Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 31st May 2008 18:25 UTC, submitted by Jaikrishnan Janardhanan
Benchmarks The first webpage was served off a NeXTcube at CERN, Switzerland, developed by Tim Berners-Lee. He also wrote the first web browser, confusingly named WorldWideWeb - the world of web browsers has come a long way since then, more or less turning into a platform of their own. This puts increasing pressure on web browsers to be really really good pieces of software, and as such, ZDnet has a 7-page comparison of the world's major web browsers, comparing Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari.
Order by: Score:
Wow...
by HangLoose on Sat 31st May 2008 19:06 UTC
HangLoose
Member since:
2007-09-03

I will for SURE give a try in Safari after reading this.

I have been using Firefox 3 since alpha releases and it's amazingly fast compared to the second version. Sometimes, at work, I need to shift back to IE and it's crazy to notice how slow/unresponsive it is...

Funny to see that even Apple, and Opera too,did a better job than MS on Windows.

But awesome to see browser war back. The hardest thing is to make the users to shift even with so many arguments.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Wow...
by Moocha on Sat 31st May 2008 20:15 UTC in reply to "Wow..."
Moocha Member since:
2005-07-06

I will for SURE give a try in Safari after reading this.


Trying new things is usually a very good idea. However, in this particular case, you might want to put the experiment off for a while - a design flaw in Safari on Win32 opens a hole for exploiting a vulnerability in Internet Explorer. I strongly advise you avoid Safari/Win32 until Apple and/or Microsoft issue a patch.

References:

http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2008/05/safari_carpet_bomb.ht...

http://aviv.raffon.net/2008/05/31/SafariPwnsInternetExplorer.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/953818.mspx

Reply Score: 9

RE[2]: Wow...
by Kroc on Sun 1st Jun 2008 06:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

There is no evidence this is a zero day attack, and that anybody cares about [attacking] Safari with it's marketshare less than Firefox. Secondly the exploit goes hand in hand with an *old* still unpatched IE flaw.

There's still that zero day flash exploit going around. If anything, don't worry about Safari, make sure you have Flash turned off, and if at all possible, don't use Windows ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Wow...
by ari-free on Mon 2nd Jun 2008 01:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wow..."
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

why would I want to turn off flash? Most of what I do on the web these days seems to require flash.
or think of it this way: would the typical safari user turn off flash?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wow...
by mind!dagger on Sun 1st Jun 2008 04:06 UTC in reply to "Wow..."
mind!dagger Member since:
2007-06-26

"I will for SURE give a try in Safari after reading this."

I use OmniWeb since I find Safari way too slow for my needs.

Edited 2008-06-01 04:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Wow...
by tyrione on Sun 1st Jun 2008 04:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow..."
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

"I will for SURE give a try in Safari after reading this."

I use OmniWeb since I find Safari way too slow for my needs.


Really? They both use WebKit.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wow...
by MollyC on Sun 1st Jun 2008 18:51 UTC in reply to "Wow..."
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I will for SURE give a try in Safari after reading this.


You may want to hold off on trying Safari, in light of the massive security issue ("carpet bobmbing vulnerability") that Apple acknowledges but refuses to fix.
http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/31/1214254

Edited 2008-06-01 18:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Outdated Opera builds
by Detlef Niehof on Sat 31st May 2008 19:25 UTC
Detlef Niehof
Member since:
2006-05-02

The value of such comparisons is somewhat reduced by using outdated builds of one competitor. As someone in the comments section of that site already mentioned, the Opera build that was used was beta 1 instead of beta 2 which might explain the pretty bad results for "the fastest browser on earth".

Reply Score: 6

RE: Outdated Opera builds
by Almindor on Sat 31st May 2008 19:41 UTC in reply to "Outdated Opera builds"
Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

And ff3 was Beta5 not RC1 which btw. had some major speed improvements too. So.. there.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Outdated Opera builds
by zima on Sun 1st Jun 2008 02:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Outdated Opera builds"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You have to admit there's a little disparity when it comes to amount of time/changes between FF3 Beta5/RC1 releases and Opera Beta1/Beta2 releases...

As a personal sidenote - when it comes to my usage pattern, I'm not particularly worried how long it takes for the browser to render page/etc. I'm more interested in how many tabs can I open simultaneusly and how long the browser can run without any problems showing up (both of these are somewhat related to poor state of how bookmarking works). Opera, in my experience, exceels in those two categories (and Seamonkey comes pretty close, but strangely not FF...)

PS. Isn't it a bit weird to make changes ending in "major" speed improvements between late beta and RC1?...

