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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Firefox Updated

Mozzarella Foundation seems to have much to celebrate these days: first of all, it has managed to secure their finances by concluding a deal with Google, and secondly, they have released a version of a browser which is very good indeed.

Unfortunately, Firefox has been a kind of an also-ran on the browser market recent days, having been eclipsed by Google’s Chrome browser and rejected by companies due to insisting on upgrading itself every other day. Indeed, a system administrator, whose employer is running Firefox, usually faces the necessity to run continual upgrades without even seeing any benefits. That’s why many chose to simply walk away from Firefox.

This situation was apparently heading to a crisis when the Mozzarella Foundation discovered that its financial agreement with Google was close to running out. Actually, Google had been bankrolling this company for a while now, but that was before Google entered the browser market itself. That’s why industry experts had expected that when the agreement ended at the end of this year, Google would say goodbye to the company.

However, it now seems that the company has managed to prolong the agreement and currently it looks like the status quo will continue. For ages already the users have been moaning that the browser has been getting slower with each upgrade, but the last one, version 9, makes the thing go like the clappers. Meanwhile, there isn’t much different to see in the browser’s interface, and there only seem to be some developer-oriented fixes – for example, Do Not Track status is queried through JavaScript, and support was added for such standards as HTML5, CSS, and MathML. However, the experts noticed significant improvements in JavaScript performance.

That’s what makes everything look like going about 30% faster, and you can easily see this kind of “faster”, which is just obvious. The thing that is causing it appeared to be a major improvement in the browser’s JaegerMonkey JIT compiler. It is called type inference and was meant to be seen in version 5 of the browser, but it was pushed back. Consequently, Firefox appeared to fall behind Google’s Chrome for speed, but now those bugs are ironed out.

That’s undoubtedly good news for the company. However, the experts worry that Firefox might have lost too much ground already. Indeed, although Firefox 9 is clearly a superior product, there is almost no matter of whether it needs all the updates keeping it out of businesses.

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