Mozillacamp, Chrome and GNUnify

Hi all,
This post would be talking about the upcoming gnunify (slightly) and the competition between Mozilla and Google Chrome (Browsers).

First up, PLUG (Pune Linux User’s Group) in association with SICSR (Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research is doing its annual function called gnunify ’09 . The said event is spread over 2 days with concurrent multiple tracks on diverse topics. A sample of the sessions can be found here.

What’s interesting this time around is that mozilla is sponsoring part of the event. Here’s a list of things they would be poring over at gnunify. I would be attending the first two talks, I just hope it doesn’t clash with something else I may be interested to know about as well (devil’s grin)

Confession time 😉 I am in one ways or the other a net addict. I have tried quite a few browsers from lynx, links, elinks, netlinks, galeon, epiphany, Amaya, Konqueror, Mozilla Firefox (all the way to the latest trunk 3.2a daily builds) , Arora and now the latest kid on the block Google Chrome.

While Google Chrome hasn’t been released on the GNU/Linux platform as of yet. There is an announcement list for the same at chrome’s site. There is a test shell called chromium which one can play with and a PPA one can subscribe to if one wants to try out new stuff.

For testing purposes, I had a windows box at a friend’s place and tried using it for few hours.

The pros and Cons vis-a-vis Mozilla Firefox were as follows. The build of Firefox I was running is 3.2a latest nightly and Google Chrome was the developer’s build to have a fair feel on the bleeding edge. This is playing over a 5-6 hours each.

Pros :-

1. Even having 40 odd tabs open the rendering, caching and general responsiveness of Chrome was way better than Mozilla. Perhaps in part of DNS pre-fetching or other tweaks underneath (+1)

2. The interface is quite different than most of the other browsers and quite mean and lean. (+1)

3. They have used sqlite (similar to firefox) for saving usernames and passwords etc.

Cons :-

1. There is still no ability to have addons. It would be interesting to see how it performs when there are a bunch of addons available.

2. Google Chrome needs Google Gears which I’m not so sure about. One of the interesting but invasive and scary uses is Google Latitude. It may have privacy issues in some instances.

3. The ability to add and use other search engines is not there, or it requires much work/understanding 😦

This is as far as the browsers are concerned. If you look at the community support, then Mozilla is way way ahead. The Mozilla Forums is pretty popular and has a high SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) while Google is relying mainly on the google group.

Its certainly not an even match as Google Chrome been released just a few months earlier while Mozilla Firefox has been around for 14 years. That’s lot of time but also I guess legacy issues Mozilla has. From what I do see its going to be interesting to know what Mozilla and Google is strategizing and playing out over the next few months.

What’s interesting is the kind of following Google Chrome has generated since August 2008 vis-a-vis Mozilla Firefox. Plenty of stats to back it up.

Source :- Marketshare , w3schools

I am guessing the difference between two stats are due to the large installed base that IE has in the first one, while the second one is of new downloads.

One of the other things I feel Google jumped in they want is they are very much dependent on an open internet whatever they do.

Also a need to be ahead of curve and use HTML 5 (particularly the much talked about Video tag as well as Geo-location and other interesting stuff).

What would be also interesting to see is how Mozilla hopes to make money in the future. Till date 85% of the revenue is coming from Google. A much more informative piece on the same can be found here.

As of right now, till 2011 Mozilla is protected but at that time what happens is anybody’s guess.

So all in all I hope its an interesting 2 days at gnunify ’09 where we meet,share, learn and hopefully grow as well. See you all at ’09 😉

Slight Update
:- It seems Google Chrome would have official addons from May. Check out the I/O session as well as the chrome addons site.

Another Update :- I just ran acid3 tests (Open Web Standards tests) on both the browsers.

While Google Chrome led the tests by 100/100, Mozilla wasn’t far behind 97/100 . Both the browsers though do still have to do some work.

Report of Google Chrome :-

Google Chrome's acid3 test results

LINKTEST failed.

Failed 0 tests.

Test 01 passed, but took 34 ms (less than 30fps)
Test 26 passed, but ook 505 ms (less than 30fps)
Test 36 passed, but ook 37 ms (less than 30fps)
Test 40 passed, but ook 39 ms (less than 30fps)
Test 65 passed, but ook 34 ms (less than 30fps)
Test 79 passed, but ook 45 ms (less than 30fps)
Total elapsed time:1.80s

Report on Mozilla FF 3.2a1pre (based on xulrunner 1.9.2a1pre)

Failed 7 tests.
Test 16 passed, but took 41ms (less than 30fps)
Test 26 passed, but took 1184ms (less than 30fps)
Test 39 passed, but took 53ms (less than 30fps)
Test 40 passed, but took 91ms (less than 30fps)
Test 46 passed, but took 69ms (less than 30fps)
Test 47 passed, but took 34ms (less than 30fps)
Test 65 passed, but took 39ms (less than 30fps)
Test 69 passed, but took 1 attempts (less than perfect).
Test 70 failed: UTF-8 encoded XML document with invalid character did not have a well-formedness error
Test 71 failed: expected '1' but got '2' - wrong number of children in HEAD (first test)
Test 75 failed: anim.beginElement is not a function
Test 76 failed: expected '0' but got '100' - Incorrect animVal value after svg animation.
Test 77 failed: expected '4776' but got '5560' - getComputedTextLength failed.
Test 78 failed: expected '90' but got '0' - getRotationOfChar(0) failed.
Test 79 failed: expected '34' but got '33' - SVGSVGTextElement.getNumberOfChars() incorrect
Total elapsed time: 4.58s

The good point is Mozilla is aware of the problem. See bug 410460 as well as the Google acid3 spreadsheet on the same topic.

One can find some more info. on the acid3 entry on Wikipedia

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