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Comparing Memory Usage of Firefox 2 vs 3

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-don't-remember-nothing dept.

Mozilla 402

DaMan writes "ZDNet picks up on yesterday's Firefox 3 beta 1 review by comparing the memory usage of Firefox 2 against the latest beta. The results from one of the tests is quite interesting, after loading 12 pages and waiting 5 minutes, 2 used 103,180KB and 3 used 62,312KB. IE used 89,756KB.""

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Yes, but... (5, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21433955)

How much does it use on Linux... err... does it run... damn!

Sorry, I'm new at this....

Re:Yes, but... looking in the wrong spot! :) (0, Offtopic)

sreekotay (955693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434155)

They should add the "Virtual Memory Size" column in Task Manager and use that for comparison. It better reflects actual memory consumption.

The "regular" "Memory Size" column is the "working set" - so its possible that IE or FF 2/3 took more during page loads that hasn't been reclaimed by the OS because no one neededed it.

To see how this can be bogus, try minimizing all the windows for an app and watch "Memory Size" shrink as the working set is paged to disk. "Virtual Memory Size" won't change. See here [microsoft.com] for more info.

Additionally, one (probably) should disable toolbars/extensions - depends on what you're trying to test, of course, but IE's more likely to have some bogus BHO or toolbar installed by third parties (like Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) that are actively sucking RAM; which affects the steady state.

One could argue that's just the real world - but the intent is to compare *browser* efficiency?
----
graphically speaking [kotay.com]

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434289)

1) Replies to an unrelated first post.
2) Regurgitates earlier posts from lower threads.
3) Is a karma whore.

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434647)

4) Links to Satan Incarnate [microsoft.com] .

And Opera (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21433959)

is using 34mb (winXP)

Re:And Opera (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434073)

I'm assuming you loaded the exact same 5 pages with the same ads that the ZDnet testers did?

Re:And Opera (0)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434101)

Sorry, the same 12 pages with a 5 minute wait...

Re:And Opera (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434079)

Is it just me or does it seem like 60MB or even 34MB is a LOT of memory for something that browses Web pages?

I mean, people used to make fun of GNU Emacs, saying things like it stands for eight megabytes and constantly swapping or eventually malloc()'s all computer storage. Emacs takes somewhere around 10MB or so on a RHEL4 box, and that thing is practically an operating system. It reads mail! Firefox doesn't even read mail, and it takes 60MB. Opera reads mail, but still 34MB seems just too big, too.

Maybe I'm just getting to be a cranky old man. Now you kids get offa my lawn!

Re:And Opera (2, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434187)

Not for modern webpages. A single flash ad requires a couple of megs, tack on the capability to have multiple pages open in a single browser (that adds to the memory usage a little), a bunch of these ads, and the actual page content and it's pretty small.

Actually something of interest I've noticed is that since I got NoScript my FF ram usage has dropped considerably. I rarely get about 83MB with FF2 now, because it doesn't have to load the plugins and such.

Re:And Opera (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434193)

IANAWBD (Web Browser Developer), but... there's just so much data for web pages now. You've got plugged-in interpreted flash code, graphics that need to be kept in RAW formats in memory because of speed, the full length and width of the page on an in-memory surface to pan through on a window.

Even then it still needs a dynamic layout for CSS and scripting on the fly. And even then some scripting is safe, some is not, so there are rules that the code has to implement like pop-up blockers, password managers, warnings on insecure pages, warnings on cross-site scripting, etc. All that and the browsers STILL need to be able to sensibly parse and display completely borked pages with invalid HTML.

Nevermind maintaining history, cache, cookies, referring pages, bookmarks.

Re:And Opera (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434399)

See what I mean? :-D We have to develop an extremely complicated application just to look at pretty pictures and text on the Intarweb tubes. I think the resident size on lynx is like a couple of meg. Yeah. Just checked.

Re:And Opera (0, Offtopic)

trosenbl (191401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434437)

Just to clear up one thing

...graphics that must be kept in RAW format...


There are no browsers I'm aware of that support the RAW image format [wikipedia.org] , if that's what you meant. The memory overhead would be insane, not to mention file transfer times.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of kids out there that are playing web developer, who don't know that compressing photographs as GIF is bad, or who still use spacer images, or render paragraphs of text using JPGs, so there's room for improving the code that the browser has to handle, but it's not always quite as bad as your post suggests.

That being said, the nesting of tables, which still continues even on mainstream sites, requires a lot of memory to parse. Browser makers do a great job at dealing with the mess of code some people throw at them.

-- Tim

Re:And Opera (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434547)

Not raw like your camera raw, but raw uncompressed format. All those JPGs and GIFs and PNGs must be converted to raw or bitmap files to display them on the screen.

