Pale Moon is a customised version of Firefox, which has been carefully optimised for speed and efficiency.
The program has been made more lightweight, for instance, by stripping out little-used components like the accessibility features, and the parental controls. The crash report has also been stripped out, as it's designed to work with server-side technology that isn't available on palemoon.org. And Pale Moon also drops support for Internet Explorer's ActiveX and ActiveX scripting technology, which also offers a security benefit as it means the browser can't be infected by malicious ActiveX controls.
Other optimisations are more technical. In particular, Firefox is compiled with the most conservative of settings, to ensure that it'll run on even ancient CPUs. Pale Moon, though, is optimised to take full advantage of modern processors, and this can give it a huge advantage over Firefox in some areas.
So how much faster can the browser be? That's a tricky question, as performance varies greatly depending on what's being tested.
The browser does have one potential downside, in that it may be incompatible with some extensions. If they've assumed that the browser's program name is firefox.exe, say, or they're using components that Pale Moon has stripped out, like the Parental Controls, then you'll probably find they don't work.
This is rare, though - more extensions install and run just fine. Trying out Pale Moon also gets you access to useful extras, like the Language Packs (you can now run the program in more than 70 languages), a portable edition, and a 64-bit version. And as you can install and run both Pale Moon and Firefox together on the same system, the program is really easy to evaluate. So if any of this sounds right for you, then give Pale Moon a try, and see how much faster it might be on your system.
Proving that open source leads to great development, Pale Moon takes the already decent Firefox web browser and makes it even better and faster.
What's new in 32.2.0 (see changelog for more)?
- Shadow DOM and CustomElements, collectively making up WebComponents, have been enabled by default which should bring much broader web compatibility to the browser for many a site that uses web 2.0+ frameworks. See implementation notes.
- Tab titles in the browser now fade if they are too long instead of using ellipses, to provide a little more readable space to page titles. Note that this may require some updates to tab extensions or themes.
- A number of site-specific overrides have been updated or removed because they are no longer necessary or current with the platform developments in terms of web compatibility. We could use your help evaluating the ones that are still there; see the issue on our repo.
- Updated our promises and async function implementation to the current spec.
- Implemented Promise.any()
- Fixed several crashes related to regular expression code.
- Improved regular expression object handling so it can be properly garbage collected.
- Fixed some VP8 video playback.
- Fixed an issue where the caret (text cursor) would sometimes not be properly visible.
- Updated the embedded emoji font.
- Implemented the :is() and :where() CSS pseudo-classes.
- Implemented complex selectors for the :not() CSS pseudo-class.
- Implemented the inset CSS shorthand property.
- Implemented the env() environment variable CSS function. See implementation notes.
- Implemented handling for RGB encoded video playback (instead of just YUV).
- Implemented handling for full-range videos (0-255 luminance levels) giving better video playback quality.
- Removed the WebP image decoder pref. See implementation notes.
- Enabled the Web text-to-speech API by default (only supported on some operating systems).
- Updated NSPR to 4.35 and NSS to 3.79.4
- Cleaned up unused "tracking protection" plumbing. See implementation notes.
- Cleaned up URI Classifier plumbing (Google SafeBrowsing leftover).
- Fixed several intermittent and difficult-to-trace crashes.
- Improved content type security of jar: channels. DiD
- Fixed potential crash scenarios in the graphics subsystem. DiD
- Improved filename safety when saving files to prevent potential environment leaks.
- Security issues addressed: CVE-2023-25751, CVE-2023-28163 and several others that do not have a CVE.
- UXP Mozilla security patch summary: 1 fixed, 4 DiD, 14 not applicable.
Your Comments & Opinion
Speed-optimized portable version of Firefox designed for the best possible performance
Get an in-depth technical report on your core PC hardware
Opera's rebooted web browser is starting to come of age
Quickly detect and remove malicious processes (and a few others, probably)
Find and run programs without installing them first
Probably the best mid-range photo editor for Windows.