Monday, February 18, 2008

Firefox's Gecko vs. KHTML and Webkit

Firefox has a large user and developer base which has led to its wide circulation and varied plugins, but some things are hurting.  The Gecko rendering engine pales in comparison to Konqueror's KHTML and Safari's Webkit.  The same pages take up to about 3x as long to render in Gecko.  While KHTML has issues rendering Google-related things such as Gmail and Google documents, Webkit shows no such failure and will become Konqueror's new engine soon.  Plugins aside, once Konqueror from KDE 4 becomes a standard, the developer community around it should expand and Firefox will begin to see a big run for its money.

On Macintosh OS 10.4, Firefox not only takes roughly 5-10x as long to load as Safari but eats up resources substantially.  At one point, when not loading any videos and with 4 tabs open, Firefox was eating 40-60% of cpu time and my fans were blaring.  One minute after closing it, the machine's responsiveness picked up and the fans slowed to a near halt.
On Gentoo, Konqueror also loads significantly faster than Firefox, and Firefox is there also a proc/memory hog.

Recently I tested Firefox 3 beta on Kubuntu Hardy and I have to say, it's not getting any faster and actually I can notice a further slowdown.  If Mozilla doesn't do something soon, it might find itself losing favor in the community.

No comments: