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Swiftfox

Swiftfox
Developer(s) Jason Halme
Stable release 3.6.13
Preview release 4.0.0
Operating system Linux
Type Web browser
License binaries: proprietary
source: MPL 1.1
Website www.getswiftfox.com

Swiftfox is a web browser based on Mozilla Firefox. It is available for Linux platforms and distributed by Jason Halme. Swiftfox is a set of builds of Firefox optimized for different Intel and AMD microprocessors. Swiftfox is freely downloadable with open source code and proprietary binaries. Firefox extensions and plugins are compatible with Swiftfox, with notable exceptions. The name Swiftfox comes from the animal Swift Fox. Swiftfox differs from Firefox by a limited number of changes, and builds for different processors. As these differences are technical, for general information on the browser see Firefox.

Contents

  • Optimization 1
  • Speed 2
    • Firefox speed 2.1
    • Swiftfox speed 2.2
  • Additional options 3
  • Downloads available 4
  • License 5
    • Debian 5.1
  • Alternatives 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Optimization

The Swiftfox build is optimized using the following methods:

Binary code optimization

  • Compiled with the highest level of compiler optimization, rather than optimization for binary size.
    • Swiftfox is compiled -O3,[1][2] (the highest level)
      • The resulting Swiftfox binary is larger than Firefox. (-O3 is not necessarily faster than -O2, or -Os. -O3 introduces two more options on top of -O2: -finline-functions and -frename-registers. The latter is good for CPUs with many registers but may actually be slower on other CPUs.[3])
    • Firefox is compiled -Os.[2] (-Os is the same as -O2 but removes optimizations which would increase the binary size.[3])
  • Binaries incorporate additional instruction sets.[4]
  • Optimization specific to the build microprocessor architecture.[4]
  • Compiled with newer version of GCC (Firefox 2.0 uses 3.3.2, Swiftfox 2.0 uses 4.0.4).[2]

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]

Simplify

  • Pango is not included in the build . This means that Unicode fonts remain supported (see Unicode and HTML), but without certain extra features[7] provided by Pango. This simplification reduces the binary size, and reduces rendering.

Changed default preference values

  • IPv6 DNS lookups are disabled.[4][8] preventing slowdowns experienced[9]
  • HTTP pipelining is enabled by default.[4][8] Fasterfox provides a GUI to adjust these settings.
  • For full details, see [2].

Speed

Firefox speed

Firefox has been criticised for slow startup compared with other browsers,[10] a criticism confirmed by pre-Firefox 2.0 speed tests.[11][12] A speed comparison of various Linux (and other) browsers has been done.[12]

Swiftfox speed

No definitive benchmarking has been reported, but a quicker startup time and a 1.7% webpage rendering speedup has been reported on version 1.5.0.6.[13] There are no benchmarks for the different processors builds.

Additional options

Swiftfox is bundled with the following freely available Firefox plugins and extensions:

  • XForms extension is installed and enabled
  • libunixprintplugin.so plugin is installed

Downloads available

  • The latest released version of Firefox 2.0 - separate builds are available for each processor type covering Intel and AMD processors:
    • packaged as a tar file
    • packaged for Debian installs
  • Recent snapshots of development versions of Firefox 2.0 and 3.0 (trunk) - separate builds for AMD Athlon XP processors and Intel Pentium 4 (and compatible).

License

The same as Firefox, the Swiftfox source code is open source, with the source code under MPL 1.1 except for parts relating to branding.[14] Unlike Firefox, the Swiftfox binaries have a proprietary license[14] which does not allow redistribution. According to the author, this is to prevent the possibility of any confusion with tainted versions (see the Firefox branding argument Mozilla Firefox#Trademark and logo issues). The name Swiftfox is trademarked by Jason Halme, and accordingly cannot be used on other third party Firefox builds without his permission.

Debian

Swiftfox binaries are available as Debian packages from official site. Note that the proprietary binary license prevents Debian and other Linux distributions from having Swiftfox available as part of a distribution. To redestribute Swiftfox they would have to change the name and the icons, just like Debian did it with Firefox (Iceweasel).

Alternatives

  • Firefox source code and Swiftfox changes are freely available for download, allowing anyone to create their own build.
  • Swiftweasel is an optimized build of the Mozilla Firefox code that is licensed under the MPL 1.1.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Swiftfox Forum". 
  2. ^ a b c d Using url of about:buildconfig to check the details of the 2.0 builds
  3. ^ a b "Optimize Options - Using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC)". 
  4. ^ a b c d "Swiftfox 2.0pre changelog". 
  5. ^ "Swiftfox Forum". 
  6. ^ "Limiting buffer overflows with ExecShield". redhat.com. 
  7. ^ "Script Gallery - Pango". 
  8. ^ a b "Swiftfox 1.5.0.7 changelog". 
  9. ^ "Swiftfox Forum". 
  10. ^ Muradin, Alex (November 30, 2005). "Mozilla Firefox 1.5 Final Review". Softpedia. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  11. ^ "Mozilla Firefox Review". Softpedia. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  12. ^ a b "Browser speed comparisons". 
  13. ^ "APC Magazine: What's The Worlds Fastest Browser". Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  14. ^ a b "Swiftfox license". 

External links

  • Swiftfox site
  • APC Magazine: "Fastest browser in the world"
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