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Firefox 18 Gets an Ion Boost of Open Source Acceleration

firefoxFrom the 'More Monkey Business' files:

Firefox 18 is now officially in Beta and it is likely to be the fastest browser ever released by Mozilla.

The reason of the speed boost is a new tech that I first wrote about back in September called IonMonkey. It's the latest iteration of Mozilla's JavaScript engine and follows in the footsteps of JaegerMonkey/SpiderMonkey.

All that 'monkey business' to accelerate JavaScript has been ongoing at Mozilla since at least 2007

When I asked Mozilla bout IonMonkey here is what I got back:

"IonMonkey provides a more efficient way for Firefox to process JavaScript," Dave Mandelin, Engineering Director of Performance said. "Firefox will perform faster with Web apps, games and other JS-heavy pages with IonMonkey."

How this will compare/compete against the latest iteration of Google's V8 remains to be seen, but given the increasing reliance of JavaScript to make the web work, faster is a good thing.

On the other hand, JavaScript and indeed just about everything that a browser does, can also benefit from having more memory available. Unfortunately though for Windows users, Mozilla for reasons that make little sense to me, does not have a 64-bit build of Firefox. That means that a Windows user only get 4 GB of addressable space and not the more robust 16GB or more that a 64-bit system can deliver. Not all that long ago Mozilla publicly posted that it was working on 64 bit versions for Firefox 5.

Linux users however have no such issue. Public releases of 64 bit Linux are available at: http://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/latest/linux-x86_64/

So, if you want the fastest Firefox possible with the most addressable memory, you really want and need to be running Firefox on Linux.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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