The browser wars continue. For the three browsers which I use - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome - program execution speed is inversely proportional to browser market share as per August/2010 industry stats.
The long-awaited Firefox 4.0 official release happened on March 22nd, 2011. I downloaded and installed my copy today. Among the many improvements touted for this release, I was most interested in the program launch time for Firefox 4.0. I was previously using Firefox 3.6.12 where the program launch time was on the order of half a minute. As my usage style is to to launch programs on demand, opting to close them when not being used, program launch time is a big deal for me. Chrome 3 launch time is under 2 seconds, closer to 1 second. Internet Explorer 8 takes around 10 seconds. Since Firefox is my preferred browser, partly due to the many plug-ins that I utilize, I have been severely hampered by the excruciatingly slow program launch. Firefox 4.0 launches in about 2 seconds. One happy user here. Considering that once upon a very long time ago, I preferred Internet Explorer over Netscape, it is ironic how Firefox has become my browser of choice. I hold no biases; I go with what is best!
In typical fashion, Firefox installation is fast and painless. Many plug-ins were not compatible with Firefox 4.0 and had to be upgraded. That was part of the Firefox check-list during installation. Everything works seamlessly and promptly. Pretty much a non-event!
The current top-3 browser competition involves Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4 and Chrome 10. It is interesting to note that Firefox 4 and Chrome 10 are available for various operating system versions and platforms while Internet Explorer 9 is only available on Windows 7. Since I am with the 66% of the Windows users that are still running XP (Microsoft cites 74% of work computers use XP), I am excluded from commenting on IE 9 usage.
From my usage experience, not a lot has changed. That is the way I like it. The most noticeable change is the removal of the status bar at the bottom of the browser window. URL and page loading status are shown as a pop-up message at the bottom of the window and the message disappears when no longer applicable. There is an Add-on Bar at the bottom of window where the status bar used to be and this can be toggled on/off with a Ctrl+/ keyboard sequence. I have it turned off which gives me that much more vertical browser window space for web page content. With Message and Add-on Bar No Message or Add-on Bar
Check out the Firefox 4.0 download statistics at Mozilla.
See Browser Wars.
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