After speed boost, Firefox a developer default?

Always pushing the envelope, Mozilla demonstrates that it knows how to create an incredible browser and that it won't get lazy when it wins the browser wars.

Firefox is already plenty fast. In one test , it comes in just behind Safari in speed, but in this case, "slightly slower" still means "blazingly fast."

Thanks to Mozilla's pioneering work with TraceMonkey, however, Firefox is about to become even faster. Think massive performance boost.

CNET's Stephen Shankland has already covered the story in detail , so I won't belabor it here, but this promises to be an impressive breakthrough for browser performance--and especially for Firefox. As Mike Shaver, Mozilla's interim vice president of engineering and former chief evangelist, declares:

The goal of the TraceMonkey project--which is still in its early stages--is to take JavaScript performance to another level, where instead of competing against other interpreters, we start to compete against native code.

How fast is that? Mozilla shows some early results of its efforts:

TraceMonkey dramatically improves Firefox performance Mozilla

What will you do with such an impressive boost to JavaScript? I suspect that this will lead to far more applications being written specifically for Firefox. Will this mean that Firefox, not Internet Explorer, will become the new default target development platform for Web developers? Perhaps. If they can squeeze more functionality and performance out of Firefox, that's where their development time is going to be spent.

Today Firefox is still the province of geeks , but its increasing market share among Web developers suggests that it's already overtaking Internet Explorer in developer affections. With an impressive speed boost, it's very likely that this movement away from IE will become a mass exodus.

The next question would be, "What will Firefox do with its market dominance?" Unlike Microsoft, which sat on its hands as soon as IE knocked off Netscape, Mozilla is almost certainly going to keep doing what it has always done: push the envelope of browser development and innovation . That's what happens when you're led by a community, not a monopolist.

I like this new overlord.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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