Mozilla: Firefox 3.1 faster than Chrome

Mozilla answered claims that Google's Chrome browser outperforms Firefox with benchmark results of its own that showed the upcoming Firefox 3.1 is faster at executing JavaScript.

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Mozilla answered claims that Google's Chrome browser outperforms Firefox with benchmark results of its own that showed the upcoming Firefox 3.1 is faster at executing JavaScript.

According to tests run by Brendan Eich, Mozilla's chief technology officer and the creator of JavaScript, Firefox's new TraceMonkey interpreter is up to 28 per cent faster than V8, the name Google gave to the interpreter used by Chrome.

Eich ran the SunSpider benchmarks on the most recent build of Firefox 3.1 as well as on Chrome, the beta browser Google released earlier this week. "We're very much in the game," said Eich in his blog Wednesday, where he detailed the test results. "Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated."

Within hours of Chrome's release, reviewers and bloggers had posted results from several JavaScript benchmarks - SunSpider and Google's own V8 Benchmark Suite among them - that showed Chrome being markedly faster than the current Firefox 3.0.1.

Eich disagreed. Although he called V8 "great work, very well-engineered," he said TraceMonkey has more potential than Google's interpreter for additional, and dramatic, speed improvements. "We've only been working on TraceMonkey for, what, three months now," he said in an interview Friday. Google has said its Danish engineers had been working on V8 for approximately two years.

"We think ours has more room to improve," said Eich.

In the specific areas where Chrome's V8 now blows TraceMonkey out of the water -- recursion tests, for example - Mozilla will take catch-up steps soon. "We have a plan to trace recursion, not just tail recursion," Eich said. "We simply haven't had enough hours in the day to get to it, but it's next."

And in the end, it's not a zero-sum game, where if one browser wins, the other must lose. "We've never tried to say that Firefox is the fastest browser," Eich said. "For web developers, what's important is if performance is close enough [between browsers] to actually deploy web applications for those platforms."

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