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Firefox's JIT is getting significantly faster (groups.google.com)
865 points by jiripospisil 59 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 271 comments



It's sad how these valuable optimizations are unknown to the average person. When I hear "the browser" discussed in almost any parlance, the implication is Chrome. It's rare to even hear someone say "Chrome," as it's the defacto choice for the non-mobile web. Convenience breeds ignorance.


Or Mozilla’s leadership was distracted by a bunch of meaningless distractions instead of focusing on unsexy things like this and lost out to a competitor.

It wasn’t the users that lost interest in Firefox. It was Mozilla that lost interest in Firefox.


> distracted by a bunch of meaningless distractions

I often find that the specific things that are thought of as 'meaningless distractions' by different people don't entirely overlap.

For example, I think having a mobile OS not controlled by google or apple would be phenomenally important, so I was entirely in favour of FirefoxOS.

Rust has led to improvements in Firefox that were previously said to be nearly intractable. I'd definitely include that as something valuable, not just for firefox but for the world.

Mozilla Persona seemed like a really good way to solve something that we're still struggling with - to have a universal web identity that belongs to me rather than some surveillance monetiser.

I could see value in emscripten, Firefox sync, Rhino, Shumway, thunderbird.

Now that is already a selection of projects that includes a bunch that were widely considered to be failures and were killed. It's also already probably too much for a company of Mozilla's size.

The projects that we see mozilla doing at the moment, I sort of get - they're trying to pitch the brand as a 'privacy' play, but if they really want to do that plausibly, they're going to need to change their income model.


Do you think that focusing on more unsexy things would have helped? It seems to me that it's fundamentally a marketing problem. Many people are not even aware that Firefox exists, despite it being basically as good as Chrome, and in some ways considerably better.


ultimately if there value , word of mouth works pretty well .

Firefox does not have a brand visibility problem , no amount of marketing will convince users if the browser is not significantly better. If the value is marginal convenience trumps.

Firefox did not gain market share orginally because they did better marketing than IE. They became big because they built a better product.

Chrome became because of the same reason too. They did a lot of early innovations with per tab process isolation headless or v8 decoupling and myriad to new features giving performance boost and making it possible for projects like electron to exist.

Firefox got a major usage boost post quantum.

If they could rebuild the full stack on rust there will be a massive usage boost.

Mozilla is in a unique position they don't have revenue targets or shareholders to please. They have users, and a single customer who is also their only competitor.

It is no brainier to say largest chunk of investment should have gone there.

P.S. yes google has a unfair advantage, they implement web standards well before it is accepted then force their version by sheer force the market dominance. This is not new IE did it to netscape . However google also owns a lot of the pages people visit. They will optimize their sites for their browser. This is why youtube will always be faster in chrome than firefox.


Firefox did gain over IE because major websites pointed IE users to it.

And of course Chrome became dominant the same way.

Word of google.com main page > word of mouth :(


All I'm really looking for out of any possible anti-trust is a big "try firefox for better privacy" popup on google.com.


Website admins pointed IE users to Firefox because it worked better, supported APIs and features which made their site better.

Chrome was the same too. Yes Google does have unfair advantage because they own lot of properties people interact with every day, they are a significant player for user mind space, but they are not so large that people spend 50-60% time on google products only .


I don't agree. Google is many times bigger than Mozilla. I am not talking about tech people here. Everyone uses search, youtube and android is huge outside usa. Chrome comes preinstalled in major plateforms. Even if it's not going to a google site tells them to install it. These people don't even know they can install firefox.


Well then focusing on firefox marketing and unsexy optimizations more than cool projects was the thing to do. In any case, focusing on the browser.


I'm not sure I see it. Do you perhaps use Chrome yourself and hence the implication? Because it seems everyone just says "browser" regardless of if it's Safari, Edge, Firefox or something else (but it's a fact that Chrome is currently most popular by far). Why would somebody even draw the distinction between what is mostly interchangeable products, unless they have specific technical discussion about that product? It's not like instead of saying "my shoes are wet" people usually would say "my Nike Air Max 93 are wet". It's nonsense.


Not OP but I've made similar experiences. Here in Germany Firefox for a really long time had the plurality of the market share even while in most other countries Chrome had already won. Everyone knew what Firefox was.

Three to four years ago was the first time, particular among young people, teenagers say, that I met kids who didn't know what Firefox was. It has lost an extreme amount of awareness.


A 10-15% speed bump in CPU performance is certainly nice but in most cases it's not going to be something that users are consciously aware of. Web page performance varies a lot due to network performance, new versions of websites being deployed, different ads being served, and so on. This noise obscures things enough that it probably won't be easy to attribute a change in performance to the browser if you're not looking for it.

But even if the users aren't aware of what changed, it will likely affect user behavior.

For the better? Hard to say. Websites that load a little faster are a little more addictive.


If they want to actually improve user experience they can always include uBlock Origin by default - its permissive license should allow this just fine.


Despite it being an absolute dumpster fire in other ways, the new firefox android almost has that. It's nice for telling my friends who I've gotten to switch over to just open firefox, open the hamburger and tap addons then addons manager, then tap ublock origin at the top of the list and that's all it takes to get my friends rolling with it. They're all extremely happy with the new firefox and don't notice how webpages are pretty broken in it now.


Web chrome is soon deprecating the APIs which allow ad blockers to work too.


I wonder if blocking Google Analytics by default would affect their default search engine deal with Google...


There's nothing stopping them from adjusting the defaults, but I guess users would criticise them for it.


They could just show users the recommended plugins to install as part of user onboarding .

It is not just about privacy or blocking ads. It is matter of security . I am trust nytimes , I cannot trust every third party whose code nytimes decided to include. Who in turn has included a bunch that nytimes doesn't even know about. How can I trust a website when they themselves do not know what crapware runs?


Their Tracking Protection doesn’t do that? I’d hope at least the Private Browsing protection does.


There is a move toward 1st party proxys as a result of GDPR and similar ruling. Google has already published a framwork or something in that direction. It is not mandatory yet, but when the web moves in that direction there will be no blocking of domains any more. (Technical) Users won't even know that Analytics tracks them.


I'm dealing with a Firefox issue where painting on canvas with a CSS filter is magnitudes slower than Chrome. It makes my app almost unusable for Firefox users. Improving the performance would certainly make users notice since it's one of the most common complaints.


Stuff like CSS filters is generally going to be down to lack of GPU acceleration or video driver shenanigans, though some obscure filters still run on the CPU. If you run a filter on the entire page for example (some addons do this) it pessimizes rendering in a bad, noticeable way.


In this link about a similar (or same?) issue it sounds like filters are done on the CPU in Firefox unless you enable a flag but it may be outdated: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=925025

> Safari and Chrome both do blur on the GPU Firefox does it in software unless WebRender is turned on. You could try turning on the gfx.webrender.all pref and that should improve things.


webrender is on by default for Windows 10, but Mozilla is still struggling with mac and Linux drivers, so it's still off by default there.