Re:And Opera (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434205)

But Emacs doesn't display images (somebody will probably correct me on this). Just the cached copies of all the images can take up quite a bit of memory. And from what I remember, it has to basically uncompress them to bitmaps, and keeps those in memory, so that can eat up a lot of memory. Also, all the CSS, DOM, and other information that a text editor doesn't have to keep loaded all the time probably uses up a large amount of memory also. Not to mention plugins like flash and other things that probably use quite a bit of memory. A web browser isn't just something that displays text. If you want that, try Lynx, and you'll probably have a browser that uses very little memory. However, for those of us who want a graphical and eye-pleasing web experience, the browser is probably going to take quite a bit of memory for a long time to come.

Re:And Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434621)

it does

Re:And Opera (2, Interesting)

muyuubyou (621373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434305)

It's the "interwebs" what's really bloated. My Firefox executable here is taking just 7.3MB, but then you open several web pages that take MBs each, and some more in uncompressed, parsed form. Then some browsers cache other stuff like rendered pages in memory, and you get those figures we're talking about.

Re:And Opera (2, Insightful)

nicolastheadept (930317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434559)

There's no point RAM sitting there, not being used. It might as well be used to speed up page loading etc. rather than doing nothing.

Re:And Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434671)

Let's see, an 800x600 image in 24bit "true color" is about 1.5Mbytes. Sure the jpeg is compressed but a bitmap is what is on screen. That's just a picture in a web page. I don't know about you, but I run my browsers at full screen, the smallest screen I run on is 1440x900, that's nearly 4MB of framebuffer. That's just the visual part, that doesn't do any processing or actually making sense of the data or running any javascript. The frame is a shared component it's not directly in the memory space of the browser but that gives you some idea of sizes of data. What's a browser do? It parses data and produces a picture of it, rendering fonts and what have you. I have not looked closely at the code to any of them but to make them fast, I'd render the whole page in to a buffer and then display the portions of the buffer that the user has selected and then, hopefully you'd be able to scroll fast and search and do all that stuff. So if you're web page is big enough to be like 10 "screens" (say your scroll bar is 1/10th the size) and the whole thing is rendered in memory and it happens to just be a raw picture during that time, you're looking at like 40MB of a page. Now this isn't the most efficient way of doing it but it's really easy to consume that kind of memory with an app like this.


I think I usually have about 10 tabs open on firefox too.
 

Re:And Opera (1)

beau_west (1114973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434123)

I use FireFox and Opera very heavily at work. FireFox for any normal browsing/development. And Opera primarily for . What constantly surprises me is the amount of memory that Opera uses with one tab. It starts at about 74,000K and grows to obscene amounts. (It grows with every new song) Greater than FireFox with several instances running, which is currently using 308,000K on my machine. This could be due to poor Flash on Pandora's part, or, could there be problems with Opera?

Re:And Opera (2)

bmartin (1181965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434139)

Opera's no saint. After running Opera and Firefox 2 with no plugins for quite some time, they used the same amount of memory on my computer (Linux). I've been running FF w/ no plugins for a very long time on my machine due to its limited memory (512 MB).

While the rendering engine has an obvious need for memory, it's nice to see that they're cutting down on memory usage; it has been one of the biggest drawbacks of using Firefox. There's really no need for a web browser to use more than 100MB of memory. For people with limited RAM, it'd make more sense at that point to cache the contents to disk re-render them when they're needed.

That said, Firefox does need a rewrite of the plugin system (which would be a BIG overhaul), but it's more important that they iron out the bugs for this release first. It'd be a huge step up for the Mozilla team, as long as they don't change the existing plugin API.

And Links (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434229)

is using 14 MB (Ubuntu)

Re:And Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434325)

I'm running Opera 9.5 right now, and it's a slow, fat pig. A fat pig with lots of useful features, but still a slow, fat pig.

It's about time... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21433961)

They improved FF's memory footprint. I ilke the way this is marketed as something fantastic when in reality it's nothing
but a bug fix. Good browser though.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Tesen (858022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434015)


Hey it might get someone laid, you know they could flash out the changelog at a local bar and say to a chick: "I did that! I reduced the memory usage of Firefox!" And when that hot sexy blonde rolls her eyes, they'll probably end up with something that is a cross between a horse, an elephant and Dick Cheney.

Tes

Yeah but it's still beta (4, Funny)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21433975)

I'm sure that low memory usage bug will be fixed by the first release candidate.

Re:Yeah but it's still beta (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434251)

The things is, there're real efforts to reduce memory fragmentation (which allows to free memory) that have been developed recently and are not included in this beta.

Re:Yeah but it's still beta (4, Interesting)

beh (4759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434393)

Actually, that 'low memory bug' has already been fixed - I've downloaded the beta and installed it on WinXP - after looking at 2 pages, Firefox 2 memory usage was at about 45MB; Firefox 3's memory usage was up to about 750MB after less than 5 minutes (and the same 2 pages; in two tabs, just as with Firefox 2.0.0.9), completely bringing the machine to a crawl (1GB mem; and apart from Firefox, Outlook, Eclipse and SquirrelSQL were open)...

