A Pale Moon appeared above my horizon today. The Pale Moon Project is a one man show producing a Windows Platform Optimized Build of Mozilla Firefox. The project site claims a 25% improvement in the performance that results from dumping junk you probably don't want anyway:
- Support for older, read museum-grade, processors
- Accessibility features
- ActiveX support
- Parental Controls
- Crash Reporter
- Automatic Updating
- Random other things?
The improvement in performance has been immediately noticeable. So much so that I immediately deployed the app onto two workstations whose (overly) patient operators are desperately awaiting upgraded hardware. In one case, I received a quick and appreciative IM of thanks. For the other, well, it was near the end of the day, so I'll know more tomorrow. So far, I have tasted on older single core, dual core and quad-core (old 6600 series, so nothing special there) and noticeable improvement across the board. I'm getting teased at work with an upgraded workstation to my own specs (but hopefully with a slightly elastic budget), so hopefully I'll share how it works on an i7 with SSD OS drive. Of source, as the project author, whose name I didn't location, mentioned, the very latest systems probably won't notice the extra horse power bump.
It is worth noting too, that the removal of code, particularly extraneous code that relates to supporting in browser functionality, ActiveX, or functional lock down, Parental Controls, could have the side effects of making the code more secure. That plus removing legacy processor support could also make the code more stable as well. All variables beyond my intimate understanding, or control, but it would be nice if security holes and instabilities were collateral damage.
A quick test on my home machine using The HTML5 Test shows that both FF3.6.9 and Pale Moon 3.6.9 are scoring identical scores for HTML5 support - 139 + 4 bonus points. At work, I noticed a discrepency between the two, and will re-check that out later if that proves to be the case. Additionally, no problem with jQuery - in fact, it rendered an iframe menu system I'm working on incredibly quickly - stupidly fast to be precise.
[UPDATE: my mistake was comparing FF 4b5 to PM 3.6.9 on the HTML5 test @ work - so, on an apples to apples browser comparison of HTML5, they seem to be the same]
Addons work well too. One has full access to search for favorites. Installing FireFTP (half of the donations go to charity), worked as well as on FireFox. Pale Moon seems to have no problem with Flash either and so I suspect other plugins would work well too.
I'm not going to be dumping FireFox as I need it for testing, at the very least; the same reason I keep instances of Safari and Opera. However, for personal browsing, it will likely start competing with Chrome. Though, thinking about it, I really like Pendule, so I'll definitely be keeping Chrome around for awhile. Pale Moon is nice though, and seeing that the project already has a version of FF4 beta, there is more to come.