Firefox 4 Beta 7 Has Revved Up The Engines

Firefox 4 beta increases java speed

The new Firefox 4 Beta stands miles apart from the last official release, Firefox 3.6.  Recently they just acquired the Jägermonkey team’s JavaScript engine and it has given them a serious speed boost, not to mention some of the other improvements that they’ve incorporated.

Last week Mozilla posted the latest benchmarks for Firefox 4 Beta, and they are smoking fast.  When compared to the old 3.6 version of Firefox we’re looking at speeds up to 5 times faster.

Firefox beta 7 benchmarks

This made me curious, so I pulled up the benchmarks for each modern browser.  If you though Chrome was fast, well it still is!  Firefox isn’t far behind though, and David Mandelin, Firefox Engineer, stated that it is going to get even faster before they release the official version 4.

latest browser sunspider benchmarks

Speed isn’t the only new thing in beta 7 though, according to Mozilla they’ve made a few other improvements; the full Bug and Fix list can be found here.

Uses JägerMonkey, a new, faster JavaScript engine

WebGL is enabled by default on Windows and Mac OS X. WebGL support requires an OpenGL-capable graphics card. Support for other graphics cards on Windows (specifically Intel GPUs) and Linux will be coming in a future beta

Certain rendering operations are now hardware-accelerated using Direct3D 9 on Windows XP, Direct3D 10 on Windows Vista and 7, and OpenGL on Mac OS X

Improved web typography using OpenType with support for ligatures, kerning and font variants

HTML5 Forms API makes web-based forms easier to implement and validate

What about looks?

Have you seen the new interface for Firefox 4 beta?  It looks a lot like IE9, except done correctly.  They’ve minimized the amount of space used up by the toolbars, and done away with the status bar at the bottom entirely.  They made a smart move by moving the bookmarks menu to a single Star button, it’s simple and small, but it’s there if you need it.  At one point I was in love with the minimalism of Chrome, but this latest version of Firefox does a great job.

firefox 4 beta screenshot

Have you tried the latest version of Firefox beta?  What do you think, let us know in the comments below!



  1. Gizmo

    FF4 looks like, Ie9, which looks like Opera, which is similar to Chrome, which is …..


    how do u interpret the sunspider benchmark numbers..?

    • goLfie

      The Sunspider benchmarks are measured in milliseconds and includes tests to generate a tagcloud from JSON input, a 3D raytracer, cryptography tests, code decompression, and many more examples. There are a few microbenchmarkish things, but they mostly represent real performance problems that developers have encountered.

      In other words it measures how long it takes the browser to render commonly used javascript language.

      • voxpop

        first thanks for the reply and if i’m understanding this correctly then ie8 is the that correct? sorry but i suffer from newbie-itus.

        • goLfie

          yeah IE8 is slower than molasses. Since we’re talking about the amount of time it takes to render something, low number = good thing.

  3. voxpop

    Got it..Thanks

    • MrGroove

      Awesome! Welcome to the site!

      • voxpop

        It’s nice to be wanted..

  4. Rusty Bloomquist

    Does the Firefox 4 Beta accept Norton Identity Safe? I have always refrained from updating until I know that I can still use Norton to access my secure sites.

    • Rusty Bloomquist

      Disregard my post. I failed to look at the date of the original post. I will survive the embarrassment.

  5. Ari Goldberg

    Is there a way to AutoBCC to two or more email addresses? I tried a couple of different ways (copied entire line, added email address after first one on same line), but it’s not working for me.

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