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Happy 5th Birthday To Firefox

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the they-get-bloated-so-fast dept.

Mozilla 252

halfEvilTech writes "Five years ago today, Mozilla released Firefox 1.0. Ars celebrates the occasion by taking a trip back in time to revisit our classic coverage of the original release." For fun, we dug up the oldest Slashdot Firefox story, which was a Firebird story proclaiming yet another name change from Feb '04. At least this name change stuck.

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A cake is in order (4, Funny)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30033912)

I think Microsoft should send them a cake to celebrate.

Re:A cake is in order (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30033948)

A "Thanks for trying but we are still #1" cake?

Re:A cake is in order (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034262)

I was going to say something like, "thanks for beginning as a faster and better alternative but ending up just as bloated and crappy as we are" cake.

Re:A cake is in order (1)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034626)

Better: a "Sure you overtook IE6 but we're still better" cake. Sure it'll be a big cake but Mozilla deserves it.

Re:A cake is in order (1)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034692)

No it should be: "Thanks for trying and being better than us, but we're still richer and still incompetent"

Re:A cake is in order (1)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034722)

Yeah. That one is better. Another one: "We are number one. In... In ..."

Re:A cake is in order (5, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034694)

A "Thanks for trying but we are still #1" cake?

More like "thanks for raising the bar and forcing us to improve". I have long argued that the role of OSS isn't necessarily to take over the world but to make it a better place by doing things better for free than most companies do for profit. (Sort of like the NDP party in Canada, they'll never run the country because every time they have a good idea the Liberals take it, implement it and claim it as their own.)

Re:A cake is in order (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034860)

More like "thanks for raising the bar and forcing us to improve".

This!

I remember in the days of Windows 3.1, it seemed like a big deal that you could change IP address on Linux without rebooting. Once a few thousand geeks realised there was nothing inherent about the PC platform that prevented things like this, and memory protection, pre-emptive multitasking etc., there was a strong market incentive for Windows to improve.

I don't think Windows would be as good as it is today if it weren't for competition from Linux. I'm sure MSIE would be far, far worse if it weren't for Firefox. (Yes, yes, OK, Opera. But for years Opera cost money.)

Re:A cake is in order (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035932)

I remember in the days of Windows 3.1, it seemed like a big deal that you could change IP address on Linux without rebooting.

I remember being in a meeting with a bunch of windows people... guys were talking about changing IP addresses on WfW.. not being familiar with Windows (but familiar with TCP/IP on Unix and Unix-like systems) I asked "why on earth do you need to reboot just to change an IP address?"... everybody in the room turned to look at me like I had grown an extra arm out of the top of my head.

I couldn't believe it when they told me that Windows needed a reboot for that. It *still* boggles my mind.

Re:A cake is in order (2, Funny)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034898)

(Sort of like the NDP party in Canada, they'll never run the country because every time they have a good idea the Liberals take it, implement it and claim it as their own.)

The NDP had a good idea?

Re:A cake is in order (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034936)

...and the moment someone reads the text, they'll be infected with a strain of H1N1 that causes them to dream of of nude pigs made to look like Rick Astley.

Re:A cake is in order (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035500)

Meh, I can tell you why Internet Explorer has any market share at all - because there's millions and millions of corporate PCs where it is too much trouble to get anything else installed. I end up using it on a regular basis for no particular other reason than it's there. Just like my #1 most used graphics application at work is MS Paint to crop screenshots, doesn't mean it competes with Photoshop or really anything at all, just that it works good enough you don't get anything else installed. Even corporate intranets are starting to figure out it's not 2001 anymore, but there's still not a big return on switching or offering multiple alternatives...

Re:A cake is in order (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034234)

Don't fall for it, Mozilla! The cake is a lie!

Re:A cake is in order (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034366)

lol! elrous0 strikes again with his knowledge of yesteryear's pop culture references

MOD Parent UP (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034648)

This isn't a troll. It's a hilarious comment that pokes fun at the fact the original poster's comment really wasn't that funny. There needs to be more comments like this to discourage people from trotting out the same tired jokes that weren't really that funny back when they were popular.

elrous0 needs to learn to be more original or just not say anything at all.

