Ubuntu Achieves A ~50% Reduction In Start Time For Firefox Snap

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 8 July 2022 at 12:32 PM EDT. 87 Comments
Canonical engineers have been continuing their quest to improve the start-up time for the Snap version of Mozilla Firefox that is used by default on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. With the latest improvements now pushed to the Firefox Snap, they are seeing around a 50% reduction in start-time for the web browser.

Canonical has been making various improvements to address the notoriously bad start time for the Firefox Snap that is used as the default Firefox packaging on the current Ubuntu release.

With the latest improvements they are seeing "an average 50% reduction in start time after a fresh install compared to Firefox 101, consistent across a range of distributions and platforms."

The big start time reduction comes thanks to a Mozilla change to only copy one locale / language pack at a time on start rather than trying to copy all language packs on first start. The copied locale is based on the system setting rather than copying all of them to yield a much faster initial start-up.

Additionally, the start time has been shortened by switching their GNOME and GTK theme Snaps over to LZO from XZ has helped enhance the performance. Canonical already moved to LZO compression for the Firefox Snap while now the GNOME and GTK theme Snaps relied on by Firefox also use the same compression technique for speedier decompression / start-up.

Next up Canonical is looking at supporting multi-threaded decompression, addressing the software rendering being used by Firefox on Raspberry Pi, and exploring pre-caching.

More details on the latest Firefox Snap progress via the Ubuntu blog.
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