Since the most recent versions of Google's Chrome captivated most (if not all) of my laptop and desktop browsing, both in Windows 7 and Linux ... I honestly didn't expect much from this latest Firefox release other than improvements in the latest cosmetic changes.
I downloaded the new version this evening for (what was intended to be) a brief run on a modest laptop that I use often.
I did not enable the experimental DirectX 2D support. I also didn't read the bottom of the new download page and was a little surprised when this guy popped up after about 5 minutes:
I know Mozilla's been working on their engine. I read the other release notes.
I'm fully aware this is completely non-scientific and may even be hardware specific but the browser was moving so fast, I went over to SpeedTest.Net to see if my ISP had cranked up the volume ?!
Early adopters (competitors?!) ... Give this latest Gecko a spin and see if you agree.
Mozilla calls it "retained layers". More on that can be found in today's blog post here.
About an hour in, and using it to write this post (and a few other things at the same time), it feels like my laptop is jumping off the table?
If I'm guessing right, the Firefox team may have just set a new speed record.
Now off to try the Direct2D hardware accelerator!
Update 1 - 11:20 PM July 27, 2010 ET: A few more observations
1) The Direct 2 hardware accelerator (in my case) wasn't a winner but that is, no doubt, a hardware issue.
2) Our bottom bar (by Wibiya) still has the same problems as it did in Firefox 4.0 Beta 1
On the very positive side ....
WebM tests on YouTube are simply incredible. HD on a medium speed wireless broadband connection (Full Screen) plus 'real-time' pages (Twitter and Buzz) all rendering faster.
and ..... Special thanks to @ScepticGeek for confirming I wasn't hallucinating :)
UPDATE September 9, 2010 - The latest version is currently Firefox 4.0 Beta 5 and is available here.