See https://wiki.mozilla.org/Platform/GFX/WebRender_Where

To check if you're using webrender, check about:support. Check the graphics>compositing section.

(Edited to correct first paragraph.)


In the Firefox Release channel, WebRender is currently only enabled on Windows 10. Windows 7/8 support should be coming soon in Firefox 83 (2020-11-17) and macOS and Linux after that. As you say, GPU drivers are the biggest problem.


It is changing, though.

I have an Intel video card (UHD 630), and Webrender (which I had to forcibly enable) is working very well. Video acceleration, too. Even with a 4K screen.


Agreed for most cases. However, it matters in the context of canvas/WebGL games.


Firefox used to be a lot faster, and smoother, at rendering <canvas> than Chrome when I was developing early versions of my canvas library (around the mid 2010s). But then Chrome caught up and for the past couple of years has been considerably faster[1].

One thing that really annoys me about Firefox on MacOS is that they disable keyboard focus of links by default. Which is not good for accessibility - it took me days to work out why my accessibility testing demos were failing[2].

[1] - I use this demo for my goto stress test: https://scrawl-v8.rikweb.org.uk/demo/canvas-006.html

[2] - https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/keyboard-focus-of-links-on-m...


> It's sad how these valuable optimizations are unknown to the average person.

Does the average person really need to understand JIT optimisations?


No, but they enjoy faster performance that JiT optimization yields


That's technically true, but most average users probably don't care. It's like optimizing your car's fuel efficiency by changing your spark plugs more often. When was the last time you changed your spark plugs?


Misfires on a spark plugs are pretty obvious though. Maybe changing the air filter or cleaning the intake manifold is a more apt comparison?


If it was free and happened largely painlessly every couple weeks, why not?


Every oil change


So you change your oil every 20,000 miles?



Well, what actually happens is that there's less pressure on web developers to make their sites faster (in contrast to other business goals) and so we reach a new equilibrium where sites perform just as badly.

Web developers aren't alone here, of course. It's the same story for systems software as well.

In general, thinking in terms of equilibriums is helpful.


to be fair most firefox people I know call it "my browser" as well


What are you taking about?

Warp is only a bit faster in some cases, and about 10% slower in typical benchmark code. The speed improvements don't come from optimizations, but from skipping many costly optimizations. The "value" of these skipped optimizations is that some type optimizations are just too costly for them, using also a lot of memory. It's a typical jit trade-off.


The speed of someone's browsing is less of a factor of what browser you use and largely a factor of what websites they browse. The web browser is a commodity for most people.


> When I hear "the browser" discussed in almost any parlance,

Well at least it's an improvement over the browser being referred to as "Internet" before.


I say "my car", not "my hyundai".


For obvious reasons :D


But if it was just about convenience, wouldn't everyone be using Edge?

Because as far as I know, chrome doesn't come loaded on safari or windows


Even for the mobile on Android.


It's nice to see some actual good news involving Firefox. With all of the leadership and financial struggles lately, it's made me worry that the browser I've been using for the last 17 years doesn't have long to live. Hopefully that is not the case.


Mozilla (the Company) has always had problems. They want to be something they're not. But the people on the Mozilla engineering team are top-notch and rarely affected by company drama (and probably feel the same way as you do about it).

Mozilla is one of the few places you can do this specific type of really interesting engineering work, without having to be at Google/Apple/etc.

(ex-Mozillian here :) )


What happens to the Firefox core dev team if the Mozilla Foundation's main revenue source -- the Google search tie-in -- dries up? Google is probably just waiting for the day that Firefox market share is below a threshold of viable competition, at which point they'll pull the plug on the search engine contract and it's game over for the Mozilla Foundation, unless the Mozilla Corporation can step in and save it, which clearly it is not in a position to do.


It's possible Google will keep paying what is peanuts to them not to be technically an absolute monopoly (by keeping Firefox alive at insignificant usage level)


I think that's what's already is happening and has happening for some time. While google keeps generously funding them (even after the Yahoo debacle), they at the same time sabotage the Firefox market share every way they can (I am talking about actual sabotage, not just being "better", and not just the Firefox market share, they got caught sabotaging the original Edge as well). This way they can still say to regulators around the world that they do not have a quasi monopoly on browser (engines). "Look there is independent Apple and independent mozilla, at least!"


That actually seems like the more nefarious route, and thus the more likely one for Google.


Some search engine will be willing to pay for the spot, whether bing, ddg, or something more esoteric (ali-something?)


Why ex?


I left 8 years ago! I loved it there, but left to start ReadMe.com.

But I still love the people there (and created https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24135032 recently)


Quick look at the profile (unless you recognize the name) reveals Gregory is the founder of ReadMe.com (when you guys moved from io?!), so supposedly ex to start his own company!


Last summer! It's the most expensive thing I own haha


Wow, did that help business, or was it more of a vanity thing? I was thinking domains didn’t matter all that much.


I think pg sums it up the best: http://www.paulgraham.com/name.html

"The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Unless you're so big that your reputation precedes you, a marginal domain suggests you're a marginal company."

I'd say there's a few major reasons: protecting the name and signaling we're a real company to larger corporations.

For us, we also host websites that allows JS/CSS/HTML, so being able to put our assets on a separate domain helps with security issues.


[flagged]


Yikes. It's just a business doing business things. You can put away the guillotine; it's just a domain name.


man what is with takes like this nowadays? hi, welcome to human nature, where people judge books by covers, and have since time immemorial. why do you think people go to the McDonalds in Cairo right next to the pyramids? (hint: it's not because of the authenticity of local experience)

that's not the "sentiment of a true plutocrat and elitist" at all-- it's the sentiment of a realist. and what is a "true plutocrat", anyway? sounds like some "no true scotsman" / eye of the holder bs to me, honestly.


I definitely look down at people with .info domains. The effect is alive.

(TLDs are stupid at this point. If it was up to me we would kill all of them except .com and .org)


> kill all of them except .com and .org

A bit tangential, but ignoring reality for a minute wouldn't it make more sense to kill .com and .org as well and retain only the country codes (ie .us, .uk, .cn, etc)? At least it would make the various jurisdictional issues clear.

(In a perfect world, I also wish there were legislation forcing any and all local government entities to use appropriate <service>.gov.<country> domains. It is incredibly difficult to explain to the average person why a few government websites have .com or .org or other random TLDs, and the inconsistency of it all makes things easier for scammers.)


Hmm that's an interesting idea. I personally like the idea of "cyberspace" transcending national boundries (i know, eyeroll), which is why i'm a fan of only .com, but your proposal makes a certain amount of sense.


What? How does limiting TLDs to only .com make any sense and how does that help with transcending national boundaries? I'm no fan of how new TLDs have been rolled out either...

