Firefox 64bit with tracemonkey and OSS

HeaderHa, I feel somewhat vidicated. Not me really (I know it’s the work of Firefox and Linux developers) but, hey, I’ll take it. You see, when Firefox 3.5 came out I was rapidly shot down when I learned that tracemonkey wasn’t ready for x86_64 yet. On one of the Firefox development blogs a decent number of Linux users got together and essentially said, “WT?”? I put my voice out too but the developers told us that tracemonkey was developed for 32bit because that is what most people use. Chromium was this way too, but since it was alpha at the time, I wasn’t too concerned about it. Firefox though, I thought, was trying to be a more unified build. Since architectures are going 64bit and since Firefox had been boosting about tracemonkey for the last six months, I was a bit surprised they hadn’t give us any warnings.

Tracemonkey is something I definitely wanted to try out. I wanted to try it, not because I thought webpages were that slow, but because (admittedly) I’m a speed freak and thought the speed gain would be nice. With so much extra getting added to pages the last year, I just learned to deal with slower loading speeds. Not big delays, but the superfluous stuff I see on some webpages makes me want to go back to the Firefox 2 days. The good news now is that Firefox 3.7 (alpha pre 1) now has tracemonkey 64bit support. I hadn’t really thought that a web page would load that much quicker with with a new javascript engine, with flash, ads… packed into pages, I didn’t expect much. But after I got done compiling all I can say is “Damn”. Pages that were jerky at first (espn, wordpress dashboard, stack overflow…) load considerably faster now. This doesn’t effect most pages, but the java centric pages see a good effect.

I also compiled in OSS support because OSS is just awesome. Alsa isn’t bad, but it hitches upon startup of any app, and has never been that responsive (even with a proper asound.conf). Yeah it’s good for compatibility, but to me a sound system should just run and run quietly underneath. I do love my OSS. I’m guessing that some people are asking, “Why build with OSS support?” Yes, flash works just fine with OSS (in fact, it uses OSS which most people run through alsa emulation) but for .ogv files (the new html5 video) alsa is fixed in Firefox. I’m not sure, but I can’t think of anything else in Firefox the built-in alsa might do. I ran through a couple html5 videos and they did pretty good. Really beginning to like this html 5 video thing.

To try it out, take a look at the firefox-pgo-beta AUR files and the edited PKGBUILD. Profiled build (pgo) is disabled in this version (to build correctly) but hopefully this is something that can be fixed in the future. I’ve been using FF3.7ap1 for the last day and it’s been running without any problems so far.

I’d like to thank the Firefox devs for their good work, and blasse and toxygen who did a great job for creating the package files.

About Todd Partridge (Gently)

Good times, good people, good fun.

Posted on 2009-09-28, in Linux, Timely. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. How did you build FF with OSS support? I can’t find a way, and posting to the mozilla lists only revealed that no one has a clue how to do it :P

  1. Pingback: Firefox 64bit with tracemonkey and OSS « Helpful Linux Tidbits | Firefox News on Twitter

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