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Firefox 3 May Be More Memory Efficient Than Either IE or Opera

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the but-is-it-as-efficient-as-a-red-stapler dept.

Mozilla 370

Edy52285 writes "Ars Technica has an article showing benchmarks pitting Firefox 3 Beta 4 against other browsers. Contenders include IE7, Firefox 2, Opera 9.5 Beta, and Safari 3.0.4 Beta. The piece includes a graph depicting FF3's memory usage well below that of the other browsers. The in-testing browser even trumps Opera, which has long been regarded as the fastest browser around."

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370 comments

yes but... (1, Redundant)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781694)

Does it run linux?
Can it play OGG?

I don't care (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781704)

It still leaks.

Re:I don't care (-1, Offtopic)

naylor83 (836780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781902)

Um, no it doesn't.

Re:I don't care (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782168)

I burned it to CD and it still let through water from the middle, ergo it leaks

Scale? (5, Insightful)

frp001 (227227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781706)

I just love this when someone provides a graph without even a detailed scale!

going to karma hell for this one... (5, Funny)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782164)

The drop-off you see near the end of the graph is where both versions of Firefox crash. I'm excited, because unlike the old version, this now actually really helps reduce its memory usage. [arstechnica.com]

Re:Scale? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782332)

According to pavlov [flickr.com] : We purposefully put in a 3 second delay for all the pages so that would all take about the same amount of time in all browsers (as my post was about memory usage, not page load times (also, several browsers don't render all the pages correctly)) and didn't want to confuse anyone.

I knew IE7 was bad, but... (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781710)

It's one thing to know that IE7 is a resource hog, but another thing entirely to view the graph in the article and be confronted with hard evidence of just how abysmal it is.

I'm going to print out that graph and put it on my wall. Then, when my users come to me and ask why our enterprise isn't rolling out IE7 on our systems, I can just point to it.

Eat my goatse'd penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781810)

Goatse in your face! Goatse up your ass! [twofo.co.uk]

You nerds love it.

Re:Eat my goatse'd penis (0)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781870)

Your link points to the twofo home page. You fail it.

Thanks for playing, though.

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781986)

It's one thing to know that IE7 is a resource hog, but another thing entirely to view the graph in the article and be confronted with hard evidence of just how abysmal it is.

I'm going to print out that graph and put it on my wall. Then, when my users come to me and ask why our enterprise isn't rolling out IE7 on our systems, I can just point to it.
As a web developer, I beg you, please install IE7 anyway. It's better standards support (far from being as good as gecko/webkit/khtml/opera, but still a massive improvement over IE6), support for alpha transparency, etc, makes things so much easier for us.

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (-1, Troll)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782274)

As a web developer, I beg you, please install IE7 anyway
Nice try, AC. I bet you're one of those people running a dodgy porn site that tries to exploit IE.. :p FFS Microsoft, stop forcing your new trash on us just when your old trash is starting to get beaten into shape after several hundred patches. And stop making stupid interface designs. I don't care if it has supposedly better standards support if I have to look at *that*. In FF I get rid of the bookmarks bar, put everything else onto one line (back/forward buttons to the left of the file menu, address and google search bar to the right), and am left with lots of nice browsing real estate at 1680x1050 \o/ I don't care too much about memory leaks when FF just seems to run and render better, and I don't tend leave FF running for hours at a time either. It does have a fairly poor startup time but that's from all the addons I have installed. Microsoft don't seem to be able to render anything nicely, it always feels flimsy (for example dragging windows around in Windows, you get flickering even with an excellent graphics card and such - they need to double buffer or something.. Vista probably renders windows nicer, but that's a moot point considering that the rest of it is garbage)

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782014)

I bet you get at least one user who thinks they're smart trying to argue that even the poster on your wall says IE7 is better than the other browsers.

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (3, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782058)

I don't doubt it...after all, it's already happened here [slashdot.org] . ^_^

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (2, Funny)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782240)

Along that vein; be advised that notepad has a VERY small footprint. I think it is safe to say you can omit OO.org and Microsoft Word from your roll out. I can make a graph for you to hang up on your wall!

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (4, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782376)

Along that vein; be advised that notepad has a VERY small footprint.

you seem to be inferring that feature-wise, IE7 is better then FF3. Care to elaborate?