I'm reverting back to Firefox 2 for the time being, and will file a bug report once I have some more time to find out what's causing the issue...

Re:Yeah but it's still beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434507)

I'm reverting back to Firefox 2 for the time being, and will file a bug report once I have some more time to find out what's causing the issue...
Good thing Firefox 3 has a fast uninstall [slashdot.org] . I might switch to it just for that reason.

This is irrelevant (0)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21433989)

Why is memory use of a browser even relevant? Anyone reading slashdot already has 4GB or more, and quibbling over 62MB or 100MB or 200MB is like spending an hour of your time trying to save $5. It's such a small amount as to be irrelevant, and in that hour you could have earned 10 times that amount.

Re:This is irrelevant (0, Offtopic)

Pazy (1169639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434045)

eh.. I read slashdot all the time and I have 1gb (2*512's).

Re:This is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434163)

and I read slashdot and I have 256mb (2*128) in my laptop. 100mb vs 60mb means a lot to me.

OLPCs laptops have only 512mb.

Re:This is irrelevant (3, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434353)

Because mostly on Windows, most people's RAM is stretched to the limit, if a simple program that people use every day (Firefox) will decrease memory usage, then they can focus on speed and in the end, if Firefox can be 2X as fast as IE, Konqueror(and by extension Safari), and Opera people will switch to it. And I actually have around 512 MB on both my Laptop and Desktop with the Desktop currently running Xubuntu and my laptop running Ubuntu 7.10 happily. And when Linux can resurrect a "dead" system like a crashed Windows system that someone may give you for like $10 that happens to have 256 MB of RAM on it and a slower but usable processor like a Pentium III, Linux can run fine on it however, if FF runs slowly, most people have little need for a computer if they can't browse the web with it.

How are they measuring? (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21433991)

Are they using the handy dandy Task Manager? If so, this is not even remotely accurate. In the age of managed memory, this is an estimate at best. Don't believe me. Open up internet explorer, run it a while and look at the memory usage. Now minimize IE. Watch the number drop like a lead balloon.

Re:How are they measuring? (3, Interesting)

vally_manea (911530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434017)

From what I've heard this is common practice at MS. When the app gets minimized it releases/caches a lot of memory. There was a story on a MS person's blog but I'm to lazy to find it out.

Re:How are they measuring? (5, Insightful)

Lemmingue (788112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434127)

The Working Set (physical memory) size will drop, but the memory consumption (Private Bytes, Virtual Memory) will be the same. When a window is minimized, Windows mark the memory pages as candidates to be relocated in case of memory shortage. When you restore IE focus the Working Set size will return to the previous size.

Task Manager sucks, use Sysinternals' Process Explorer.

Re:How are they measuring? (2, Insightful)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434379)

Re:How are they measuring? (2, Interesting)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434159)

I don't believe this is only IE--when I listen to music on my computer on an airplane, I minimize the music program because it uses less memory, and therefore less battery (from my tests, Winamp Lite minimized uses the least RAM when minimized of all the players I tested. It was better than Foobar and mplayer, etc).

In fact, I just tried the same thing with Opera--it dropped from 60,000 to 11,000.

I don't think it's an estimate--I think the program really uses less RAM when minimized.

Re:How are they measuring? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434243)

Do this experiment.
1) Browse with IE for a few minutes.
2) Look at the memory usage
3) Minimize IE.
4) Look at the memory usage
5) Maximize IE
6) Look at the memory usage.

Compare #2 and #6. I've found that #6 is lower than #2.

Re:How are they measuring? (3, Informative)

volpe (58112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434297)

When you minimize, the working set size is reduced. This causes pages to be swapped out to the pagefile. When you maximize (or restore), the working set size is increased, meaning that the application is *allowed* to use more physical memory, but that doesn't mean it's going to immediately start loading back the same pages it swapped out. It's going to wait for page faults to compel it to do so. That is why #6 is lower than #2.

Re:How are they measuring? (1)

astrosmash (3561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434397)

So, what's your analysis? Why is #6 less than #2, and what does than mean?

Where does the memory go when an application is minimized? Where does the memory come back from when you restore the application?

Hint: the application isn't doing anything. It's an OS trick.

Bonus Question: Why do you think Firefox disables this trick?

Re:How are they measuring? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434645)

My assumption is that that is related to managed memory. An object is marked as being ready for disposal, but is not actually disposed. When a minimize event occurs, garbage collection occurs.

Now, I could really be off on this, but I have not seen anyone give a reason for this behavior that explains everything I see. If you have a better conclusion, I am all ears :)

Re:How are they measuring? (0, Troll)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434693)

Do this experiment.
1) Buy enough ram so you now have 4GB.
2) Just use whichever damn browser you like.
3) Go outside and get on with it (your life, that is).

