Mozilla Boasts of 2x Speed Increase from Firefox Quantum
Samuel Wan / 6 months ago
With most browser updates, a simple number suffices. In most cases, the features and additions made aren’t all that noteworthy. In case of Firefox 57, Mozilla thinks it special enough to deserve a name. Firefox Quantum may be the final goal of a very long journey. The new reworked Firefox browser now has an up to a 2x speed increase over the previous Firefox 56 release.
Over the past couple of years, Mozilla has been reworking the basic Firefox design. Due to the rise of Chrome and WebKit, Firefox fell behind in speed. Due to falling behind, marketshare dropped and Mozilla has been trying to win back users. This started with a revamped user interface and went deeper in steps. Along with multi-process and other improvements, we now have the new Quantum engine replacing the old Gecko one. Also, Mozilla removed 468 performance bottlenecks from big to small ones.
Mozilla Sacrifices Extension Support for Speed and Security
Moving away from Gecko and the old extension system has meant some sacrifices as well. Extension support, for instance, was dramatically overhauled, with the old extension framework retired. This means more work for extension developers but also less capable extensions. This sacrifice is necessary to improve speed, security and better enable multi-process. Unfortunately, this move may anger long-time Firefox users who stuck by due to the vibrant extension ecosystem.
For now, Firefox 57 is still not fully stable. The beta is available here if you want to try it out. For those who can wait, the new version drops on November 14th. Even in beta, Firefox 57 is already a big improvement. The real key to success will be attracting new users while keeping old ones. Hopefully, Mozilla will be able to juggle the two different priorities. With time, I expect Mozilla to add the lost features back into the new Firefox builds.