Re:I knew IE7 was bad, but... (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782420)

Along that vein; be advised that notepad has a VERY small footprint. I think it is safe to say you can omit OO.org and Microsoft Word from your roll out. I can make a graph for you to hang up on your wall!

You would have a point if IE7 had a lot more functionality than the other browsers. I don't think that's the case, so isn't the grandparent's point valid?

A Blessing! (5, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781718)

Firefox 3 will certainly be a blessing to my company if this holds up through official release. My company is standardized on Firefox for all web browsing and intranet apps. Our PCs are not necessarily cutting edge technology filled with copious amounts of RAM. The average speed is 1GHz and 512Mb RAM running XP. Now if only all apps took the route of less/improved memory usage with each new version instead of the bloat I am suffering with Microsoft Word, Citrix, etc.

Re:A Blessing! (4, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781948)

This is one of the greatest selling points to open source software IMO.

When you have a product like MS Office, every year that they release a new version they have to load it up with new features to encourage people to buy it, despite the fact that most users only use a fraction of the feature set and rarely need any of the new features the new version offers. This can be applied to most for profit software.

When you have a product like Open Office it's being developed by people who are working more for their affinity for the software rather than a paycheck. The result here is that unneeded features are left out of the core application and once there is a solid interface and feature set they start turning towards making the product more stable and more efficient.

Of course there are exceptions on both sides of the fence, but this is something I've noticed with most of the OSS that I use. By running nearly all OSS alternatives I'm able to use the latest versions of my most common apps on my old P3 733 laptop and it feels just as peppy as the high performance rig I use at work loaded with MS apps.

Re:A Blessing! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782050)

Sadly, "needed features" are "everything that MS Office has". I'm not blaming OO developers, but stupid management.

Re:A Blessing! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782150)

1) People may only use 20% of an application's functionality, but different people use a different 20%. So a competing application needs to implement at least 80% of the features to even get a look in.

2) "Open Office" ... "a solid interface and feature set they start turning towards making the product more stable and more efficient". Open Office is nice, and it is free, but it's not a great overall example of a wonderful application :)

Re:A Blessing! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782190)

Open Office (is) being developed by people who are working more for their affinity for the software rather than a paycheck
Not the best example. By all accounts OO.org is horribly complex and untidy, partly due to its heritage as the commercial StarOffice, and consequently it scares off most F/OSS devs. Sun do most of the work on it.

Re:A Blessing! (2, Informative)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781980)

try AbiWord (http://www.abisource.com/download/index.phtml), there's a windows version.

course if you switch over to something like Ubuntu it would be even better, though I'd imagine that would be pretty tough to do at least until XP stops getting supported some year

Re:A Blessing! (1)

mebollocks (798866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782088)

Bloat with Citrix? The program neighbourhood is 512kb in size and uses ~10mb of RAM? ... and why run Citrix with a locally installed MSWord? Just run the citrix version, then it's not really running on your computer at all... unless you're already doing that... in which case your PC's RAM is almost completely irrelevant.

Re:A Blessing! (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782304)

1ghz and 512mb RAM? You lucky, lucky...

FF3b4 runs sweet on my P3 450 with 384mb SD RAM. Loading my dozen homepage tabs at start-up is a major improvement on FF2.

Re:A Blessing! (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782404)

I still find it scary that 1ghz and 512mb is considered low end for an office PC.

Based on my experience with FF2 (4, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781720)

Based on my experience with firefox 2 I would say that once you have a few plugins (cough: *adblock*) the graph will not be flat but will slowly increase. Not that this is the fault of the browser writers, but it will be many people's real world experience.

Re:Based on my experience with FF2 (5, Informative)

pohl (872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781742)

Rejoice: FF3 has some garbage collection improvements [mozilla.org] that should fix many leaks caused by browser add-ons.

Re:Based on my experience with FF2 (2, Interesting)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782000)

Is the cause of the jagged line in the graph?

Such large-ish spikes might not be good for the user experience.

It would be interesting to have CPU usage + working set overlaid with this graph.

Firefox 2.0 and Opera graph looks much smoother.

Re:Based on my experience with FF2 (1)

vandit2k6 (848077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782056)

When you say 'many people' who does that include? It sure doesn't include me.

