Firefox 7 Is Faster, But Not Fast Enough for Reviewers

Just six weeks after the release of 6, Mozilla has addressed criticism of Firefox 6

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Just six weeks after coming out with Firefox 6, Mozilla has released Firefox 7. When Firefox released its last version, it didn't seem all too fast or worth the switch for Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari lovers, as we reported. But it looks like Firefox has addressed its main issue: speed. Of course, if 7 doesn't quite work for you, Firefox is on a rapid release schedule, and plans on putting out 8 in another six weeks, giving it just enough time to tweak any issues with seven.

Firefox 6 claimed a 20 percent increase in speed, but as we reported, it didn't exactly work that much quicker than IE9 or Chrome. Firefox 7 seems to address its slowness issues. Specifically, it reduced memory usage, making it run faster, reports 9to5Mac's Christian Zibreg. "Well, according to Mozilla, a non-profit organization behind Firefox, a MemShrink project used in the browser reduces memory use by 20 to 50 percent. As a result, the browser boots faster, your Mac will have more free RAM when skimming through dozens of web sites in Firefox 7 and there’s a lower likelihood of crashing." Also in the speed department, Firefox now runs quicker on sites that use HTML5, explains Endgadget's Donald Melanson, thanks to a "new version of the hardware-accelerated Canvas."

Not only does the browser promise to run faster, it should have an accelerated start up time, explains PCMag's Michael Muchmore.

Firefox has taken longer to start running than any competing browser for years. It's particularly a problem for a cold start: when you first run the app after a reboot. In a quick comparison test between Firefox 6 and 7, I found that there was indeed an improvement: The older version took 8 seconds to start, while version 7 improved that to 5 seconds. 

But still not quite as fast as its predecessors, continues Michael Muchmore. "This still, however, lagged behind Internet Explorer 9's 2.5 seconds and Chrome 13's 4.2 seconds on my 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo with 3GB of RAM."

Another notable addition to 7 is the opt-in reporting tool: Telemetry. "Telemetry, or usage statistics to you and me, is a new Firefox 7 feature that allows the browser to report back to Mozilla HQ on how Firefox works for you on your system.which will allow users to send Mozilla complaints about the browser," explains ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. With the quick release update schedule, Firefox can address those concerns with its next iteration in no-time.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.