posted by lemur2 on Fri 15th Oct 2010 22:50 UTC
IconFor its upcoming Firefox 4.0 release, Mozilla has been concentrating a great deal on what is often cited as the main shortcoming of Firefox ... its speed. For example, Firefox 4.0 will include GPU acceleration for both rendering and compositing on Windows 7/Vista, OSX and Linux, and it will have GPU acceleration for compositing only for Windows XP.

Jaegermonkey is the new addition for Firefox 4.0 to the Spidermonkey Javascript engine via which Mozilla hopes to at least match the performance of javascript engines of competing browsers. Although the GPU acceleration features for Firefox 4.0 have been showcased for Windows 7/Vista for the past couple of preview releases of Firefox 4.0 beta, the Jaegermonkey javascript engine improvements have not yet made an appearance. The first preview of Jaegermonkey will appear in Firefox 4.0 beta 7, which is not going to be ready for release until the end of October.

So, have Mozilla achieved their aim for Jaegermonkey yet? Javascript performance is a complex matter, and it is possible to write benchmarks which concentrate on one aspect of javascript performance and gloss over another. Not surprisingly, there are a number of javascript benchmarks available, Kraken put out by Mozilla, Sunspider by Apple and v8bench by Google, which just happen to indicate that Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome respectively are the fastest current javascript engines. This isn't really much help to anyone.

Given their charter and ostensible mission of helping people, Mozilla have been tracking the performance of their Jaegermonkey engine aginst the equivalent engines within Safari and Chrome using the sunspider and v8bench benchmarks (as opposed to their own Kraken benchmark) for some time now. In this way people cannot accuse their results of favouring Firefox.

For the entire time that Jaegermonkey has been in development up until now, the Mozilla performance tracking website has indicated that 'no', Mozilla's javascript was not yet as fast as Apple's or Google's. For the first time, in a very recent update, the site no longer says this. Mozilla is saying, very subtly, despite the results for Google's v8bench, that Mozilla's javascript engine has finally in their view caught up with the performance of the opposition.

Enjoy it when it becomes available soon for the first time in Firefox 4.0 beta 7.

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