Re:Based on my experience with FF2 (1)

Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782130)

Agreed.

My Firefox is an unstable bitch and I'm too lazeh to fix it until I do my annual nuke. But really, you know there's a problem when I use IE7 when I need to quickly access the internet and don't have time to put up with giving Firefox a minute to load up (Granted, I use Session Manager, and yeah...that takes ages to get running).

`Jarik

Remember when people coded for small memory use? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781722)

There is NO WAY that I need 250MB to basic web browsing, yet that is what the graph seems to indicate.
I've got an old Win98 computer in the basement with 64MB and Netscrape 3.0 and it renders 95% of the websites out there

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (3, Informative)

Nibbler999 (1101055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781766)

That graph is based on 30 open windows at a time, not 'basic web browsing'.

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (5, Funny)

maddskillz (207500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781814)

That is basic web browsing if you aren't using pop-up blocking, and going to the wrong sites

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781838)

You know, you're right. I usually don't have many more than two or three windows for my 30-50 open tabs. :)

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (2, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781926)

That graph is based on 30 open windows at a time, not 'basic web browsing'.
Which is exactly the point of why a memory-hogging application is bad. I don't think anyone is experiencing problems with what you call basic web browsing, but we all have moments when we suddenly end up with 10+ windows. That's when it matters the most, too.

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781966)

So it appears that you are not a pornography aficionado.

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782192)

Except the article says:

During intensive browsing with approximately 50 tabs

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782218)

that is certainly "basic browsing", I'm barely browsing and I have just 8 browser windows open with just 1, 1, 16, 5 (this window), and 2, 5, 3, and 2 windows. That's already and believe me, only one window is really browsing (the one with 16 tabs), it is very very basic browsing. That's 35 windows. Basic browsing. (btw, I'm using Opera 9.2 and the memory size is 77 MB)

Re:Remember when people coded for small memory use (4, Informative)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782340)

That graph is based on 30 open windows at a time, not 'basic web browsing'.

My (very) significant other keeps 5-10 windows open with 4-12 tabs in each... No kidding...

Here is the top(1) entry of her firefox-session (running linux-firefox-2 on FreeBSD/amd64):

84676 i 1 96 0 1078M 613M select 1 524:47 4.98% firefox-bin

My own (native) session uses 2.5 times less... In other words — "common practice" is a very loose standard :)

Graph shape (1)

danaris (525051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781724)

Out of curiosity, what's the dropoff and flatline near the end of both Firefox lines on the graph? Anyone know?

Dan Aris

Re:Graph shape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781744)

Garbage collection.

Re:Graph shape (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781996)

They uninstalled IE?

Re:Graph shape (4, Informative)

savala (874118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781746)

Out of curiosity, what's the dropoff and flatline near the end of both Firefox lines on the graph? Anyone know?

From the original blog post [pavlov.net] :

For the results below we loaded 29 different web pages through 30 windows over 11 cycles (319 total page loads), always opening a new window for each page load (closing the oldest window alive once we hit 30 windows). At the end we close all the windows but one and let the browser sit for a few minutes so see if they will reclaim memory, clear short-term caches, etc.

So that is all the memory being reclaimed upon closing all but one of the windows, and then doing nothing whatsoever.

Re:Graph shape (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781882)

Not a very realistic test, in that case, since most people tend to recycle browser windows. Adding in proper cleanup routines when the window is closed doesn't address this. That said, it's great that Gecko is trimming some of the fat. Hopefully it will start to be a competitor to WebKit in the mobile space soon.

Re:Graph shape (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781988)

You can find benchmarking results for a somewhat different test with Firefox 2 [mozillazine.org] and Firefox 3 [mozillazine.org] using tabs instead of windows. They still show the same end result: Firefox uses less memory than other browsers.

Re:Graph shape (1, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782066)

That makes me skeptical about the value of the benchmark, because Firefox 2 (in my experience, and run on half a dozen different machines) is terrible in that case. It's not a browser you can leave open for a week and keep using.

A lot of people have said 3 is much better about that, which I believe.

Re:Graph shape (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782278)

It's not a browser you can leave open for a week and keep using. Under windows or linux? I have has firefox open for the past week or so on my laptop and it seems fine.

