[Sugar-devel] ideal flash activity to be remade as karma activity

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Fri Mar 27 10:20:33 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Bryan Berry wrote:
> I would rather try titanium than xulrunner simply because I have the
> vague perception that webkit is significantly faster than gecko. I don't
> have any empirical evidence regarding this.

I have no real perception that webkit is faster.  There are three main
things to benchmark with a browser: memory usage (very important on an
XO), rendering speed, and javascript performance.  Firefox 3 has the best
memory efficiency on the market [1].  Both webkit and Firefox actually
perform all rendering by calling out to the Cairo graphics library, so I
do not expect a big difference there [2].  On javascript performance,
Mozilla's new Tracemonkey engine (already released in their betas) is
possibly the fastest javascript interpreter (it's actually a compiler!) on
the planet [3].

Certainly, this doesn't add up to a scientific level of evidence, but it
definitely makes me suspicious of any conventional wisdom that gecko is slow.

I really haven't been that impressed with Titanium.  They don't provide
the one thing we are really missing: a visual interface for designing
simple programs.  What they do provide looks to me like a clone of Google
Gears, plus some other desktop-oriented stuff that won't work in Sugar
[4][5].  (By the way, if you like webkit, we could also use Gears with
Webkit, without even having to modify the javascript part.)

My #1 reason for pushing xulrunner (+Gears) is that it's already part of
the system.  I'd really like to avoid having both browsers installed, but
I'm not aware of any credible replacement for Browse using webkit.

- --Ben

P.S.  Xulrunner will also give us built-in support for Vorbis+Theora and
<audio> + <video>, solving the other thing that people use Flash for....
and with last night's release of libtheora 1.1 alpha 1 ("Thusnelda"),
Theora is actually a decent codec [6][7].

[1] http://dotnetperls.com/Content/Browser-Memory.aspx
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_(graphics)#Notable_usage
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_gears#Components
[5] http://titanium-js.appspot.com/Core/Titanium
[6] http://downloads.xiph.org/releases/theora/
[7] http://web.mit.edu/xiphmont/Public/theora/demo5.html (this is old;
thusnelda has since improved further)
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