viernes, 20 de febrero de 2009

Browser Wars: JS performance on my dated box



Well.... let me put it in simple terms: What I'm about to write is not gospel. It's just the result of running a couple of tests on a number of Web Browsers on my rather dated computer. So I don't intend to convince you of dropping your usage of one browser and start using another. It's just another post in the already long (long, long, loooooooong) list of posts comparing the performance of said browsers. Hope you find it helpful &&|| informative (in any way).

So... let's go down to our subject.

I'm comparing IE8b1, IE7, Opera9 on Windows, Opera10 alpha on Windows, Opera9 on GNU/Linux, Opera10 alpha on GNU/Linux, FF3 on Windows, FF3.1 on Windows, FF3 on GNU/Linux (from packages), FF3.1 on GNU/Linux (downloaded from Mozilla's site) and Konqueror (from packages... updated to KDE 4.2). Unfortunately I didn't test Chrome cause when I tried to download its installer, I got the installer of Google Earth instead (go figure!).

The hardware is like this:
- Very dated PC with one Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz (hyperthreading disabled), 1 GB of RAM. Do you need to know something else?

The software environments are like this:
- Windows XP SP2 (pretty much unpatched... as a matter of fact, I couldn't care less about it... and don't start nagging me saying that I have to keep it updated. As I just said, I don't care for it. I don't use it).
- Patched Kubuntu intrepid running on xfce for the tests.

So, let's get down to the matter.

I ran the SunSpider and V8 benchmark suites on all of those browsers.

Here are my comments:
- IE8 has been a tremendous improvement over IE7. Still, IE8 is behind every single browser, except for IE7 and Opera9 on GNU/Linux on the SunSpider test. So.... given that every new browser is ahead of IE8, I can't help but wonder if Microsoft is going to provide IE8 with a digital casket along with it when it be released.
- Opera has made an improvement in both tests from 9 to 10 on both GNU/Linux and Windows. But then, some days ago, there was a report on FF being slower on GNU/Linux than on Windows and we see exactly the same thing going on with Opera. Is there a reason why this could happen on both browsers? I don't think the widget toolkits are to blame, as FF is built on Gtk+ and Opera is built on Qt (version 3, by the way... is it possible that building Opera on Qt4 would improve its performance on GNU/Linux?). On both platforms, Opera10 was the best performer on the V8 test.
- FF3.1 had a better performance on both platforms on the SunSpider test (being the improvement more dramatic on Windows), however on V8 the results were mixed, on Windows there was an improvement, but on GNU/Linux there was a performance decrease (not too big, but still a decrease).
- Konqueror certainly has to make great improvements to catch up with the other browsers.

Let the flamefest begin! It's not my intention to start a flame war but I think everyone will want to add their own pepper to the mix. You're welcome to do so on the comments area... just keep it in the "readable by kids" rhetoric.

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