Tenfourfox Javascript innovation seeping back into Firefox?

Gordon M's Avatar

Gordon M

11 Mar, 2014 02:07 AM

Hello all,

I'm just curious if the work being done to speed Javascript on PowerPC is getting back into Firefox, and if so, how quickly and how much of it. I may need to abandon Leopard for Linux on a G4, but one of the big sticking points is I think that Firefox (or Iceweasel, whatever) would be substantially slower at running JS, which is what hurts my machine almost as much as lack of more RAM. I also tend to find a few JS add-ons indispensable, so there's that load to consider, too.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 11 Mar, 2014 02:17 AM

    Cameron Kaiser's Avatar

    Short answer: Eventually, but Linux has important differences that will cause it to not "just work" -- someone else would need to finish it.

    Long answer: Yes, our JavaScript compiler makes a substantial performance difference on some sites. However, not all PowerPC implementations use the same interface to the operating system; OS X's has some important differences to Linux, and code generators have to be adjusted. I don't run Linux/ppc personally, so someone would need to adjust it, which should not be difficult but is not trivial. Just adding our code to Firefox on Linux/ppc would not solve this problem without further work.

    Also, once we submit our code back to Mozilla, we lose a certain amount of control over it, which will impair development. The JavaScript compiler is under major construction and having Mozilla gatekeep code review will significantly slow our work. I'd rather do this when I have something fully operational and mostly optimized, and that would be easily months away or more.

    We do share our work upstream when we feel it benefits the larger PowerPC community. For example, some of our AltiVec acceleration is already part of Firefox on PowerPC platforms, and we routinely fix endian problems that affect us and others. This project has larger benefit too, and I plan to contribute it as well, but it would still need a technically skilled sort to put the final piece in for Linux.

  2. Support Staff 2 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 11 Mar, 2014 02:19 AM

    Cameron Kaiser's Avatar

    By the way, you can get some idea of the difference for sites you visit by comparing SeaMonkeyPPC, which does not have JavaScript acceleration, to TenFourFox. If the sites you visit seem to work fine in SeaMonkeyPPC, then they will almost certainly work as well, if not better, in Firefox on Linux. If they are slower or you get script errors, then you know where the problem lies.

  3. 3 Posted by Gordon M on 11 Mar, 2014 03:20 AM

    Gordon M's Avatar

    That's very helpful, thank you. And thanks for contributing work back - I know it's slow going with big projects, but eventually these PPC machines will be "so old" that they'll need the 2017 version of Crunchbang or whatever to keep up. :(

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