Take a look at the Public Suffix List because you'll need to do away with a lot of TLDs.


> Most of your customers will Google your site.

And that's why seeing ".com" is important. You just proved his point, duh.


How proved the point ?search engine then click.

If people checking the link was a concern the whole spam/phishing scamming industry would be out of a job


Exactly this. I exclusively use search when navigating to any financial website. There's a very large financial incentive to pull off a "typo" fishing domain in those cases as well as a need to regularly check for data breaches.


> years doesn't have long to live

the market share is really worrying but OTOH Mozilla just secured another multi year deal with Google so in the short-medium term they are fine financially. I hope that a reason for all those projects cuts is at least partially creation of finacial reserves, in theory they do have enough cash and momentum to stay technologically relevant for at least 10 years.


Google needs Firefox to exist for anti-trust reasons. If they don’t buy fire fox’s traffic, bing will.


I always wondered if firefox would actually change default engine if google stops the cash. It would remove some chunk of users at least imo, can firefox really afford it?


They’d change the default for fresh profiles but they wouldn’t dare overwrite existing installs. The former is a minor nuisance that would only cause minor grumbling but not affect market share. The latter would be actively hostile and cause significant loss of trust.


I think last time if you were still on default you moved to the new default.

But it's hard to find a definitive record.


They switched to Yahoo for a while.


Safari and edge are enough, I doubt google needs Firefox as a competitor like gates needed Apple (and injected funds)


I thought Edge was now a paint job over Chrome?


I'm going off the top of my head here, but you can watch Netflix in 1080p (and 4K I believe, I only have a 1440p monitor) on Edge, to see up to 1080 in chrome or FF you need an extension with 4K not being possible.

I don't know if it is a tech-issue or legal, but since it can be fixed with an extension, I guess it's tech?


So is Safari, there's only really two engines now, Chrome (Edge, Safari, Opera, Brave, et al) and Firefox (Tor).


Safari isn't Chromium-based, it's WebKit; Chromium forked Blink out of it.


Oh, my mistake.


Isn't that the very definition of a "trust"?


Not according to some very well-paid lawyers, so I guess no.


I think it will take more time to say that for certain. Warp is an exception, but most of the recent improvements to Firefox were initially prototyped and developed in the experimental Servo engine which was to my knowledge intended to eventually replace all of gecko. Most of the team for that has been let go.

I think the thing to be worried about is: what will happen when they run out of stuff that's already in the pipeline? Will they be able to execute the sweeping changes they'll need to do to stay within reach of blink long term? Or will they have to concede like opera and edge did.


> most of the recent improvements to Firefox were initially prototyped and developed in the experimental Servo engine which was to my knowledge intended to eventually replace all of gecko. Most of the team for that has been let go.

This is not the case. Servo worked on big experimental moonshot projects. They had some major successes (Stylo, WebRender), but the rest of the Firefox team wasn't sitting around twiddling their thumbs. I don't think Servo ever made up more than a small fraction of the overall Firefox workforce. They had to pick and choose their projects. Note, for example, that Servo embeds SpiderMonkey instead of writing its own JS engine from scratch: https://github.com/servo/rust-mozjs

Don't worry! SpiderMonkey still has additional cool projects coming down the pipeline, none of which are dependent on Servo.


This is correct. Servo's Stylo parallelized CSS parser shipped in Firefox's "Quantum" performance release, but a huge part of the overall performance improvement came from profiling the whole system. Fixing lots of small hot spots in Firefox frontend and Gecko really added up. It's easy for tiny performance regressions to creep in here and there.


Many people are badmouthing Mozilla because they disbanded the group working on their pet language, Rust, as if this was synonym for Firefox technology. There are many things that Mozilla does beyond working on Rust.


No, just no. they were badmouthing Mozilla because they didn't like mozilla firing their rust resources while they continue to pay enormous amounts for a CEO and other higher ups while Firefox's market share is in a death spiral currently. The only thing that can save it is better branding and "gotta have it features" which Rust can bring, along with stability.


I'm not trying to defend their management, but my opinion here is that they concluded that investing in a new language wouldn't be the best/fastest way to evolve Firefox. Google may have money to invest in a new language, but Mozilla probably needs to be more focused.


The executive pay shows that their conclusions about where money should be allocated have severe issues, so it's hard to trust that choice without more justification.


> Or will they have to concede like opera and edge did.

I am sad to say this, but I think it's only a matter of time. At this point, the list of parties driving Web standards basically consists of a whole bunch of organizations that rely on Blink, plus Apple and Mozilla.

WebKit can probably hang on for a good long while because ~15% of user-agents are required by fiat to be WebKit.

Gecko? At 5% marketshare, I fear it's dropped below the point where web developers are well-incentivized worry too much about making sure their sites run well on it. Which means that it's going to get increasingly costly for individuals to continue using Firefox.

And, at the same time, actually making sure your site runs well on it is getting increasingly difficult. The rise of client-side JavaScript frameworks like React means that cross-browser issues have moved beyond easy-to-perceive things like ActiveX controls not being supported, or CSS rendering badly. Now the big problem is differences between JavaScript engines leading to annoying performance problems. And, if a developer is planning on doing the sane thing and relying mostly on libraries for their heavy lifting, there's just not that much that any individual can do about it.

My sense, at this point, is that, going forward, the Internet does still have room for free, open, community-driven standards that aren't tightly controlled by a small number of massive corporations. However, the Web (i.e., HTML, CSS and JavaScript) does not.


This is catastrophism. If Mozilla can make a browser that developers enjoy using as daily driver, developers will make stuff for it. If Mozilla can build bridges with framework makers, frameworks will work just fine. They just need to regain some of the focus that was squandered on too many moonshots and hazardous choices (FFOS, Pocket, etc).


I think that that may no longer be enough. The elephant in the room is the Web taking over non-Web apps. If Electron is part of your deployment surface, you can't escape Chromium. If Cordova is part of your deployment surface, it's Chromium or WebKit. A nice UI on the dev tools is nice, but I imagine most people would take an acceptable UI over a nice one if the acceptable one is how you get a development environment that is more comparable to what life will be like in production.

FFOS was a moonshot that burned a lot of resources, but I also suspect it's one of the few things that, had it been successful, could have guaranteed Firefox's long-term survival.


I’m old enough to remember a time when developers couldn’t “escape” Internet Explorer 5. It took years of guerrilla but slowly things changed (yeah yeah, MS dropped the ball, but even after they picked it up FF was doing just fine). Marketshare is just one element in a complex story, and Electron is just one platform - although I agree that producing an “Electron killer” should probably be very high on the list of priorities.

(And I still think FFOS was a silly move, because Mozilla will never be able to match the industrial muscle that FAANG can field. Mozilla on mobile can only succeed either by pushing harder to the court of public opinion (i.e. lobbying antitrust authorities to force Apple and Google to open up), or by partnering with another giant who wants to compete and can do the heavy lifting (Amazon, or FB, since Microsoft seems to have joined the monoculture for good).)