It has had the same 4 tabs open. One is a very large static image showing all GTA San Andreas Weapons, one is web page showing the walkthrough for GTA San Andreas. The other two tabs get used to check my AA stats on tracker and the master browser site (which requires constantly logging in again, grrrr). I then open other tabs as I need them. My laptop has just been sitting next to my desktop PC since last tuesday and is likely to stay there until this thursday when I will need it for travelling.

My laptop only has 1 gig of memory but it is running Gentoo with everying now compiled and optimised for it so that might make a difference. My laptop also runs a few other apps at the same time (like pan, azureus) and I never notice any issues with memory.

Re:Graph shape (1)

Pembers (250842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782358)

I know the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", but Firefox 2 has been very stable for me. This is on Mandriva 2007. The only extension I use is NoScript.

[steve@shamrock ~]$ ps -ef|grep fire
steve 6438 6355 0 Feb22 pts/0 00:00:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/firefox
steve 6446 6438 0 Feb22 pts/0 00:00:00 /bin/sh /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox-2.0.0.11/run-mozilla.sh /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox-2.0.0.11/mozilla-firefox-bin
steve 6451 6446 0 Feb22 pts/0 05:30:34 /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox-2.0.0.11/mozilla-firefox-bin
steve 29427 6355 0 15:55 pts/0 00:00:00 grep --color fire

Mozilla 1.x would consistently crash after a week or two, with an X error that made me think it had run out of some kind of resource.


I agree Firefox 2 is a bit of a memory hog. Mine is using about 350Mb at the moment, with 8 tabs open, though most of that is swapped out. Maybe I'm getting old, but it feels fast enough. It sounds as though version 3 will be a pleasant surprise.

Re:Graph shape (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781778)

I would guess that this is when the tests completed. You'll notice that IE7 uses no more memory at that point and both firefoxes release memory. I am not sure why Opera appears to have a memory blip after that point.

Re:Graph shape (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782024)

I guess not. A terminated process leaving almost 100 MBytes RAM? That's not good. It should have free()d them up. I guess that when FF reaches certain RAM or time limits it swaps in.

Nice to know (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781734)

I tried using Opera because it was significantly faster the FF, but the lack of extensions bugs me, and the widgets aren't anywhere near as useful. I love noScript, URLlink, and a couple of other FF extensions in particular.

And yes, i know Opera can block javascript, but I dont like the implementation or how it handles it when compared to noScript. Im looking forward to getting FF3....but I also plan to stop updating Ubuntu on my laptop at 8.04 LTS (i have an older Thinkpad T40 thats starting to show its age), and wonder if FF3 will be available for it.

Re:Nice to know (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781760)

You might not find it in the official repository, but I'd be surprised if it wouldn't compile from source for you. It's kind of a pain to get the hang of compiling it the first time around, but after that not too bad to tweak. I'm thinking the vanilla linux binary might do the trick for you as well.

Re:Nice to know (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781868)

Oh Im capable of that, but then I'd have to deal with the updates separately from the official system updates, which is something I 'm not sure I want to do. It's one of the reaons i prefer Debian and debian-based distros in the first place; Im lazy ;)

Re:Nice to know (2, Informative)

yamiyasha (1119417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782016)

FF3 was in the latest Alpha Build of Ubuntu 8.04

Re:Nice to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782140)

The current alpha release (tribe6 [ubuntu.com] ) already includes FF3 beta, so that'd be a yes.

Re:Nice to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782342)

I'm an Opera user. I switched to Opera years ago because It performs fantastically on low spec systems and it has a lot of really nice features out of the box, mouse gestures etc etc. Firefox 3 betas removed the only barrier that stopped me from using ff in the first place: It was a resource hog. Now ff3 and opera 9.5 are practically on par resource wise and ff3 integrates nicely on my xfce desktop. I've already found a few extensions that help me work on ff as I did on Opera, so I think ff3 is a keeper this time. :]

Opera stays on the system for testing and the rest. It still is the second best browser in my book and ff's only real competition. :D

Re:Nice to know (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782442)

Mozilla always has Linux tarballs of Firefox that you can just drop in your home directory. I'm running FF3beta4 on Ubuntu Gutsy just fine. Course, backup or move your .mozilla directory if you're just trying it out.

