Improvements in Firefox 7

Firefox: Nightly-, Aurora- and Beta-ChannelWhile the changes were minimal in the previous release and minor for end users, Firefox 7 will include some important changes. One of the major improvements is to affect the performance of Firefox and reduce the memory footprint of the browser significantly. In this optimized memory management of Firefox 7 the memory footprint of the browser should be reduced compared to earlier versions by up to 50 percent. This should also stabilize the browser to prevent dropouts that occurred sporadically in the past, when the system was overloaded.

To achieve this improvement, Mozilla has revised the garbage collector of Firefox. The internal process was changed here, i.e. expect more memory is released and not only when a memory limit was reached. Although such a needed garbage collection runs a certain time, however, should reduce this, because now more frequently but less must be cleaned up. Long runs, which had blocked a system in former times, thus a thing of the past.

Memory usage in Firefox 7

In addition to improved memory management Firefox 7 will also start and load some web pages faster. This is especially possible because of the integration of the new graphics engine Azure, which will replace the old Cairo engine for 2D canvas elements. Azure works in contrast to Cairo and is similar to the stateless Direct2D technology from Microsoft.

Azure vs. Cairo

The comparison of Bas Schouten, who has tested both engines, shows that Azure is significantly more powerful than Cairo. Even if the engine is currently used for 2D canvas elements only, one can thus expect a significant performance improvement.

Images: Nicholas Nethercote, Bas Schouten

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