Browser benchmark update: Lunascape 5.1.2

By Sterling “Chip” Camden
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

On July 2, Lunascape (the browser that offers three different rendering engines) officially released version 5.1, and then followed that up on July 15 with version 5.1.2.  We reviewed the alpha and beta versions earlier.  Since we recently benchmarked JavaScript performance for the other major browsers, let’s catch up with Lunascape to see how it’s competing.

Dromaeo benchmark

Here are the complete results of the Dromaeo JavaScript benchmark updated to include each of Lunascape’s three rendering engines:


The fastest browser in each category gets a green background.  Any result that’s within 10% of the fastest gets a yellow background.  Lunascape wins in 12 of the 49 categories (4 with WebKit, and 8 with Gecko).  In another 7 categories it comes in within 10% of the winner (3 times with WebKit, 4 times with Gecko).  That makes Lunascape pretty competitive in terms of JavaScript performance, especially when compared with Chrome or Firefox.  Just look at how Safari dominates the DOM, though.

The Trident engine in Lunascape has the same problems as Internet Explorer.  I didn’t hack Dromaeo to run all the same tests I managed to get to run in IE8, but the few results I did get indicate that Trident under Lunascape is even slower than IE8 – which didn’t score higher than 37% of the winner in any test.

It’s interesting how similar and how different Lunascape’s numbers are compared to each of the other browsers that use the same rendering engine.  It gives you a little idea of how the JavaScript engine interacts with the rendering engine in each case.  Whatever Safari’s taking for its DOM and string handling, I want some of that.

Acid 3 test

Lunascape scores 100% on the Acid3 test when using the WebKit engine, but complains that the “LINKTEST FAILED”.  It scores 93 on Gecko, and a dismal 13 on Trident.  By comparison, Chrome and Safari score 100% without the “LINKTEST” failure.  Firefox 3.5 scores 93, Opera 9.64 gets 85, and IE8 gets 20.  I think Lunascape’s Trident engine may be the IE7 version.


Lunascape has finally added one English-language plugin:  for Twitter, of course.  Installing the plugin requires acceptance of TOS and a restart of Lunascape.  This plugin adds a Twitter client to the left sidebar, as shown below:


If you’re a Twitterholic, this could be a useful feature.

The Gecko and WebKit rendering engines are also now controlled as plugins that are installed by default, as is “IE Favorites”.  Hopefully, they’ll be adding some more available plugins soon.


I still see minor rendering differences between Lunascape’s Trident engine and IE8, as well as between its WebKit engine and Safari or Chrome.  As I concluded in my first review, you can’t rely on Lunascape for testing a site’s compatibility with other browsers.  Rather than combining all available browsers into one, they’ve effectively create three new ones.


Lunascape offers competitive performance and lots of options, besides the ability to change rendering engine on the fly.  It remains to be seen whether it can gain popular acceptance.

What do you think of Lunascape?

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