Re:A cake is in order (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035084)

Apropos xkcd [xkcd.com]

Re:A cake is in order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034604)

A poster joked: The cake is a lie!
And everyone thought: This joke is so gay.
So he was modded,
down to minus one.
And his posting rights where forever gone.

Re:A cake is in order (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035030)

And by minus one you mean +5 Funny

Re:A cake is in order (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034736)

These comments remind me of this video (where Mac and PC get poisoned with a cake):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mg6wrYCT9Q [youtube.com]

Re:A cake is in order (1)

HazMat 79 (1481233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035350)

Now I miss my Amiga. Everyone who thinks MS is run bad should check out CBMs history.

Re:A cake is in order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035598)

These comments remind me of this video (where Mac and PC get poisoned with a cake):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mg6wrYCT9Q [youtube.com]

Well that was an interesting change of music from what I was listening to [youtube.com] ...

Re:A cake is in order (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034260)

They did this for v 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jollyjake/278562314/

Re:A cake is in order (4, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034688)

A big, ever bloating cake that is all flavors to everyone, that allows you to extend it with pie and ice cream and allows you to skin it so it looks like a steak.

A cake is ON order (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034802)

Probably laced with Arsenic/Belladona etc etc etc

Re:A cake is in order (-1, Redundant)

pariahdecss (534450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035538)

The Cake is a lie ®

Re:A cake is in order (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035990)

Yes the 5 Anniversary of a version 1 branch of an existing product is so much more newsworthy then the 20th university of the fall of the berlin wall.

Because I'm just an angry man (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30033942)

I think today I will finally try out Chrome and see how it compares to IE and Opera. Plus I hear Konqueror is not bad on Linux too.

Original Firefox goals forgotten... (3, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30033962)

Instead of being a small, simple browser that just did one thing well; Firefox has become way too bloated and indeed the plans for the future seem to impart it with a ribbon-like interface and more nonsensical things. Doesn't sound too good for a nice well-loved product.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034078)

uh. what?
First off, there isn't going to be any ribbon interface.
Secondly, Firefox is still focused on only being a browser, nothing else.
What is this bloat?
addons.mozilla.org is where all the bloat is.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (4, Informative)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034184)

GP is confused due to this sort of news [pcpro.co.uk] . Parent is correct [mozilla.com] in that there will be no such interface.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034274)

Thanks non-AC.
And of course, if you get right down to it...
http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory [dotnetperls.com]

Now of course, Firefox has a process-per-tab build too, I just hope it never becomes default. (although forcing plugins into a separate process might be nice, esp since I whitelist Flash anyway)

In terms of rendering speed, Firefox tends to be slightly ahead on rendering, and TM/SFX/V8 are basically all tied up way beyond IE8's JScript. TM does have a couple of issues. I'd say the work on implementing merge traces should help the most w/ things like jsMSX, and expanding the size of strings with its problems in string tests.
TM, last I checked, still has more efficient arrays than V8.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034494)

Er. That should read:
In terms of rendering speed, Firefox tends to be slightly ahead on rendering <canvas>

I always forget to switch to Extrans. Just don't post often enough to remember.

It really is pretty much all tied up at this point between webkit/gecko - trident is a distant third these days.
Webkit has some faster DOM operations, although Gecko has added a bunch of fast access in the nightlies that help a lot.

BTW...
"It's been 10 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment" - Seriously /.? WTF.
All I wanted to do is correct the hiding of the "<canvas>" - now I'm just killing time adding stuff as I resubmit.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (3, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034576)

Secondly, Firefox is still focused on only being a browser, nothing else.

Exactly. Firefox has certainly got bigger over the years (though of course not bigger than its ancestor Mozilla), but it has also grown in the features it provides. If it had stayed at the minimal functional level it had at the earliest levels of its development, everybody would be whining that it doesn't offer enough features.

We can't have it both ways. If we want more features, then we have to accept that they will take more codespace. Simple as that.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (4, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034124)

Which piece of bloat would you remove first?

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034578)

Awesomebar.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035122)

Uninstall Firefox. Install Opera.

I'm just kidding. I really don't see any difference between the two... opera 10 seems as "bloaty" as Firefox 3. K-Meleon is nice-and-lean but buggy.

