A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded the new Firefox web browser (v. 57) which Mozilla named Firefox Quantum. For a couple of minutes, I had to get used to the user interface which differed from Google Chrome. As I started browsing, I noticed that web sites loaded faster and the browsing experience was snappier overall.
Mozilla is overhauling components of Firefox to better support concurrency and to improve performance. Starting with version 57, things have changed for the better. I have been using Firefox for several weeks now and am very happy with it. Aside from being very fast even compared to Google Chrome, I have noticed that memory usage is better than Chrome’s. With nineteen tabs open, for example, memory usage is more reasonable than Chrome’s and performance seems not to have degraded.
Since I have 16 GB of RAM on my Macs, I have set the “content process limit” for Firefox to 5 (4 is the recommended maximum) since I normally open a lot of tabs. Setting the content process limit higher consumes more memory but helps in handling more concurrently open tabs.
Firefox Quantum uses Gecko and Servo. Written in the Rust programming language, the Servo project is Mozilla’s venture to build a new web browser engine. Parts of Firefox Quantum depend on Servo in order to achieve high performance and concurrency. The other parts of Firefox are written in C++.
For developers of web applications, the Firefox Quantum Developer Edition is most useful. You can simultaneously run both browsers without conflict of profiles. I’ve used this edition of Firefox Quantum to debug some web applications I have been working on.