Mozilla’s Firefox 4 browser was one of the hotly awaited open source releases of the year so far, but reports continue to flow in about slow performance, and even inexplicable crashes. During the long beta cycle for the new browser, there were far fewer performance issues, probably because many users didn’t have their full arsenal of Firefox extensions running. Now that they do, many are claiming that extensions themselves are slowing the browser down, and Mozilla is making some concessions in this direction. The company has a running list of the slowest performing extensions, available here. In the face of these problems, what is the best course of action for Mozilla to take?
Mozilla’s disclosure of slow performing add-ons is admirable, but let’s not forget that browsers are one of the most competitive application categories, and the open source Chrome browser from Google is breathing down Firefox’s neck in terms of market share. Chrome is widely lauded for performance, while Firefox 4 is taking criticism precisely on the performance front.