It's been almost two weeks now since the release of Firefox 6, and there's no doubt it has a number of compelling advantages to recommend it.
Users can now enjoy faster startup times while using Panorama, for instance, and even more significant speed enhancements have been delivered to those of us running Firefox 6 on Linux.
Windows users still hankering for more speed, though, now have an alternative that allows them to continue enjoying the features of Firefox 6 at the same time. It's Pale Moon 6.0, a free, Windows-optimized browser just released that basically takes Firefox 6 and makes it faster.
'Windows Users Were at a Disadvantage'
Now available for free download, Pale Moon 6.0 builds upon the release version of Firefox 6.0. That's possible, it's worth noting, because Firefox is open source software, meaning that anyone can use the code to create a version customized for virtually any purpose--in this case, speed on Microsoft's operating system.
"Having seen the advantages on other systems (e.g. Linux) with regards to programs being compiled specifically for the capabilities of the machine it is installed on, it became obviously clear that Windows users were at a disadvantage," the Pale Moon project explains. "Mozilla only releases Windows executables with maximum compatibility in mind, meaning that Firefox is made to run on as many different systems as possible, sacrificing efficiency and speed in the process to be compatible with, by current standards, absolutely ancient hardware (backwards compatible to the first Pentium processors from 1993)."
With that in mind, the project's own browser aims to offer a faster alternative that's still like Firefox in most respects. "It aims to not waste computer resources and power on inefficient programs, while at the same time serving a wide range of systems that are currently in use around the world," the project's website notes.
New releases of the software follow select Mozilla Firefox updates, which is why version 6.0 just became available.
Less Memory, More Stable
Pale Moon 6.0, then, takes Firefox 6 and optimizes it for Windows and modern processors. Part of that optimization is accomplished by disabling a few, carefully selected features that are not in high demand, the project notes, and that do not interfere with the way Web pages are displayed or function. Examples are accessibility features and parental controls.
The result is a highly stable browser that not only uses slightly less memory than Firefox 6 does, but also offers significant speed increases for page drawing and script processing, the project says. In fact, BetaNews found the browser to be as much as 10 percent faster than Firefox 6 was in its tests.
Most Firefox extensions and add-ons, meanwhile, reportedly function with the software just fine, and a migration tool is available to help you preserve your existing Firefox profiles, bookmarks and settings.
Bottom line? If you're a Windows user and Firefox fan but would like a faster browser, Pale Moon 6.0 could be one to try out.