That led me to want to see how fast my browser is these days. For that I hopped on to the Kraken benchmark and V8 benchmark (separately, of course, to prevent one from slowing the other). Then I became concerned.
My everyday browser and profile:
- Kraken: 12008ms
- V8: 1522
When I tried Kraken from Firefox Safe Mode, it actually got so bad that the imaging: gaussian-blur portion of the test was timing out. For the sake of consistency/thoroughness, I’ve repeated the benchmarks from Safe Mode:
- Kraken: 59363ms
- V8: 583
(Note that on the Kraken tests where it caused the ‘slow script’ dialog to pop up, I had to manually tell it not to issue the warning the first time, which means a score even worse than it would have been (humans are slow).)
As my local builds of Firefox are on version 11 (the current nightly), using one of them won’t give me the exact same code to test against, but it’s a start. I can also download a copy of the Firefox 9 beta as compiled by Mozilla, and run that, to give me another datapoint.
Why am I doing this? Because at this point, it’s not obviously a bug. It could be caused by some other problem with my system, and even if it is a bug in Iceweasel, the extra data can prove useful.
Iceweasel with my original profile:
- Kraken: 12008ms
- V8: 1522
My local build:
- Kraken: 3612ms
- V8: 5476
Official Firefox 9 beta:
- Kraken: 3439ms
- V8: 6324
So we know that there’s a problem. Now the question is whether it’s with the package itself or something else on my system.
Here I try Iceweasel with a fresh profile:
- Kraken: 3711ms
- V8: 5696
Okay. So now I know, no doubt, that it’s my profile. What’s disturbing is that the problem still showed itself in safe mode.
My first step in tracking down my profile’s problem will be to disable all add-ons:
- Kraken: 3693ms
- V8: 5691
Ouch. Still not sure why safe-mode would have degenerate behavior, but at least I can now do a binary search (disabling half the add-ons, and test, etc. until I narrow it to a single add-on) to find which add-on is causing my problem.
And the winner is… Firebug. Firebug is an excellent extensions that lets the user inspect the web they use every day, but to do that it has to have its hands in the pie of the web, which can slow things down. Let’s see what we can tweak about my current settings for Firebug to hopefully leave it enabled while getting acceptable performance.
And a search turns up Mozillazine Forums: TM and PM Performance Thread: Comment by phuzi0n:
In retrospect, I should have tested with a fresh profile before worrying about other builds of Firefox, as it would have highlighted the source of the problem much faster, but I was thrown off by the really bad performance in safe-mode, which led me to believe it couldn’t be an add-on.
For the time being, I am going to keep Firebug on, but if I run into pages that seem slow, I can always turn it off.