[ubuntu-uk] Firefox, Swiftfox and Swiftweasel

Jai Harrison jai at jaiharrison.com
Tue Mar 31 19:52:23 BST 2009

Hey everyone,

I've been experiencing some issues with Firefox lately (freezing
during general use, lagging during Flash video playback, etc.). So I
looked into it and it appears that the binary provided in Ubuntu for
Firefox doesn't use some special compiler/compile method that is used
on the Windows binaries. Next I found Swiftfox but because it is
proprietary software I continued to search the web until I came across
Swiftweasel (which is AFAIK the same thing but without the Firefox

Unfortunately the latest *.deb provided is for version 3.0.3 (there
have been numerous security patches since then) and the tar.gz along
with instructions for 3.0.8 does not appear to work on Ubuntu (I've
tried it).

So I've been using Swiftweasel 3.0.3 lately and didn't notice much
difference which led me to believe that my Firefox profile might have
been damaged by an extension or simply have gotten crowded over the
years. Thus I created a new profile but when trying to install Google
Gears in Swiftweasel it wouldn't acknowledge installation on any Gears
enabled websites. So I copied my profile over to Firefox and got Gears
to work in that now leaving me running a newish profile under Firefox
with a few questions.

1) How much better will the performance be from Swiftweasel? Is it
worth migrating this profile back to the browser with the
understanding that Gears will probably work now it's been installed?
As such should I spend further time trying to get the Firefox 3.0.8
tar.gz to work in Ubuntu or just settle for 3.0.3 knowing there is
exposed security flaws in it?

2) How come Firefox is so slow on GNU/Linux anyway? I've been looking
at threads on the Ubuntu forums where people go as far as to say that
Firefox is as much as twice as fast on Windows XP. Surely someone
inside Canonical will compile Firefox using the same compiling
technique as used with Windows if that is what's causing the problem.
Otherwise how come that a FOSS browser is slower on the most open
platform OS when the majority of its users on said platform are

I have an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU (2MB Cache)     T5750  @ 2.00GHz  along
with 2GB of RAM (over half of which isn't being used). This doesn't
seem to be a question of insufficient hardware to me.

I await your replies,

Jai "Venko"

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