Observe which procedure (this, or that detailed in the OP) brings more joy to your life. Frankly I don't give a shit if Firefix uses a few hundred meg, because I earn enough to buy a few hundred megs in the time it would take me to do the original procedure.

Re:How are they measuring? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434359)

How does minimizing a program / using less active memory cause less power draw? I would imagine that the power you save would be from not having to render the visualizations, resulting in less CPU work. Memory chips aren't going to be shut off or anything like that.

Re:How are they measuring? (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434307)

It probably uses less memory because when the window is minimized Windows does not have to spend the time to update the GUI. So all of the GUI data can be taken out of memory. So the actions of the GUI are still taking place but the memory holding the redrawn objects etc is not needed. It should also execute faster due to not have to refresh the screen.

Re:How are they measuring? (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434375)

That behavior drives me crazy about Windows, so much so that I will often resort to forcing the page file down to 2MB just to keep it from swapping my applications out when I Minimize them. I hate having a system with 2GB of memory and having to wait 30 seconds for it to page some application back in (slow laptop HDDs don't help) just because it thought I might want a lot of free memory for some reason.

Strange, 1p/10 mins more than 12pp/5 mins? (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434003)

Firefox 3.0 b 1:

Loading a five pages into the browser - 38,644KB
Loading a single page and leaving the browser for 10 minutes - 63,764KB
Loading 12 pages into the browser and wait 5 minutes - 62,312KB
I wonder what would have happened had he loaded 12 pages and let the browser sit for 10 minutes -- would the memory usage still be less than the single page/10 mins test?

Seems to me that memory usage must still spiral under 3 beta, otherwise how would the single page/10 min usage be less than the 12pp/5 min test? Sure, it's not as bad, but that number really caught my eye... more testing is in order if I can get some time away from the in-laws over the holiday.

Re:Strange, 1p/10 mins more than 12pp/5 mins? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434097)

Also, seems like a pretty crappy test to me, especially considering that most of the complaints with Firefox are with memory leaks, and not memory usage from opening a few pages. What happens after an entire work day of using the browser? Is there a significant difference in memory at that point? People who open their browser and look at 10 pages, then close it again will rarely ever have a problem with memory usage in Firefox. However, those of use who leave it open for days at a time, doing web development, and constantly looking at new pages are the ones who need to worry. It's like comparing the performance Visual Studio 2003 to Visual Studio 2005 on a project that only has 5 classes.

Re:Strange, 1p/10 mins more than 12pp/5 mins? (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434143)


Indeed. Personally, now that Firefox will save tabs, I no longer have much concern about memory leaks. Of course it would be good if they were fixed, but practically speaking, it doesn't have a material impact on my usage. I always close Firefox at the end of the day and reopen it in the morning.

However, if they can make Firefox even quicker, that would be something I'd appreciate!

Re:Strange, 1p/10 mins more than 12pp/5 mins? (4, Informative)

stony3k (709718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434221)

Form the tests that the developers have been running, most of the memory leaks in Firefox itself seem to be fixed (there are probably still some left). However, memory usage still remains a problem. I think this blog post [pavlov.net] summarizes their findings. They've been using dtrace and other tools to find out exactly what is going on.

Unfortunately, I think the damage to Firefox's reputation is already done. There are many people who have had negative experiences with Firefox who keep on harping about the "memory leaks" and I don't see how Mozilla devs can change this public perception.

not to point out the obvious (2, Insightful)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434013)

firefox 3 doesn't have any plugins yet, last i checked it was plugin writers who were blamed for all the memory issues by Mozilla

btw i did same test in IE7 and Opera9 and only got 30-40MB usage

Re:not to point out the obvious (5, Informative)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434047)

From the article:

Both Firefox 2.0.0.9 and Firefox 3.0 b 1 were installed fresh using a standard install.

This explains a part of it (memory fragmenting) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434061)

http://blog.pavlov.net/2007/11/10/memory-fragmentation/ [pavlov.net]

An interesting read on how memory fragmentation adversely affects FireFox... & why/how.

APK

P.S.=> I also recommend Opera for these reasons (less security holes period, & the 1 it had yesterday? Patched yesterday too... fast!)

SECUNIA DATA ON BROWSER SECURITY (dated 11/20/2007):

Opera 9.24 security advisories @ SECUNIA (0% unpatched):

http://secunia.com/product/10615/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

----

Netscape 9.0.0.3 (0% unpatched)

http://secunia.com/product/14690/ [secunia.com]

----

FireFox 2.0.0.9 security advisories @ SECUNIA (29% unpatched):

http://secunia.com/product/12434/ [secunia.com]

----

IE 7 (latest cumulative update from MS) security advisories @ SECUNIA (37% unpatched):

http://secunia.com/product/12366/ [secunia.com]

----

Those %'s are the latest for FireFox 2.0.0.9, Netscape 9.0.0.3, IE7 after last "patch Tuesday" from MS with the "CUMULATIVE IE UPDATES" they have (see the security downloads URL I post in the 12 steps above to secure yourself), & Opera 9.24... all latest/greatest models.