I'd like to see Firefox optimized to run the same as now, but with less memory. I don't understand why programs in the early 2000s could run on only 32 meg, but now they need 256 meg (or more). It makes no sense.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (4, Informative)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035442)

Gecko's memory usage now is less than it was in the early 2000s in many cases. So this particular program is actually using less memory than it was in the early 2000s. Since just the shared libraries for it are bigger than 32MB (uncompressed, on some OSes, etc), it's hard to see how it could fit in 32MB of RAM...

If your question is why there are these big shared libraries, the answer is that it's trying to do too much. The SVG1.1 spec is about 800 pages last I checked. And this is not because it goes into excruciating detail or anything. The CSS2.1 spec is about 300 pages (and while it's better on the detail, it's not perfect). You just end up with a huge gob of code to handle all those behaviors the huge specs require.

How much memory do you think a web browser handling modern web standards should take up? How does that number stack up against existing web browsers?

There's also the data set. People think nothing of sending hundreds of kilobytes of JS per page to the browser (last I checked, cnn.com has upwards of 500KB of JS just linked directly from the page; who knows whether they load more?). People think nothing of sending large amounts of graphics, etc.

Which brings us to the last point: programs are bigger because they _can_ be. If you have to fit into 32MB of RAM, then you can't just decode a 3000px by 3000px image into memory (it's be 4 * 3000 * 3000 bytes, or 36MB). You do it piece by piece and forget the pieces after painting them, or something. You don't even cache decoded smaller images, since it's so easy for that to fill up memory. If you feel like you have more ram to work with, you might make the space/performance tradeoff of keeping the decoded image in memory instead of decoding on every paint...

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035232)

Screw that ... the Awesomebar is the first useful browser UI innovation I've seen since tabs.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (4, Informative)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035280)

You can disable it entirely (the functionality not just the look) in FF3.5, so what exactly is your problem with me using it?

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034782)

Which piece of bloat would you remove first?

JavaScript.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (3, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035892)

1. Most of the Web needs JS now. Without it, you get a niche browser most people won't use.

2. An awful lot of FF is written in JS.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (2, Insightful)

Chunky Kibbles (530549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034886)

The [not] "awesome bar".

Somehow it always makes it harder to find what I want, not easier [eg, for some reason, it appears to have decided that penny-arcade.com is the correct url when I type in "facebook"]

And no; "just turn it off" studiously avoids the OP's complaint - which was that things like this shouldn't have needed to be added in the first place. How soon we forget - the name "phoenix" didn't even appeared in the news post [although it is in TFA].

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035732)

And no; "just turn it off" studiously avoids the OP's complaint - which was that things like this shouldn't have needed to be added in the first place.

But some people like to search in page content.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (5, Insightful)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034904)

Which piece of bloat would you remove first?

I am sure that many will say "the awesome bar". I don't. In fact, I use it so much that I think that I could now live without bookmarks.

YMMV, of course.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034158)

Maybe bloated by your standards, but I use almost all of Firefox's features on a daily basis.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

dvorakkeyboardrules (1652653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034544)

Instead of being a small, simple browser that just did one thing well; Firefox has become way too bloated and indeed the plans for the future seem to impart it with a ribbon-like interface and more nonsensical things. Doesn't sound too good for a nice well-loved product.

I agree. I've been victimized by the "upgrades" to a once-fast browser. Just one day I will open it and it will be upgrading itself. Wait, wait, must restart, etc. Now some ad-ons don't work anymore, gotta go look manually for up them, and so on. Hang on, did I say I wanted a Firefox upgrade? No, it just happens.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034918)

Hang on, did I say I wanted a Firefox upgrade? No, it just happens.

Set your auto-update preferences at:
Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Update

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034922)

>>>Hang on, did I say I wanted a Firefox upgrade? No, it just happens.

Then turn it off. Firefox 3 is constantly telling me to upgrade, so I just click "no" and it loads instantly without any hassle.

As for bloat, I don't think it's so bad. Right now I have 11 tabs open and only 155 meg Mem usage and 152 meg VM usage. That's not bad.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

Lordrashmi (167121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035012)

Disable automatic upgrades then.

