Web Browser Grand Prix 2: Running The Linux Circuit

Conclusion

Now, let's break down the wins by category to get a sense of which browser excels in different areas. We'll also list browsers that are strong, though not the winner, in each category. Along with noticeable strengths, we also list browsers that are clearly weak in certain categories.

Category/Test
Winner
Also Strong
Weak
Speed-Only Tests
Startup Time
Firefox
Chrome
None
Page Load Time
Chrome
None
None
JavaScript
Opera
Chrome
Firefox
DOM
Opera
None
None
Peacekeeper
Opera
Chrome
Firefox
HTML5
Opera
None
Chrome
Acid 3
Chrome
Opera
None
Flash
Firefox
None
Opera
Java
Opera
Chrome
None
Silverlight
Firefox
None
None
Other Tests
HTML5
Chrome
None
Firefox
CSS3
Firefox
All
None
Memory Usage
Firefox
None
Chrome
Memory Management
Chrome
Firefox
Opera


As you can see, the per-category outcomes are a mixed bag, unlike our Windows 7 results. Both Opera and Firefox win in five categories. Chrome takes four.

Google Chrome is strong, though not the winner, in five categories. Both Opera and Mozilla Firefox are only in this strong position in two categories. As weaknesses go, Mozilla has the most with three, while Chrome and Opera only have two weak points each. Judging by category nearly results in a tie. You really must defer to the overall placing and individual scoring to see how Chrome pushes ahead of the other two.

Lin Versus Win

So how do the scores in Linux compare, overall, to the scores achieved by these three browsers in Windows? As you have probably noticed while looking through the charts, with the notable exception of Startup Times, HTML5 performance, and a few other instances here and there, the Windows 7 scores are fractionally higher than those of Ubuntu 10.04 across the board. This is not necessarily a reflection on the potential Web performance of the Linux OS, but more likely a reflection on how much time developers spend on Linux ports.

So how does the overall winner in Windows, Opera 10.60, compare to the overall winner in Linux, Chrome 5?

In the 28 tests we ran, Opera 10.60 for Windows beats Chrome 5 for Linux in 14. The CSS3 Selector Test is a tie, and Google wins the remaining 13 benchmarks. When only taking speed tests into account, the ties are less prevalent, and Opera only suffers a single loss, bringing its total down to 13. 

Unfortunately, when you remove memory and standards testing, Chrome loses four of its victories. This makes Opera 10.60 for Windows the overall and speed-only winner when matched against the top five Web browsers for Windows and the top three in Linux. Before the flame wars erupt like Mount St. Helens, let's get one thing clear: this does not mean Windows is better or faster than Linux. Rather, Windows has the fastest Web browser available today, regardless of OS. And that browser is Opera 10.60 for Windows. Gratulerer!

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  • Tamz_msc
    The article that I was waiting for.How the tables have turned!
    Conclusion:Firefox is quite capable in both Linux and Windows.
    I'm using Firefox 4 beta and I find it pretty quick.
  • micr0be
    yes i would have loved to have seen the firefox 4 beta with the results. although great article.
  • opmopadop
    Interesting how FireFox chose to sacrifice speed for memory.
  • adamovera
    weirdguy99Why not put firefox 4 into the equation?

    micr0beyes i would have loved to have seen the firefox 4 beta with the results. although great article.

    When it's final, I'll test it.
  • Tamz_msc
    DamdamanI'll get berated for this I'm sure but will we see an OSX article on browsers as well?

    You are kidding,right?
  • arnweb
    Opera Turbo feature, is not mentioned here, it can boost speed in real surf. And also when we open a closed tab in Opera it opens them instantly, that's why Opera holds memory for closed, tab.
  • Sihastru
    Opera still can't render pages properly, still can't print content properly, and we waste our time with senseless tests of imperceptible speed.
  • The_King
    I dont think anyone using firefox will change to another browser even if it is Faster. I love my firefox :)
  • Tamz_msc
    Wow, Chrome uses more memory than Crysis on my computer. :lol:
  • Tamz_msc
    arnwebOpera Turbo feature, is not mentioned here, it can boost speed in real surf. And also when we open a closed tab in Opera it opens them instantly, that's why Opera holds memory for closed, tab.

    Opera Turbo increases page load times on slow connections.On my 2Mbps connection the time in which Opera Turbo connects to its servers is the time in which Google loads in Firefox.
  • lradunovic77
    I still don't see a point of this test especially as hardware gets better and better. Computer which runs on SSD or Raid SSD with 20Mb/s Internet Connection don't matter what browser you're on cause you can't see a damn difference.
  • LaloFG
    Then all browsers lie except Opera hehehe, don't blame me, or whatever, that don't change the result: The fast browser in the knowing universe.
  • haplo602
    I guess the tab recycle bin is responsible for high opera mem usage even after the tabs are closed. however I have not yet found a way to disable it so it gets to normal memory management. however I love the feature, to the mem issue is not that big a deal for me...

    also this is a nitpick, but please do name the article the ubuntu circuit. I do not think the results will be 100% identical on other linux distros.
  • whiz
    Gratuliere is probably what you meant...
  • No. "Gratulerer" is norwegian, so is Opera ;-)
  • ta152h
    Does Linux even matter? Outside of hippies, does anyone use it?
  • tntom
    Looks like if you have a system with less ram FF is your choice browser. But overall it is stomped by Chrome.

