When Mozilla finally releases Firefox 4.0 for OS X, Mac users might notice that browsing has gotten quite a bit snappier for them, as it now looks as if hardware acceleration may, at long last, be coming to Firefox for the Mac.
It’s far from certain, though. The next beta of Firefox 4.0, b7, is the last before feature freeze kicks in on the latest version of the popular alternative browser… and Mozilla’s OS X software engineers have just decided to try to sneak it in.
Ideally, hardware acceleration would speed up the rendering of certain pages, specifically those that contain video like YouTube, or HTML5 features like image, video, text and vector graphics resizing. As the web advances, it’s going to be essential tech for a browser to have.
The only problem right now is that Mozilla’s interpretation of hardware acceleration in Firefox 4.0 for Mac is that it actually slows down some pages by up to six percent. If Mozilla can’t get to the bottom of that before Firefox 4.0 b7 shoots down the pipeline, Firefox users are going to have to a lot longer to wait for hardware acceleration on the Mac. Let’s hope they figure it out.