So, as you can see?

Well, NOT ONLY IS OPERA MORE SECURE/BEARING LESS SECURITY VULNERABILITIES?

It's faster too, on just about ANYTHING a browser does
, & is probably the MOST standards compliant browser under the sun (not counting HTML dev tools). This is borne out in these tests:

http://www.howtocreate.co.uk/browserSpeed.html [howtocreate.co.uk]

AND, yes others (most recently in Javascript parsing speeds, oddly enough, lol... given the topic of my post here that is), right here:

http://nontroppo.org/timer/kestrel_tests/ [nontroppo.org]

Opera's just more std.'s compliant, faster, & more secure than the others... so, "where do you want to go today?"...

apk

Re:This explains a part of it (memory fragmenting) (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434129)

pitty opera doesn't have a firebug type plugin (for javascript debugging)

then i would have no need for firefox at all during the development stage

right now i have firefox open and its using 170MB ram (which is not too bad, ive seen worse :(, and is possibly due to all the dev extensions i have) but compare that to a vmware images i have running now ( windows xp and suse10.3) both are running comfortably with 120MB allocated RAM each

Re:This explains a part of it (memory fragmenting) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434217)

It MAY have one... I am not sure though. There ARE "addons" for Opera too!

(& they're called "Opera widgets").

Perhaps there is one like you mention OR, perhaps not... but, no time like the present eh?

Perhaps it's waiting for YOU to create it (why not, if you have the skills, you know?).

APK

P.S.=> In any event, the analysis done that illustrates memory fragmentation creates uncontiguous blocks of RAM which FireFox allocates & uses & HAS TO GROW QUITE A LOT to operate, was interesting... it goes a long ways towards making some points I had in a discussion I had with Dr. Mark Russinovich & many arstechnica people on the Windows IT Pro website in fact circa 2003-2004. Nothing like proving a GOOD point, vs. the "industry gurus"... & Windows VISTA's showing thusfar (also a RAM eater by way of comparison to Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003) under Dr. Russinovich's tenure @ MS is another... apk

Re:This explains a part of it (memory fragmenting) (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434487)

Perhaps it's waiting for YOU to create it (why not, if you have the skills, you know?).
Seeing how small projects like Firebug can consume huge amounts of time for it's developers, I doubt that there are many people who want to dedicate themselves to a single project like Firebug when they could be doing *insert thing they aspire more to doing*.

I have to say, I don't think this attitude of "don't like it? Go make it yourself!" makes a product you are promoting look good.

In any event, the analysis done that illustrates memory fragmentation creates uncontiguous blocks of RAM which FireFox allocates & uses & HAS TO GROW QUITE A LOT to operate, was interesting...
Seeing how K-meleon uses the same rendering engine as Firefox and yet uses barely any memory, I wonder if the whole XUL GUI framework that Firefox uses is the cause of these memory issues.

Nothing like proving a GOOD point, vs. the "industry gurus"... & Windows VISTA's showing thusfar (also a RAM eater by way of comparison to Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003) under Dr. Russinovich's tenure @ MS is another... apk
This is like gibberish now...

Re:This explains a part of it (memory fragmenting) (1)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434285)

VMware memory usage is rather tricky. I have one dedicated VMware server and guests eat only a 1/3 of maximum memory (reported by utility "top" and gnome system monitor). But that doesn't mean memory is enough (the machines start to slightly choke on that memory usage).
The VMwares' web management tool says all memory is eaten up (guests have ~95% of RAM). Go figure.

Re:This explains a part of it (memory fragmenting) (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434265)

I don't use Opera for two reasons (I use Firefox):
  • Doesn't work with some sites I visit (banking)
  • No equivalent to Google Browser Sync [google.com]

Opera 9.5 (2, Informative)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434627)

Your complains are real.

Because of that, Opera has two features you could find useful:
  • Mask as: as most sites don't work because of improperly and outdated sniffing code, you can make Opera pretend to be IE or Fx, this setting can be global, or can be per domain.
  • Opera Sync: The upcoming Opera 9.5 has syncing between accounts too.

As you see, Opera deserves its good reputation because they are updating the browser all the time adressing all kind of issues.

(And I'm glad you posted real issues, not the same old 'extensions, extensions, extensions!')

Re:not to point out the obvious (1, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434181)

last i checked it was plugin writers who were blamed for all the memory issues by Mozilla

Which to me sounds eerily similar to Microsoft blaming 3rd party software for taking down the operating system.

Re:not to point out the obvious (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434475)

If an extension starts allocating megabytes of memory, should a browser stop it? How much is too much? Should this be a limit set by the user (god help my dad, in that case)?

