Browser benchmarks 2: even Wine beats Linux Firefox

Mozilla

We posted yesterday about Firefox having very different JavaScript performance on Windows and Linux, despite being the same version of the software.

Some people have said that we should have used a stock build from Mozilla. (We disagree, because we'd argue that most Linux users use software from their package manager rather than downloading bits and pieces from the web.) Others have said that Opera should be tested. And some people have said that it's Nvidia/AMD/Intel drivers that are slowing down Linux.

Anyway, we thought we would conduct a couple more quick benchmarks to see whether we can eliminate some of these variants. We don't have time to run the full benchmark suite and fiddle around from scratch, so we ran just a few quick tests to see what we could find.

This time the information you need to know is:

  • These benchmarks were run on the same computer as before, running the same Fedora 10 install.
  • We tried Mozilla Firefox for Linux as downloaded straight from Mozilla.
  • We also tried Mozilla Firefox for Windows as downloaded from Mozilla, but running it using Wine on Fedora.
  • We installed and tested Opera 9.63 for Fedora 10, as downloaded from Opera.com. Note: we were only able to find i386 builds on the Opera site; this isn't optimal so if someone can point us towards an i686 build for Fedora 10 we will happily update the article.
  • We ran the Google V8 Benchmark suite V3, as before.

To be absolutely clear: we took the Windows Firefox and ran it on Fedora Linux using Wine 1.1.12 as provided by Fedora:

  • "Firefox Windows" is Firefox running on Windows.
  • "Firefox Fedora" is Firefox running on Fedora using the Fedora package.
  • "Firefox Mozilla" is Firefox running on Fedora using the Mozilla build.
  • "Firefox Wine" is Firefox as compiled for Windows running on Fedora using Wine.
  • "Opera" is, well, Opera 9.63 running on Fedora.

With all that in mind, here's how the results look now:

Firefox on Windows, Linux and Linux/Wine

Firefox running on Windows, Linux and Linux/Wine, plus Opera.

The end result: Firefox from Mozilla or from Fedora has almost nil speed difference, and Firefox running on Wine is faster than native Firefox. Opera lags behind, but we're inclined to believe that number would increase if a better build was used.

Is this the end of the story? Probably not - we expect some commenters will come up with some other reason why the slowdown is clearly Nvidia/ATI/someone else's fault. Go on, folks: try the benchmark yourself. If you're running Linux, install Wine and try Windows Firefox on Wine and make up your own mind.

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Your comments

Epiphany wins no competition

These is the score of epiphany:

Google V8 Benchmark suite V3: 2898

Epiphany Web Browser 2.27.2
Dell XPS - ArchLinux 64bit

Practical Javascript

Hi..

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-Swati

PGO Rocks

Hi folks,

I confirm, it partially comes from the lack PGO buids for Linux.

Google V8 benchmarks results :
FF nightly build from mozilla : 180
FF HG version (same day) with specific instruction set (-march=prescott -O3) : 191
FF HG with PGO (takes ages to compile) : 220 !
FF Windows under wine : 275 !!!

(the 3 scores are the maximum results after a dozen of tests in each case, linux 2.6.30 / Debian Lenny / wine 1.1.24 / FF 20090624 Shiretoko/3.5pre)

Linux sucks

More evidence that Linux sucks. Go on, freetards, try to pin the blame on anyone but yourselves.

HOW FAST YOU WANT YOUR FF?

I can see that indeed FF for linux (and Opera for linux) is slower than FF for wine or windows.
I am using Ubuntu 9.04 in a gigabyte board with AMD and ATI chips. I am not bothered by the "speedy" or "slowliness" of FF. Actually, when reading a page, I don't need a fast browser, since I read quite slowly ;-(
Also, I can accept to wait seconds until web pages get load, for which FF is no guilty, but my ISP and the crappy phone line I have.
However, I get very mad when Firefox gets frozen or becomes unresponsive, thanks to I don't know which glitch in the pulseaudio-compiz/something else that are fighting for resources.
We have a more serious problem in linux: lack of outstanding hardware support. Yes. We need nice drivers. Manufacturers give crappy drivers. Developers reverse engineer from scratch drivers but unfortunately they may not be perfect. We need to have hardware makers to become friends with linux. After we have PERFECT functionality of all kind of hardware, we can start blaming on FF developers to neglect Linux.

so, the bigger ff gets... the more bloated he is

so, i use firefox for a long time now. why? i don't know exactly, but i think because everyone does. but there are many alternatives on linux:

konqueror, epiphany, galeon etc.

so, i'm coding my first webblog atm and i discovered some strange things on firefox. first i thought it was my fault. i got render issues, my screen was flickering and so on. so i recoded most of my page with the same result. than i, just for fun, tried the same page on epiphany, which is based on gecko. and.... everything works. no errors, no speed issues... i just worked. than i searched for answers and found out, that people back in 2005 realized, that firefox isn't the fastest browser.

so i think the problem is that firefox gets bigger and bigger. and more bloated. and, of course, the main market for firefox is windooze. so why bother for a handfull of linux users?

it is _not_ hardware, it is _not_ linux... it's because ff on linux get's no attention.

so, instead of crying and trying to blame whatsoever, why not switch?

epiphany is great, it's gecko based so u can use all the plugins firefox provides. and it's faster, it's not that buggy (there are other bugs maybe ;) ) and it _is_ a lot faster than firefox. and it's free!!!

go on, burry the dead!

plugins

sorry, i said u _can_ use ff plugins in epiphany. that's wrong. you _could_ be able to do so theoreticaly.

epiphany has it's own set of plugins.

see epiphany's project page.

