Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Nov 2017 23:04 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones

People have noticed that Firefox is fast again.

Over the past seven months, we’ve been rapidly replacing major parts of the engine, introducing Rust and parts of Servo to Firefox. Plus, we’ve had a browser performance strike force scouring the codebase for performance issues, both obvious and non-obvious.

We call this Project Quantum, and the first general release of the reborn Firefox Quantum comes out tomorrow.

orthographic drawing of jet engine

But this doesn’t mean that our work is done. It doesn’t mean that today’s Firefox is as fast and responsive as it’s going to be.

So, let’s look at how Firefox got fast again and where it’s going to get faster.

I should definitely give Firefox another try - I've tried it over the years but it always felt a little sluggish compared to the competition. Chrome's gotten way too fat over the years, so I've resorted to using Edge on my main computer lately - it isn't perfect, but it it sure is fast, and places very little strain on my machine. I want my browser to get out of my way, and gobbling up processor cycles is exactly not that.

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So far, so good
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 14th Nov 2017 14:45 UTC
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I switched over to the Firefox "Developer Edition" a year or so back, which has the "Quantum" changes for a few weeks now. My first reactions were quite negative, mainly because it disabled all legacy extensions & undid all of the customizations I'd made to de-Chrome-ify the UI. Fortunately there is an about:config flag to re-enable support for legacy extensions - there seem to be a few compatibility issues (E.g. errors when saving settings for some extensions), but the one I depend on the most (ItsAllText) is still working, and there's already a WebExtension of my other most-used extensions (TabHunter).

As for the UI, someone (it looks like the same folks behind Classic Theme Restorer) has put together a fairly extensive set of custom user styles that work quite well for modifying the UI - and they're flexible enough that I was able to get back to a more-or-less "classic" UI: separate title & menu bars, tabs below the bookmarks toolbar, etc.

With those things sorted out, I'm finding a very noticeable improvement over old releases - especially the speed, even with legacy extension support re-enabled (which makes me more than a little skeptical of the claims that legacy support must be dropped in order for Firefox to move forward...). If ind the performance improvements most noticeable when opening new windows (there used to be a 2-3 second lag after hitting Ctrl-N), or when opening a large number of new tabs (I'm often opening 40-50 tabs in one go, for sending Spamcop reports, etc) - previously, the browser would get very sluggish/slow to respond to UI inputs while the new tabs were loading, now there's typically no noticeable impact.

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