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The Secrets of Firefox about:config

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the Mozilla-fu dept.

Mozilla 263

jcatcw writes "While Firefox is very customizable, many of its settings aren't in the Options. Each setting is named and stored as a string, integer, or Boolean in a file called prefs.js and accessed via about:config from the nav bar. Computerworld provides instructions on 20 tweaks for speeding up page loads, making tabs behave, reducing memory drain, and generally making the interface act the way you want it to. Customization also comes through the must-have FF extensions (but be sure to skip these)."

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While it's nice.. (5, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316035)

Do not tune stuff that is hidden unless you know what you are doing.

Or better yet (-1, Flamebait)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316097)

Just get Opera here: www.opera.com/download

Try it, kid, the first hit's free!

Hey SLASHDITZ! about:config ISN'T NEWS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316477)

Slashdot sucks. This has been known since Firefox came out, maybe even before Firefox was Firefox. Lame.

Re:While it's nice.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316173)

Yep, I just recently had to trash my profile folder after following various 'Firefox about:config tips' articles.

Whatever the suggestions are, if they are really that useful they should be on by default.

[ ] Suck
[ ] Not Suck

Call me crazy but I and most commercial software companies know which button to check by default. You would think open source developers would be able to catch on.

Re:While it's nice.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316429)

That's because the communist open-sores developers are nothing more than a bunch of stupid fucktards who should go collectively earn themselves a Darwin award by finding a razor, running a hot bath, and slitting their fucking wrists. Oh wait then there would be almost nobody on shitdot anymore as all shitdot sheeple, including fucktard taco and brokeback neil, would have earned themselves a Darwin Award.

Re:While it's nice.. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316497)

Whoa Nelly! Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Re:While it's nice.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316181)

Do not tune stuff that is hidden unless you know what you are doing.
Is this comment really needed for a website full of Linux geeks? It is not as if this is the Microsoft Bob forum.

What is the worst that could happen? With Firefox, nothing major.

Re:While it's nice.. (0, Troll)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316633)

What? It's not the Microsoft Bob support forum? I wanted to get help on running it on my new Mac, but it won't run on this Linux thing you all keep suggesting. Can anyone help me? What am I doing wrong?

Re:While it's nice.. (-1, Troll)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316871)

What is the worst that could happen? With Firefox, nothing major.

Heh, it's because of fanboys like you (among other things) that I don't use Firefox.

Re:While it's nice.. (4, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317083)

Why? He's 100% right! Just follow the instructions and you are all set with no chance of there being problems. You see, the instructions on that web page clearly state in bold letters: "Keep a log of everything you change, or make backups."

So, either:

  • Firefox acts weird or doesnt run at all, and you restore prefs.js from backup and have no problems
  • or it worsens performance, and you restore from backup and have no problems
  • or it improves performance and you happily surf away and have no problems

So, because he is correct, he's a fanboy? With IE, you run the possibility of having to do much more than restore a preferences file if you hose something. With Firefox, if you follow the instructions (and something goes wrong), it takes you a few extra seconds to restore the file to original state and "nothing major" happens (other than a wasted few minutes in total trying the tweaks).

So, if he's a fanboy, what does that make you? Just curious.

Re:While it's nice.. (-1, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316225)

So if these options really make pages load faster, offer less memory drain, and even feed the dog, why aren't they a part of the settings to begin with?

Firefox, while better than IE7, is a fucking hog and getting worse by the release. Why should users, who are already iffy about switching to Firefox, have to go through archaic setup commands in order to have the browser work well?

Correct answer: they shouldn't.

Re:While it's nice.. (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316295)

That's why I prefer Opera. If you think Firefox is bad, try it on OS X.

Re:While it's nice.. (5, Insightful)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317013)

So if these options really make pages load faster, offer less memory drain, and even feed the dog, why aren't they a part of the settings to begin with?
Basically, because, although they may give more speed, they have drawbacks as well. Your question is like asking, ``If people can overclock their processors to so much faster, why isn't it overclocked by default?''

Re:While it's nice.. (-1, Troll)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316277)

Yea no kidding. I read through the networking options carefully. I particularly love the "pipelining" part. Send requests before getting valid acknowledgments from previous requests.

This is a tactic spammers use with mail servers. It's rude, annoying and breaks the rules/protocol. Smart admins will typically put a filter on so it ignores requests that come in too fast (or in the case with sendmail, pre-greeting traffic, smtp pipelining).

