Coming soon: A faster Firefox for Linux users

Starting with Firefox 6, Mozilla's browser for the open source OS will feature performance on par with the Windows version.

Linux users' proverbial cup is already overflowing this spring thanks to several recent coups for the open source operating system. Just last week, however, more good news arrived for users of the free software in the form of an announcement from Mozilla that Firefox has been given a huge speed boost on Linux.

Specifically, despite several failed attempts in the past, a group of Mozilla developers has succeeded in getting the open source browser's Linux builds to compile with version 4.5 of GCC, or the GNU Compiler Collection.

"We finally managed to get our Linux (and, obviously, Linux64) builds to use GCC 4.5, with aggressive optimization (-O3) and profile guided optimization enabled," wrote developer Mike Hommey on Friday.

"This means we are finally using a more modern toolchain, opening opportunities for things such as static analysis," Hommey explained. "This also means we are now producing a faster Firefox, now much closer to the Windows builds on the same hardware on various performance tests."

Though the feature is not slated to appear officially until Firefox 6, the newly improved builds should work on older Linux platforms as well, including Red Hat and CentOS 5, Hommey noted. The main thing that's required is that they come with the GNU standard libstdc++ library from GCC 4.1, he added.

First Firefox 5 Beta Build

Following the wildly successful debut of Firefox 4 in March, the new browser just exceeded 10 percent market share for the first time this past weekend, according to fresh data from StatCounter. Still ahead of Firefox 4 are just Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 and Mozilla's own Firefox 3.6, according to StatCounter's data.

Meanwhile, as part of its new, six-week development cycle, Mozilla just posted its first Firefox 5 beta build. Now making its way into that version are new CSS3 support and tab management along with improved HTML5 support, according to a report in ConceivablyTech.

The final release of Firefox 5 is due on June 21, likely followed by Firefox 6 in mid-August.

It's been noticeable to Linux users for some time now that Firefox didn't perform as well there as it did on Windows. It's great to see Mozilla address the issue and reaffirm its commitment to this growing segment of the market.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceLinuxapplicationsbrowserssoftwarenon-WindowsRed Hatoperating systemsinternetmozillaFirefox

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?