The other thing I did was to remove the plugins directory after untarring and made a symlink to /usr/lib/firefox/plugins for Flash and so-forth.

That's when testing with their own tool (2, Insightful)

Adaptux (1235736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781740)

Ok, so the Mozilla folks have succeeded in improving their browser's resource efficiency enough that it beats the competition on their own benchmark [mozilla.org] .

The more interesting question is of course whether the firebox beta also wins when other benchmarking tools including those produced by competiting browser developers are used.

Re:That's when testing with their own tool (2, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781910)

Can you fault the methodology employed in the tool?

Re:That's when testing with their own tool (5, Informative)

FrankNFurter (89904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781956)

How about the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark [webkit.org] , produced by the WebKit developers?

The latest Firefox 3 nightly beat Safari 3.1 as well as the latest WebKit nightly on my iMac (2.0 GHz C2D, 2 GB RAM). You might want to run your own tests; you'll find that Firefox 3 is pretty damn quick.

Re:That's when testing with their own tool (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782094)

I don't know about competing browser developers. They don't seem interested in benchmarking the memory usage of different browsers for some reason. I wonder why? You look at another memory usage test [kejut.com] that concludes Opera uses slightly more memory than Firefox, and IE is really a memory hog, which interestingly matches the graph on Mozilla's benchmark.

Re:That's when testing with their own tool (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782444)

Their "own" benchmarks consists in opening web pages. I can't see how it can be biased.

Useless Graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781748)

This chart shows nothing.

Are the browsers running on the same machine?
What are the browsers doing?
What plugins are loaded?
Why does Safari just stop (are you suggesting it is unstable?)

Stupid teenagers will fall for this chart.

Re:Useless Graph (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781932)

I know this is slashdot, so TFA is blatantly ignored. But... what are you suggesting? Embed TFA text into the graph?

A trend is emerging... (5, Funny)

JonMartin (123209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781754)

We've being peppered with articles about FF3 lately. Most have been fairly light on content but the consistent high praise (and personal experience using beta2) has made it clear to me that FF3 will be very, very good. I'm actually looking forward to the official release.

Getting excited about a new version of a web browser: how 90's is that?

Re:A trend is emerging... (2, Informative)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781844)

if you're still on beta two, try beta four - it's noticably faster!

From the ars discussion... (-1, Troll)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781768)

One of the ars comments:

memory usage was one of the biggest reasons i went from FF to IE

On the graph, IE has a smaller footprint and no evidence of memory leaks.

Its also obvious from the graph that those FF2 being a leaky ol' memory hog are spot on the money.

We should go through the comments here on slashdot and make sure all those complaining about FF2 memory use have the meaning of the slope and shapes on these graphs carefully explained to them.

I think (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781804)

Your terminal must be upside down.

Re:I think (1, Funny)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781916)

Actually, I'm using a British patented septic detector.

Re:From the ars discussion... (3, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781812)

Starting with you, apparently. LOWER LINES ARE BETTER. Next.

Re:From the ars discussion... (2, Informative)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781860)

Which graph are you looking at? On the one linked, IE has double the memory footprint of Firefox when 30 tabs are open, and doesn't reclaim any memory when they're closed.

Re:From the ars discussion... (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782182)

500MB should be enough for 1 browser...

MAY...? (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781794)

Does that mean that it MAY not be? Because the story itself and the accompanying graph seem to indicate that it IS, not that it MAY be. Just, like, clarify, you know?

Re:MAY...? (2, Insightful)

Adaptux (1235736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781866)

Does that mean that it MAY not be? Because the story itself and the accompanying graph seem to indicate that it IS, not that it MAY be. Just, like, clarify, you know?

This is just the result of one test with one benchmarking tool; on top of that, it was a test with the vendor's own tool. The "MAY" in the article reflects the uncertainty regarding whether this tool and the particular test conducted with it appropriately reflects real-life usage scenarios.

Excellent job by Firefox coders (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22781830)

I am with Bjarne on this one.
Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language, claims that C++ is experiencing a revival and
that there is a backlash against newer programming languages such as Java and C#. "C++ is bigger than ever.
There are more than three million C++ programmers. Everywhere I look there has been an uprising
- more and more projects are using C++. A lot of teaching was going to Java, but more are teaching C++ again.
There has been a backlash.", said Stroustrup.