I would tend to think FireFox developers know sane defaults better than the standard user. It should come with a disclaimer: use at your own risk.

Re:While it's nice.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316351)

I particularly love the "pipelining" part. Send requests before getting valid acknowledgments from previous requests. ...

It's rude, annoying and breaks the rules/protocol.


From RFC 2616 (HTTP/1.1) [ietf.org] section 8.1.1:

HTTP requests and responses can be pipelined on a connection. Pipelining allows a client to make multiple requests without waiting for each response, allowing a single TCP connection to be used much more efficiently, with much lower elapsed time.

Re:While it's nice.. (3, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316527)

If it's valid behavior according to the protocol, and it's faster, and it's not bad nettiquette, then why, pray tell, isn't it on by default?

Re:While it's nice.. (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316579)

It isn't faster for everybody, it doesn't work with all servers...

Re:While it's nice.. (4, Informative)

jesser (77961) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316845)

If it's valid behavior according to the protocol, and it's faster, and it's not bad nettiquette, then why, pray tell, isn't it on by default?

Because some servers violate the protocol by responding incorrectly to pipelined requests. At least, that was the reason 2 years ago.

Re:While it's nice.. (4, Informative)

SailorFrag (231277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316661)

This is a tactic spammers use with mail servers. It's rude, annoying and breaks the rules/protocol.

RFC 2920 [rfc-editor.org] is the SMTP extension for pipelining. Pipelining is a perfectly valid strategy to reduce the time it takes to send mail by reducing the number of round-trips.

What's rude is violating the RFC that says that certain round-trips are required and the spammers tend to violate those rules (such as asking if a message body can be sent before actually sending it, and waiting for the server's introduction message before the client introduces itself). Pipelining itself is actually quite good.

I won't comment on HTTP pipelining because someone else did already.

Re:While it's nice.. (1)

Obsi (912791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317003)

They do know sane defaults. 'sane' being those that work well by defualt, but not blazing fast -- it's like the tuning parameters on the car. Is RTFA a lost art around here?

Re:While it's nice.. (1)

MedicinalMan (1061338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316585)

Nice how they have to tell you exactly where to find the prefs.js How about a disclaimer: "If you can't find the file without installing an extension, leave it alone"

Extensions to Avoid? (4, Insightful)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316043)

I thought we agreed that ComputerWorld article was mostly crap...

Yup, total crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316325)

I mean, they don't like AdBlock Plus? They wanted people to avoid AdBlock Plus because it blocked ads!? At least they could've said to avoid AdBlock or not to bother unless you get the Filterset.G updater with it (AdBlock Plus with no block lists blocks approximately nothing).

I'd say that's disingenuous at the very least...

For the record, I'm a happy user of 4 of the 10 extensions in that article, and the only one that gives me pain on occasion is NoScript and that mostly because I only unblock sites temporarily unless I really trust them. Almost without exception, I tend to regret unblocking the few sites I do. For example, I will _NEVER_ use Western Union's website again; it's one of the most annoying websites I've ever had the displeasure of using.

P.S. Here's a link to a Slashdot comment with the list of "extensions to avoid" [slashdot.org] but I personally enjoy using NoScript, Adblock Plus, PDF Download, and Greasemonkey. To those of use with the skill to use them, they're great.

Not filterset.g! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316611)

Filterset.G is not recommended for Adblock Plus! [adblockplus.org] Use Easylist+EasyElement from the subscriptions page [adblockplus.org] for better results.

I just want (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316047)

I just want to make it stop going to Google when it's looking up a URL. If it can't find it in DNS, I want it to return a 404, not ask some fsking company where they think I should go.

I tried changing every entry that mentions google.com, and sometimes it still queries. WTF!

Re:I just want (2, Interesting)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316087)

IIRC, Firefox gets ~$50 * 10^6 (US) from Google every year because of stuff like that, and while I'd like there to be an option for that, having a steady supply of money from Google with which to pay developers results in a higher quality app. I'd rather have a high-quality (FLOSS) alternative to the dreaded Internet Exploder than not being able to set a default search provider for the address bar*.

*NOTE: I don't actually know if you can or not; Google works for me so I've never investigated it.