> I’m old enough to remember a time when developers couldn’t “escape” Internet Explorer 5. It took years of guerrilla but slowly things changed (yeah yeah, MS dropped the ball, but even after they picked it up FF was doing just fine).

Google also advertised Firefox on their home page.


Electron is shit though, the only good Electron app that doesn't completely drain my battery and hoard my cpu is vscode, EVERYTHING else is a steaming pile of shit, looking at you slack.

Flutter will be the interesting newcomer to the multi platform game, they've been working closely with the big OS teams to optimize performance on Mac, Linux and Windows and truly compete with native. So far I've only used it for mobile but the temptation is there and I'll eventually try it.


This is exactly what bothered me when I heard parts of Mozilla Devtools team were let go in the recent layoffs. It's as if they don't get the equation at all.

Better devtools = More developers = More testing = Smoother website = More market share.


I doubt they get it. Otherwise they would have seriously invested in firefox dev tools years ago, when allmost every web dev switched to chrome. Instead off Firefox with firebug before that.


As a vue developer I don't have issues with Firefox's javascript engine, maybe it's different for react? I develop on FF exclusively these days as I know that if it works here it'll likely be fine everywhere - except IE11 which is going the way of the dinosaur.

Though as if to invalidate what I just said, today's actually the first day where I found a bug in Chrome that every other browser got right. Flex reverse row was right aligning my div and every other browser properly left aligned it... I was pretty shocked.


Initially it was an option to become the engine, then after a time it simply became the place to try and engines and they said it would never be the "new" browser engine. It was a prototyping area.


Successful parts of Servo where integrated in Gecko, as was intended. So, in a way Gecko is largely Servo.


The two major Servo components are the style system and WebRender. But I wouldn't say that it is "largely" Servo by any means.


Agreed - what I don't get is: (https://www.theregister.com/2020/08/14/mozilla_google_search...)

<quote>

However, our source told us Moz will likely pocket $400m to $450m a year between now and 2023 from the arrangement, citing internal discussions held earlier this year.

(... snip ...)

According to the organization's latest financial figures [PDF], $430m of its 2018 total revenue of $451m came from those internet giants – primarily Google, we understand. These deals were due to be renewed or renegotiated by November this year.

As a non-profit open-source operation, Mozilla spends as much as it receives; its 2018 staffing bill was $286m with a headcount of about 1,000, or about $286,000 per person, on average.

Despite the renewal with Google, which essentially guaranteed a continuation of its revenue for the next three years, Mozilla axed 250 of its techies on Tuesday, and shut down its office in Taiwan, blaming the “economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic.”

</quote>

Their cost is probably much more than just staffing - but still - doesn't look that bleak? I get the non-ideal situation of being dependent on you competitor like that, but it _has_ proven to be a robust source of income so far..: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation#Affiliatio...

Btw.. is there any way to format a pretty quotation on HN?


Am I the only one who thinks an /average/ wage of 280k is pretty absurd?


Re format, I mostly see people use markdown syntax.

> This is not a real pretty quote.

> But the good news is that even in uninterpreted form form markdown is pretty readable.


The syntax was in emails before Markdown. I will loudly declare that it was invented in emails so that somebody will add the immediate predecessor, and so on until we end up at an original source.


News groups?


Nope, email via arpanet (1973) preceeded usenet (1980).


The fact that email preceded usenet does not mean that things cannot have been invented in Usenet before they were invented in email.

As a concrete example, :-) was invented on a bulletin board. See http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~sef/sefSmiley.htm for the details.


You're absolutely correct.

I'm not ancient enough to say first-hand. I know that threaded replies in BBSes in the early 80s at least coincided with usenet threaded replies.

I didn't have a proper email address until years later via my university.


It's good for short quotes, but without hardwrapping I doesn't quite work for full paragraphs. (Hardwrapping is bad for narrow screens)


Every single day hundreds of people are working on making Firefox better.


The media autoplay forced on (with settings that don't turn it off in mobile or desktop) make me miserable and seriously considering using something else that isn't Chrome.


What, Chrome has autoplay on? How can anyone stand that? It reminds me of IE7 with auto-installed toolbars that took 1/3 of the screen.


Firefox does... and I can't turn it off. The websites, especially news sites, completely and utterly override the "off" settings for autoplay in firefox. And the dev team keeps changing the way those options are named as well as confusingly having a bunch of similarly named options. I'm confident that they're doing it on purpose because autoplay off hurts ad serving and it also probably pisses off traditional media sites trying to turn our browsers into TV's from the 90's blasting at us.

I misworded my original. I wanted to say, I'm considering moving off Firefox, but not to Chrome.


Firefox currently autoplays video that has no audio. This is a delicate balance. If browsers disable autoplay by default, then advertisers will find other ways to push video ads in users' faces. I read an anecdote that Google tried disabling autoplay on mobile and advertisers started playing video ads using an H.264 video decoder in JavaScript that paints video frames to a canvas. So users still see the video ad, but now using more bandwidth, memory, and CPU.


Can we crowdsource home addresses of advertisers who do this, and mail them shit daily until they stop? "People will be absolute dicks if we make the user experience better" is not a good argument for making the user experience worse. If the fuckers keep escalating the badness, more people will use adblockers. And if adblockers are not enough, then it's time to start mailing them shit I guess, and escalating from there.


Or using a browser where it's unambiguously blockable. A lot of people I know care less than I do about that sort of thing. That should be enough eyeballs for ad revenue, leaving people like us unmolested by that antisocial advertising behaving.


Right. The developers are bad people because of this. Curses to them. Maybe they're <insert some giant ad-oriented corporation here with F or G in the name> employees moonlighting as traitors to the human condition, already suffering from forced information shoved at us, and attention issues?

Any other browser recommendations?


It's actually where you expected it to be; under the privacy options.

  Preferences > Privacy > Autoplay Settings... > set "Block Audio" to "Block Audio and Video"
Or alternatively

  about:config > media.autoplay.default > 5


That.Option.Does.Not.Work. I'm trying to scream it from the rooftops, but apparently I am not getting through. Go to CNN, Bloomberg, food recipe sites, medical sites, etc. Autoplay is Not Off. Windows 10 and Android, the very latest public releases.

You open a page. A big box at the top has something it it. That something is video. The video loads. By the time you scroll down, it starts to play. Oh, and it jumps into a smaller box so you're Forced to observe it and click into it to stop it.

Media autoplay is not off.

Another way to phrase that is, the media autoplay is On.

The option described above Does Not Work. Another way to describe that is, it should not have video playing by itself.

Alas, video plays by itself. Apologies in advance for being terse and not explaining myself earlier.

In short, autoplay is On and the option says it's Off.

Please let me know if I can clarify any part of this.


