Fight for the Internet 1!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Swiftfox (AMD/Intel optimized Firefox)

"Swiftfox is an optimized build of Mozilla Firefox. Swiftfox has builds for both AMD and Intel processors and is based on the most cutting edge Firefox source code available."

I learned about Swiftfox while investigating some slow performance I have been experiencing in my normal Firefox. When trying Swiftfox, even after only a few minutes, I noticed some improved "snappiness" in my browsing. That is to say, I noticed switching between tabs was faster, graphics and pages both loaded and refreshed more quickly, and Gmail was significantly faster and more responsive.

Here is some information from the Wikipedia page on Swiftfox. It is interesting to note that the compiled binaries were made using GCC version 4.0.x, while I know for a fact that later version of the 4.x GCC compiler have improved optimizations. Under different circumstances, I might assume this would result in lesser performance, but since the Swiftfox creator has a knowledge of assembly instructions for several architectures, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for knowing what he is doing by using an older compiler.

The Swiftfox build is optimized using the following methods:

Binary code optimization

Increased Security

  • Better protection from Buffer overflow attacks[6] (Swiftfox 2.0 uses -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2; Firefox 2.0 uses gcc 3.x, which does not support this).[2]


Changed default preference values

It is a bit early for a conclusion yet. I'm going to keep trying to use it and see how it continues to performs. The next few days will give me a good idea of how fast it really works compared to regular Firefox.

For more information on Swiftfox, go to:

Currently there is no PGP apt-package signing available for the Swiftfox repositories. If anyone learns of some, please let me know.

Ironically, no sooner do I start investigating some benchmark tests for Swiftfox, than I discover an alternative to Swiftfox named SwiftWeasel. I am going to be investigating both of these browsers in time and I will bring you reports of what I discover.

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