What's the ... (1)

nxtr (813179) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316143)

So what's the problem then if everything works out in the end? Nothing to complain about?

Re:I just want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316195)

So you're saying that IE is superior to FF in this regard. After all, I can tell IE to not search from the address bar, and you know what? It doesn't. I try telling FF the same thing and it says F.U.?

If they're getting $50 million from Google, then I'm sorry, I no longer trust it. I want what I ask for, not what some for-profit company wants me to see.

Re:I just want (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316317)

No, I'm being a realist: Software development goes better when you have people working on it full-time, and people need money to buy food, pay rent, etc. People can't work on something fulltime when they aren't being paid, because they need income. Firefox being given money means that they can:

a) hire fulltime developers

b) pay for commercial marketing (in addition to the free grassroots marketing they get for having a better product)

c) pay operating expenses (eg servers, bandwidth, etc)

d) other things I haven't thought of...

Re:I just want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316431)

That's just anti-communist!!!

Re:I just want (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316563)

So you're saying that IE is superior to FF in this regard. After all, I can tell IE to not search from the address bar, and you know what? It doesn't. I try telling FF the same thing and it says F.U.?

Sigh. It's not like you can't change the source code. You know, the source code? That stuff that people are always blabbering about being "open"? Why bother with open source if you don't even take advantage of it for something this simple?

I want what I ask for, not what some for-profit company wants me to see.

With that attitude, even. Sad.

Re:I just want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316841)

If they're getting $50 million from Google, then I'm sorry, I no longer trust it. I want what I ask for, not what some for-profit company wants me to see.
Use something else then, you spoiled brat. Mozilla has an interest in making money, just like any other company and $50M is a lot of dough. And you "no longer trust it"? I suppose you drink water from a well, eat meat you killed yourself and are typing away on a PC you created from ores you dug from a mine in your backyard. You can't trust anything if somebody made MONEY off of it!! Those profit-mongering beasts in their corporate, marble towers are out to kill us all!! Don't trust a single one of them!

Google is the ennemy (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316383)

Google does no even? yeah right...

Google is like Gator in every way, but worse in every way. For one thing, it tries to keep its reputation high among the lesser elite with bullshit phrases and a neat interface.

Google has little to do with web searching. It's all about the personal data exchange market. While you can excuse them for running a business, please don't dump on Microsoft and Internet Explorer in the same sentence.

Re:I just want (4, Informative)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316139)

try this setting:
browser.xul.error_pages.enabled

set it to "true"

Re:I just want (3, Informative)

the_cowgod (133070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316769)

Set "keyword.enabled" to false.

Tabs (5, Funny)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316049)

In Soviet Russia, Firefox keeps tabs on YOU!

Re:Tabs (0, Offtopic)

NYYankee161st (785590) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316089)

In soviet russia fuck mike butlers you

Re:Tabs (1)

feedmetrolls (1108119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316261)

That's fine, as long as they don't use colored tabs on us.

Mod parent up, please (0, Redundant)

cli_rules! (915096) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316391)

Good stuff.

Re:Tabs (1)

Magic Fingers (1001498) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317127)

I never understand these Soviet Russia jokes?

fucken shet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316073)

cowboyneals pen0r is 1" long it's a choad

Re:fucken shet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316451)

Oh wow, I love how this was modded "offtopic" and not "troll".

Camino? (3, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316095)

I still use Camino [caminobrowser.org] , a Mozilla-based browser for OS X. Is there a similar guide to configuring Camino options or do most of these work as is?

Re:Camino? (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316161)

I have a related question...

I'm using Iceweasel w/ debian (only reason I'm using this is because apt-get install firefox installed iceweasel instead, don't know why... giving it a fair shake though) and the only thing that's bugging me, is how can i get back the "i'm feeling lucky" search function to typing in a sentance in the address bar?

I used that all the time with firefox... just type in the name of the buisness and bypass most every typo/domain squatter site out there.

I took a look in the about:config breifly, but didn't see anything in particular, does anyone know how to get that feature back?

Re:Camino? (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316301)

I think this is what you want:

http://www.firefoxtutor.com/39/loc-bar-search/ [firefoxtutor.com]

And really, they should have called Iceweasel IreOx, at least until mozilla.org asked them to stop.

Re:Camino? (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316337)

nope, that doesn't work... and that keyword.enabled is set to true... it just says, "The URL is not valid and cannot be loaded."

