Mozilla Firefox 3.1 shouldn’t ship without TraceMonkey

From the ‘ship when it’s ready‘ files:

Where is Firefox 3.1? It’s a question that is being asking by Mozilla developers and others now as the release date continues to slip. Currently Firefox 3.1 is in Beta 2 with a Beta 3 coming – well when it’s ready.

Firefox 3.1 when ready will include a host of new features in the open source browser, but in my narrow world-view it is the expected performance improvement from the Tracemonkey JavaScript engine that will be its marquee feature. Tracemonkey is the next generation JavaScript engine from Mozilla and it will compete against Google Chrome’s V8 and Safari’s SquirrelFish Extreme.

Yet, Tracemonkey has become a time intensive technology for Mozilla developers to get fully stable for the Firefox 3.1 release leading to a call from some to remove Tracemonkey from the release.

Here’s my opinion: Removing Tracemonkey from Firefox 3.1 would be a major tactical and strategic error for Mozilla. As such, Mozilla should release Firefox 3.1 only when it’s ready, Tracemonkey and all.

For better or for worse, speed is a major bragging rights claim in the modern browser wars. (Of course there are still other elements of a browser beyond JavaScript speed that make the overall browsing experience.)

The Mozilla Firefox 3.0.x browser is still a solid, reliable and fast browser. Mainstream users can wait for Firefox 3.1 until it’s as feature complete and stable as Mozilla can make it.

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