Minefield – The Need for Speed!


Mozilla Minefield



If you thought that the recently announced Google Chrome browser was the fastest browser on earth, then it could be shortlived by Minefiled from Mozilla. Minefield is Mozilla’s code-name for the next generation of Firefox, and the code name is used for unofficial builds to avoid infringing upon the Firefox name. So it’s basically just Mozilla’s testing ground for its pre-alpha nightly builds of future browser ideas.



What makes Minefield so fast?


Minefield introduces a new Javascript engine which is super fast and has tested at speeds 10% faster than Google Chrome. After downloading it, you do have to manually enable its souped-up Javascript engine to reap the full benefits (type “about:config” into the address bar, find the “javascript.options.jit.content” line, and click it to toggle it to “true”). The general buzz around the web by alpha testers regarding the “speed” factor of Minefield has been “excellent”!



Availability?


Since Firefox 3.1 is already in its first beta, the Minefield concepts could likely branch into the second beta, though it could also be reserved for its next major version release. Firefox 3.x is currently being developed under the code name Gran Paradiso.


If you are very excited about it and want to test it and give feedback to Mozilla, you can create a QMO account with Mozilla and then download the browser from:


http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-trunk/


It is currently available for Windows, Max OS X and Linux.


Being a nightly build, you will likely find that new versions are available every day (nightly rather). Mozilla makes the process of upgrading to the latest version virtually painless by using the built-in version monitoring process that Firefox uses.



If you’re interested in getting a glimpse into Mozilla’s future development and trying its latest and (theoretically) greatest stuff, it’s worth giving a go. Testers have reported many bugs and errors with Minefield, but that is normal with early alpha build versions. It doesn’t support some popular Firefox extensions (like Adblock Plus) for now, but it actually has surprisingly good support for extensions, given that it’s a fast-moving project.


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