Re:Camino? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316371)

my keyword.URL is set to:

http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sou rceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=

(without the pesky space)

Re:Camino? (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316427)

so is mine :(

I google'd this forever this morning, no idea what the hell they did to break that functionality, maybe it's just me?

Re:Camino? (3, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316931)

Did you even bother to try it out? Camino's about:config page is almost identical to FF's page. Any options that are named the same in Camino as in FF will do the same thing. (Camino is just a different front end on Gecko, and about:config options are almost all Gecko options, not browser specific.)

Ha, I can reduce my "must have" FF list to one (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316115)

1) Install Stumble Upon 2) Set your topic to FireFox 3) Stumble Dollars to donuts, the first Stumble you hit is someone elses TopN list of must have extensions, which is pretty much a mirror of FF most popular extensions, so there ya go.

Re:Ha, I can reduce my "must have" FF list to one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316577)

Sounds great, here's from StumbleUpon's "Adverisers" page:

Testimonials from our customers

"By advertising on StumbleUpon, Farecast has been able to reach an audience that is actively looking to find new and innovative websites like ours. An added bonus is the ability to target based on a user's geographic location or interest in a specific category. This has allowed us to land users on highly targeted and relevant landing pages, resulting in positive Stumbles."

- Farecast.com

"StumbleUpon proved to be a wonderful channel to drive targeted, cost effective traffic to our website. Furthermore, their vocal community helped us to further understand how to better position our product."

- Sixapart.com

"We are a new site that needed some promotion and found stumbleupon to give us almost instantaneous results."

- SimplyExplained.com

Just what I wanna install!

link to one page article (5, Informative)

maj1k (33968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316133)

here [computerworld.com]

Re:link to one page article (3, Insightful)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316509)

Who modded that offtopic? maj1k posted the "print this article" link so we didn't have to wait seven times for ad-ridden pages to load.

Foons! (5, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316147)

Well, a lot of these "tweaks" will have negative effects.

Example: nglayout.initialpaint.delay as 0. This will slow rendering of the page as it causes reflows. Fools.

Re:Foons! (0, Offtopic)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316179)

could I have some foons to go with my sporks?

Re:Foons! (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316329)

Dicking around with the pipelining and max connections will also get you blocked from some web servers and routers/firewalls. Not worth it IMO.

Re:Foons! (1)

ATwentyCharacterName (1085199) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316567)

How does Opera not get blocked when it has pipelining enabled by default?

Re:Foons! (4, Informative)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316707)

Opera has sensible pipelining defaults. Most "Firefox tip" articles have you set them to values that when combined with other network settings makes your browser appear like a misbehaving robot, proxy, or hacking attempt. Firefox with sensible values doesn't get blocked.

Re:Foons! (1)

norton_I (64015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316755)

The problem is the setting for maximum outstanding pipeline requests / maximum concurrent connections. Pipelining itself is fine, as long as the server supports it.

Re:Foons! (4, Informative)

MedicinalMan (1061338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316723)

Damn right. Here's what mozilla says about nglayout.initialpaint.delay [mozillazine.org]

Lower values will make a page initially display more quickly, but will make the page take longer to finish rendering. Higher values will have the opposite effect.

Re:Foons! (3, Informative)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316883)

Example: nglayout.initialpaint.delay as 0. This will slow rendering of the page as it causes reflows. Fools.
From the article, just below the section on nglayout.initialpaint.delay:

Reduce the number of reflows
When Firefox is actively loading a page, it periodically reformats or "reflows" the page as it loads, based on what data has been received. Create a content.notify.interval integer preference to control the minimum number of microseconds (millionths of a second) that elapse between reflows. If it's not explicitly set, it defaults to 120000 (.12 of a second).

Too many reflows may make the browser feel sluggish, so you can increase the interval between reflows by raising this to 500000 (500,000, or 1/2 second) or even to 1000000 (1 million, or 1 second). If you set this value, be sure to also create a Boolean value called content.notify.ontimer and set it to true.
Seems like setting nglayout.initialpaint.delay to 0 and bumping up the reflow interval can get you the page quicker and avoid too many reflows.

Which option to make the Firehose work again? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316171)

Using Firefox on FC6, the Slashdot firehose stopped working for me a while back.

The thumbs-up/down thingies don't do anything anymore. I tried turning off the NoScript extension, but that didn't seem to help. I also have Adblock+ installed.

