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Mozilla turbocharges Firefox, touts major speed gains

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Mozilla Corp. said Friday it has added the fruits of a two-month JavaScript turbo power project to the latest preview of its next browser, Firefox 3.1, that boosts some benchmark speeds by nearly 40 times over Firefox 3.0.

The new Mozilla JavaScript interpreter is also about 2.4 times faster than the newest interpreter slated for Apple Inc.'s Safari, according to benchmark tests.

Dubbed "TraceMonkey," the revamped JavaScript engine will make possible Web-based applications that are today too sluggish to be acceptable, said Mike Shaver, the company's interim head of engineering. "We're making JavaScript disappear as far as performance is concerned," said Shaver, who pointed out a photo-editing demonstration that his predecessor, Mike Schroepfer, put together to strut TraceMonkey's speed.

"One example is to use the browser as a very simple PhotoShop," said Shaver.

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