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Freeciv As Benchmark of HTML5 Canvas Javascript Performance 246

Andreas(R) writes "The crew has benchmarked their web client, which is a rich web application using the HTML5 canvas element. This shows how fast Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer perform using the latest HTML5 web standards."
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Freeciv As Benchmark of HTML5 Canvas Javascript Performance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:03AM (#30945790)

    Now someone just needs to port the Quakes over, for a real benchmark. None of this turn-based strategy nonsense. :p

  • IE8 isn't the dominant IE browser yet. Drop IE8 support and offer the IE6/IE7 users a chance to go to another browser. If they have to get used to a new 'look' anyway, what's the difference between IE6->Chrome vs IE6->IE8?

    • Re:Drop IE8 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:21AM (#30945938) Journal
      For the home user, not much, and Google's sneaky updates in the background model will piss them off less than Microsoft's blatant tooltips whining at you to update.

      To the gimlet-eyed corporate IT guy who controls the browser on 10,000 seats and DroneCorp Inc, LLC, on the other hand, it will pretty much come down to "Which one will allow me to break anything you might possibly do instead of your work just by clicking at group policy objects for a few minutes?" and "Which one will pull updates from WSUS?". This is why Chrome's marketshare is increasing at a fair clip; but the worker bees at DroneCorp Inc, LLC will be getting IE7 sometime in 2012...
      • Re:Drop IE8 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by deniable ( 76198 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:49AM (#30946104)
        If it was just GPOs and WSUS, IE8 would dominate simply for security reasons. The main reason for IE6 is the combination of idiotic managers/developers that have locked a lot of applications into IE6 only. As for 2012, we got approval to upgrade to IE7 six months ago. Thanks, Oracle.
        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          The main reason for IE6 is the combination of idiotic managers/developers that have locked a lot of applications into IE6 only.

          Would you:
          - pay 38 vendors between £20k and £3m each to migrate your old versions of their software to a new browser, or
          - manually rewrite the UI of 60 systems, or
          - keep the web browser that continues to work with 60 systems from 38 vendors, requires no new testing, no new hardware, no new licences and saves you a massive change overhead you just don't need

          Having made that decision in a manner that achieves the best outcome for the customers, the owners of the business and the staff (in that ord

          • Wow, knee-jerk overreaction. He criticised the original decision of deploying IE6-only web apps, not the decision to continue using them. If you purchase a web app and don't make cross-browser compatibility a requirement before signing anything then, yes, you are an idiot. The entire point of web apps is that they make it easy to replace the client. If they require a specific client - or, worse, a specific version of a specific client - then you may as well get them to write a native desktop GUI; you'll
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Cederic ( 9623 )

              It's the difference between ideal approach and pragmatic real-world approach.

              Vendor A offers IE6 support only (back when it was IE6 or Netscape) and meets 90% of the requirements out of the box; Vendor B offers IE6 and Netscape support but only meets 60% of the requirements out of the box. Since nobody has Netscape installed it's a complete no-brainer to buy from Vendor A, even though you get browser lock-in as a result.

              The entire point of web apps in a business environment isn't the ease of replacing the b

        • What benefit is there to upgrading to IE7 over IE8? Did that much stuff really break between the two?

      • Freeciv should probably be blocked at work anyway.

        We used to have an old client/server installed in the office a few years ago. It was a fun game to login every hour or two and do a turn or two.

        But these days, SmartFilter pretty much grabs everything that isn't work-related.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dbIII ( 701233 )
        The problem is not the "corporate IT guy". Instead it's the lazy developers that insist that their product of 2010 will only work on IE6 running as Admin with three different versions of dotnet. I wish these MS Windows application developers would actually learn about the platform they develop for instead of thinking it's still MSDOS with no network.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smash ( 1351 )
      NTLM/windows domain authentication - single sign-on.

      I haven't seen an alternative browser that it works reliably on yet. Yes, its a windows specific thing, but until other browsers properly support single sign on you're not going to get them into the corporate workplace in any fully supported manner. And if they're not at work, they're less likely to end up getting installed at home, either.

      I mean, i'm an admin and run plenty of different browsers, but from a "please why won't the users leave me alone

      • Enabling NTLM in Firefox is URI specific. I haven't seen any issues with it though.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        NTLM/windows domain authentication - single sign-on.

