Minefield: An Alpha Browser with Major Mojo

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 23, 2008

Kudos to Matt Asay for this post, which turned me on to a very fast and interesting browser for Windows, Mac and Linux users: Minefield. As it turns out, this browser--optimized for speed above all--comes from Mozilla, and is basically an offshoot of Firefox 3.1, which is in beta testing. It is indeed fast, but here are a few things you need to know before you download it.

Minefield is alpha code, so it can crash and create problems and it's primarily aimed at developers at this point. That's one reason why I recommend loading it within a virtual machine. Matt reported that his installation of Minefield worked as a separate installation, but I believe he downloaded the Mac version. I downloaded the Windows version, and my existing Firefox installation appeared as Minefield. So best to load this in a self-contained environment. Along these lines, you have to admire Mozilla's pluck for calling an alpha browser Minefield.

As was true for Matt, Minefield does not run all of my Firefox extensions, but it runs most of them, even as an alpha browser. It also seamlessly handles importing Bookmarks, just as an upgrade to Firefox does.

The main benefit of Minefield is definitely speed, and especially Javascript speed, which several people are finding to be true. Give it a try, but remember that it's a preview and keep it self-contained.