Customized Firefox 3.1 build rocks your Intel Mac

February 6, 2009

When it comes to browsers, fast is never ever fast enough. Given that we increasingly live online””blogs, social networking, IM, shopping””the need for speed isn’t just about bragging rights anymore.

Fastest browser ever? That title still belongs to the nightly builds of WebKit, the open-source browser that is the basis for Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome. Still, Chris Latko has created an optimized build of Firefox 3.1 beta that is pretty gosh darn fast.

In truth, optimized Firefox builds have been around for a while. The guys at BeatnikPad have been building G4 / G5 / Intel optimized builds for years, but they have always used shipping builds of Firefox as their starting point. Given that Firefox betas can last months if not years, then anyone wanting the creamy smooth goodness of Firefox 3.1, and especially TraceMonkey (Mozilla’s super fast new Java engine), was right out of luck.

Stay current with Firefox

Firefox 3.0.6, 17.2MB

Firefox 3.1 beta 2 (17.2MB)

Intel Optimized build of Shiretoko 3.1b3pre, 10.2MB

“I’ve been using WebKit, Minefield, and increasingly Opera as my main browsers for a while now (and Bon Echo (Firefox 2) and have recently been running Shiretoko (Firefox 3.1) to take advantage of TraceMonkey,” says Latko. “But, I’ve been longing for an Intel optimized build and haven’t found one, so I’ve made one.”

As you can see from the above, Latko didn’t just make one, he made a really, really good one that rivals WebKit for speed, something no other browser can claim.

Does the Intel Optimized build of Shiretoko 3.1b3pre support Firefox add-ons, GreaseMonkey scripts, etc? Well, your mileage may, but even Mozilla’s official Firefox 3.1 beta 2 builds break most add-ons.

Still, if speed is what you need and Firefox add-ons aren’t particularly important, then Chris Latko’s Intel Optimized build of Shiretoko 3.1b3pre is a real contender…

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