If an extension crashes, I'm not even sure if the browser is supposed to stay open, or crash with it. Certainly an OS should not crash regardless of what a browser does.

Re:not to point out the obvious (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434615)

What about a task manager extension for firefox that shows how much memory each extension is using? Seems like it could be useful. I mean, we know how much memory firefox in general is taking up, but it would be nice to get a breakdown of where that memory is going to.

Re:not to point out the obvious (1)

the pickle (261584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434569)

>last i checked it was plugin writers who were blamed for all the memory issues by Mozilla

Which to me sounds eerily similar to Microsoft blaming 3rd party software for taking down the operating system.


Except "taking down the operating system" is very different, both in severity and root cause, from leaking memory. If you're going to allow extensions to run as part of the browser, you don't really have any control over what they do with the browser's RAM usage. An OS has the luxury of being able to partition processes off into their own memory spaces if it so desires, but to do this within the constraints of a single application and within the limitations an OS imposes on how much low-level memory management apps can do on their own is up there on the difficult-to-impossible scale.

p

Re:not to point out the obvious (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434235)

firefox 3 doesn't have any plugins yet
All my old plugins, flash, vlc's movie plugin and so on still work in this Firefox 3.

Re:not to point out the obvious (4, Insightful)

ToLu the Happy Furby (63586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434241)

You can enable extensions not explicitly marked as compatible with Firefox 3 beta by going to about:config and adding an entry for extensions.checkCompatibility : false. I'm running the same extensions and usage pattern as with Firefox 2 and performance is MUCH improved, especially AJAX performance on Gmail and shutdown/session recover speed. Of course, it has only been one day since my last FF restart. FWIW, I'm running about 8 extensions and have about 50 tabs open across 5 windows; currently on my 2GB machine Task Manager shows Firefox 3 using 235MB, where in the past Firefox 2 would easily consume ~450MB or even 600MB+ under similar workload. (Of course in the past I only checked Task Manager once FF's performance became noticeably slow, so this is not necessarily a good comparison.)

Another point regarding your IE7 and Opera9 tests: as far as I know, all modern browsers choose to allocate more or less memory depending on how much memory the OS reports as available (certainly Firefox does), so users on different boxes can show very different results.

FFX3 uses up all memory and causes thrashing (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434039)

Can anyone else verify this on Linux?

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=404688 [mozilla.org]

Re:FFX3 uses up all memory and causes thrashing (1)

roblarky (1103715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434215)

I can confirm this has happened on WinXP SP2. Happened two times in a row. Checked Task Manager, mem usage > 670MB and VM size was 1.6GB, it took 25 minutes to be able to get TaskMan open and kill the process (I had unsaved code in VS.NET, wasn't about to reboot). After I killed FF3, I saved my work and re-opened (this time I reduced the process priority to below normal..); everything was fine for about 15 minutes then I saw the HDD light start going crazy again. I left TaskMan open and saw FF start eating RAM and VM, killed it and went back to FF2. Rob

Re:FFX3 uses up all memory and causes thrashing (1)

f8l_0e (775982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434501)

I had the same thing happen to me. Restoring the session when I started firefox again brought the problem right back. I killed the task and brought it back up again and chose 'New Session' and everything went back to normal.

Re:FFX3 uses up all memory and causes thrashing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434427)

Fx3 Beta 1, testing without swap from a Knoppix live CD in a VM; because the build process is a PITA and those wacky mozilla people aren't with 2004/64bit computing yet!

Top shows a steady 141MB for firefox-bin. An lsof shows 2 handles each for formhistory and urlclassifier3 sqlite databases!?!? I've not assigned any spare memory to the VM (total 256MB) -- it's still responsive.

What kernels are you guys running? Anyone reproduced on a BSD?

Re:FFX3 uses up all memory and causes thrashing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434543)

I confirm it on Ubuntu 7.10. Mem usage just climbs until the machine freeses in a swap-thrash frenzy. I have reverted to FF2 for my normal usage.

Re:FFX3 uses up all memory and causes thrashing (1)

zoid.com (311775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434639)

It does on my PPC Powerbook. It used 1.5 gig in a matter of 45 seconds.

Maybe he can test, but he can't write (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434057)

When the guy starts out (OK, second sentence) with:

In a test put Firefox 3.0 beta up against Firefox 2.0.0.9 in a series of tests.

You wonder if he has any clue what he is typing or even testing. Did he type the results in incorrectly too?

All of these windows-centric tests (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434069)

What I really care about is how it has changed on the linux platform (where I've never had an issue with it). Is it going to be an improvement there too?

That's before it goes mad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434105)

I installed it this morning. Twice so far it has gone mad, chewing up all the memory on the machine. I found with top that it was taking 80+% mem on a 500M machine, and that's with 2-3 tabs open and only four or five pages of history. This of course drives the machine into swap thrashing and makes it difficult to even do anything to kill it.

