What’s the fastest Linux web browser?

Web browsers are one the most important constituents of any computer in today’s world. Without web browser, there can be no Internet and surfing. So which web browser is most popular among Linux users. According to a survey done by  LinuxQuestions, Mozilla’s Firefox was all time favorite among Linux users with nearly a 51.7 percent of them using Firefox. Google’s Chrome came in second with a mere 15.67 percent. The rest of the vote being divided between a multitude of obscure browsers.mostly in single percentages.

So, Mozilla’s Firefox is the most popular browser among Linux users. But is it really the fastest. After all, the speed of the browser not only saves money but also makes surfing that much more fun and interesting. Imagine a slow browser where the cursor is spinning and spinning and the website takes years to load like the Internet Explorer of the bygone era. Now, who would want that kind of a browser? So,  of ZDNet decided to conduct a test to find out the fastest browser on Linux.

Which is the fastest web browser for Linux run PC/laptops?

Steven’s job was not easy because testing a software on Linux differs from testing a software on Windows 10 PCs. For one there is homogeneity in software and second, there are lots of benchmarking tools available. Testing browsers on Linux is a humongous task considering the 100+ distros available for Linux. Stevens decided to use Ubuntu 16.04 Linux distro run PC. The configuration of the PC on which the browsers were tested was third-generation 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-3770 processor, a NVIDIA GeForce GT 620 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.

Which browsers did Stevens test?

Stevens lined up the following web browsers for his Linux speed test.  Firefox 51, GNOME Web 3.22, formerly Epiphany; Google Chrome 56; Google Chromium 56, Chrome’s open-source prototype; Opera 43, which is also built on Chromium; Vivaldi 1.7.7, an open-source fork of the old Opera code for power-users.

Benchmarking tools

To get the best results, Stevens used six benchmarking tools. The tools used by Stevens were JetSteam 1.1Kraken 1.1Octane 2.0SpeedometerWebXPRT, and HTML5 TestAs you can see, Stevens used diverse tools to get the best benchmarking scores for his fastest Linux browser tests.

The result

Here is what he found out.

JetSteam 1.1: This JavaScript benchmark builds on the foundation of the obsolete SunSpider. It combines several JavaScript benchmarks to report a single score that balances them using geometric mean. JetStream includes benchmarks from the SunSpider 1.0.2 and Octane 2 JavaScript benchmark suites. This test suite also includes benchmarks from the LLVM compiler open-source project, compiled to JavaScript using Emscripten 1.13. It also includes a benchmark based on the Apache Harmony open-source project’s HashMap and a port of the Cdx real-time Java benchmark, hand-translated to JavaScript. On this benchmark, larger scores are better.

Here, the fresh-from-the-developers Chromium took first place with a score of 180.89. Close on its heels came Chrome with 179.77 and Opera with 178.84. Vivaldi was right behind the top three with 176.84. Web came in next at 172.94. In last place, by a considerable distance, was Firefox with 163.38.



Kraken 1.1: This benchmark, which is descended from SunSpider, also measures JavaScript performance. To this basic JavaScript testing, it added typical use-case scenarios. Mozilla, Firefox’s parent organization, created Kraken. With this benchmark, the lower the score, the better the result.

In this run, Opera took first with a score of 988.84 milliseconds (ms). A hair-breadth’s behind came Chromium at 989.5ms. Chrome took third place with 993.0ms. Right behind Chrome was Vivaldi with 988.4ms. Then, there was a big performance drop off. Firefox avoided last place with a score of 1,088.3ms, while Web landed at the bottom at 1,121ms.

Octane 2.0: Google’s JavaScript benchmark also includes scenario testing for today’s interactive web applications. Octane is not Chrome-specific. For example, it tests how fast Microsoft’s TypeScript compiles itself. On this benchmark, the higher the score, the better.

Chrome emerged on top of this benchmark with 31,737. Chromium, to no surprise, took second with a score of 31,453. Opera came in third with 30,979. Fourth place went to Vivaldi at 30,772. It was followed by Firefox at 30628, and in a distant last place, Web at 27,949.

Speedometer: This WebKit-designed benchmark is meant to move away from simply measuring JavaScript performance to looking at how well web browsers do at reacting quickly to users’ actions. It uses TodoMVC to simulate user actions for adding, completing, and removing to-do items. Speedometer repeats the same actions using DOM APIs (a core set of web platform APIs used extensively in web applications) and six popular JavaScript frameworks (Ember.js, Backbone.js, jQuery, AngularJS, React, and Flight). On this test, results are measured in runs per minute. The higher the score, the better.

Once more Chrome took the top spot with a score of 113.2. Vivaldi was close behind it with 112.3. Opera took third with 108.5. Web was right behind Opera with a result of 107.2. Then, a ways back, came Chromium with 97.23. I would have said that was a surprisingly poor showing, but Firefox turned in a disastrous score of 44.6.

WebXPRT: This is today’s most comprehensive browser benchmark. It uses scenarios created to mirror everyday tasks. It contains six HTML5- and JavaScript-based workloads: Photo Enhancement, Organize Album, Stock Option Pricing, Local Notes, Sales Graphs, and Explore DNA Sequencing. Here, the higher the score, the faster the browser.

Firefox finally emerges on top in this benchmark with a result of 353. This is far above Web with 294. Chrome and Opera both tied for third with scores of 282. Vivaldi came next at 244, and Chromium took last place with 231.

HTML5 Test: Last, but never least, I checked to see how well each browser complies with the HTML 5 web standard. This “test” isn’t a benchmark. It just shows how close each browser comes to being in sync with the HTML 5 standard. A perfect score, which none received, is 550. If your web browser has trouble with today’s web standard, it doesn’t matter how fast it is.

By this yardstick, Chrome is the best at 519. It’s followed closely by Vivaldi with 517 and Opera with 512. Chromium occupies the next step down with 505. After that, Firefox falls far behind with a result of 471. Web, however, is the worst of the lot with a mere 386.

Collating all the data, Stevens found out that Google’s Chrome is the speediest browser for Linux. Steven says that Google’s Chrome is not the fastest, it’s close to being the speediest. Firefox, more often than not, really isn’t that fast. Stevens test also prove that Opera does make the cut to top browsers while other lack HTML5 compatibility to make much difference.

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