So over 20 hours of compiling later, Mozilla Firebird is ready to run! It looks nicer than mozilla. And that's its only advantage. It's just as unresponsive--press a mouse button, wait 2 seconds. The smooth scrolling just underscores how slow it is. Of course, this must be disabled by editing a config file; it hasn't made it into the menus yet. That config file also has to be edited to change the size of the memory cache. Left to its own devices, Mozilla Firebird eats up as much memory as it can, forcing everything else into swap. While there is a preferences menu option for the disk cache size, there's nothing for memory cache. With the memory cache properly subdued, it now uses exactly as much memory as mozilla.
And then we come to the parts of the GUI that I hate. Why must we have separate text entry inputs for URLs and web search? I only have 1024x768 to work with! In mozilla, I can do both from the same field. If it's a web search, I just press down before I press enter. And not having a throbber by default? Aaaargh!!
So, there you go. Mozilla Firebird. Not fast enough for my slow laptop, not good enough for my fast desktop.