Any clues?

Re:Which option to make the Firehose work again? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316439)

set org.slashdot.dont_make_changes_on_the_live_server_ yes_im_talking_to_you_cmdrtaco=1

A bigger question (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316193)

Is why useful tweaks are hidden behind and obscure and risky-to-use interface like about:config. If the tweaks are worth doing, shouldn't they have first-class support in the main configuration GUI?

Re:A bigger question (5, Interesting)

jj110888 (791178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316327)

Perhaps these tweaks are hidden because they are *not* worth doing?

Re:A bigger question (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19317131)

I disagree with the fact that they aren't worth doing. Ever since I upgraded to the newest version of FF, I've disliked how the tab-closing buttons are now on each tab, rather than having one at the end of all of the tabs like in previous versions. Being too stubborn to downgrade, I suffered through it. TFA showed how to set it back to the old way, plus a couple different ways. Definately worth doing and not in the options GUI.

Re:A bigger question (5, Funny)

leathered (780018) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316525)

Listen sonny, as a network admin I perform 'miracles' every day with a CLI and hidden options in config files. It impresses the PHBs, earns respect and keeps my salary up. And now you want to further trivialise my job with more GUI options. Oh for the good old days when all we had were ones and zeroes.

Re: A bigger question (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316549)

Is why useful tweaks are hidden behind and obscure and risky-to-use interface like about:config. If the tweaks are worth doing, shouldn't they have first-class support in the main configuration GUI?
One philosophy is to nanny the unwashed masses away from "advanced" options. A second is that there's not a lot of reasons to support every possible option in a UI, especially if some of them are rarely used.

FWIW, I used to change some stuff and it would be back to the default next time I started the broweser. Ditto if I changed it in the config file. It finally took when I changed it in the GNOME configuration manager; I guess it was masking the application-specific configs.

Why aren't these real options? (4, Insightful)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316221)

Some of these tweaks cut down on memory usage. Given that there are still plenty of computers with 512MB of ram (e.g. notebook computers), you don't want applications pinning 100% CPU or memory as it slows down the rest of the system. This is more important with notebook computers, since a second lost through CPU usage or hard drive thrashing is a second lost from battery charge.

The notebook I'm using right now has this amount of memory, and was easily available in stores 1 year ago. Last time I checked, a web browser should never require the absolute latest system for day-to-day operations (which include having another application in the background, such as a word processor or even MSVC 2005.)

Re:Why aren't these real options? (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316377)

Try a PIII 667MHz with 256MB of PC-133 RAM running Windows XP Pro, Outlook, Symantec AV, various corporate spyware, SAP and FF.

Re:Why aren't these real options? (3, Interesting)

telso (924323) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316409)

If you don't want to lose CPU cycles (and therefore battery power) from using your browser, why are you on Slashdot?

Re:Why aren't these real options? (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316837)

If you don't want to lose CPU cycles (and therefore battery power) from using your browser, why are you on Slashdot?
I could ask you the same question. In addition, I do experience the same symptoms when attempting to do actual work.

Re:Why aren't these real options? (1)

the_greywolf (311406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317103)

Want to see something funny? Read /. in Opera with the new discussion system turned on.

(Opera slows down so much that it becomes nearly unusable.)

Re:Why aren't these real options? (1)

the_greywolf (311406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19317079)

The notebook I'm using right now has this amount of memory, and was easily available in stores 1 year ago. Last time I checked, a web browser should never require the absolute latest system for day-to-day operations (which include having another application in the background, such as a word processor or even MSVC 2005.)

My system has 3GB memory. Within a few hours of my typical usage of Firefox, the process has balooned to over 512MB in size. If it remains unchecked (i.e., it sits idle overnight), it becomes sluggish, unresponsive, and unusable. With only 10 tabs open, I have to wait over 5 seconds after opening a tab to begin typing a URL. Then, the entire process locks up for a second or so before it even makes the DNS query.

In fact, I noticed that when I upgraded from 1GB to 2GB and then to 3GB, Firefox's performance got noticably worse, nearly to the point of being completely unusable. I'm literally afraid to upgrade to 4GB now.

It's gotten so bad, that I deliberatly avoid loading it any more, and I've been using Opera and Konqueror far more often.