(edit: typo & PS)

Edited 2008-06-01 02:22 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Outdated Opera builds
by BlackJack75 on Sat 31st May 2008 19:50 UTC in reply to "Outdated Opera builds"
BlackJack75 Member since:
2005-08-29

On the other hand if you're going to compare betas, you should also use Webkit instead of the stable release of Safari. I assume it also offers some performance variations.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Outdated Opera builds
by tyrione on Sun 1st Jun 2008 04:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Outdated Opera builds"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

On the other hand if you're going to compare betas, you should also use Webkit instead of the stable release of Safari. I assume it also offers some performance variations.


You assume correctly. There have been some major improvements in SVN. I've no doubt that at WWDC they'll have some update for general consumption.

Reply Score: 2

What this tells me.
by systyrant on Sat 31st May 2008 19:31 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

With all things said I doubt the average person is going to notice a huge performance difference between any of those browsers. When it comes right down to it I'll still be sticking with Firefox for the time being. Here's the reasons.

Firefox is open source, works across more than one or two platforms, and is generally tested against many websites for compatibility.

Of course I have IE8, Safari, Opera, and Firefox on my computer and I try to test my sites across all of them. IE is generally the only one that ever gives me any problems.

My last thought is that I wish they all used webkit. Not because it's better, but just so every browser has the same rendering foundation.

And lastly. I still hate sites that require IE. While I won't say that some sites have a legit reason to force the use of IE in my opinion most do not. It's stupid programming to require any particular browser.

Reply Score: 4

RE: What this tells me.
by Doc Pain on Sat 31st May 2008 21:09 UTC in reply to "What this tells me."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Interesting comparison, but as you mentioned, it won't have a significant effect on the actual browser landscape out there.

With all things said I doubt the average person is going to notice a huge performance difference between any of those browsers.


I think most users do use the browser that comes with their OS. Things like memory consumption, rendering speed or even standard compliance does not matter as long as "everything works". It's hard to convince somebody to change, even if his favourite browser is the king of malware. :-) But it's zjr ztuth for better browsers, too; I, for example, would not like to abandon Opera allthough I found speed and easyness of use have decreased since version 7 of this great piece of work.

Firefox is open source, works across more than one or two platforms, and is generally tested against many websites for compatibility.


That's why it's my most important reference browser, allthough I do prefer Opera and Safari for everyday use.

IE is generally the only one that ever gives me any problems.


Maybe that's the reason why I'm not interested in it anymore. :-)

My last thought is that I wish they all used webkit. Not because it's better, but just so every browser has the same rendering foundation.


Hmmm... even if Webkit itself would not be used, an engine conforming to Webkit's abilities would be a good idea.

And lastly. I still hate sites that require IE. While I won't say that some sites have a legit reason to force the use of IE in my opinion most do not. It's stupid programming to require any particular browser.


Well, that's what "professional developers" usually call "optimized for ...". But why care, "The 'Internet Explorer' is the Internet!" :-)

I do always applaud web developers who do great work by using standardized means, e. g. XHTML and CSS. You can do much stuff with it without requiring nonstandard extensions. It seems that it is not hard to code for a particular browser, but it's much harder to code for "all" browsers, especially if you're requiring things like interactivity...

Reply Score: 2

FF3 vs Safari and responsiveness
by BlackJack75 on Sat 31st May 2008 19:48 UTC
BlackJack75
Member since:
2005-08-29

Firefox 3 is really faster than 2.0 on mac. However the reason I still like Safari for daily web browsing (as opposed to development with FF3) is that Safari is just more responsive under heavy load.

Typically when I have 10 tabs open with complex pages, FF3 sometimes becomes unresponsive for a second or two. It seems to me the threading works better in Safari. When I hit Command+T to open a tab it always does immediately, no matter what's happening in the background.

I know that kind of thing is hard to benchmark, but it does make a difference in daily life.

Reply Score: 4

eggs Member since:
2006-01-23

If tabs behaved in Safari like they do in Firefox (I don't want new windows, just open it in a tab) I would use Safari in a heart beat. Why apple won't give us this option I will never understand.

Reply Score: 3

iBench reliability?
by harcalion on Sat 31st May 2008 20:09 UTC
harcalion
Member since:
2005-07-12

As the article tells, Safari fires "onLoad" event before it actually finishes rendering the page, the rest of the browsers don't. iBench measures speed until "onLoad" fires, so the bias of the benchmark is clear here.

It's curious that the writers of the article state that timing loading time with a stopwatch shows different results, but those results are not displayed in any bar chart.

Reply Score: 7

Benchmarks Schmenchmarks
by Michael on Sat 31st May 2008 20:21 UTC
Michael
Member since:
2005-07-01

If you need benchmarks to notice any performance difference then it's not going to be of huge importance in your choice of browser. It's not like the days when Firefox had huge memory leaks and everyone moaned about it. Then it was a real issue.

This is like those Acid tests - it's only really of interest / use to the developers of the various browsers. For the rest of us, as long as no-one falls too far behind the pack, it doesn't matter.