        Have your users run IE 8 (not 6) through an HTTP proxy that has access only to these sites, and have them run Chrome or Firefox for everything else.

    • It will be by the end of the year, the new look isn't much different than IE7 as far as I've seen, and it comes with the most popular OS on the planet. Dropping support for IE8 is a most idiotic thing to do, regardless of how shitty it is.

  • Not fast (Score:4, Informative)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:20AM (#30945930)
    Worth noting that Chrome, as the fastest, is still only eight frames per second, which would be dreadful even for a turn-based game. I didn't see where they said how powerful of a machine they ran it on, so I assume it's a moderately powerful pc. Still, it's within an order of magnitude of where it needs to be, so it'll probably be running smoothly within a year or two.
    • by tpgp ( 48001 )

      which would be dreadful even for a turn-based game.

      Erm, wouldn't a turn based game only need to refresh once per turn?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Most people like to scroll around the map a bit while they're planning their turn . . .

      • Re:Not fast (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:09AM (#30946576)

        No, the data updates once per turn. Things like animations (not sure that freeciv uses any) and moving the map around for a different view can happen many times in the interium, and of course as you send it all the commands each turn for what to do, loading UI displays and such, all of that is running at 8fps too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maitai ( 46370 )

      I'd assume it's not. I ran their benchmark with Chrome on Win 7 and my Sony laptop and got 43.8ms as the result which is quite a bit faster than they listed as their result.

      I also got 149.72 with FF 3.6, which again is quite a bit faster.

    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      only eight frames per second

      And this, kids, is why we don't run applications inside of web browsers.

      • only eight frames per second

        And this, kids, is why we don't run applications inside of web browsers.

        ... yet. Besides, you seem to be equating games with apps - there would be a lot of non-game apps that would happily run at 8fps. Graphing or spreadsheet apps don't need killer refresh rates and even something with more animation like powerpoint wouldn't look horrible (well, no more so than the actual product) at that rate. If anything, business apps are likely to drive a more widespread adoption of HTML5-based browsers in corporate environments, which will in turn allow more effort to be devoted to pushing

      • Meh. We run lots of things in slow ways. Remember all of those games you used to play that took 100% of your computer or console's power? Now I run them in something that emulates the entire system. Oh, and they run faster than they did back then too.

        I ran Civilisation on a 16MHz 386SX. An x86 emulator written in JavaScript running in a browser on a modern PC will get better performance than that. FreeCiv is a bit more processor-intensive than the original Civilisation, but it can probably handle ren

    • Re:Not fast (Score:5, Funny)

      by onefriedrice ( 1171917 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:57AM (#30946506)
      Computer processing speed has increased well over an hundredfold over the past decades; so what do we do with all the extra power? We rewrite games we played many years ago on top of so many layers of abstraction that they're no longer playable, even on our modern hardware. Hurray for progress.
    • 8fps is fine for Freeciv. (And by the way check out Freeciv, especially if you liked any of the Civilization series. I am stoked to hear they're getting it working within a browser; goodbye productivity!)
  • by Beardydog ( 716221 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:43AM (#30946062)
    The iPhone is not quite fast enough : /
  • Would testing it in Safari on Snow Leopard make much of a difference compared to the 32-bit Windows version? To me it seems Safari is always snappier on OS X. My general rule is that on Windows I use Chrome and on OS X I use Safari. This just seems to work well for me.
  • by smash ( 1351 )
    Linux outperformed by windows Vista! or "Vista fastest web operating system!"

    Seriously though, any idea why Chrome is faster on Vista, the most maligned, stereotyped as slow OS there has ever been? Would also be keen to see OS X results.

    • Re:bias (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:17AM (#30946622)

      'Cause Vista's not as slow as people claim. I've never seen any evidence, either in my testing or online, that Vista ran programs any slower than XP. Most of Vista's slowness rep came from two things:

      1) Lots of messing with the disk, particularly on boot. Vista wanted to cache a ton of shit in memory, probably to aggressively, as well as other stuff. Could lead to a system being sluggish to respond to users when it first started.

