[maemo-users] Microb Versus Mozilla Fennec

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Fri May 9 13:31:43 EEST 2008

ext John Holmblad wrote:
> All,
> for those who have not already seen the article whose url is:
> http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080409-first-look-mozilla-fennec-targets-handheld-browser-market.html
> It provides a comparison of the performance of Microb versus Fennec on 
> the N810. Fennec shows a ~6x speed improvement for javascript.

Yes, the numbers of these automated tests are right. However, users
having used both browsers will probably agree that in terms of real user
experience as for today both are pretty similar, and even the Nokia
version is performing better in real use conditions. I'm talking about
my own experience and comments I've heard.

What is your opinion? I'm sure both Nokia and Mozilla developers are
interested to know.

Is someone lying? Not at all. It's just a matter of looking at the
details. The current MicroB engine was developed one year ago by Nokia
starting with a pre-alpha of the latest Gecko engine, the freshest code
available by then. The release under development done last Summer put a
Mozilla based browser at a level where nobody could before (including
the own Mozilla guys, who were happily surprised btw). Now Fennec is
shipping a most recent Gecko and of course putting both one by side you
get nowadays much better performance at engine level. How much MicroB's
open source code helped on that, I don't know but I guess it saved them
some work.

But users don't deal with engines alone, you have the UI in between and
this is where the Mozilla browser in Chinook and Fennec differ most: the
first uses an own UI providing -as for today- much better performance
that XUL, a component that seems like needing more work before being
really fit in mobile devices. Are we going to keep this difference in
the future? Time we tell. Both teams have a lot of work to do anyway.

But in fact the best part of this Mozilla browsers comparison is not the
numbers competition part but the human collaboration part. The Mozilla
and Nokia developers are collaborating and both projects are in sync.
The current development of the Mozilla browser for Diablo+1 is based
directly on the Gecko trunk and we are discussing ways of deepening the
collaboration, also at a community level. Imagine the wide community of
Firefox add-on developers targeting the maemo platform - that would be fun.

We are even having some common exercises of exploration, both sides
learning a lot i.e. Qt support -

Conclusion: We are as happy as you seeing the performance progress done
by the Fennec project. We feel honored by them targeting our platform in
the first place. Nokia is doing the right thing with the Mozilla
development. Lots of potential for collaboration and cool stuff.

Quim Gil
marketing manager, open source
maemo software @ Nokia

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