Talking of which, it won't die. Three of the four times I have shut it down with the X on the window border, I have been left with a zombie firefox-bin process which I have to kill by hand. And this is which switching between versions 2 & 3 tying to figure out exactly why a drop-down list doesn't work in FF3 (it does perfectly in FF2).

This is on Ubuntu Gutsy. Maybe the Windows version is more stable, but the Linux one is not useable for me. Let's hope they fix it before release.

Re:That's before it goes mad... (1)

techno_dan (591398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434525)

Windows XP is the same, I had a few tabs open, and it was sitting in the background. 4 hours later, my machine started acting up. I looked at the memory usage in process explorer, and Firefox was consuming 800MB+ of ram, while the Resident size was over 2G. This is on an XP sp2, with 1 gig of ram. Still needs a lot of work.

12 pages? Who has 12 tabs open? (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434109)

Come on, this is not a fair test. When I go to bookmarks/open all in tabs in a folder, I usually open anywhere between 18 to 30 tabs. In fact the first thing I do is to open all the editorial cartoons bookmark folder under "open all in tabs". By the time I am done with email, I will have the 21 cartoons ready to be perused.

BTW I never found old FireFox's memory consumption as annoying as intransigence of some sites in refusing to support Firefox and the lax/laisse-faire coding for IE only. May be because at work I usually have a couple of four processor 16GB machine for development/testing. I used to have a dedicated 2GB machine exclusively for Firefox. But that old machine's hard disk started squealing with an annoying noise so I had to throw it away. Even at home with my puny 512MB 4 year old desktop or the 1GB 2 year old laptop I get by without any serious memory issues.

Re:12 pages? Who has 12 tabs open? (1)

ultramkancool (827732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434433)

Indeed. In my tipical browsing session, I have so many tabs, they're hard to manage (so, I use tab mix plus. I can have it use multiple rows instead of a scrolling tab bar, I also have it so I can use my mouse wheel to switch tabs.) I usually have a few windows open too. My machine only has 256 MB of ram, but, I've never had a problem on Gentoo, Ubuntu or even XP.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434111)

Wow, that sure is some sloppy programming...How can a simple web-browser use almost 100Mb of memory?

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434203)

Wow, that sure is some sloppy programming...How can a simple web-browser use almost 100Mb of memory?
The problem is one of your assumptions, Firefox is not a simple web-browser.

not an issue (2, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434121)

Memory usage really isn't a huge issue for most end-users. Sure if it was sucking up 800 meg with 2 or 3 tabs open people would complain but right now people are just starting to get used to the idea of tabs much less use 12 of them. The memory usage now is hardly a system stopper for most people who only run their browser and mail client and maybe an office suite and picture viewer.

Re:not an issue (1)

tji (74570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434401)

It becomes an issue when the memory grows at the alarming rate shown in the test. Considering the browser is the one app I have open all the time, and keep open for days/weeks at a time, memory usage does become a concern.

Also, considering some other applications I often have open are memory hogs too (Microsoft Word / Excel / Powerpoint, Apple Mail, VMware Fusion) memory efficiency becomes more concerning. Even with 2GB of RAM, I run into problems at times.

Compared to usefulness? Compared to total RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434125)

How can someone be worried about -/+20MB memory usage of application that actually does something with it then be using Vista which does not and uses a hole lot more...

Well opinion or not I wouldn't mind a browser using 400MB (20% ca on most of my machines) if it meant snappier history/rendering with less CPU usage.

Re:Compared to usefulness? Compared to total RAM? (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434425)

What Firefox needs to do is in about:config have an option that would be "Use RAM saving rendering" have it set as true but if you have loads of RAM just set it to be false, good for people running Firefox on slower systems and good for people with 4 gigs of RAM

Exact opposite on my machine (2, Informative)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434161)

Either I got a bad build, or I've got a weird system setup. FF3b1 was using 180 megs (yes, 180 megs) of memory to load my intranet page, and would try and scream upwards from there before my poor IBM laptop (P3 800, 320 megs of ram) ground to a halt. FF 2.0.9 was using 30 megs.

I wish I could have submitted a bug report, but my machine would freeze before firefox actually crashed.

(and no, it does also take me 15 minutes to move a 20 meg file on my mac.....)

What a stupid "test" (3, Insightful)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434213)

Seems like the author is playing up to some feature in FireFox 4 that releases un-viewed pages from memory after a certain amount of time.

I bet if he re-clicked on each of the 12 tabs after the 5 minutes was up, that memory usages would go back up again.

"using less memory" isnt always desirable. I have 4 GB of RAM in my system and i'd rather if the applications USED THAT RAM, to keep application response "instant", rather than un-caching stuff, only to pull it back into memory again when I want to see it.

Re:What a stupid "test" (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434291)

"echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/swappiness" You will need to be root (obviously).

