Browser Wars, My Own Observations

posted in: Technology, The Web | 7

On a given day, I may use three different browsers for various reasons.  Sometimes one browser just gets the job done better than another.  Having said that, the following results are only from one test (SunSpider), on one computer (mine), on one operating system (Kubuntu).  Results may vary for you, but the point of it is to demonstrate that the browser wars are getting very competitive.  On a given day, one build of Chrome may be faster than Firefox, and on another day, the opposite may be true.

Browser wars: Firefox vs. Chromium vs. Rekonq vs. Opera



On Kubuntu 11.04, I pitted Chromium 11.0.696.57 (82915) vs. Firefox 4.0 vs. Rekonq 0.7.0 vs. Opera 11.10, all on KDE 4.6.2.  For obvious reasons, Microsoft Internet Explorer was not invited to this little shindig.

For the SunSpider tests, the results were as follows:

1. Firefox 372.3 ms

2. Opera 438.1 ms

3. Chromium 453.0 ms

4. Rekonq 611.4 ms

(Note: Lower is better in these tests)

As you can see, Firefox is the clear winner.  You should know that SunSpider is only a Javascript test and is not testing overall browser speed, but it is interesting that Mozilla seems to have succeeded in bringing its Javascript speed up from previous versions.  It is also interesting to note that, although Chromium and Rekonq are both Webkit-based browsers (via Konquerer -> Safari), Google Chrome (Chromium) uses its V8 Javascript engine whereas Rekonq uses QtWekbit’s, which is apparently significantly slower.

There are many other factors that go into which browser I use, so Javascript alone does not keep me in Firefox.  When I am using web apps, Chromium is usually better and faster.  Firefox has better extensions like the FlashVideoReplacer, and Rekonq has the fastest interface, as it is a native KDE app. I never actually use Opera, since it is proprietary. Rekonq also starts the fastest, Chromium next, Opera after that, and Firefox is the slowest to start.

As time goes on, I may post more observations.

7 Responses

  1. Diceless

    Really? Is being proprietary the only reason for not using Opera? It’s a very capable and influential web browser. It creates many of the innovations and browsing standards that the other web browsers eventually adopt. They’re not the only contributor but it’s arguable that they may be the most important one. While Opera isn’t open source it is the one that fights the hardest for open standards. With their good development cycle and releases I trust the browser and use it daily. It’s highly configurable and is all inclusive without bothering with extensions to make it that way.

    I’d also argue that a browser that uses open standards is more important then a browser that is open source. Since IE all but flipped the bird to certain web standards it made it difficult for other web browsers to compete. The more each new release of IE embraces web standards the more even the playing field becomes.

    I do value open source software but if I’m not going to actually mess with the code or expect significant changes from people that do so then I want something that works. Libre Office and Open Office are successful not only because they’re free but because they support open standards and are even able to make headway into closed standards (microsoft office files).

  2. Tavis J. Hampton

    I don’t have anything against Opera as far as performance or support of web standards are concerned, so yes, the only reason is that it is proprietary. That’s just my own personal preference. When a quality free software alternative exists, I opt for that.

    You seem pretty passionate about Opera. If you would like to write up a review/feature of it, I’d be happy to publish it.

  3. Tavis J. Hampton

    If you click “Contact Me” at the top and send your email address, I can create an account for you. Also, if you have a gravatar (, you can have an image other than “guest” (doesn’t have to be your real face).

  4. Mira Nolan from MMO Games Blog

    Actually for me the fastest is not Firefox but Seamonkey. I believe this is because Firefox just has so many great add-ons that I can’t resist loading it up with a lot of extras.

    However, I do use all of these:

    Seamonkey – for the fastest speed overall

    Opera – for various tasks, for example, when I am on one website like forums and spend hours there, Opera is the best because I can 1 click cache images and it understands that I don’t need to load all those animated forum signatures 🙂 Also great for IRC and browsing at the same time.

    Firefox – when I need all some of those sweet add-ons

    IE and Chrome – I have them but I almost never use them

  5. Tavis J. Hampton

    Firefox takes a very long time to start up (at least in Linux), and it takes even longer with extra extensions. The interface also seems a little heavier than some of the other browsers. One thing I do like about Opera is the interface, which is very light. Chrome’s also seems to be lighter than Firefox’s.

    Since my test only covered Javascript, it really didn’t touch on those other issues.

    Anyway, Seamonkey is cool and has the retro feel, but I miss some of the more modern features when using it.

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