Which Web Browser is King?

There's really only one sanity test for a browser: whether it runs fast for you. A slow-loading, incompatible browser is one thing, but most modern browsers work fine for both Ford.com and Fark.com. The real issue is whether a browser loads fast for the sites you frequently visit.

It's a highly debatable topic, one that tends to be subjective and fraught with inconsistencies. For example, latency on the Internet can dramatically affect browser speed. One day, Google Chrome can load IGN.com faster than butter on a banana, the next day (say, when a new Gears of War 2 review posts), latency can slow the site to a crawl, and Chrome seems like a dud. That's why, when you see speed tests for browser that claim "Chrome loads faster" it's important to ask a few questions: loaded when, over what broadband speed, with what other apps running, on what machine?

Google Chrome

Speed, of course, isn't everything. We ran into an interesting compatibility glitch or two completing some of our tests. If a browser can't finish a particular benchmark, it doesn't get a score.

What does it mean, ultimately? For the average user, it may not mean much. But for those of us who spend vast amounts of time on the Internet, for work and play, browser performance is a big issue. Waiting for sites to load is no fun when you're trying to get work done.

Let's dive into the testing methodology. Continued...

Microsoft Takes 7 Years to Release Security Patch

Back in March 2001, a hacker named Josh Buchbinder (a.k.a Sir Dystic) published code showing how an attack on a flaw in Microsoft's SMB (Server Message Block) service worked. Or maybe the flaw was first disclosed at Defcon 2000, by Veracode Chief Scientist Christien Rioux (a.k.a. Dildog). It was so long ago, memory is dim. Either way, it has taken Microsoft an unusually long time to fix. Now, a mere seven and a half years later, Microsoft has released a patch. 'I've been holding my breath since 2001 for this patch,' said Shavlik Technologies CTO Eric Schultze, in an e-mailed statement. Buchbinder's attack, called a SMB relay attack, 'showed how easy it was to take control of a remote machine without knowing the password,' he said.

Windows 7 Benchmarks Show Little Improvement On Vista

InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy examines Windows 7 from the kernel up, subjecting the 'pre-beta' to a battery of benchmarks to find any signs that the OS will be faster, more responsive, and less resource-intensive than the bloated Vista, as Microsoft suggests. Identical thread counts at the kernel level suggest to Kennedy that Windows 7 is a "minor point-type of release, as opposed to a major update or rewrite." Memory footprint for the kernel proved eerily similar to that of Vista as well.

"In fact, as I worked my way through the process lists of the two operating systems, I was struck by the extent of the similarities," Kennedy writes, before discussing the results of a nine-way workload test scenario he performed on Windows 7 — the same scenario that showed Vista was 40 percent slower than Windows XP.

"In a nutshell, Windows 7 M3 is a virtual twin of Vista when it comes to performance," Kennedy concludes. "In other words, Microsoft's follow-up to its most unpopular OS release since Windows Me threatens to deliver zero measurable performance benefits while introducing new and potentially crippling compatibility issues."

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