Tools > Options > Upgrades: Uncheck "Automatically check for upgrades".

Not so hard, but less fun then whining.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (5, Insightful)

y5 (993724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034616)

I can't believe I'm making this point, but here goes...

As a web developer I actually appreciate the bloat. The average user does not have patience to look for extensions that fill in the core features that other browsers offer. Without the "bloat", those users would have likely stayed with IE, Microsoft would have no motivation to improve, and we'd likely be stuck developing for something much closer to IE6... ugh...

So for me, bloat is forgivable -- I'm just happy we're finally at a spot where web standards are taking hold. It's hard for Microsoft to embrace and extend they're losing so much ground.

Happy Birthday, Firefox =)

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (1)

y5 (993724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034634)

It's hard for Microsoft to embrace and extend they're losing so much ground.

Sorry, /if/ they're losing so much ground.

Re:Original Firefox goals forgotten... (3, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035788)

Instead of being a small, simple browser that just did one thing well; Firefox has become way too bloated and indeed the plans for the future seem to impart it with a ribbon-like interface and more nonsensical things. Doesn't sound too good for a nice well-loved product.

The original goal was to make a browser that was just a browser, not a suite of browsing, mail, newsgroups...

Firefox is still that. This is why the Thunderbird project was started, and is still going, for that matter.

It was intented to be a project that did a browser, and did a browser well. It wasn't about making minimalist barebones features everywhere. There are other browsers for even leaner feature sets.

Obligitory memory joke (3, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034004)

5 years old? It's getting on a bit and I imagine its memory is starting to suffer a bit. You could almost go as far as to say that it's memory might start leaking soon.

Re:Obligitory memory joke (1)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034156)

Start leaking? I figured by now they had just about finished fixing the memory leaks!

Re:Obligitory memory joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034334)

No, not enough little Dutch Boys have joined the development team.

Apparently they have more fun sticking their fingers in dykes.

cookies are delicious delicacies (3, Interesting)

syrinx (106469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034114)

Been using it since one of the early Phoenix versions (0.4 probably) in late 2002. It has come a long way, certainly, though not everything is good, as everyone's posts about "bloat" show. Still, I much prefer it over any other browser.

I've been using it since (1, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034214)

Netscape 1.0

Re:I've been using it since (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035138)

Blech. I stopped using the Netscape browser around version 4.72, long after most Netscape users had switched to IE5. I had to abandon Netscape for a while because it was so incredibly crash-prone and unstable. It pained me to do so.

Did you actually hang in there with all versions of NN up through Firefox? If so, you've got the patience of a saint. ;)

Re:I've been using it since (2, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035592)

I was running Linux from 1995 on. No IE on Linux.

Re:cookies are delicious delicacies (2, Insightful)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034284)

You may have jumped the gun a bit there. While I'm sure there's bound to be a few posts complaining about bloat, as of right now, there is only one serious one in this disucssion.

The addons deserve the real praise (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034298)

Firefox is great. But it's all the amazing addons that make it really shine. So kudos to Mozilla, but even more kudos to all the hard-working code monkeys who gave us addons like NoScript, Adblock, and (appropriate for this forum) Slashdotter.

Re:The addons deserve the real praise (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035064)

For all those people who made scripts to disable features... I always find funny how Anti-Technology the slashdot community is. Everything was cool and gee-wiz until the late 90's then it is all get off my lawn and if it doesn't run a P2 then it is not worth running, dag nabbit, I was able to get by 10 years ago without fancy JavaScript I should still do so today... I WANT to download the full page every time I click a button. I don't want to use a little less bandwidth at the expense of extra CPU processing, as it would bring my average Server Load up to 5% for about 2 seconds.

Re:The addons deserve the real praise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035950)

If that's all that JS was used for, you'd have a point. Unfortunately, generally they use it for 'Hey, let's reload an ad every 20 seconds' or 'Hey, let's make it so that every time you highlight a word it pops up an annoying box!' rather than 'Hey, let's make the web work more efficiently!'

Re:The addons deserve the real praise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035252)

The addons are useful, but their implementation is pure shit.

It should be obvious to anyone that writing applications using a combination of XML and JavaScript, all running within a single-threaded environment (the Gecko rendering engine), is going to make for a shitty user experience.

