Monday, March 14

more firefox goodness

An introduction to custom builds, fans who've compiled Firefox from scratch.

I've tried compiling myself and believe me, it takes some doing to decipher the maze that Mozilla devs call a source tree. Why is it worth running these ? Well, each build is optimized for a specific processor and allegedly runs faster (I've heard figures of 20% tossed around. Took so many pinches of salt with that number that I got elevated blood pressure). The main reason this isn't done officially (obviously) is that it makes life more complicated for the end user (there are 4 binaries to choose from, depending on the type of processor you have on your computer).

Of course, these are not official (Mozilla Foundation sanctioned) builds, so don't run this unless you know what you're doing. At the very least, it would be trivial for someone to add a few lines to the code, compile a nice custom build and then have the custom Firefox doing all sorts of nasty things like phoning your browsing habits to a central server, logging your online banking/web mail user name and password combos, signing away your first born child and so on. It might even (oh the horror) steal your Blogger username/password. Some evil cracker type might start blogging as you *gasp*. They might even get more visitors to the blog than you currently manage and become famous!!11oneoneeleven. Yes, things could get pretty bad.

Still interested ? I haven't scared you off yet ? Moox builds and Stipe builds. (A whole forum section devoted to them and others can be found here). What's the difference ? Well, anecdotal evidence says that the Stipe builds are a bit faster, but Moox has been doing this for a few versions now. If that means anything. I'm running both, in a fit of boredom and Stipe seems faster, but not by a whole lot. I'm writing this entry from a Moox M3 build Firefox. I'm still not trusting it to do everything, but hey, I will probably keep an optimized build around.

And a fairly complete document on Firefox/Mozilla about:config entries.


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