Just tried opening a CNN (video on top), Bloomberg (video on top) and Epicurious (video on right) page on a fresh profile (using FF 80.0 on Linux) and modifying this option from the Preferences menu. Thus for: "Allow Audio and Video" video autoplays and audio is sound, "Block Audio" video starts playing and no audio is sound (audio is muted), "Block Audio and Video" video doesn't autoplay. So either a bug on Windows or you haven't modified that option or you've modified something that clashes with that option.


I use uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger plugins. This is Windows and Android.

I'll try disabling those.

But did you try scrolling the page? Sometimes those videos start playing when you scroll down and they become smaller and jump to the bottom right hand corner of the window.


Just confirmed on Android that Firefox is not honoring block autoplay video and audio (Settings -> Site Permissions -> Autoplay). 81.1.1


I scrolled the pages using the mouse. It is possible that on Android scrolling is a gesture that is an interaction which activates autoplay. Maybe there is an option that overrides this but you should file a bug report as by default someone will expect to block it.


Is there any way we as a community of users can help ensure Firefox remains viable in the event that Mozilla can no longer provide enough support?

It seems a shame that such a loved & enjoyed project might fall wayside without significant financial backing. I would say I would love to help, but I have no domain expertise in browsers/rendering, or how I would develop enough to contribute.


Use it, and if you make websites make sure you support it just as well as Chrome.


Yeah all you can really do is use it and suggest it to people. I do this and have made a few converts (along with helping with best extensions to get without getting in their way)


I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I would happily pay $10 a month for a brand “deluxe” version of Firefox. We all complain about how Firefox isn’t making money and we continue to exist in a world where I cannot pay for it.

It boggles the mind.


10% faster with less memory use and simpler code / data models - nice work! Excited to see the end result.

Hopefully HN users on nightly are able to try it out and give feedback.


How does this impact security? Most of the proposals I've seen for improving Firefox's security requires more memory and the blurb on the mailing list cite that they require less type information.


Probably not directly however simpler code usually has less bugs and is quicker to debug.


Is there any way to directly donate to firefox (and not other mozilla related things)?


If some ex-Mozilla devs would set up a Patreon (or other platform) to work exclusively on Firefox I would donate.

Basically do the same as Godot, Blender, etc. small team but focused on the project


Maybe some of those fired engineers could fork it. I'd pay 5$ a month for a non-google organization that is not lead by Marissa and is developing an open browser.



They were not asking for a completely random fork, thanks.


My point was, that apparently there are already quite some projects forking ff, so if OP wants to support a mozilla free ff, he has already the chance to do so today.


no


And even if there were, you could be subsidizing Mozilla, because they can simply give Firefox less now that you're supporting it


It boggles the mind, doesn’t it? I’d happily pay a month fee for a branded “deluxe” Firefox.


Here is the link that doesn't require a Google login:

https://archive.is/SFFph


thank you!

interestingly a very similar link appears to not require a google login, but requires javascript:

https://groups.google.com/d/topic/mozilla.dev.platform/1PHhx...

i wonder what's going on.


This did ask me to log in. It doesn't in private mode though.

I think if Google detects that you've _ever_ logged into Google, it's trying to authenticate you when you visit a Google Groups page. Private mode is my default workaround for Google Groups links these days.


Weird! But thanks - we've changed to that from https://groups.google.com/g/mozilla.dev.platform/c/1PHhxBxSe....


Thank you. Unfortunately it won't let me update the link anymore.


Nice! There's still cool cpp stuff going on in Firefox. This is one example.

https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/source/js/src/jit/Warp...


That’s a 3300 line cpp file, care to cite a specific example?


The entire file contains WarpBuilder, which is behind the JIT speedup that this thread is about.

> The SpiderMonkey (JS) team has been working on a significant update to > our JITs called WarpBuilder (or just Warp) [0,1].

The whole component was the cool stuff I was referring too. I linked it mainly to show that it's C++ instead of, say, Rust, not to highlight any component of it.


I was thinking new stuff was done in Rust. I guess Gecko is CPP only?


I think some Rust components have been written and integrated into Firefox. But the core Firefox codebase - including Gecko - is still C++ so it's not easy use Rust there.

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Oxidation

On a related note, Chrome is looking at integrating Rust into its C++ codebase.

https://www.chromium.org/Home/chromium-security/memory-safet...


Not true majority by far is done in c++. Easily confirmed by downloading the browser source and using a LOC analyzer to see how much code is done in which languages


Yeah, not interested enough to do that.


Please cite a line or maybe a git comment. No-one is going to filter through 3000 lines of cpp code.


That’s a nice Speedometer speedup! Really happy for the FF JS team, seems like they are on to something.


Sounds like a challenge! Time to write JavaScript that's even more questionable.


I see it differently. It allows even lesser skilled folks to build a site or app.

If browsers performed like in 2010[1],we wouldnt have a lot of apps online. I am not talking about unicorn SaaS apps. I am talking about the local county or state government making things available online. The small business putting an app together beyond a basic website.

It may not seem much to you but there is real and massive impact in developing economies. digitalization is single biggest tool against corruption.

The education system in such places do not on average produce great comp sci engineers . the best graduates go to a big company. the rest have a job and build shitty but useful products. All this is not possible without browsers which can take the hit.

[1] 2010-2020 time frame specifically because CPU has broadly stagnated in the last 10y however we have been able to build a lot more complex apps because of browser innovations


> It allows even lesser skilled folks to build a site

It does not take more skill to build a site without JS, only more restraint

> If browsers performed like in 2010[1],we wouldnt have a lot of apps online. I am not talking about unicorn SaaS apps. I am talking about the local county or state government making things available online. The small business putting an app together beyond a basic website.

Less "apps" and more "basic" websites is exactly what should be encouraged.


That's the first thing that I thought of too --- if browsers get faster, sites that are already full of terribly inefficient and unnecessary JS will just get worse to compensate. Somewhat like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirth%27s_law but at a different level of abstraction.


More like Jevons Paradox.


Lower memory consumption too. This is good news, I am worried for the future of Mozilla and Firefox.


I started using Firefox lately and like it but there are times when it really stalls and that hasn't happened in chrome in for like the past 10 years or so. Does anyone else have similar issues with FF? I want to stick to using FF but I expect/hope these issues get fixed.


Great. Now it's time to start throttling JS in browsers. Give them the equivalent of a few MHZ or a few seconds runtime to play with and no more.


Yeah, that would be awesome for web games.


They can request additional compute time through the browser's standard permission request system.


I believe in Mozilla.and their products. as much as they need to get their admin/ceo pay down.as much as they need to adjust the new Android Firefox UI

Unless there is another foundation with a browser promoting a free and open internet, my vote will always remain with them.


> Unless there is another foundation with a browser promoting a free and open internet, my vote will always remain with them.

And therein lies the problem. No matter how bad Mozcorp is at doing what mozilla.org was supposed to be about, then as long as it exists, it will always manage to be a black hole swallowing up any enthusiasm and effort that might otherwise be put to good use.