Not real world (for me)... (3, Insightful)

alyawn (694153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781906)

I think a much better test would be to see a single window with 30 tabs. I don't know anyone that would have 30 windows of a browser running. All this proves to me is that FF does a better job of sharing resources across instances. Does anyone use windows rather than tabs to manage their browsing?

Re:Not real world (for me)... (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781968)

Only when I want to be able to read two bug reports in Bgzilla- useful then to have them in two windows rather than tabs as I can compare the text...

FF won't win (2, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781930)

From the graph in TFA it seems that IE tries to collect and use as many RAM as possible until there's no more, and begins using the swap file, while FF (of either version) humbly swaps in after a certain time. In that case FF is destined to die as a result of lacking of food in the ecosystem.

And they are running the test in Windows. Who knows whether there's not an undocumented feature of IE which is telling it's O$ to swap *all* FF's RAM into disk? Or even freeing FF's memory? The predator always wins.

Re:FF won't win (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782290)

I recall Internet Explorer on Windows 95 doing the same thing -- eating all RAM until it started hitting swap. We had to run around editing Internet Options to limit RAM usage on each machine so that it wouldn't suck quite as badly. It is truly amazing that 12 years later it still works the same way. Microsoft will do almost anything -- indexing, "super" fetching, startup helpers, etc. -- to bog down the experience enough that you will want to upgrade to the next trap^H^H^H^Hversion.

Re:FF won't win (4, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782328)

And they are running the test in Windows? Who knows whether there's not an undocumented feature of IE which is telling it's O$ to swap *all* FF's RAM into disk? Or even freeing FF's memory? The predator always wins.

MS has done something like this in the past and got caught.
http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=drdos+windows+crash&btnG=Google+Search&meta= [google.ca]

comes at a cost (2, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781934)

Can't remember where I read it, but I recently read a description of how they achieved some of this efficiency. Much of it has to do with using a different memory allocator which avoids fragmentation. That's good. However, a lot of it also comes from "expiring" cached data according to some time-based policy. That's probably a good idea too, but it's not a memory savings that can be considered "for free". You're actually expunging cached data from memory, which means you may have to reload it again later, and you're spending CPU cycles to enforce that policy. It probably requires minimal CPU to do that, but if they implement it via polling it could screw up the processor's ability to sleep, which in turn jacks up battery usage on laptops. Witness the recent effort on linux to get various apps to "fix" the way they behave in order to play better on laptops. This could end up being a regression in that area.

Re:comes at a cost (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782348)

Can't remember where I read it, but I recently read a description of how they achieved some of this efficiency. Much of it has to do with using a different memory allocator which avoids fragmentation.
Perhaps in TFA?

From TFA: The developers also adopted FreeBSD's jemalloc allocator, which helped reduce fragmentation and improve performance.

As to your points about the tradeoff between memory usage and CPU usage: the benchmarks also show a significant increase in browser speed, so this isn't going to be an issue.

WTF does polling have to do with expunging cache data? I doubt they use polling, but even if they did, how many times a second do you plan on expunging cache data?

Not in my experience... (1)

Graftweed (742763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22781984)

I've been using Firefox 3 on Linux since beta4 and I've been keeping up with the nightly builds, and I'm a bit surprised after reading all of these articles about its new found memory efficiency. It's definitely not what I'm seeing. In fact, it's markedly worse on my set up than Firefox 2.

I've done everything I could think of to reduce its memory footprint and track down the problem. I've created a new profile, clean of extensions, modified certain about:config parameters such as "network.prefetch-next", "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers" and "browser.cache.memory.capacity" (does this one even work in FF3?), nothing seems to help.

Eventually, after a few hours of heavy use, it's taking up 260+ MB with only one tab open, which is ridiculous.

Apart from memory issues though, it's an improvement all around. Especially the new bookmarking system and visual integration with the rest of the desktop.

Re:Not in my experience... (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782252)

I agree. I use Firefox 2 on both windows vista and Linux (OpenSuse KDE). The memory issue isn't on windows as far I can see. The real issue is Firefox on Linux.

Myspace (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782012)

How does it suffer with Myspace open?

