Speed Up TenFourFox on Your PowerPC Mac

TenFourFox is an amazing browser and is responsible for keeping the PowerPC platform alive. But whether on a G3 , G4, or even a slower G5 processors, it needs a bit of tweaking to optimise performance.


If you want to optimise TenFourFox, here is a collection of simple settings to make it snappier on G3, low-end G4, and single-processor G5 Macs. First, type about:config in the address bar. Hit return and confirm that you’ll be careful. Scroll down to the respective settings or use the search field on top.

Reduce GUI Animations and Eye Candy

Set nglayout.enable_drag_images to false. This makes dragging images faster by showing a thin frame instead of the complete (transparent) image.

Set browser.preferences.animateFadeIn to false. This prevents resizing and fading-in of the content when switching tabs in the preferences pane. Native OS X menus do this with better performance, but the Firefox/TenFourFox XUL interface isn’t quick enough to make it enjoyable on slower Macs.

Set browser.tabs.animate to false. This way, creating and closing tabs will be instantly. And no more “Assertion Failed. Giving up waiting for the tab closing animation to finish” messages.

Set browser.fullscreen.animateUp to 0. This prevents the unnecessary and sometimes slow animation when switching to full screen. Alternatively, you can set browser.fullscreen.autohide to false; this leaves the navigation bar always visible.

Set browser.panorama.animate_zoom to false. This gives you an instant switch from tab groups to normal windows.

Play Video More Smoothly

On YouTube, let the video load completely before playing it – hit pause as soon as you can when the YouTube page is loading. Also try to let TenFourFox have as many processor cycles as possible, i.e. quit other applications that use the CPU in the background.

You can also use the QuickTime Enabler and/or the MacTubes Enabler extensions to outsource video playback. This will give you much smoother playback and will also play H.264 video.

Execute JavaScript Only When Necessary

Helpful extensions that reduce load on your computer are NoScript (permits JavaScript on specified websites only) or YesScript (forbids JavaScript on specified websites). You can choose either one, depending on your preference for a blacklist or a whitelist approach, and it doesn’t make much sense to run them simultaneously.

Stop Animated GIFs

Set image.animation_mode to once (or None). This will prevent GIF animations from looping (or playing at all), thereby reducing processor load (especially on Tumblr), and letting you read text undistracted by blinking stuff in the corner of your eye.

Block Ads

Adblock Plus/Adblock Edge will prevent loading of ads. This reduces the wait time for pages to finish loading because fewer documents are fetched, less JavaScript is executed, and the browser doesn’t have to wait for third party ad servers. It also improves performance when interacting with the page.

Note that Adblock will make TenFourFox a bit slower generally because it’s a pretty heavyweight add-on, but it’s still an overall win. (Consider whitelisting some sites you want to support.)

A big thank you to Chris Trush. The information in this article was written by him and formatted by me.

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3 thoughts on “Speed Up TenFourFox on Your PowerPC Mac

  1. Question:

    On the setting:
    Set image.animation_mode to Once

    Did you mean to say:
    Set image.animation_mode to 1

    Or was that literally the word “Once”

    Because that setting is not working for me.

  2. OK, I got everything working. Just had to make the word “once” all lower case. For some reason, when I typed it as “Once” nothing locked in and the gif files were running as normal. I also noticed IMDB loads a lot faster with all of these new corrections. Good job.

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