And that proves to be true, with the "lightweight" Firefox browser typically consuming over 500+ MB of resident memory, and requiring a CPU from early 2008 or later to be even remotely usable.

Go try running recent versions of Firefox and Opera on a 500 MHz x86 system with 64 MB of RAM. Opera works just fine, while Firefox often can't even start up. I know this to be true, because I recently had to help a user with such a system.

Open source cake! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034300)

Recipes here. You can pick your own and then compile it yourself:-)

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/Cake

phoenix (1)

Vorpix (60341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034308)

i remember the days of downloading phoenix each time i logged onto a lab computer. it was so small, compact, fast and great back then. firefox has come a long way and added a slew of useful features, but a lot of what once made it great is lost.

So bloated... (4, Funny)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034318)

Come on, Firefox has such bad feature bloat. I just use Emacs-w3m to surf. It's just as nice, but instead of feature bloat, you get the web via Emacs!

Re:So bloated... (1)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034376)

And it will psychoanalyze your browsing habbits at the same time ... "So why do you say 'does it run linux?'"

Re:So bloated... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034428)

bad feature bloat

Emacs

You broke my sarcasm meter. Thanks.

Re:So bloated... (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034480)

Does it support javascript ? Because it is the main reason to use firefox : eff-ing javascript.

Re:So bloated... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034612)

But telnetting to port 80 and doing manual GET requests, then parsing yourself is sooo much faster. Built in adblocking and everything!

Re:So bloated... (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035218)

pff, I don't use telnet. I just edit/read the tcp stream.

...All together now! (2, Funny)

charleste (537078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034462)

Hippo Birdie, Two Ewes
Hippo Birdie, Two Ewes
Hippo Birdie, dear Firefox
Hippo Birdie, Two Ewes

No one else sang.

Re:...All together now! (3, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 4 years ago | (#30036000)

No one else sang.

Yet it still managed to be out of tune.

- RG>

Comments about bloat (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034486)

While it is fun to say that Firefox is all bloated now in comparison to when it started (and many comments above seem to say that) this misses four points: 1) Software naturally becomes larger with more features over time. 2) Many of the features added are very good and very helpful 3) We live in an era where memory is not a precious commodity. It isn't like you are going to have a problem if you can't fit your web browsing program on your floppy disk or can't run it on 64K of memory. The real issue with Firefox is much more limited: There are memory leaking and stability issues that should have been better handled by now. Instead of adding all the features that have been added (some of which are very nice) many people would likely simply prefer to have just the really commonly used features and have it not crash so frequently.

Re:Comments about bloat (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034656)

Software naturally becomes larger with more features over time

If you let it. That shouldn't happen with a project whose stated goal is to be simpler. Resist the feature creep. More isn't better.

Many of the features added are very good and very helpful

Be better if they could all be turned off to create a much faster browser.

We live in an era where memory is not a precious commodity.

People have been saying this for 30 years and it's never been true. Probably never will be. In fact, memory's been getting more precious lately because of the 4GB limit that a lot of MOBOs face. Not to mention all the older machines that would like to be able to at least search the damned web. Of all things, why should a *web browser* be a memory pig?

There are memory leaking and stability issues that should have been better handled by now.

God is that true.

Re:Comments about bloat (1)

edumacator (910819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035046)

Of all things, why should a *web browser* be a memory pig?

I get the point, and agree...somewhat. But isn't this creating a false dichotomy. One of the interesting problems we face is how we deal with an evolving web. Maybe the web browser is more of a memory pig is because of its expanded role. We do so much more now than when FF started its rise, so having additional features is a good thing. Maybe someone needs to fork (and heavily publicize) FF into a leaner browser, so we have one browser for those old computers that are only going to be looking at relatively static pages, and then one with a much larger feature set like the current FF.

Whether you agree with working with the evolving web through a web browser or think other programs should be developed as the primary tool for cloud applications, it would be hard to deny that until something else comes along, many new and exciting web apps need a more robust feature set.

Re:Comments about bloat (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035082)

In fact, memory's been getting more precious lately because of the 4GB limit that a lot of MOBOs face.

Do you seriously believe firefox will test the 4GB limit?

