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Mozilla Unleashes JaegerMonkey Enabled Firefox 4 279

Posted by timothy
from the some-big-hype-to-live-up-to dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has published the first Firefox 4 build that integrates a new JavaScript engine that aims to match the performance in IE9 and reduces the gap to Safari, Opera and Chrome. This is really the big news we have been waiting for all along with Firefox 4 and it appears that the JavaScript performance is pretty dramatic and seems to beat IE9 at least as far as ConceivablyTech shows. Good to see Mozilla back in the game." The Mozilla blog gives a good overview of the improvements this brings; Tom's Hardware also covers the release.
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Mozilla Unleashes JaegerMonkey Enabled Firefox 4

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  • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:31PM (#33527066) Homepage Journal

    Ironically, the primary site for which I really need a faster Javascript engine is Slashdot. For a heavily-commented article I switch to Chrome.

    • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:35PM (#33527108) Homepage

      Ironically, the primary site for which I really need a faster Javascript engine is Slashdot. For a heavily-commented article I switch to Chrome.

      Switch to old-style comments viewing system... I just get a dump of comments, nested appropriately. Makes for much nicer reading on a non-mobile device, albeit being a bit more bandwidth intensive initially.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Ditto.

        Plain text slashdot is the way to go. And I use Mozilla/SeaMonkey which seems to operate faster than Firefox, and has built-in Usenet support.

      • by Seakip18 (1106315)

        Agreed. Even on mobile, it's much easier to go through comment threads than rely on javascript to handle it properly.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Switch to old-style comments viewing system... I just get a dump of comments, nested appropriately. Makes for much nicer reading on a non-mobile device, albeit being a bit more bandwidth intensive initially.

        My trick is to load up the /. front page, then open the articles in a new tab. This hides the bandwidth usage enough that when I'm done scanning, the first article should've finished loading and I can read that while the rest of the tabs load.

        I do dislike the javascript comment system for that reason - t

        • by spitzak (4019)

          For me in Firefox loading a Slashdot page in the background locks it up for several seconds. It seems to start about 2 seconds after the page starts loading (ie if I click quickly I can open more pages in the background) and then it locks until (I think) the page finishes loading. So this problem makes it useless. Firefox 3.6.8.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Runaway1956 (1322357)
            This happens to me sometimes. Firefox just becomes unresponsive, and I have to wait for it.
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Switch to old-style comments viewing system...

        How exactly do you do that? I've tried turning on and off every god damn setting in the preferences pages, and the only thing that doesn't seem to change at all is how the comments are displayed.

    • by Teese (89081) <beezel@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:03PM (#33527426)

      Ironically, the primary site for which I really need a faster Javascript engine is Slashdot. For a heavily-commented article I switch to Chrome.

      Is chrome the only broswer that has problems with the idle.slashdot comment thread. It anytime I try to open a closed comment, it refreshes the page and only gives me the comment, it doesn't expand the comment inline like it does in a normal comment thread. I've always been to lazy to try other broswers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        All browsers cry when they hit Idle. I don't think it's actually a code problem, I think everything cries at the sight of Idle.

    • I'm using FF on slashdot for ages never had a "slow" feeling o.o

    • Ironically, the primary site for which I really need a faster Javascript engine is Slashdot.

      What's so demanding on slashdot? All I can think of is that you're running a browser on a sam coupe, or that your machine must be swapping so much that all javascript is horribly slow.

  • In a Beta? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by reub2000 (705806) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:37PM (#33527120)
    My understanding of the term Beta is that all features are complete. Has something changed?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Alpha is when code is released in-house for testing, beta is when it's released to outsiders for testing. Presumably one wouldn't release a beta unless the features were not only completed, but tested in alpha.