      2) People running it on crap hardware. Vista has a much higher minimum bar than XP for good performance. You really want a dual core and 2GB minimum for a nice system (as opposed to a P4 and 1GB being fine for XP). Lots of people had older systems, tried the new OS, and got mad because it didn't work well. Duh. Newer software needs more resources.

      So it doesn't surprise me that a pure app test worked fine on Vista. It was never slow at that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        On my laptop I have noticed a huge performance increase with Ubuntu compared to Vista running netbeans, open office, and Firefox. You are right its mostly disk. However disk access is the number one bottleneck on modern pcs so that is very important.

        The problem is Windows loves to load a million services at once and the disk can only handle so much when it boots.

        You should try running your win32 apps on Windows7 with the same hardware as vista? You will notice quite a difference. Also the slower processors

      • by smash ( 1351 )
        Cheers for the response and for the record I agree. I run/ran vista on plenty of hardware and yes on anything that was purchased with a decent spec in 2004 or so, it is fine.

        My post was more taking the piss at the /. majority who rant on how shit vista is, and how "it is year of the linux desktop!", only to have it outperform Linux on tests like this.

        Yes, its only 0.002ms or whatever, but it steal beat linux on that test :D

        • It's also possible that Chrome is optimised for Windows as that's the majority share OS - it's where all their benchmarking is going to show up in the marketing metrics for how Chrome is so much faster than everyone else. They likely didn't spend so much time optimising the Linux port because it only had to be fit for purpose.

          On a side note, Vista takes almost three minutes to boot to a usable state on my intel core 2 quad core q6600 (overclocked), 4GB desktop PC with a moderate amount of software installed

      • Coherence? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by renoX ( 11677 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:51AM (#30947098)

        Amusing so Vista is as good as XP for running programs but it need much more powerful hardware(!).
        Don't you see a "small" contradiction/incoherence in your post?

        • Re:Coherence? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @09:02AM (#30948228) Journal

          No, it's a question of scalability, which is often more important than raw speed. With some systems, they perform well in relatively restricted hardware, but the performance improvement when you add more does not scale linearly with the extra RAM, CPU, and so on. With others, you get more constant overhead, but better scalability. Think of the overall performance as constant overhead + scalability load * resources. With XP, it sounds like the constant overhead is lower (which makes sense, as it had to run on 200MHz chips), but the scalability load is higher (which also makes sense, because it wasn't designed for 4+ cores and 2+GB of RAM).

          Or, to put it another way, if XP gets 80% of the maximum theoretical performance out of a 200MHz Pentium with 128MB of RAM, but only 50% of the maximum theoretical performance from a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM, while Vista gets 50% and 70%, respectively, what the grandparent said would be true and contain no contradictions.

          Various things in modern operating systems are optimised to take advantage of lots of spare RAM (for example, aggressive pre-fetching of data from the disk). Splitting services up into concurrent tasks has more overhead from context switching, but lets you scale better to multiple processors. Older desktop operating systems treated RAM as a very scarce resource and were heavily optimised for the single-CPU case, because hardly anyone had more than one CPU.

      • Newer software needs more resources.

        Windows 7 needs more resources than Vista? Duh.

        Look, Vista was a festering pile of diseased dogshit. You know it, I know it, Microsoft knows it. There's simply no need to defend it, especially when the "defence" runs to "Well, if you run it on monster hardware, it's not as slow as you think."

        The nightmare is over, man. Just let it go.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I can admit to never having used Vista.

        But I have noticed on the back of pretty much all of the boxed PC games at my local Game store that the each game's requirements now quote differently depending on whether you're running XP or Vista - and the difference for Vista is usually an additional 0.5GB of memory plus a slightly faster CPU.

        So it does suggest that Vista has considerably more overhead than XP.

      • Newer software needs more resources if it offers more functionality or it is badly written, and I don't see more functionality in Vista/Win7...

        • In my experience Win7 seems to require fewer resources than Vista - I can't ever imagine Vista on a netbook, but 7 does a nice enough job, and you might not consider all that graphical "bling" to be functionality but it has an overhead (and the Win7 implementation is much better than Vista's was).

          I'll let Penny Arcade sum up my Win7 experience [] to date.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        One of the biggest reasons in the apparent jump in performance from Vista to Win7 was MS fixing the ungodly GDI problem that Vista had - there's a fairly thorough write-up about it here []

        Essentially, GDI in Vista scaled in a square/cube fashion with each new object taking up memory in both system and graphics memory - a double whammy for any machine with integrated graphics which hammered the memory bus and, if you

    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:49AM (#30946814) Journal

      SuSE OpenLinux had an old 3.0.7 version of Firefox while Vista had a newer version.

      Firefox 3.5 has a totally rewritten javascript engine from scratch. It uses some dynamic tree mathmatical aglorithms to perform operations many times faster and has support for javascript functions mapped in ram before execution. Vista used Firefox 3.5 while SuSE had Firefox 3.0.7 installed without the new javascript engine. Firefox 3.0.x was a ram hog compared to 3.5 too.

      I also imagine Safari would execute on MacOSX much better than Windows since its designed for it. Itunes is kind of proof as it sucks on Windows.

  • Has anyone compared IE8 x86 vs 64bit with this benchmark? If so, what were the results?

    • The x64 version of IE is an afterthought. For example, last I checked IE8(x64) still didn't work with Windows Update.

      Some browsers (such as Opera) do not have 64-bit versions for the Windows platform. This is to be expected for many reasons, such as (a) browsers do fine with the amount of memory that a 32-bit process has access to (b) 32-bit plugins can't be loaded into 64-bit processes (c) any sort of javascript compiler (IE doesnt have one, but..) would require both a 32-bit and 64-bit codegen due to th
      • And one extra one: Win64 is an IL32P64 platform, unlike just about any other system you'll ever use. Lots of developers assume that sizeof(long) >= sizeof(void*) because, although the standard doesn't guarantee it, it's true basically anywhere. Except Win64. Even if your code already ran on half a dozen 64-bit platforms, there's a good chance that porting it to Win64 will break things. Most x86-64 systems are I32LP64. A few other architectures tend to be ILP64. When you port code to a 64-bit platfo
      • x64 IE doesn't support 32-bit plugins, which is normal for x64 browsers. The reason Windows Update doesn't work in it is that Microsoft hasn't gotten around to making an x64 version of the Windows Update Plugin. There are almost no x64 plugins (e.g. Flash) so x64 IE isn't terribly useful.

        Still, the OP had an excellent question, and someone should check it out (assuming the test doesn't require a plugin).

  • Wow, that benchmark makes IE look almost as antiquated as the game Civilization.
  • I wonder how the game would run on Safari (or Chrome or Firefox or Opera for that matter) on the Mac vs. Safari on Windows 7? I'm sure with a few tweeks for Mobile Safari, FreeCiv could become a favorite on the new iPad.
    • Everything involving heavy js and canvas that I've tried on my iphone has been sluggish to an unusable extent. On the other hand, I haven't tried it in a while. So I suppose it's possible some improvements have been rolled out.
  • Freeciv.ORG (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Satri ( 609291 ) <alexandreleroux&gmail,com> on Friday January 29, 2010 @08:39AM (#30948088) Homepage Journal

    The summary and the main page (I'm sure it's somewhere else but that's my point) doesn't mention this: it's based on [].

    (also strange; the site only mention in their 'community news', not 'project news', so it really seems "distinct projects", they're not officially promoting the other option, yet?)

  • ...using the latest HTML5 web standards

    Amazing how long it's taken to get a freakin' frame buffer.

    Cue a zillion Web 3.0 marketeers about how the web browser is the OS of the future. Oh, and the iPad is really keen-o, too.

  • That being said, it's FreeCiv! Of course I signed up.

  • FreeCiv vs Civ4 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moonbender ( 547943 ) <> on Friday January 29, 2010 @09:12AM (#30948282)

    I started playing Civ4 last week for a couple of games -- it runs very well in Wine, incidently -- and I'm wondering how FreeCiv compares. Obviously the graphics aren't there, but after a couple of games that seems less and less important. The gameplay mechanics are what matters, and I think they work very very well in Civ4. And is the AI any good? Wikipedia seems to imply that diplomacy is a bit simple.

    Anybody got "in-depth" experience with both games?

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court