As long as it doesn't crash... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782032)

As long as it stops crashing on me, I'd be happy. Firefox used to be a fantastic browser. It was stable, fast, and secure. It is a still a great success story but it is far from stable nowadays. It crashes on me at least 3 or 4 times a day on my Ubuntu box. I have also heard similar complains from Mac users.

plugins (4, Informative)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782038)

I've been using FF3 for months and it's definitely efficient with memory, but the graph doesn't reflect my own experience with IE7 and FF2. At the moment, for instance, on my XPSP2 system with both FF2 and IE7 running, probably for weeks, FF2 is using about 509MB and IE7 about 208MB.

Perhaps some of the differences here have to do with plugins? There are still a bunch that don't work with FF3.

Internet Explorer 8 could not be benchmarked... (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782042)

"Internet Explorer 8 could not be benchmarked because they crashed during the test." ... don't say it was an "out of memory" crash?? ;-)

Re:Internet Explorer 8 could not be benchmarked... (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782118)

No. The pop-up window with a red X on it says: An unknown error occured. The error was: Program exited successfully.

mod dOwn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782052)

tha8 a fracti0n [goat.cx]

Totally worthless test (-1, Flamebait)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782062)

If FF2 is showing a relatively flat line, then it is not creating the circumstances that causes the massive irritating memory usage over time. Hopefully FF3 will fix some of these, but this test proves absolutely nothing if it doesn't demonstrate the problems FF2 had.

Threading (5, Insightful)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782080)

But what about threading?

I'm tired of every browser tab and window I have open locking up so Flash can render in one of the windows.

Even IE doesn't do this!

Apple = Lying about Safari? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782120)

Has anyone looked at the stats on apples site? http://www.apple.com/safari/ [apple.com]

Doesn't it look odd, how the 1.5 seconds between safari and firefox is the same size as the 2 seconds between IE and Opera? And how the 1.0 second between firefox and opera is MUCH smaller than both?

If apple can't get the graphs to be 'correct', how do we know that the browser speed test is any good?

It is a good thing other people test these things ;)

Firefox memory efficient? (0, Offtopic)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782262)

Not until cow's and whale's breed!!

Memory Leak? (2, Insightful)

X3J11 (791922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782302)

I used to hear from a buddy about how much he disliked Firefox because it was a memory pig, but never saw it myself until a few days ago. I'm not sure of the why or how, but after browsing http://www.deviantart.com/ [deviantart.com] for an hour or so, opening each deviation in a new tab, my system started crawling. Checking task manager I found Firefox to be using 1.7GB of memory. Closing every tab did nothing to release it, closing Firefox did.

What about IE 6? (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782324)

It would have been nice if they had included a comparison against IE 6 as well. I know of several environments (mine included) where IE 6 is still considered the standard browser due to internal application incompatibility with FF or IE 7. The same goes for my previous place of employment. And I'm sure those two environments aren't the only ones, either. I would imagine that there are a lot of enterprise environments that are still stuck on IE 6 for one reason or another.

I'm certainly impressed (3, Interesting)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782412)

So far with the beta. It may be purely subjective, but when I click the task bar icon, FF3 opens _instantly_ or near enough as I can tell. And I've been using FF2 since it's release.

I also left a couple of browser windows open all night last night and was able to navigate pretty well this morning; if I'd done that with FF2 it would have been like viewing the web over dial-up again.

I think what impressed me the most was the hassle-free install. I uninstalled FF2, thinking I was ready to start with a fresh browser, and to my complete surprise, FF3 installed with nearly the exact same settings as I had been using in FF2. With the exception of that pesky "home" button that I can't seem to get rid of (What, no right-click > delete option?) everything is exactly the same. I'm still trying to get used to the address bar that tries to predict what site you're looking for as well; I suspect that with some tweaking I'll be able to dial it in pretty well.

Cheers~

Why Safari 3.0.4 beta? (1)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782414)

Safari 3 has been out of beta for some time now (3.1 came out today), so why use the beta version. Doesn't it go without saying that if they include all the debugging stuff in there that it will use more memory than the non-beta version? It's legitimate to use the beta version of FF3, since that's the thing you're talking about, but all the other browsers for comparison should be the latest release versions of the respective software.

Opera black box betsy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782440)

Opera is a black box anyway, fuck it, I don't care if FF is 10 times worse memory wise, at least I can see the code!
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