    • Re:In a Beta? (Score:5, Informative)

      by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@g m a il.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:41PM (#33527172) Homepage
      It's my understanding that feature freeze is tomorrow.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by flimflammer (956759)

      Like version numbers, alpha/beta/etc are subject to interpretation...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mia'cova (691309)

      What you say is in line with my traditional view of alpha/beta. I think you need to accept that it's a lot more complicated than that in large software projects. Often betas are released to get customer feedback. That's an important feedback loop if you really want to nail your scenarios. Sometimes you're simply missing something.

      But in this case, yea, I'd tend to agree that a lot of features are landing late. If they were being stabilized and turned on by default, that would be a lot different. Oh well.

  • Kinda Sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeionXxX (261398) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:43PM (#33527198)

    Anyone else kinda sad that now Firefox is playing catchup. When no one cared about JS performance, the Open Source crowd was king, then all of a sudden big corporate money was poured into JS performance and now FOSS is lagging behind.

    It seems that FOSS can't compete head to head with corporate backed projects, if the corporation actually cares. For example, MS didn't care about JS performance in IE6/IE7 and Firefox was king. Now, Microsoft is trying to compete in the browser space again and IE9 is catching up in features and exceeding Firefox in certain respects.

    This is coming from a very long time Firefox user, but I have definitely switched to Chrome for general web browsing. I stick with Firefox for development though because of the large amount of niche plugins specifically tailored for development.

    • Compatibility (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:50PM (#33527274)

      Firefox lagged chrome mostly because firefox cares a LOT more about compatibility, and adding all this crazy JIT compiled JS stuff is hard when you're trying to support all the introspection features which people have been using in firefox.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Intron (870560)

        Firefox lagged chrome mostly because firefox cares a LOT more about compatibility, and adding all this crazy JIT compiled JS stuff is hard when you're trying to support all the introspection features which people have been using in firefox.

        Firefox cares about compatibility [mozilla.org]? Are you kidding me? Reported: 2000-03-28

        Doing a basic html element wrong for 10 years is not compatibility.

      • Firefox lagged chrome mostly because firefox cares a LOT more about compatibility, ...

        I wish Firefox could display my Netflix queue properly. It's impossible to delete an item that shows the DVD/Bluray listbox: the delete icon is lost.

        I was forced to use IE but now there's the IE Tab Plus addon that invokes the embedded IE engine in a FF tab. Mediocre solution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kungfugleek (1314949)
      I don't know. I think that if the big corporations are made to care about things that "common folk" care about simply because of competition from FOSS projects, that in itself is a kind of victory for FOSS.
    • Re:Kinda Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:59PM (#33527376) Homepage Journal

      Why the heck should anyone be sad? One of the reasons open source is so important to the industry is to prevent the state of the art in software from becoming moribund. Microsoft practically stopped working on IE once it had what it thought was an unbreakable monopoly on browsers. Imagine where we'd be today without Firefox and the Apache Group. It might be a world of IE6 browsers served from VB ASPs on IIS 5.

      Even people who don't use F/OSS benefit from it.

    • Re:Kinda Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by samkass (174571) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:02PM (#33527406) Homepage Journal

      When no one cared about JS performance, the Open Source crowd was king, then all of a sudden big corporate money was poured into JS performance and now FOSS is lagging behind.

      Last I checked both WebKitCore and V8 were faster than IE9 and were both open source (the former LGPL and the latter NewBSD). I don't think this is a FOSS vs. Proprietary thing, just a Mozilla vs. Everyone Else thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MBGMorden (803437)

      Big corporation and FOSS aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. I use Chromium on my Linux machines. It's open source, and it's blazing fast.

    • Re:Kinda Sad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:13PM (#33527522) Homepage

      Isn't Chrome open source? And isn't IE9 still unreleased?

      Look, there's nothing wrong with Firefox. Performance improvements are lagging a bit behind Chrome, but obviously they're working on it. It's still a great browser.

      Safari, Chrome, and Firefox are all great browsers, and they're all (at least to some extent) open source browsers. When a story comes out about how Firefox is preparing a new release with substantial performance improvements, I think you have to bend over backward to turn it into a sad anti-FOSS story.