Swiftfox vs. Swiftweasel

A couple people here have commented on Swiftfox. But all Swiftfox builds are 32bit. I'm running an AMD 64, so I went with Swiftweasel to get best native 64 bit performance.

Windows broke Firefox

I remember back at 0.6 Firefox was called Phoenix and it was fast and pretty great.

Then from 0.7 to 1.0 I they added better Windows support and I noticed FF on Linux getting slower and slower as the browser was doing things in new ways.

It's really too bad that didn't work out better. And ironic since when Firefox originally forked off from Mozilla it was a lighter trimmed-down version of the bloated suite.

I think some of the blame can lie with X, which has always been a bit slower at popping up a new window than Windows. Compiz support would rock!

My Linux FF now faster

Hi,

For your information : I've managed to build a Linux FF version (3.5.2) that is faster than the same version under wine.

But to compare things that can be compared : don't forger to use the same plugins on the versions you're comparing because it makes a huge difference.

FYI : compiled with PGO and -O3 -march=native -mtune=native -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer
And don't forget that PGO needs you to USE your browser while profiling, if you just launch it, it cannot profile anything interesting !

Also, I'd like to know if the differences is the same on Intel and on AMD platforms. It wouldn't surprise me that Mozilla optimizes its windows build for Intel and for generic x86 on Linux.

See ya

Epic fail :)

Epic fail :)

howabout iceweasel?

using sidux-kde4.2.* and iceweasel browser I got 251 points...

...iceweasel

tried the latest version(5) of the google benchmark 8 and got 284 points :)

But I thought Linux was supposed to be superior

But I thought Linux was supposed to be superior to Windows in every way!

Haha, lusers.

I've been using Ubuntu for a few years, but I'm tired of this endless stream of crap. Nothing ever works right. It's just an uphill battle every day. My next computer will probably be a Mac.

Firefox 3.0.14 and Safari 4.0.3 on mac ic2 2.4ghz

Safari:

Score: 1734
Richards: 3503
DeltaBlue: 2363
Crypto: 2764
RayTrace: 931
EarleyBoyer: 2849
RegExp: 780
Splay: 995

Firefox:

Score: 141
Richards: 124
DeltaBlue: 109
Crypto: 162
RayTrace: 112
EarleyBoyer: 109
RegExp: 147
Splay: 284

ICC built firefox + PERSISTENT DNS CACHE

Firefox is lightning fast in Linux if you setup a PERSISTENT DNS CACHE. in fact ALL web-browsers are fast in linux with a P-DNS-cachec. that is where the bottle-neck is. it has nothing to do with GCC, X or anything else.

Yes, if you build Firefox wih ICC and use PGO to recompile, it will be even faster, but that isn't the problem in linux.
the problem is that there is a delay in resolving DNS...
this article doesn't bother to take that into account, and is very short-sided, with no actual controls on the experiment.like one comment said: build with same version of GCC in windows....

Firefox on my computer(fedora12-linux) can be compared to browsing the web in Windows. FIREFOX LOADS INSTANTLY, AS DO WEB PAGES - even ones that have alot of php, java, etc...

you guys need to re-run your tests with both a persistent DNS cache and an ICC built firefox, then we'll see what your results are like. i bet mine would smoke your results...although i am too lazy to benchmark, and i don't know what to use....

Firefox 3.6.5p and Opera 10.53 is pretty fast under ubuntu 10.04

Yes, PRETTY fast at my T5600(1.86GHz) Thinkpad X60 and the V8's v5 bench:

Firefox 3.6.5pre:

Score: 254
Richards: 1019
DeltaBlue: 55.8
Crypto: 623
RayTrace: 212
EarleyBoyer: 147
RegExp: 169
Splay: 366

Opera 10.53:

Score: 2289
Richards: 2042
DeltaBlue: 1547
Crypto: 1844
RayTrace: 3251
EarleyBoyer: 2729
RegExp: 1029
Splay: 6193

dns cache is not in question

All that DNS cache does is to cache "where" the a domain name is, its IP, instead of asking to some DNS server somewhere. This is not something to brag about, "linux firefox kick 4SS with DNS cache and PWNS all other browsers". DNS cache gives a little advantage to all browsers, and only in this regard. The rest of the benchmark, which is the bulk of the actual performance, would be the same.

This is akin to saying that with a uber-wide bandwidth linux firefox is awesome. It may well be, but other browsers would outperform it nevertheless, apparently, even windows' firefox under wine.

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