Posted in: Desktop software

Opera 10.5 pre-alpha uses new Carakan JavaScript engine, almost catches up to Chrome

There’s been some bickering between Google Chrome and Apple Safari, both claiming to be the “world’s fastest web browser”. Firefox got an updated JavaScript engine in v3.5 and is running for first place too.

With all this commotion, the developers at Opera were working in a secret facility… or, um, at their workplace or whatever, and they are almost ready to give Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine a run for its money.

Their new toy is called the Carakan JavaScript engine (Carakan is a Javanese script, get it?) and will be put to use in Opera 10.5. Opera 10.5 is still in pre-alpha stage, but you can take it for a spin if you like – it’s available for both Windows and Mac OS X.

Lee Mathews over at Download Squad tested the new Opera 10.5 against Chrome 4 and Firefox 3.7 pre-alpha. The testing grounds was the V8 benchmark. You can try it yourself here.

The V8 benchmark is probably biased towards Chrome, but Opera 10.5 gives comparable performance even at this early stage. Firefox seems to be lagging behind by a huge margin.

Opera is not done with Carakan – they plan to optimize it for ARM processors, which should make Opera Mobile even faster. Since, there’s an ARM-based CPU in pretty much every smartphone, that’s great news.

There’s also talk of reducing memory usage and cranking out even more speed out of the Carakan JavaScript engine.

Other additions to Opera 10.5 are a new graphics library for that can be hardware accelerated, like Mozilla and Microsoft want to do, an improved layout engine for better HTML5 support, better platform integration and so on.

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