Pale Moon 4: Firefox's leaner, meaner twin -- and, whoa is it fast

In the web browser wars, it has long been the case that two names crop up again and again -- Internet Explorer and Firefox. In more recent years, alternatives such as Opera and Chrome have entered the fray, but it is still these two names that get mentioned most frequently. Where Firefox differs from Microsoft's web browser is in the fact that it is open source, which means that anyone is free to work with the code behind the app. This is precisely how Pale Moon came into being, offering a stripped down version of Firefox that is optimized for speed and efficiency.

As Pale Moon is based on the latest Firefox 4 code, it is possible to take advantage of all of the latest features and enhancements that have been included, while eliminating superfluous features that, for most people, serve little purpose other than using up value system resources. The idea behind Pale Moon stemmed from the fact that Firefox has been designed for maximum compatibility with as wide a range of computers, and this includes very old systems.

By cutting out support for older systems, Pale Moon works with an optimized code base that takes full advantage of modern processor instruction sets. The idea of features being removed from a browser may seem like a step in the wrong direction. But when considering accessibility options, parental controls and crash reporting are among the features stripped out, it is easy to see that only things that are superfluous to most peoples' requirements have been removed.

In practice all of this means that you can take full advantage of all of the latest features of Firefox, while benefitting from enhanced performance. This is particularly noticeable on sites that make heavy use of scripting, but in general use you will undoubtedly notice that a large proportion of pages load faster and that the browser feels generally more responsive.

In terms of general look and feel, Pale Moon is virtually indistinguishable from Firefox. As it uses the same basic code base, the browser looks and operates in an identical fashion, and making the switch from one browser to the other involves no learning curve whatsoever. If you have become used to customising Firefox with Personas, this can still be achieved in Pale Moon, leaving you free to sit back and reap the speed benefits.

There are two versions of Pale Moon available, each relating to different release branches of Firefox. Pale Moon 3.6.15 is the last version to follow the 3.x branch of the Firefox release schedule, while Pale Moon 4.0 is the optimized version of Firefox 4. There are standardportable and experimental x64 versions available.

You can find out more and download a copy of this browser by paying a visit to the Pale Moon Review page.

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