Reply Score: 1

Bollocks!
by Decius on Sat 31st May 2008 21:24 UTC
Decius
Member since:
2006-01-03

The only way that I can imagine Opera on a Windows box ending up as slowest is due to some variation in performance on Vista vs XP. I use all of the tested browsers, and consistently prefer Opera for features, security and speed.

This is not intended to start any battles over browsers, this is merely my preferences. On my hardware, running XP, W2K, ME, and 98SE, in all cases Opera is clearly the faster browser, especially when multiple tabs are opened.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Bollocks!
by TLZ_ on Sat 31st May 2008 21:30 UTC in reply to "Bollocks!"
TLZ_ Member since:
2007-02-05

The Beta 1 actually wasn't all that good.
It's one of the lesser good beta's they've released(IMO they should of waited and only release this one as weekly build.)

It seemed to have some problems and the speed was definetely not up to par what I usually see when using Opera.

Too bad they didn't use the Beta 2 in the test, in that one Opera shines more like it usually does. ;)

Edited 2008-05-31 21:31 UTC

Reply Score: 4

go go webkit!
by google_ninja on Sat 31st May 2008 21:42 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

My money is on webkit for the browser wars 2.0. IMO it has what it needs; it is open source, it is very fast, and has a clean codebase.

Firefox 3 is a hell of alot better then before in terms of resource use, but it is like comparing a mammoth to a hippo, just cause the hippo is smaller it doesn't mean its not still big. The only thing that keeps me on firefox is firebug.

IE8 is pretty far behind, but they may end up surprising us all. Back in the early days, MS showed us they could make a kick ass web browser when they wanted to, but from 5.0 to 7.0 there was no active work being put into the product. They have a good team on it now who are actually listening to what people are saying and dealing with issues that have been there for close to a decade.

As for Opera, I know there are people who love it, but I just don't get it (and never have). They made the decision years ago to try and duplicate ie bugs, and because of that pages tend to mis-identify it in sniffing. Because of that, I find that the web experience is the most wonky out of all the major players. That being said, it is my favorite browser for alternative platforms (use it on my windows mobile and wii).

That leaves safari. Its javascript story is kind of wonky, but that is the focus of the webkit team nowadays, so I have high hopes. They are standards very standards compliant (more so then firefox), but do not have the horrible codebase and a legacy of bloat to deal with.

It will take more work to catch up, but my money is squarely on the webkit team.

Reply Score: 1

I'm not surprised
by rain on Sat 31st May 2008 22:09 UTC
rain
Member since:
2005-07-09

I've been developing ExtJS apps for the past months using Firefox 2 and every time I try my code in Safari I'm just amazed at how fast it runs.

I don't need benchmarks to tell me that Safari is faster, it's really noticable.
Sadly, it doesn't have the kind of development tools that Firefox has so it's really not an option for me.

I'm happy to see that Firefox 3 has improved things a lot though. I'll have a look at it.

UPDATE: Just tried Firefox 3 out and wow, what a difference. My web apps run pretty much as fast as in safari now.
I can't wait until the addons I use are updated for version 3 so that I can start using it for real.

Edited 2008-05-31 22:18 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Firefox Speed
by vermaden on Sat 31st May 2008 22:15 UTC
vermaden
Member since:
2006-11-18

Firefox 3 is so fast and uses memory a lot more efficent because it uses FreeBSD's 7 jemalloc.

http://www.freebsdos.com/news/2008/02/19/firefox-3-beta3-uses-essen...

Reply Score: 5

opera 9.50 -> ff3
by kamil_chatrnuch on Sun 1st Jun 2008 00:29 UTC
kamil_chatrnuch
Member since:
2005-07-07

ok, i'm an opera user starting from the v6 days. because of some special circumstances i've now used firefox v3 (currently rc1) for almost 3-4 weeks. here're my impressions [all *very* subjective to my browsing habbits]:

pro:
- google pages are all supported and have a 'better', 'more rich-client like' feel to them.
- searching in the address bar is faster then with opera [opera gets 'stuck' sometimes]
- typing 2+ terms into the address bar bring's you often to the first google hit page

contra:
- the back button reloads the page. this is bad, because if i was in the middle of a (vertically) long page, followed a link, then tried going back it kicks me back at the begin of the page [ehm, or not (5%)]. also, i loose the filled-out forms when going back
- switching between tabs is just plain stupid [ctrl+tab]. i cycles through all the pages, instead of switching to the last-used one [plugin doesn't work with ff3]
- open closed tabs. there's undo function, which requires right-click on some of the tabs to undo the last tab. so if you want to open the 3rd closed tab, i have to open the 2nd and 1st too [plugin doesn't work with ff3]
- when opening more then 12 tabs [on my display], the tabs 'slide' away. this just feels wrong...
- bookmarks. i still don't know how to display all of them [not that i've giving it much though, but still...]
- no mouse gestures [plugin doesn't work with ff3]
- can't choose opening tabs in background/foreground in the right-click menu

this should not be a flame, so pls. add a virtual "for me" to every of the points.

these would be probably the biggest problems (for me). if you know solutions to them, i'm glad to hear them.