That shouldn't happen with a project whose stated goal is to be simpler. Resist the feature creep. More isn't better.

Feature creep? As someone else questioned in a post, What feature would you like to be removed (except awesome bar, which I am not sure consumes as much resources)

Re:Comments about bloat (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035444)

Do you seriously believe firefox will test the 4GB limit?

Of course... Here is from my home system — the two instances belong to my (very) significant other and myself:
PID USERNAME THR PRI NICE SIZE RES STATE C TIME WCPU COMMAND
4954 i 10 47 0 1798M 637M ucond 2 0:00 9.47% firefox-bi
48498 mi 11 45 0 1150M 810M ucond 3 0:00 13.09% firefox-bi
...

Three times more windows/tabs — or simply more visits to something "heavy" (like Google Maps), and she is done... And that's without Flash, which is not available for our platform...

Now, the actual memory consumption is smaller, than the total size, but on a 32-bit system, that does not matter — you are limited by 4Gb per process, because 2^32 is 4Gb... My system is, actually, a 64-bit one (FreeBSD/amd64), so I am "prepared" for Firefox to exceed 4Gb. My Firefox at work (RHEL-5.4, 32-bit) is currently under 1Gb, but that's because it crashes about daily (probably, due to Flash — or because some of the bugs [freebsd.org] that the FreeBSD ports fix, that are present in the "official" builds, don't know), and thus has less time to leak...

Another note, of course, is that simply by building in 64-bit mode, you significantly increase the sizes of many internal data structures (which hold pointers to other structs — each pointer is now twice bigger). Still, I don't think, that overhead is more than 10-15% of the total memory consumption...

So, yes, the 4Gb ceiling is within reach, even if most people don't yet hit it often...

Re:Comments about bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035468)

Do you seriously believe firefox will test the 4GB limit?

Want me to show you output from top? Also, to be able to run multiple programs at once - as most geeks expect to do - I expect my browser to be well under 1GB. In fact, since all it's doing is rendering web pages, it should be well under 100MB.

Feature creep? As someone else questioned in a post, What feature would you like to be removed (except awesome bar, which I am not sure consumes as much resources)

Whatever takes up so much memory and slows it down? Perhaps I come from a simpler time (like web 0.2), but I expect my browser to display web pages. Agreed, smart autocomplete is great. Other than that, I want to choose what features I want, *if* their inclusion causes what many would refer to as 'bloat'.

Re:Comments about bloat (2, Interesting)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035092)

Of all things, why should a *web browser* be a memory pig?

Because people want it to be. People want the browser to not only remember the browser history of 10 tabs 20-deep, but to cache it in RAM as well, so that the Forward and Back buttons feel responsive and the hard drive is not thrashing all the time. Since each of these pages has all the bloat of JavaScript, CSS or even Flash, it adds up. (And of course you can reconfigure Firefox to a small footprint if you want...)

Re:Comments about bloat (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035588)

3) We live in an era where memory is not a precious commodity.
No, we live in an era where the configurations and limitations for each machine are incredibly diverse.
Anyone still have FireFox as your primary browser on a 1.6 atom netbook after the June 30th release? How is that working out for you?
Default configuration for XP for HP 1010s worked fine, install firefox and you're good to go. Now FF is so much worse, even maxed on RAM, you cannot watch Hulu or Netflix streaming on them.
Oh Noes you should use Linux... oh wait no netflix streaming on linux, cause Netflix and Microsoft are dicks(silverlight, and no moonlight doesn't work)... and we all know how awesome full-screen flash video is on linux.

I think it should be standard practice to have sets of compiler directives for "Useless crap only geeks would use" so that my wife can use Firefox again.

5 years old and still crashes daily (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034556)

Seriously, please fix the crash bugs and memory leaks.