Why does the ceo pay need to go down?


> Why does the ceo pay need to go down?

Because salary X4 didn't result in financial performance X4, just 250 people fired.


Her pay is currently IIRC 2.4 million dollars a year


The problem with your view is that the purpose of most nonprofits, as revealed by their actual spending, is to act as a well-paying job for their administrators and a volunteer/exploitation scheme.

They aren’t really about the mission. This is as clear as it could be for Mozilla.


There's a catch-22 in there, a touch of cynicism, which I understand. However, ideally you want well paid employees who are not exploiting volunteers? I doubt there are many stats on this, but my experience is that most nonprofits don't exploit volunteers.

Firefox rolls out solid releases and improvements, month after month. Presumably that means that their employees are doing something good somewhere? I know there are a ton of essential volunteers too, but the project would struggle without a paid core and infra.

As a developer and as a user, I get a lot of value for free out of Firefox. I barely do anything to give back, except perhaps to try and 'push it forward' in the FOSS project I am partially paid to work on. In our project, I get a bit rattled when people say we are going against their interests, when we have to make choices to ensure the financial stability of the project, and also to respond to requests from the greater (less-vocal) community. I'm obviously partial, but I'll give Firefox/Mozilla the benefit of the doubt.


> However, ideally you want well paid employees who are not exploiting volunteers?

Notice how you said "employees" here. Yes, employees should be well paid. Then, ideally, the high level administration should be kept small and paid similar amounts or only a little bit more than the employees.


don't the USA have regulations for non-profits to spend a significant part of their income on their mission?

Of course, this doesn't mean it's well spent, but it means some non insignificant part of the money benefits someone else.


What don't you like about the new android UI? I've been using it for about a week now and I quite like it.


Is it even possible to access about:config on Android? In the new Daylight Firefox, I just get an error page.

There are a whole lot of other options I'd like to set...


You need the beta version to access it, but there is an open issue on Github to reenable it in the stable version again.


You used to be able to access it.


Why wouldn't you use Microsoft™ Edge(ium)™


For everyone unable or unwilling to login:-

Hi all,

The SpiderMonkey (JS) team has been working on a significant update to our JITs called WarpBuilder (or just Warp) [0,1]. Before we enable Warp by default in Nightly (hopefully next cycle in 83) we need your help dogfooding it.

Warp improves performance by reducing the amount of internal type information that is tracked, optimizing for a broader spectrum of cases, and by leveraging the same CacheIR optimizations used by last year’s BaselineInterpreter work [2]. As a result, Warp has a much simpler design and improves responsiveness and page load performance significantly (we're seeing 5-15% improvements on many visual metrics tests). Speedometer is about 10% faster with Warp. The JS engine also uses less memory when Warp is enabled.

To enable Warp in Nightly:

1. Update to a recent Nightly 2. Go to about:config and set the "javascript.options.warp" pref to true 3. Restart the browser

We're especially interested in stability issues and real-world performance problems. Warp is currently slower on various synthetic JS benchmarks such as Octane (which we will continue investigating in the coming months) but should perform well on web content.

If you find any issues, please file bugs blocking:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1613592

If you notice any improvements, we'd love to hear about those too.

Finally, we want to thank our amazing contributors André Bargull and Tom Schuster for their help implementing and porting many optimizations.

Turning Warp on is only our first step, and we expect to see a lot of new optimization work over the next year as we build on this. We are excited for what the future holds here.

Thanks! The Warp team

[0] WarpBuilder still utilizes the backend of IonMonkey so we don't feel it has earned the WarpMonkey name just yet. [1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1613592 [2] https://hacks.mozilla.org/2019/08/the-baseline-interpreter-a...


FWIW, it was already enabled for me in Nightly on MacOS - 83.0a1 (2020-09-25) (64-bit)

Thanks for all of your hard work. Firefox forever!


They well deserve some donations, and I just sent some quid, but would also buy some merchandise for me and gifts for friends/relatives if shipping costs make it worth, but apparently there's no way to purchase from them. A search brought some sites selling Mozilla branded items, but I'd like to be sure the money, or most of it, goes to the Mozilla Foundation. Any suggestions? Thanks.


Just to be clear, it's the Corporation that makes Firefox, not the Foundation. There aren't many ways to give the Corporation money. Paying for a service, like the VPN or Pocket Premium, is all I can think of.


It seems the Mozilla foundation don't use donations for Firefox development though:

https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/a98gmi/donations_t...


That is bad, I hoped to be able to help in some way. They're underestimating how much their logo and a short description could help to boost the product adoption.


In order for the two-company Foundation/Corporation system to be even remotely legal, they must actually operate as distinct entities. That means the Foundation and the Corporation have separate bank accounts, separate employee rosters, and, as a result, they can legally be taxed differently.

If the Foundation started employing Firefox developers, they would have to convince the tax man that those developers were not de-facto employees of the Corporation. This would be very hard, because there would inevitably be chat logs where Corporation employees tell the Foundation employees what to do, because that's how code review works.

What would be the point, anyway? The Google Search deal gives the Mozilla Corporation far more money than the Mozilla Foundation gets from donations.


It's not that complicated. The Corporation sends the Foundation a significant chunk of money every year as "royalties" for the use of the name and logo. If the Foundation wants to pay for a few more developers, they can just decrease the "royalty" charges.


The royalty charges can never be negative. This isn’t currently a problem, since MozCo gets more search money than MoFo gets from donations, but for anyone who dreams of Firefox becoming totally unconnected with Google, it makes this an unsatisfying non-solution.


Would be great if Firefox set up monthly donations system on Patreon, OpenCollective or similar platform, and all donations would go directly to browser development.


I would totally pay a yearly subscription to support Firefox, ideally giving me access to hosted features like Firefox Send (end-to-end encrypted sending of files).

I realize that people who would do so are a minority. But maybe that would help solidify the idea that, while Chrome is for Google, Firefox is for its users.


A bunch of random ideas:

- partner with Dropbox to offer an integrated web-based filesystem and other file-oriented stuff like Send.

- partner with bitwarden or 1Password to provide integrated authentication - the web desperately needs an open competitor to Google/Fb/Apple in this area, I’d definitely pay for this. They could probably just repurpose Persona.

- rebrand Pocket (which, let’s be honest, has pissed off too many people to ever succeed) and use it to build something like old del.icio.us, targeted to (web) developers.

- make containers more mainstream. The FB-container addon is wildly popular, surely there are other applications that could be baked in.

All these should be optional services that can be turned on, never again we should see the corrupted practices that gave us Pocket.


They already have Lockwise.

Pocket had millions of users already when Mozilla integrated it. A lot of people seem to like the recommended articles. The minority who know and care Mozilla was dishonest about why it was integrated 5 years ago would just keep criticizing Mozilla for not removing it.