(Konq still has some problems with its JavaScript engine that make it a pain to use, but at least it doesn't take 5 seconds to respond to my input!)

I'd run gprof on Firefox, but compiling it for profiling would take far too much time (and slow it down even more!) for me to bother investing in it to figure out why the hell it's so goddamn slow to begin with.

a little OT kinda, but the video downloader ext... (2, Informative)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316243)

...works really well if you first watch the video you want to download, putting it in your cache. Then going to video downloader, and regardless of the file size, takes just a few seconds and you are done. Apparently it can grab it from your cache and make it a file on you system (very little for it to really do - very low bandwidth to convert).

In fact, it seems to me that when it doesn't work, "service not available" only happens when I don't watch it first, not in my cache.

frost pIst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316267)

Keep unnecessary [idge.net] developmenSt. 4BSD

Tee Hee (2, Funny)

Richard Dick Head (803293) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316311)

Set general.config.obscure_value to 42 for a special treat :D

Re:Tee Hee (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316403)

What does it do? It doesn't seem to be the answer to anything.

Re:Tee Hee (2, Informative)

SeanMon (929653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316905)

Haha, nice try, but general.config.obscure_value simply is

"An integer to use when obscuring the AutoConfig file saved to and read from disk. Default value is 13 (effectively, ROT-13 the content)."

The Art of Performance Tuning -- a Fable (5, Funny)

sillivalley (411349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316343)

A long time ago, when computers remembered using little donuts made of rust, I worked on on a mainframe computer system (CP/V) that supported batch, timesharing, realtime, the works. It had performance monitoring tools, and a large basketload of parameters for sys admins to twiddle.

One of our favorite parameters was SL:BB, documented as batch bias, an input to the process scheduler. When someone called or wrote to us saying they were having problems with performance tuning, we usually suggested they redo their tests varying the setting of SL:BB and let us know what happened. Try different values, 0, 1, 5, 20, 50, 100, things like that. Try it and get back to us.

And lo, they would go off and redo performance runs, and report back.

And we would collect their results and go and muse over them, usually over beer.

SL:BB told us a lot about the user, because SL:BB was a knob that wasn't connected to anything. Oh, the value was range-checked by the parameter setting tool, and dutifully stored in memory, and displayed on performance displays, but it didn't change system performance in any way at all.

That's not what the documentation said, but who believes documentation? We had plans for SL:BB, we just hadn't gotten around to writing the code yet.

So if the user reported that setting SL:BB to 25, but not 24 or 26 gave them incredibly better (or worse) results, we definitely factored that into our analysis.

Those that reported back that the setting of SL:BB didn't make a damn bit of difference, and there were some, we honored as brothers, took into our confidences, and shared beer with at the soonest opportunity. Their bug reports and feature requests received far more attention, for they had passed an important test.

And how many of these Firefox parameters are like SL:BB?

Re:The Art of Performance Tuning -- a Fable (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316447)

The general.config.obscure_value seems to be one of those.

Re:The Art of Performance Tuning -- a Fable (3, Informative)

MulluskO (305219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316683)

"The general.config.obscure_value preference specifies how the configuration file is obscured. Firefox expects that each byte in the file will be rotated by the specified value. The default value is 13. If this value is left unchanged, then the configuration file must be encoded as ROT13. Autoconfig will fail if the cfg file is not encoded as specified by this preference. A value of 0 indicates that the file is unencoded-- i.e. it is unobscured plain text. It is recommended that you set this value to 0. (This will allow you to skip the encoding step in part 3.)"

Hee.

Re:The Art of Performance Tuning -- a Fable (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316715)

Some, sort of. Example: network.http.pipelining.maxrequests has a maximum 8, if you set it to a higher value it will just use 8; and yet people will claim they see a difference in performance. Other "performance tweaks" lists floating around have settings that are no longer used or that don't do anything like what people seem to think they will. Of course, the same goes for windows tweaks, compiler options, linux kernel /proc settings, etc.

Still can't turn off favicons in the bookmark menu (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316415)

I really don't like favicons in the bookmark menu. Added in firefox 2.0, they force the menu linespacing to be bigger, so I fit less items in a screenful, and the site that I used to know was 6 inches down the screen isn't where I'm expecting it to be anymore. I understand why some people like them, but for me they are a distracting rainbow coloured mess.