      • by msclrhd (1211086)

        Exactly. Opera is also (from reports) a great browser and IE9 is making great strides catching up with the rest.

        It also looks to be close as to when Firefox and IE9 are released to see which browser will be first to have a major release supporting hardware acceleration.

        Exciting times.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by schlameel (1017070)
      With few exceptions (modern Linux, early Firefox, your-favorite-here), when is FOSS not playing catchup? I'm a big believer, but it is my experience that most F/OSS projects are a response to some commercially available / big corporate solution. Often the FOSS project provides some some feature set or widget or level of access that is an improvement over the existing package, but, as a whole the F/OSS project often lags behind bad-guy-based software. And the more UI there is, the greater the disparity be
    • by selven (1556643)

      Chromium is not proprietary.

    • by Jorl17 (1716772)
      Chromium is FOSS. Chromium's JS owns. Period.
    • I'm pretty sure there's a name for this kind of argument, but it's basically a regular fallacy.

      Firefox JS performance has nothing to do with being open source. Javascript did not matter for a very long time, it was only used for seldom tiny effects. That's why Firefox JS engine was not super high performance (albeit still much faster than anyone elses at that time), because it would have been seen as totally overkill.

      Things have changed and Firefox JS is adapting. Since it's using an old codebase, it's not

    • It seems that FOSS can't compete head to head with corporate backed projects, if the corporation actually cares.

      Since when was javascript performance the most important feature in a web browser? If you compare all of the features Firefox 4 has to Chrome/IE/Safari besides javascript performance (which is very comparable anyways), you'll see that Firefox isn't lagging at all.

    • It's called competition, and it's what we really, really need in the software industry.
    • by msclrhd (1211086)

      Firefox has support for MathML (and has done for a long time) which WebKit and Chrome are only just starting to introduce. Firefox has just/is landing support for using SVG in img tags.

      Firefox improved support for the ARIA accessibility standard in FF3, beating the support in other browsers and with no support in Chrome 1 -- http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/aria-tests/ARIA-SafariaOperaIEFF.html [paciellogroup.com] with an updated list at http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/?p=474y [paciellogroup.com].

      There are a lot of standards out there and diff

    • by Flammon (4726)
      Webkit is FOSS... Catching up with who? IE9? IE9 hasn't been released yet and don't get me going about IE6/7/8. Are you talking about Opera?
  • If this is "really the big news we have been waiting for all along," then we can officially proclaim this as a Slow News Week!. Who didn't expect Firefox 4 to beat IE9 and narrow the performance gap to Safari, Opera, Chrome? Wake me up when Firefox 4 blows them all out of the water!
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:47PM (#33527240) Homepage

    And cheers to the release!

    • Were you in a fraternity?

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      Funny you mention that.

      I imagine Chrome had a really cool name for the javascript engine build that would make me think of advanced sentient computer systems processing my JS at blinding speeds while still deciding on whether or not to wipe humanity from the Earth....

      Then I see the name JaegerMonkey and envisioned a drunk little monkey inside my computer throwing poo at the screen....

  • Anyone know what hardware they were using in the demo video (tom's hardware) to get the 12fps and 91fps comparatively. Is this the kind of performance increase the average user will see or just people with high end systems?

  • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:53PM (#33527314)
    Slashdot is quite perky with the last couple of betas. But it's especially disheartening that the video "upgrades" in this most current release fall short on my platform. When viewing the demo page ( http://demos.hacks.mozilla.org/openweb/HWACCEL/ [mozilla.org] ), I get 1 fps. I get 6 fps when running the same demo on Firefox inside a Parallels Windows XP SP3 VM. The VM is significantly faster... which boggles the mind actually.

    So far as I remember, this was an Apple issue not necessarily a Mozilla issue, but still disappointing.
    • by rjstanford (69735)

      Huh. I get Safari=7, Chrome=5, and Firefox3.6.9=3 running that test on a pretty recent MacBook Pro - current stable versions of each, I believe.