Lockwise is just another password manager. It’s also free, which means it’s never going to generate revenue.

We need something that can rival “Log on with Facebook” and can generate enough money to self-sustain. I would happily pay to have Mozilla act as an independent super-secure auth provider for me, in a way I’d never do with any small startup.


They tried that already (Persona).


Persona was supposed to be a standard, not a paid-for service.


As an open source project, there's no reason a fund to support Firefox development has to in any way involve Mozilla. It can exist independently and fund developers directly.

If having a sustaining fund dedicated solely to Gecko/Firefox development, and it seems implicitly to specific elements of that development (ie. not those that directly or primarily benefit other Mozilla services) is truly important, don't wait on Mozilla to provide one for you to donate to. They don't have the incentive, or frankly the need, to do that.


[flagged]


>If only they could merge with V8 progress would actually reach everyone

Having two competing implementations forces both into a performance competition, and encourages work on standards to ensure compatibility. Firefox switching to V8 might help in the short term, but long term it would likely be to the detriment of everyone


They should all switch to JSC instead.


The last thing I want in my browser is a JVM.


The brower already has a VM, and from the same people and the same principles who made the Java JVM JIT and the fast Smalltalk one back in the 90s...

Lars Bak, the v8 head:

"In 1994, he joined LongView Technologies LLC, where he designed and implemented high performance virtual machines for both Smalltalk and Java. After Sun Microsystems acquired LongView in 1997, Bak became engineering manager and technical lead in the HotSpot team at Sun's Java Software Division where he developed a high-performance Java virtual machine.".


I heard at one point that Hotspot had crossed a million lines of code. Looks like V8 is close to 2 million sLOC.

The same source says SpiderMonkey is about 540k sLOC.

Bak has learned a lot of lessons along the way I'm sure, and unless Cliff Click decides to write VMs again (sounds like he's semi-retired, doing something else) then he may be the best person for the job. But nobody's perfect. For me this is Exhibits A-C.


The JVM actually had a lot of features that are slowly appearing in JavaScript. Standard bytecode format (like WebAssembly), security/authentication (origin, content security policy)...

One day JS engines will add cryptographic signatures to replace the complex origin rules and they will unify the WebAssembly workflow with the JavaScript code pipeline and we'll have a full JVM again.


> One day JS engines will add cryptographic signatures to replace the complex origin rules

Signed HTTP exchanges might give you that already, AFAICT.


Maybe I'm just ignorant, but haven't browsers nearly become just a VM for JavaScript? Rendering documents is sometimes incidental. I'm not sure Swing would actually be worse than HTML5.


Layout is actually difficult and offers a great many interesting problems when you try to parallelize it or efficiently use GPU acceleration. There are a lot of constraints and text is difficult to size and render.


Layout is automated (and hopefully repeatable) typesetting.

The other thing Donald Knuth is famous for is getting so fed up with typesetting for his books, he created a document format to help him keep his sanity. And then went way way down that rabbit hole instead of finishing his book series. One might argue that's not sanity-preserving.


Sometimes the detour is the journey.


Agreed, layout is probably more difficult problem and definitely the area with more potential for improvements ("forced reflow" anyone?) whereas JS engines are already at the point of quickly diminishing returns.


Could the GeForce 3090 be fast enough to handle it?


An Intel GMA 950 can handle accelerating browsers. It's less about raw power and more about just being able to efficiently split up the workload to get the page rendered and visible in as little time as possible.


There's already a VM. If Graal really brings better performance then I don't mind.


I wonder if anyone is already trying to build that. A browser based on graaljs and java rendering engine. I wonder if you could take firefox mobile and do it. I'm assuming its html/css rendering engine is in Java/Kotlin.


We had that in the early days — Java applets. But the paradigm was a little different because they were essentially Java programs and not JavaScript.


Why?


Pretty sure v8 gets a few orders of magnitude more attention and development resources than jvm and graal.


You're probably right about Graal, but there is no way that V8 has significantly more effort put into it than the JVM. At best, they're roughly similar, but I suspect that the JVM has quite a bit more development time and effort put into it.


Yep, just work on all those advanced JVM garbage collectors with various performance characteristics and trade offs is unmatched elsewhere in the industry.


I did not say that jvm historically hasn't gotten a lot of resources, but any innovation done there has been common knowledge for compiler developers for ages.

V8 gets to benefit from all that research, while simultaneously having far more resources (now as well as for the past many years) to apply it, as well as do more of their own.


Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, it seems like you’re implying that the JVM, as of today, isn’t the source of a lot of research or innovation. If that’s true, you’re incorrect. There’s a _gigantic_ amount of money, time and people involved with it, arguably more than there ever has been, and it’s only getting bigger.

While you’re correct that some of the knowledge that came out of building the implementation of the JVM has found its way into V8, there’s still cutting edge work being done into extremely sophisticated JIT complication (with graal, arguably the best in the world) and the recent work on GC is frankly stunning.

With recent JVM versions running zgc, it’s typical to see sub-millisecond GC pauses, and that’s only going to improve as they add more collection outside of safepoints and adding generational logic to it.

Net/net, while you’re correct that there’s a lot of innovation and resources behind v8 today and they’re doing fantastic work as well, don’t discount the JVM.

Yes, Java itself isn’t a hugely interesting language, but the JVM is still arguably one of the most impressive bits of software ever produced and continues to be so.


> There’s a _gigantic_ amount of money, time and people involved with it, arguably more than there ever has been, and it’s only getting bigger.

Just wondering why this is the case? Who are the sponsors for GC research?

(HFT outfits?)


Pretty sure you don't know how many JVM implementations are out there since around 2000.

By the way does V8 already handle TB sized heaps with 1ms pause?

Or is able to scale down into embedded devices with hundred KB, while respecting real time constraints?

Or able to have an implementation in JS itself?

Or does V8 cache JIT code across sessions and improves it via additional PGO data gathered across the sessions history?

I am not speaking of the same implementation here, rather a taste of what is out there on the Java world.


You are speaking of many different JVM implementations which are all specialized for one purpose.

This is good and all, but splits finite resources even further without a shared benefit, and these variants have as much to do with each other as V8 has to do with Spidermonkey and JScript.


Competition is what drives progress.

Monocultures stagnate and deple resources as everyone is happy with good enough.


[flagged]


You claim it's dead, but suggest using a fork that can't hope to keep up if Firefox dies? They benefit from all the architectural improvements done to Firefox, including this.


You don't have a high opinion of the LibreWolf team.

Did you know that I can still use a web browser from the last decade to surf websites? Yup.

Even if FF dies, the codebase is opensource and continue to be developed.


The repo's members page [0] shows 9 users, and the first bullet point on its features page [1] is: LibreWolf is compiled directly from the latest build of Firefox Stable. You will have the the latest features, and security updates.. You believe a small group of well-intentioned volunteers can continue the work of building and iterating a modern web browser were Firefox development to end today?