When ever Firefox is mentioned on slashdot (2, Funny)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034636)

When ever Firefox is mentioned on slashdot, always mention the memory leak problem .. :)

5 Years (4, Interesting)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034624)

Here's the Slashdot story from 5 years ago: Slashdot | Firefox 1.0 Released [slashdot.org]

More like 7 Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035274)

Firefox was mentioned way earlier than that, in 2002, by its original name, Phoenix.
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/02/09/24/1215252/Mozilla-Jumps-on-Lean-Browser-Bandwagon

With Firefox it is ALWAYS time to party! (1)

linebackn (131821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034840)

In a continuation of the Open Source Mozilla party started in January 1998, the ongoing Firefox party has now reached it's five year mark. Mozilla.org announced their intention to keep the party going indefinitely.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy describes the Mozilla / Firefox party as follows:

The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation, and still no one shows any signs of leaving. Somebody did once look at his watch, but that was eleven years ago, and there has been no follow-up. The mess is extraordinary, and has to be seen to be believed, but if you don't have any particular need to believe it, then don't go and look, because you won't enjoy it. There have recently been some bangs and flashes up in the clouds, and there is one theory that this is a battle being fought between the fleets of several rival carpet-cleaning companies who are hovering over the thing like vultures, but you shouldn't believe anything you hear at parties, and particularly not anything you hear at this one.

Suzaku (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034868)

I *still* think they should have renamed it "Suzaku".

NY Times Ad (3, Insightful)

bucklesl (73547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034996)

I can't believe it will have been 5 years in December since supporters chipped in to place an ad in the NY Times [mozilla.org] . I'd definitely help place another one if only to get my name in the paper again! I hear the NY Times needs the revenue (*cough* adblock *cough*).

Anyone using Lynx? (5, Funny)

rmcd (53236) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035004)

Just curious to know if I'm alone. As the web has gotten more bloated (not just firefox), I find I use lynx more for quick, routine checking of websites. And you can script it.

I like firefox a lot, but sometimes Lynx is better.

Re:Anyone using Lynx? (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035400)

Why use lynx? Why not use something that renders a little more nicely, like elinks or w3m? There's even image support if you want it. There's also dillo, which is graphical, but still really fast as it doesn't support things like javascript. I can't think of any reason to use lynx anymore.

Re:Anyone using Lynx? (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035464)

I usually prefer w3m for those things (in particular to read the HTML mails in mutt). but lynx get the job done as well.

Clint Eastwood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035108)

They still haven't got the thought controlled interface working - even in Russian...

5 years now? Seems longer... (2, Insightful)

cygnusx (193092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035268)

I've been using Firefox since Phoenix 0.5 (December 2002 iirc, almost seven years now) and I have to say, the community process and the extensions make Firefox what it is.

Yes, these days there's another open source browser on the block (Chrome) and it too is very good. But it's great to have Mozilla and Firefox around because you can be sure that Mozilla will look after users' interests far more than Google or Microsoft will. If nothing else, it keeps the others honest.

So congratulations Firefox, and here's to five more years!

5 years since 1.0 isn't necessarily 5 years old? (1)

Rich Klein (699591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035406)

Weren't many of us using (at least trying) Firefox well before the 1.0 release? I thought I remembered using 0.8 or something. So isn't Firefox older than 5 years?

If you really want to reminisce, (1)

adagioforstrings (192285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035472)

check out this Slashdot story about Phoenix 0.2: http://developers.slashdot.org/developers/02/10/07/1739241.shtml [slashdot.org]

I remember Mozilla and its slowness and seemingly hundreds of configuration options that I didn't care about. It was like they were trying to fit every possible feature into the software. Then I tried Phoenix and it was so much more pleasant to use, even at that young stage. I'm happy to see Firefox has survived this long and remains, for the most part, as great to use now as those early days.

It's become slow... (1)

beru777 (324951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035602)

And I don't exactly know why. Launching can take up to one minute (bug in 3.5). Typing a single character in the address bar can freeze the whole browser for 30 seconds or more... etc... I switched to Chrome as my main browser last week.

Firefox returned healthy competition to the web... (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035974)

...and I think it is major win for all of us. Without Firefox it would be harder for Opera, Chrome, Safari to shine. Firefox pushed compatibility level of writing web pages, so for last years usually when you have done with FF, page worked for rest of bunch too (ok, except JS which is still major PITA). Yes, our mighty fox have experienced several shortcomings time after time, but overall, it have been smooth ride.

Ohh, and it has been excellent study case and example that with clever crowd marketing, art team and testing open source products also can be "simply cool" [tm].

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