Reply Score: 5

RE: opera 9.50 -> ff3
by mmebane on Sun 1st Jun 2008 01:15 UTC in reply to "opera 9.50 -> ff3"
mmebane Member since:
2005-07-06

Tab Mix Plus will let you change pretty much everything you want about tab behavior, although the FF3-supporting version is still in beta. If you want to try it, you can get it from here:
http://tmp.garyr.net/dev-builds/

You can display all bookmarks with Bookmarks menu -> Organize Bookmarks. It is improved from FF2, but I think it still needs a little more work.

And you can get gestures with FireGestures:
http://www.xuldev.org/firegestures/


Still doesn't fix the back-button-reloads thing, though.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: opera 9.50 -> ff3
by Moochman on Sun 1st Jun 2008 08:34 UTC in reply to "RE: opera 9.50 -> ff3"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Another possibility for viewing all your bookmarks which might be even nicer for an Opera user is to hunt down and create a shortcut to your "bookmarks.html" file in your user profile (under Windows XP with hidden files turned on under C:\Documents and Settins\_your_user_name\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\_some_random_letters&numbers\, under Mac OS X under /_your_user_name/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/_some_random_letters&numbers/). Then you can view your bookmarks as a nice HTML list of links (albeit without being able to edit them).

Reply Score: 2

RE: opera 9.50 -> ff3
by ba1l on Sun 1st Jun 2008 13:35 UTC in reply to "opera 9.50 -> ff3"
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

The back button does not reload the page. Firefox has had the same page caching system as Opera since Firefox 2. Hitting the back button should be instant, and return the page to exactly the state it was in. Admittedly, I never use the back button, since I open just about every link in a new tab...

I hate that tab behaviour in Opera.

If you go to History, Recently Closed Tabs (in Firefox 3), you can open whichever one you want, in whatever order. I don't know what plugin you're talking about - it's built right into Firefox 3.

The sliding thing is a bit weird, I will admit.

You can view all bookmarks from the bookmark manager.

I never noticed the lack of mouse gestures, since I have system level gestures set up for all browsers. Not just limited to browsers either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_gesture#Windows

Use the keyboard if you want to open tabs in the foreground. Ctrl+click opens a new tab in the background, and ctrl+shift+click opens a new tab in the foreground.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by SJ87
by sj87 on Sun 1st Jun 2008 02:15 UTC
sj87
Member since:
2007-12-16

I don't know exactly what iBench and SunSpider do benchmark, but they sure don't implement any real world situations.

Firefox 3 is from somewhat to a lot slower than Opera when browsing idioticly designed webpages with lots of crap markup (ie. tables and stuff) or JavaScript (Facebook). Yea, Facebook does make even Opera freeze up from time to time, but Firefox affects even music playback, making it uncontinuous sometimes.

Firefox 3 even seems slower when rendering webpages with little to none interactive content (compared to Opera or Konqueror or Safari). It sure is faster than its predecessor, but still not quite on the same level with others. Or maybe it's just that I don't have a multicore system with this and that, only a mid-class single core hardware.

Reply Score: 1

meh
by djames on Sun 1st Jun 2008 07:16 UTC
djames
Member since:
2006-04-18

I think the benchmarks have valid reasoning behind it (numbers speak for themselves) but they are not real world cases.

IE 7 has locked up on me while loading quicktime and Firefox has crashed (thank goodness for tab restore) visiting websites that fires off ridiculous amount of remote requests.

It basically comes down to the website you visit, and whether the person (or group of people) that created the site knew what they were doing.

Reply Score: 1

A bit off topic
by J-freebsd_98 on Sun 1st Jun 2008 10:42 UTC
J-freebsd_98
Member since:
2006-01-01

anyone like me who was browsing osnews
with images off (default), the
post dates in the thread(s) can only
be seen with images ON.
.....................
more on topic: discovered by loading
osnews in seamonkey (images on default)
for once, rather than opera (images off
default) or links (text browser)
...................

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ari-free
by ari-free on Mon 2nd Jun 2008 01:30 UTC
ari-free
Member since:
2007-01-22

say goodbye to the closed source browsers: while they were kings for a while in the beginning, they won't hold up in the long term.
There are also the unofficial optimized firefox builds to look at
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewforum.php?f=42
many of them have special assembly code and not just about turning on a few compiler switches.

Reply Score: 2