    I too am using FF4 beta. It is noticeably faster with page load times than FF3. But I agree about only testing final releases.

    Thanks Adam Overa for including Linux in the Grand Prix.
  • WarraWarra
    haplo602 +1
    Correct depends on GCC version installed + lots of other factors and source compile or bin and who / what did the bin on what config.

    With Mozilla now using gcc 4.5.* the 3.6.6 firefox is slower than ie6 in xp.
    Upgraded to 3.5.11 and 3.0.18 on 2 xp boxes I have from 3.6.6 , about to do the same in my linux boxes.

    The gcc 4.5.* optimization issues is bitting hard on Mozilla.

    Firefox 4 beta has same gcc 4.5.* issues = slow.

    Someone at Mozilla will have to source build a complete gcc 4.5.* distro and build it about 3 times over on same code to make sure all is included / properly optimized + pray it is working correctly.

    Arch linux had GCC 4.5.* integrated already so should be a good place for mozilla to start from.

    Can not stand Opera appearance and layout too much vista / win7 feel. Used to love opera way back just after we lost netscape.

    Nice to see Opera coming back in win + lin.
  • WarraWarra
    ta152hDoes Linux even matter? Outside of hippies, does anyone use it?


    LOL good question.
    With Win vista annoying so many a lot of people jumped to linux dual boot or just linux. Win7 has caused another major wave of new linux users + recession made allot of people think about $500 for Microsoft office that messes up their old word documents ect and free openoffice / koffice etc. in linux.

    So free properly working office pc operating system + office apps so might as well go linux instead of $1300 to win7 replace 90% of your software and pray it works + then still loose half your data with win7 issues / bugs.

    And you can do this from a live cd or dvd no need to install makes it very attractive. Can also read / write to ntfs hfs+ and other partitions even with vista / win7 locks enabled, makes getting to your data and formating your win7 much easier when vista /win7 constantly fails to works / boot.

    Linux is good not great not excellent but for office use 100 times better than Vista /win7.
    Gaming in linux is still bad or about the same as Vista / win7 so have to dual boot and play game in XP.
  • adamovera
    @lucideer
    I hear ya, I hear all of ya, promise. This article HAD to match WBGP2 in order to do the comparison - any cool, do-able changes suggested in the comments of WBGP2 and WBGP2:Linux will occur for WBGP3, if humanly possible. They're not useless, I'm sure 4GB is about the average amount for TH readers. Also, we did remove the memory testing and standards testing results from the final speed-only result, we left them in for the overall results. So there are two finals, if you don't like the memory testing, ignore the overall winner and go with the speed king.
  • hellwig
    SihastruOpera still can't render pages properly, still can't print content properly, and we waste our time with senseless tests of imperceptible speed.

    What pages does Opera improperly render, and are those pages properly formated HTML/CSS? I mean, I could surely generate a webpage FireFox "improperly" renders. Let me just fire-up FrontPage...

    I agree that these imperceptible speed differences don't mean much, except to the companies touting themselves as the worlds fastest web browsers. When they all stop marketing themselves in that manner, I would then expect Tom's to stop testing as such.
  • cyberkuberiah
    WarraWarraLOL good question.With Win vista annoying so many a lot of people jumped to linux dual boot or just linux. Win7 has caused another major wave of new linux users + recession made allot of people think about $500 for Microsoft office that messes up their old word documents ect and free openoffice / koffice etc. in linux. So free properly working office pc operating system + office apps so might as well go linux instead of $1300 to win7 replace 90% of your software and pray it works + then still loose half your data with win7 issues / bugs.And you can do this from a live cd or dvd no need to install makes it very attractive. Can also read / write to ntfs hfs+ and other partitions even with vista / win7 locks enabled, makes getting to your data and formating your win7 much easier when vista /win7 constantly fails to works / boot.Linux is good not great not excellent but for office use 100 times better than Vista /win7.Gaming in linux is still bad or about the same as Vista / win7 so have to dual boot and play game in XP.


    the good thing is that most Open Office will satisfy fully most peoples home-office needs . for free . and it definitely does not suck .
  • Recently jumped to linux again for research. A lot of my peers are doing the same, they are not putting up with windows at least for their personal machines. For games, I will keep dozing for now, until choices open up, and no consoles for me please.
  • SlipUp
    202152 said:
    Less than a week later, hindsight shows the decision to disqualify Opera as the right call.

    That's pretty pathetic.

    On the one hand, you disqualify Opera for properly handling nonsensical JS/DOM stuff which the other engines are too stupid to handle properly. Mozilla even acknowledged the problem and fixed the test!

    Then, on the other hand, you keep using the V8 benchmark even though that benchmark was designed to run better in Chrome than in other browsers! Why are you using a benchmark Google is basically cheating at, while bashing Opera and claiming that it's cheating when it clearly isn't?

    Quote:
    Chrome obviously takes the top spot for memory management

    How so? You aren't even comparing the memory usage properly. You are, for example, ignoring the fact that Opera caches a lot of stuff to increase performance (not just page rendering, but UI, reopening of tabs, etc.).