Some Significant Improvements
Saturday December 11th, 1999
M12 is right around the corner, and will boast significant improvements in the responsiveness and layout rendering times of the application.
First, Dave Hyatt has checked in some changes which do "memory recycling of all layout frame objects". This recycling seems to be the cause of significant improvements in the responsiveness of the UI. In #mozillazine, I heard "nearly as fast as 4.x" (on a P90 with 16M ram; I think that it's as fast or faster than Communicator 4.x now, at least on my P2-450). Menus and context menus now respond smoothly and quickly, the sidebar expands and contracts quickly (albeit with some bugs, still), and new windows pop up much faster than before. These improvements have been noticable on Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms, but to different extents. You will just have to try downloading a build for yourself!
Next, Vidur Apparao added changes that allow you to tune the incremental reflow. A number of people complained about how the incremental reflow changes of M11 were a good idea, but they were interfering with UI responsiveness as a page loaded. These tuning options address that problem, but even more improvements are expected after the M12 release. To try out the tuning for yourself, download today's build (December 11), and then follow the instructions on the next page (click "Full Article..." at the end of this news item). These options are only for people who are comfortable editing preference files. If you're not one of those people, these options should be enabled automatically at M12's release, so you'll be able to try it out then.
I would suggest picking up today's build when it's available (December 11), as it should contain a fix for alert-box buttons that you'll want to have. You can get the latest build from our builds page, or the nightly builds directory.
Remember, as always, these builds are not for the casual user. None of the software is guaranteed to do what you expect. MozillaZine makes no guarantees about the stability of these builds. Download at your own risk.
Actually, I heard from somebody (a friend, works in networking department of a large company) who's been extensively testing Win2K: he says that it's both faster and more stable than NT4.
However, I've heard that the recommended memory will be either 128 or 256 MB, so you might technically need 256 to run Solitaire :) [In practice I don't think it needs much more than NT4.]
On systems with all that memory, the small matter of a 60 MB web browser wouldn't cause any problems :) Dead memory should eventually get swapped out anyway, so...