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Summary:

Last week I posted a Beta Watch mini-review of Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, Mozilla’s sixth development milestone and fourth beta release of what will become Firefox 3.5. Unfortunately I found that, like earlier beta releases of FireFox 3.1/3.5, beta 4 was a perplexingly sluggish performer on […]

shiretoko_icon

Last week I posted a Beta Watch mini-review of Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, Mozilla’s sixth development milestone and fourth beta release of what will become Firefox 3.5.

Unfortunately I found that, like earlier beta releases of FireFox 3.1/3.5, beta 4 was a perplexingly sluggish performer on my setup, which is a 2.0 GHz unibody MacBook running OS 10.5.6 Leopard on a slow rural dial-up connection. Indeed, I found it slower than some of the earlier builds had been on my previous production machine, a 1.33 GHz G4 PowerBook. Go figure.

Several folks commented, including Chris Latko, developer of the “Shiretoko” Mac Intel optimized variant of the Firefox beta. He suggested that I grab a download of his browser and give it a try.

Sounded intriguing, and I did just that. My expectations were not terribly high, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the Firerox 3.5 beta come to life thanks to Chris’s optimization tweaks, whatever they are. The difference between his Shiretoko version and the standard Firefox 3.5 beta is quite tangible, at least on my rig.

Chris says he’s been using WebKit, Minefield, and increasingly Opera as his main browsers for a while now. I’m an Opera fan, too, but like him I use several browsers. He notes on his web site that he’d been hankering after an Intel-optimized build of Firefox 3.5, hadn’t found one, and decided to make one himself. I’m glad he did.

Shiretoko (named after the Shiretoko National Park in northern Japan) transparently picked up where Firefox left off, even opening my saved browser session, and it runs the few Firefox add-on plugins I use as well. Aside from running faster and its distinctive application icon, it could just as well be Firefox 3.5b.

Anyway, it works for me, and puts Firefox back in the game on my rig. Thanks for the suggestion, and for this service to the Mac community, Chris.

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  1. cool!

    i’ve always liked firefox, but switched back to safari because of speed, even flock is quicker (funny). D/L’ing now with hope.

    thanks for this!

  2. » Shiretoko Canal Apple Monday, May 11, 2009

    [...] muy inestable a veces. Ahora estoy usando Stainless, para probar algo nuevo, pero el que más me ha llamado la atención es Shiretoko. El navegador no es más que un Firefox 3.5 beta 4 modificado por Chris Latko con [...]

  3. Shiratoko is no speed improvement, and doesn’t recognize add-ons necessary for access to financial web sites.

  4. i dont agree with Catmanrog
    i think Shiratoko is mcuh faster than the offical firefox on Mac

  5. Shiretoko (beta): más velocidad… la misma estabilidad y seguridad Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    [...] Visto en: The AppleBlog [...]

  6. it IS faster than FF[b], but it still takes forever to startup and..

    flock for social sites and safari for the rest.
    so it is, so it ever shall be..
    -_^

  7. A Mac User Reports That a Variant of Firefox 3.5, Beta 4 is Fastest | google android os blog Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    [...] Mac-based users are finding it to be slower than previous versions of the browser. Charles Moore, writing on TheAppleBlog, found a speedy solution in the Shiretoko variant of the Firefox beta. He writes: "Shiretoko [...]

  8. Shiretoko is the official beta name of the Firefox 3.5/Gecko 1.9.2 branch.

    This guy just recompiled the source for Intel chips.

  9. Freetracking.org » Shiretoko makes Firefox 3.5 speedy for the Mac Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    [...] (like this one on The Apple Blog) persist that beta releases of the Mozilla Firefox 3 browser have rendered it a “perplexingly [...]

  10. “Shiretoko … transparently picked up where Firefox left off.”

    Seriously? Shiretoko is Firefox. It’s been the development codename for the 3.1/3.5 development branch for months and months now. And what’s this I hear about a different icon? Could it be, I don’t know, the one that Firefox 3.1 (now 3.5) has been using since alpha 1 in September? (http://www.mozilla.org/projects/firefox/3.1a1/releasenotes/)

    I don’t at all want to sound like I’m bashing Chris Latko, because his work is impressive to say the least, but this article seriously missed the point.

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