      • by donutello (88309)

        8 core Mac Pro with 10GBs of RAM and I only get 5fps on Safari and 2fps on Firefox.

      • by lymond01 (314120)

        Err...it tells me 17fps. Windows 7, FF 3.6.9

      • by rjstanford (69735)

        I'm betting that screen resolution makes a pretty decent difference for some systems - FWIW, my numbers were at 1920x1080. All tests should be valid when compared against different browsers on the same machine, though.

    • I'll have to try this on my Mac Mini. I just tried Firefox/4.0b6pre on my Lenovo T500 running 64 bit Arch Linux: 2fps - and it severely impacted overall performance while it was running. I fired up Chromium 7.0.515.0 on the same machine and scored 26 fps with no performance problems. TFA said it had to do with directX, so I don't think Macs would see a great increase either.
    • ...for their acceleration. Pretty friggin sad.

      It is a MOZILLA issue.

      • by msclrhd (1211086)

        On Windows they use DirectX and also use Direct2D/DirectWrite if available (Vista or later).

        On Linux, they use XRender (2D) and OpenGL.

        On Mac, they use the relevant Mac APIs, including IIRC Quartz.

        This is like what games do when they choose between DirectX 8/9, DirectX 10/11 and OpenGL. I bet Chromium, WebKit and Qt do similar things for their accelerated graphics.

    • 72 fps , FF4b4 Linux, i7620m

      • should have included it but oh well:
        6 FPS , chrome 6.x Linux i7 620M

        i'd say firefox is a bit faster. lol.

    • by xororand (860319)

      92 FPS with
      Browser: Firefox 4.0b4 (64-bit), haven't gotten around to compile the latest beta yet
      OS: Debian GNU/Linux amd64
      CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.6 GHz
      GPU: Nvidia GTX 260

    • by cuby (832037)
      I've got 30 fps. Results of 1 or 2 fps are very strange and I think they are related to non Firefox issues.

      Firefox 3.6.9.
      Ubuntu 10.04.1
      Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz
      GeForce 9400 GT (with nvidia driver)
  • Are We Fast Yet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theY4Kman (1519023) <they4kman@gmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:55PM (#33527332) Homepage

    Check out http://arewefastyet.com/ [arewefastyet.com] to see the speeds of several JavaScript engines compared to Mozilla's.

    • Re:Are We Fast Yet? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by denis-The-menace (471988) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:35PM (#33527784)

      OMG, all the 32bit Browsers beat the 64bit browsers!

      Why did I bother for a 64Bit Windows 7 OS!

      • > 4GB of addressable memory spac without kludgy hacks. Better OS stability and use of CPU features (nx bit)... SSDs tend to work better with OSes that support TRIM.. there's plenty of reson beyond 64-bit apps... even MS recommends using 32bit office.
      • Re:Are We Fast Yet? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jesser (77961) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:55PM (#33529148) Homepage Journal

        The JaegerMonkey team understands why it's currently slower on 64-bit than on 32-bit. One reason is that the larger pointers on 64-bit systems don't play well with the value representation [mozilla.com]. If that can be fixed, perhaps by using a different value representation in 64-bit versions, it might end up faster on 64-bit than on 32-bit.

        They're working on speeding up the 64-bit version. They have to, because of the plan to ship Firefox 4 as a 64-bit application for Mac OS X 10.6 ;)

        (Btw, arewefastyet.com shows speeds of naked JavaScript engines, which are usually slightly faster than JavaScript engines inside web browsers.)

  • by radish (98371) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:09PM (#33527490) Homepage

    The linked article is about 4.0b6-pre which is the first version to include JaegerMonkey. The other two links are to articles about the public release of 4.0b5, which doesn't include JM (it's headline feature is really the DirectDraw support on Windows).

    4.06-pre isn't currently being pushed to regular beta testers AFAIK.

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