If you aren’t familiar with the browser, I would encourage you to visit Deb Richardson’s brilliant Field Guide to Firefox 3 which describes a number of key Firefox 3 features in a very accessible manner.
One thing I would like to mention is that Firefox 3 has improved connection parallelism. The default limit for concurrent connections per hostname has been increased from 2 to 6 which is similar to IE8. Details can be found in this bug report here and for the technically inclined these are the new defaults
Whilst the improved connection parallelism is one factor in improved page load performance, web server administrators who are currently serving content via Apache need to factor in increased concurrent connections from Firefox 3 and tweak their MaxClients setting appropiately.
Google’s Steve Souder has a great roundup on Parallel Connections in this blog entry.
Terry Shannon of Shannon Knows HPC passed away a few days ago. I have been following his site for some time albeit not regularly. I used to read it when it was called Shannon knows DEC, didn’t follow it much when it was called Shannon know Compaq.
Terry was a big fan of Firefox from the early days and he took the time to join the SpreadFirefox community. He sported a Firefox button on his page
One of his blog post on the spreadfirefoxsite encourages people to think of 100 million download goal.
He also sent a newsletter to over 150K Hewlett Packard employees where he extolled the virtues of Firefox. In spite of his seniority in the trade press, he took the time and sent me a copy of the PDF he sent to HP employees
Ben’s blog entry informs me that Google has hired Brian Ryner who has been working on XForms alongwith fellow noogler Darin Fischer.
Ben’s also written about his upcoming work on making the Extension Manager more robust.
So, the question is ? Is Google working on GForms ?, their secret sauce to the world of AJAX . Would this mythical GForms be close enough to Web Forms 2.0 . Maybe it would be delivered as an easy to install extension.
Google seems to see the value in having a better doorway for their end-users to view their products and I am not sure how Yahoo will react to this. Microsoft ofcourse has IE as its doorway into the future and the upcoming XAML /Avalon to hook the developer base.
Will Cohen of Redhat posted on the redhat-devel mailing list about him working with some North Carolina State university students on the effect of compiling Mozilla with -Os
They found some improvement in performance (reduction in L1 cache and instruction TLB misses)
The report is available here
Received a copy of the latest BusinessWeek Asian Edition. The headline of the Firefox article is different than that of the US Edition. In the Asian Edition, the headline and the sub-headline are
The Gnat Nipping at Microsoft
Mozilla may be a tiny nonprofit, but its Firefox browser is grabbing market share
I faxed over a copy of the article to the Mozilla Foundation offices. Ali Ebrahim pointed me to the fax number which isn’t mentioned on the contact page but instead is only available on the CVS contributor form .
Darin ‘Necko God’ Fischer mentioned to me via email that Bug 220941 would be a good bug to fix for better performance of Mozilla over wireless links. He also mentioned that it’s one of the more difficult bugs to fix hence could be one of the reason the bug hasn’t caught much attention.
Speaking of wireless, in the current Linux 2.6.x kernel (as of 2.6.9), there are now 3 congestion control algorithms available.
- TCP Vegas
- TCP Westwood
- BIC TCP (default as of 2.6.9)
My understanding of TCP Westwood is that it is a sender-side modification of the TCP congestion window algorithm that improves upon the performance of TCP Reno in wired as well as wireless networks.
From the abstract of the ACM-Mobicom 2001 paper I gathered this.
Unlike TCP Reno, it doesn’t blindly halve the congestion window after receiving three duplicate ACK’s. Instead it uses the current effective bandwidth (TCPW continuously measures the TCP source rate) to set a slow start threshold. In wireless links, one could have sporadic losses due to radio problems and TCP Reno would interpret this as congesion which would lead to unneccasary window reduction.
So with a lot of cellphone manufacturers looking at Linux on the cell-phone, will they tune the stack for TCP Westwood. Not sure if other OS’s like Solaris 10 support different congestion control algorithms. Can one set congestion algorithms on a per-route basis ?
Bryan ‘Performance is thy middle Name’ Ryner has a patch lined up in bugzilla which gives a 5% increase in page-load on Linux (not sure if the win is on all platforms).
Looks like this will be available if Seamonkey/Firefox is compiled with the gcc packaged in Fedora Core 3. Since Solaris 10 build 73 will also come with gcc 3.4.x, I am not sure if it has the same patches which bryner mentions as being required. I’ll try to ping some Sun engineers about this. It could be that Sun’s native compiler (Sun Studio 10) may be doing the right thing
Found this page which describes a bit more about the effect of the symbol visibility patch in GCC.