Some Significant Improvements
Find the prefs.js file associated with a Mozilla profile you use (don't muck with your Communicator profile's prefs.js!!!!). Look for a Users50 directory - your prefs should be in there. Find the prefs.js file in the profile directory and open it up in a text editor, then add these lines (Mozilla shouldn't be open when you make these changes):
The first pref, set to true, turns on timer-based reflow management. The next sets the time between reflows in microseconds. The last sets the number of reflows to do before waiting for the rest of the page to arrive. The low time between reflows seems fast enough for most pages to get the header rendered before the renderer waits for the rest of the page to come in. The speedup is significant, especially on pages like Slashdot or CNN.com.
If you seem to be crashing more, you can try deleting your mozregistry.dat (in your c:/windows directory if you're in Windows -- make a backup!). Also if you're working from old profiles, try deleting them, too, and restarting the browser. I have had very little trouble with the zipped up builds, and significantly more trouble with the installer builds, although issues with the installer builds may have been cleared up in the past few days.
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