Re:What a stupid "test" (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434317)

"using less memory" isnt always desirable. I have 4 GB of RAM in my system and i'd rather if the applications USED THAT RAM, to keep application response "instant", rather than un-caching stuff, only to pull it back into memory again when I want to see it.

A good point! And firefox does seem to take this into account. I am running Firefox 2 on Ubuntu (right now!) on a Thinkpad T20 with 256MB of ram - it works fine.

Yet flash.... (2, Informative)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434277)

On Ubuntu 7.04 and 7.10 if you install the flash plugin nonfree package from apt-get flash works fine but whenever you try installing it from Adobe's site or the auto plugin installer, FF grinds to a halt on it using around 100 CPU on anything Flash related like Youtube or Slashdot's ads, disabling flash solves it, however on my other computer that is not much more powerful (slower clock speed of CPU but higher bus speed) when I installed it from the auto plugin installer it works fine getting only around 50% of CPU Max. Firefox or Adobe needs to fix this so Linux people can test the binary that requires you to install the auto-plugin and doesn't work with flash-plugin-nonfree. However, Firefox 3 is my preferred browser on my other computer and it was on Windows even more. My question is, why can't Firefox produce either a sane way to compile it (its a pain to compile it already...) or supplying .deb and .rpm for the builds to make it easier to install? Linux seems to be neglected by Firefox lately, with more strategy of stealing IE's market share then making a better browser on Linux. And Konqueror is painfully slow when on XFCE or GNOME (or just about anything thats not KDE) but perhaps KDE 4 will fix that....

Re:Yet flash.... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434409)

Same happens on Mac OS X with a PowerPC G4. Adobe's plugin will eat up 100% cpu for something as simple as a video or a game while other things like Java plugins or real video doesn't take anything.

Re:Yet flash.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434593)

I use Opera on XFCE4. After the switch, there's no reason to look back.

Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434301)

It takes a lot to load on Vista and has a splash screen about canceling or allowing something....

Memory AND speed issues (2, Interesting)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434407)

If I don't shut down Firefox when I leave work for the day my system will be at a dead crawl in the morning - it shouldn't do this. (The only other program that acts like this is MS Streets & Trips). I am annoyed that Firefox is painfully slower to load certain pages - I do a lot of work for an in-house Quickbase application and MSIE blows firefox out of the water performance-wise, to the point where the same page in MSIE will load 3-5 times faster than it will in Firefox.

Won't be going back (2, Informative)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434411)

So I started using the beta yesterday, and I can say that I won't be going back to IE or FF2. It runs extremely fast, stable, and is nice and polished. It seriously reminds me of the early releases of FF, but much, much faster. I've got about 14 tabs open right now, and its still running screaming fast. The earlier /. article is no lie, it installs in a heartbeat, opens fast, closes fast, even browses fast (as would be assumed given that it uses a smaller memory footprint, though I could be wrong about that). I reccomend.

the blog is brain fart (1)

computerchimp (994187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434471)

Nothing wrong with making a blog post about 5 minutes worth of work that really amounted to nothing. Blogs are always full of brain farts.
But, then posting this on slashdot...thats an entirely different type of stinky brain fart.

Was this a slow news day?

CC

Memory still an issue for me... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434477)

Installed and fired up firefox 3 beta 1. Went to visit www.speakeasy.net/speedtest, couldn't even hit enter. The default page wasn't even loading. My system slowed to a crawl. I checked the availible RAM, and of the 1GB I have in this system I had 2 megs free. Here Firefox was using 707.13 Megs of RAM... don't think the memory leak has been complete fixed (yes this was a windows machine...)

Re:Memory still an issue for me... (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434563)

You can try removing your profile folder, reimport your bookmarks (I had to use restore, import grinded to a non-working halt)... Maybe that's the problem, I don't know but it works nicely now (including some plugins, use extensions.checkCompatibility=false)

Re:Memory still an issue for me... (3, Informative)

magicsquid (85985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434603)

I wish I had mod points, because this needs to be brought to people's attention. Everyone seems to be claiming victory over the memory bugs, but for me (and you and many others) there are still random problems.

My system exhibits the exact same problem you describe. My Firefox will spike from around 66 MB of RAM usage to 700 then 800 then 900 and will just sit there chewing up more RAM until I kill it. I'd love to know the cause and even better, the solution to this problem.

It is happening in FF2 and in the 3 Beta. It doesn't happen on the same site every time. It happens most frequently when using JavaScript, but not always. I can't seem to narrow it down unfortunately.

Safari on Windows (1)

TheDrewbert (914334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434491)

12 tabs, 10 minutes, 133megs, but still stable and fast. FF is still my main browser though

Yes, but... (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434573)

How much RAM did the Firefox 3 box have free after leaving it running a few hours?

Final conclusion: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434597)

All three leak like the filthy, smoldering piles of shitty software they are. Try Opera - sure, it has its bitchy moments, but atleast it's properly programmed.
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