Wednesday, May 18, 2011

4.0.2pre beta 2, crushing benchmarks, changing lives, etc.

I bet chtrusch is pretty proud of himself for ruining beta 1 with his bug report, and I hope he's happy. Actually, I know he already is, and you'll be happy too, because with the test case he reported we have finally stamped out issue 37 which was a long-running JavaScript crash bug we had wallpapered over for 4.0 and 4.0.1.

And, because that wallpapering was done by blacklisting certain traces in the JavaScript accelerator, we no longer need the wallpaper since the underlying problem (running out of stack space) has now been fixed by giving the app more stack. SunSpider was a mixed bag; the G5 barely moved, but the 7400 had an unpredictable improvement of around 5-15%. However, in V8, the quad G5 in Highest went from a score of 656 to a reliable 822 (higher is better), and Dromaeo -- which includes V8 in its composite score -- also duly increased, from 93 runs/sec to 110 runs/sec!

While you're testing things, please also look at the good work Narcotix and chtrusch are doing with localizations in issue 42 and issue 61, including a locale installer so that you don't have to manually sling files around.

Before we get to the goodies, some business items. I'm trying to work in with Mozilla about security content and that means being a good neighbour about currently extant security issues. Mozilla still does not plan to issue a formal Firefox 4.0.2, but they are amenable to putting fixes into the mozilla-2.0 tree for downstream consumers such as ourselves. They do not, however, want such fixes distributed outside of the Mozilla repos until Firefox 5 is released, so we probably cannot release the maintenance changeset pack until then as this contains the actual fixes involved. Sorry, builders. The current release date for Fx5 is still June 21st, although it may slip due to the rapid release process not yet having been tested for full rollout. However, I am asking explicitly to make sure we can still get binaries out to your good selves on time June 1st.

There are a couple other potential security issues I am reviewing for inclusion, though I may defer these to 4.0.3 pending Firefox 5.

Speaking of, Mozilla is no longer planning to issue numbered release branches with Fx5 - i. o. w., there is going to be only one mozilla-release repo and it will only contain the current version; there will be no archival branches like they used to have in the CVS days and in hg until Mozilla 2.0. This is a problem for our builders because when the next version comes down the pike, there will be nothing to pull from and apply changesets to. What we might have to do is clone and hg export a tarball so that the builders still have a stable "source source" while we retain source parity. Hopefully, however, Mozilla will keep stashing their own tarballs somewhere and we can build on top of that, perhaps. I'm still not sure what to do with this yet and we'll worry about it if we get Fx5 running.

In the meantime, change your life today with beta 2 (and crush benchmarks, etc.); read the release notes first:


  1. Thanks for the credit, I'm glad to help. Peacekeeper and Dromaeo now do considerably better (almost at beta13 speed again), Sunspider also a little better.

  2. Nice to see it improved on Peacekeeper, too.

  3. You guys do great work! I'm happy to see such a community centering around older, but still powerful Macs.


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