My question concerns Firefox add-ons. My add-on list contains Java QuickStarter 1.0 as well as six versions of Java Console: 6.0.1, 22, 23, 24, 26 and 31.
Do I need all of these versions of Java Console and if not, will removing some
help speed up Firefox?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #5, I look at Java add-ons in Firefox and how they are necessary
for relatively few web pages to run.
You’ll be able to quickly tell if you
need them or not by experimenting with your settings.
The short answer is no, I don’t believe that you need them all. And yes, it will probably help speed up Firefox a little bit. I wouldn’t expect a large change in Firefox’s performance by disabling these… and, in fact, that’s what I would do first.
I would actually go out to the add-on list and disable every one of those things for now. I suspect that you’re not going to notice much of a difference at all. Most of the websites that you’re visiting don’t use Java and those that do will become apparent pretty quickly.
What to enable
The only thing that I believe you need to enable is the most recent Java Console, 6.0.31 in your case. Even then, I actually would not re-enable until it became clear that something wasn’t working. You may find that some Java-based sites won’t work if it is not enabled.
Java QuickStarter, I believe (this is hypothetical, I’m conjecturing here, I don’t know for certain), but I believe that most of the QuickStarter type applications and add-ons really do you a disservice. What they do is they move the time it takes to load their software from the time that you ask for their software to sometime earlier in the process.
How these add-ons work
I’ll use Microsoft Office as an example. They have the Microsoft Office QuickStart toolbar (or something like that) and what it does is slow down your Windows startup time by loading up Office into memory at that time, whether or not you were going to use it.
The net effect is when you finally do start up Word or Excel, those things came up very quickly. But that’s because they were mostly already in memory. On the other hand, if nine times out of ten you’re not going to use Word or Excel (or one of the other Office programs), then all you are really doing is wasting startup time.
It extends the amount of time it takes Windows to boot in order to make a possible use of a Microsoft Office product somewhat faster later on. In other words, it makes it look faster than it really was.
I believe that Java QuickStarter is in that same bucket.
What it probably does is it loads up the Java Runtime when you start your browser, in case you get to a website that (then later) needs Java. If you’re using something like that frequently (like using GoTo Meeting, which is one of the applications that I know is Java based), then maybe that’s helpful to you.
On the other hand, in most cases, it doesn’t take that long to start anyway. So I would disable the QuickStarter and just take the time to load the software only when I actually need it, which will happen automatically when you visit a site that requires Java.