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Monday October 20th 2014

New Firefox Health Report to Aid Performance





FirefoxUsers have complained about the performance of Firefox for years and although each release promises better resource management, the complaints keep coming. Now a new feature will help users and developers pinpoint the reasons Firefox may not be as peppy as it should be.

Mitchell Baker blogged about the new Firefox feature today saying,

 

Have you ever sat down with someone else’s computer and wondered why a particular piece of software seems to perform so much better (or worse)? Ever wonder what people do to tune the performance of their software? Ever wish you had more information to understand your specific experience – why something stopped working, why something got slower, what you did to make a piece of software feel new and fast again?

 

Firefox Health Report will be a new feature of Firefox that enables much better answers to these sorts of questions. Firefox Health Report will allow each one of us to understand our own experiences. It will also allow Mozilla to understand these experiences in the aggregate for our users.

 

Baker wanted to assure users that any information collected for these purposes will not include any personally identifying information. "It will use data in a privacy-centric way," as he put it. In addition, users can disable this feature if they so choose. Gilbert Fitzgerald went into much more detail on his blog at mozilla.org.

Fitzgerald explained the types of data that will be collected if enabled:

 

* Configuration data – for example, device hardware, operating system, Firefox version
* Customizations data – for example, add-ons, count and type
* Performance data – for example, timing of browser events, rendering, session restores
* Wear and Tear data – for example, length of session, how old a profile is, count of crashes

 

Baker emphasized that the Health Report is primarily "to provide useful information to you about your experience. For example: is a particular add-on causing performance to degrade? Will starting a new Firefox profile help improve performance?"

Fitzgerald also posted the expected benefits:

 

* User insights exhibited on-board the browser instance through visualizations and comparative graphics.
* Product insights conveyed to Mozilla – the manufacturer or designer of the car- to help in improving existing browser instances and especially to more fully inform future design and development of Firefox.
* Provide Mozilla with the ability to streamline and reduce duplicate information it collects across other products such as Telemetry.

 

Fitzgerald said to expect the Firefox Health Report to be landing in Nightly soon. A FAQ has also been posted.

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