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."
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."