A first look at Firefox 3.0

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Mozilla has officially released the first public alpha build of Firefox 3.0. Codenamed Gran Paradiso, Firefox 3 includes the new Gecko 1.9 rendering engine which leverages the open source Cairo rendering framework and features heavily refactored reflow algorithms that improve Firefox layout functionality and resolve some long-standing CSS bugs.

The reflow improvements in Gecko 1.9 (included in the latest Gran Paradiso nightly build, but not the alpha release) finally enable Firefox to pass the Acid 2 test, a CSS test case developed by the Web Standards Project to illuminate flaws in HTML/CSS rendering engines. To pass the Acid 2 test, browsers must comply with W3C standards and provide support for a wide variety of features that are considered relevant by web designers. The Acid 2 test has been passed by several other browsers, including Safari, Konqueror, and Opera, but not Internet Explorer. Passing Acid 2 is considered to be a significant milestone in Firefox development.

Full Story.

Cairo vs QT4

The article, in all fairness, does contain a link to Zach Russin's benchmark comparison of the Cairo vector rendering engine vs Trolltech's QT4 vector rendering. The performance of QT4 is massively better than Cairo's. It's going to take some time for Cairo's performance to begin to catch up to QT4, and it has a long way to go.

So, I wouldn't jump on the Firefox 3.0 bandwagon too quickly. Once everything is optimized, and Cairo is fully debugged and implements better rendering algorithms, it should be very nice indeed.

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