and Safari both seem to match that appraisal, so I wonder what
  • by Twillerror (536681) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:35AM (#27951705) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

    • by WillKemp (1338605)

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

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

  • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lucag (24231)

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

  • Javascript (Score:5, Funny)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:48AM (#27951907) Homepage

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

    Like slashdot, you mean???

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

    The less popular your browser is, the better/faster it has to be to compete.
  • If I needed speed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @12:01PM (#27952091)

    I'd use a desktop application.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @01:37PM (#27953315) Homepage Journal

    Bo-o-o-o-gus.

    This "study" didn't measure browser speed at all. It compared only the speeds of the javascripts that the browsers use. TFA says so fairly clearly.

    If you're making heavy use of sites that are mostly javascript, this is a useful study. For the rest of us, it's yet another case of measuring a tiny corner of what is claimed, and then asserting that this measures the whole thing.

    Using similar reasoning, we can imagine an oceanographer measuring the parts of the ocean along the beaches where most people are found, and concluding that the oceans average about 2 meters deep. (There's gotta be a good auto analogy here, too.)

    As someone else has pointed out, most "power users" of browsers mostly disable java and javascript (and Active-X and any other misfeature that lets strangers run code on their machines). They may use NoScript with FF and enable JS for selected sites. Or they may simply copy the links to another browser such as opera or safari when they want to use JS. So to them, firefox and mozilla may well be the fastest browsers, since they permit easy selective disabling of all scripting features.

    And we should also note that the time to render most web pages is mostly the download time. If due to network delays it takes 23 seconds to download a page, and browser X renders it in .001 sec while browser Y renders it in .01 sec, there's no practical meaning to a claim that Y renders 10 times faster than X. If the page takes 23.001 sec to render in X, and 23.01 sec in Y, few people will be able to reliably tell you which is faster.

    If this were announced as a comparison of various JS interpret speeds, I'd take it seriously. But claiming that it's about browser speed pretty well discredits the authors (and the editor who wrote the summary).

  • FireFox fail (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Weezul (52464) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @01:53PM (#27953485)

    I'm not even slightly surprised, FireFox runs like crap under Mac OS X. Safari is soo much faster

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