Guess which one of the billion or so features in the UI I can't turn off? I can use about:config to remove them from the URL bar, and the tool bar, where they were actually somewhere between bearable and useful... but in the bookmarks menu where they annoy me, I'm stuck with them.

I've installed a plugin that turns custom ones off, so they all look like 5 cyan jellybeans (wtf?) so they are a bit less annoying, but why can't I banish them?

userChrome.css (2, Informative)

pile0nades (962661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316547)

#bookmarks-menu .bookmark-item .menu-iconic-left {
    display: none !important;
}

Alternatively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316829)

Get the FavIcon picker and reduce some of your bookmarks to nothing BUT a favicon. You can get some of them pretty small that way.

(I learned this from another Slashdot comment like this.)

Re:userChrome.css (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316889)

Getting close! That's getting rid of non-custom favicons, but only when I have no windows open. As soon as I open a window, they reappear :-/

Re:Still can't turn off favicons in the bookmark m (1, Informative)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316775)

about:config

change from true to false on the two following items:

browser.chrome.favicons

browser.chrome.site_icons

Re:Still can't turn off favicons in the bookmark m (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316819)

As hinted in my earlier post, those controls turns off the lfavicons in the url bar, and in tabs. They do *not* turn off favicons in the bookmarks menu.

Re:Still can't turn off favicons in the bookmark m (4, Informative)

Dracos (107777) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316781)

In Firefox 2.0.3, I opened up the DOM inspector, chose the main window, and started drilling down in to the element tree: I found the icons which you loathe.

Open up userChrome.css (in your profile: [profile dir]/chrome/).

In it, the following CSS rule should work to hide the icons:

.bookmark-item > .menu-iconic-left > image { display: none; }

(This selector appears in chrome://browser/skin/browser.css, if you know where that is).

kdawson... (2, Insightful)

TiCL (1063546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316501)

KDawson is the new Zonk? Given the quality of the articles he is approving these days, he would soon surpass Zonk in crap-o-meter.

Hacking Firefox (5, Insightful)

Dominare (856385) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316507)

Gah. Why is it that these people insist on calling anything not found on the main options page "hacking"? As for the above questions - usually the reason things like that are 'hidden' is to stop people fiddling with them. A good example is the old 'coolbits' entry in the registry for nVidia cards - the overclocking functionality was there, but you had to do something non-standard to enable it. That way, the company's ass is covered if you melt your card; you can't pretend you enabled the options accidentally. Since Firefox is free and nobody is paying tech-support, I'm not sure why these things aren't available - but the fact of the matter is, anyone messing around with fundamental parameters should _not_ be the kind of person who lets random articles on the internet tell them what to change.

Re:Hacking Firefox (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316827)

Each additional option in the UI makes it harder to find all the other options. There is a straightforward way to access them for people that insist on it. It's a good compromise.

Thunderbird also... (4, Informative)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316513)

You can configure many settings in Thunderbird using a similar interface. However, in Thunderbird you can get to the config section from the Options menu Advanced tab. I have reduced the size of the attachment icons this way. set mailnews.attachments.display.largeView to False.

great timing, I needed this article today... (1)

siliconwafer (446697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19316595)

This morning at work (don't ask why I was surfing the web at work!) I launched FF and opened six tabs, each with a fairly common site: NOAA, TD Ameritrade, Yahoo Finance, etc. Later in the day, perhaps 6 hours later, I noticed my machine (IBM T42) was swapping and noticeably. The Windows XP Task manager, with tasks ordered by memory usage, showed that FF was using 270MB of RAM, far more than any other application. During the day I had closed and opened a few tabs, and reloaded a few pages, but my god -- 270MB of RAM? I am using FF 2. Tomorrow morning I'll try changing browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers to 0, and hopefully that will resolve my issue. I'll report back.

Re:great timing, I needed this article today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316727)

Better yet, try it with IE and report back.

most extensions to avoid=good extensions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316619)

Some of them are among the most useful ones ever created (Adblock{plus}, grasemonkey, noscript, etc.). Hmmmm... jcatcw, are you a Computerworld corporate shill by posting that link again after a lot /. users showed how the first Computerworld article was a pile of corporate rubbish?

stop playing with about:config (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19316743)

this circulates every couple months and just ends up pissing off a bunch of routers and sys admins. if you didn't know that about:config existed, the defaults were meant for you.
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