[0] https://gitlab.com/groups/librewolf-community/browser/-/grou...

[1] https://librewolf-community.gitlab.io/docs/


It's possible, maybe not very likely but possible. Depends what happens to FF.


No, it's not. Mozilla has 750 employees (not all of whom work on the browser, but still) and hundreds of millions of dollars and they're constantly struggling to keep up with Chrome. 9 part-time devs cannot do this.


They can. Maybe releases would be every 6 months but it's possible.

Look at the following browsers: Otter Browser Min Qutebrowser Links Basalisk Surf Bromite (only has 7 contributers)

It is possible. Of course it's possible. Just depends if that situation were ever to occur, whether people would become passionate about that project


We're talking about different things. I'm sure the LibreWolf team could develop a browser that meets some specifications and renders some websites some of the time. What they can't build is a Chrome competitor. It would become an often-broken hobby project only used by enthusiasts, like the others you've listed.


Otter and qutebrowser are based on QtWebEngine which is a wrapper around Blink (Chromium's engine), Min is using Electron which is also a wrapper around Blink, surf uses WebKitGTK which is a wrapper around WebKit (Safari's engine) and Bromite actually says is a Chromium's fork. The contributors for those browsers have to only maintain the GUI which is just the tip of the iceberg. As for Links, it cannot render most of the web.

Basilisk and its sibling Pale Moon are an example of how hard a fork is (both being pre-Quantum Firefox); features removed because cannot be maintained, incompatibilities, poor performance and many vulnerabilities.


thanks for that info


> Firefox is a dead man walking.

Dramatic.

> If you want privacy, use a FF fork called Librewolf

Thanks for the tip.


>[Coming soon!] LibreWolf builds for Microsoft Windows

Oh well.


[flagged]


What browser features do you think are missing? Other than perhaps some love for containers, I can't think of anything else I want for. In honesty, it feels like they've been making UI tweaks for the sake of it for a while now; if anything, I'd like some to be rolled back!

I'm quite happy to see performance improvements - I'd love to see more on the memory reduction side of things too.


What's the point in making JS faster if websites are just going to pile on another layer of React.JS dogshit abstraction to compensate? What Bill giveth, Andy taketh away.


This is great improvement, But sadly it is too little and too late. Firefox is only non webkit engine that matters. With Firefox's 4% global share and declining no one knows how to save it.

Maybe they can adopt V8 and keep Geeko to focus on lesser things.


The current title ("significantly faster") on HN is suboptimal. What is there written relating the speed is that the new implementation:

"improves responsiveness and page load performance significantly (we're seeing 5-15% improvements on many visual metrics tests). Speedometer is about 10% faster with Warp."

"Warp is currently slower on various synthetic JS benchmarks such as Octane (which we will continue investigating in the coming months) but should perform well on web content."

It seems it can in the longer term generally improve though, and simplifications are always better.


5-15% on web content is significantly faster to me. Also, like many people, I mainly use my browser for visiting websites instead of running things like Octane, but obviously it would be nicer if Octane were faster too.


Yeah. That’s a massive speedup for Speedometer. It’s a big deal and everyone who contributed should be super proud.

JSC is pretty well tuned for it, finding a 0.5% speedup is hard. So seeing 10% speedups is impressive and rare. Of course, it’s possible that they are just catching up so they found the low hanging fruit - but also possible that they can leapfrog JSC (I haven’t measured if this gets them there or not).


> It’s a big deal and everyone who contributed should be super proud.

Thanks! We actually haven't really analyzed Speedometer (and most other benchmarks) yet with Warp so I expect this number to improve the coming months. The design seems to be holding up well and we're really excited about building on this.


Happy hacking! It’s good to see another JS compiler get brought up. I strongly suspect that our community hasn’t yet found the perfect kind of combo of tiers for JS; the more we try stuff the closer we will get.


>5-15% on web content is significantly faster to me.

Is it though? Would you even notice it?

If there was an already short processing action, e.g. 1 second, now it would be 850ms -- hardly noticable.

If there was some long processing action, say 5 minutes, now it would take 4 minutes and 25 seconds.

Hardly something to write home about in either case...


This is pretty mature technology, and like most mature technologies, there aren't going to be a lot of 50% improvements any more.

Look at CPUs or the Internal Combustion Engine. After 120+ years, it still improves, but you're looking at single-digit percentage points if that.

I'm not aware of a lot of things that could magically improve browser performance, but if you do, you have a great opportunity for a unicorn startup.


Internal combustion engines might not be the best example. They've seen REALLY impressive gains in the last couple of decades. =)

Today you can buy relatively affordable cars with 2.0 liter engines pushing 300 or more horsepower and doing so with greater fuel efficiency than cars with much more modest output from ten or twenty years ago.

(admittedly some of the gains in efficiency have been obscured by increases in vehicle weight)


I'm sorry friend, but 10% is a huge incremental improvement. This could save me hours over a year.


"Hours over a year" doesn't sound huge.

We've had export / fx processing improvements in NLE programs or 3D rendering for example that saved weeks over a year. PHP 6 to 7 got several times faster in common use-case workloads. And so on...


That fits into my definition of "significantly". It may not be a total game-changer, but if up to 15% isn't significant, where do we draw that line?


>but if up to 15% isn't significant, where do we draw that line?.

It's not like we don't have a yardstick for actually noticeable speed updates. Pre-JIT JS to JIT JS for example was a big several times speedup. PHP 6 vs PHP7 was several times as well (no JIT involved here, just other optimizations).

15% is only 'significant' in the context of an already heavily optimized program (which FF's JIT is). Not significant as in "the users will notice it".


> Here are just a few of the Talos/Raptor graphs showing improvements

> when Warp landed:

>

> - 20% on Win64 GDocs loadtime: https://mzl.la/3cp6dAs

> - 13% on Android Reddit SpeedIndex: https://mzl.la/2RUWdp8

> - 18% on pdfpaint: https://mzl.la/2HtXb9W

> - 8% on tp6 JS memory: https://mzl.la/3j2VwGb

> - 8% on damp (devtools perf): https://mzl.la/3kLbhSM

Sounds pretty significant to me


If I were to squeeze 10% out of a project I had spent significant time and resources optimizing I would be thrilled.


You and me yes. Users though not so much, because they already know the optimized previous performance, so they just see a meagre 10% over it -- that it's hard to optimize something already optimized and thus 10% is a feet is not relevant to their perception.


What updated title would you propose?


> What updated title would you propose?

I believe, per HN policies, the most appropriate would be the title from the page: "Dogfooding Warp"


Specifically:

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

"please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize."

The original title on the linked page is "Dogfooding Warp" and the title on this HN page is still, at the moment I write this, editorialized: "Firefox's JIT is getting significantly faster"


“Dogfooding Warp” tells me almost nothing about what I’m about to read.


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