Linked by David Adams on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 16:50 UTC, submitted by _xmv
Mozilla & Gecko clones Mozilla Firefox has been listening to recent memory complains, and as a side effect tested the browser's scalability to the extreme with memshrink's improvements. The results are shocking: For 150 tabs open using the test script, Firefox nightly takes 6 min 14 on the test system, uses 2GB and stays responsive. For the same test, Chrome takes 28 min 55 and is unusable during loading. An optimized version of the script has been made for Chrome as an attempt to work-around Chrome's limitations and got an improved loading time of 27 min 58, while using 5GB of memory.
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RE[3]: Comment by Praxis
by WereCatf on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 19:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Praxis"
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

The strange thing is that...well, people have been telling Mozilla devs for YEARS that Firefox is eating up way too much memory, and they've just denied the whole thing all this time. So, are they now admitting that they've been in denial, or are they claiming that Firefox has just now very recently started doing that?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Praxis
by -oblio- on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 19:20 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Praxis"
-oblio- Member since:
2008-05-27

As with everything, performance requires compromises.

A simple example: do you keep cached images uncompressed in memory so that they you can load they very fast, or do you keep them compressed?
On a system with less memory, you probably want them compressed (maybe completely discarded and you reload them when needed). On a system with lots of RAM you probably want them uncompressed, so that the loading time is virtually 0.

Yea, staying on the sidelines makes it easy to comment... Hindsight is also 20/20...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Praxis
by f0dder on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 21:29 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Praxis"
f0dder Member since:
2009-08-05

Image decompression is rather fast, though - so it might make more sense to keep compressed versions cached, and decompress as needed (and possibly keep decompressed cached for a bit as well)? ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Praxis
by kaiwai on Thu 4th Aug 2011 00:02 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Praxis"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

As with everything, performance requires compromises.

A simple example: do you keep cached images uncompressed in memory so that they you can load they very fast, or do you keep them compressed?
On a system with less memory, you probably want them compressed (maybe completely discarded and you reload them when needed). On a system with lots of RAM you probably want them uncompressed, so that the loading time is virtually 0.

Yea, staying on the sidelines makes it easy to comment... Hindsight is also 20/20...


How about this, start with the low hanging fruit - when someone closes a tab how about reclaiming the memory then you might actually find that many of the complaints regarding Firefox would evaporate. The problem has always been the inability for memory to be reclaimed after a tab or window has been closed but the Firefox developers keep denying what is really the problem in favour of spending time in trivialities.

Btw, I once again expect Firefox 7 to be an entirely giant disappointment on Mac OS X just as previous versions have shown - once again unless you're a Windows user you're pretty much shit out of luck if you expect something half decent on your platform of choice.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by Praxis
by Erunno on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 19:46 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Praxis"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

I'm the last person to claim that Firefox never had problems with its memory usage having been afflicted by them for years myself (on OS X at least). I'm not blaming Firefox alone for that since various tests showed that at least a vanilla 3.6 has superior memory usage characteristics so Mozilla's claim that its partly caused by extensions is certainly not completely unfounded. But I do blame Mozilla that they've been pimping their extensions ecosystem as one of Firefox' major selling point for years without sufficiently educating the user about their potential hazards (just check the in-browser extension manager. Warnings: none). At the same time they offered no easy to use tools for debugging and also didn't want to take responsibility for extensions wrecking havoc. That's a classic case of trying to eat the cake and keep it.

But I'm also having trouble with blanket statements such as that Firefox has been using too much memory for years. "For years" encompasses vastly different versions of Firefox with completely new or rewritten subsystems and features. Each of these can be a source of regressions and improvements. Mozilla has also been never in denial that Firefox 4 regressed in memory usage (partly because of the new but not fully optimized JIT compiler) but decided to release it nonetheless due already having amassed a delay of several months.

I'm glad that they are making such a public push to improve their reputation here. They still have a sizable market share despite having come under heavy pressure from Chrome and they still employ talented developers and they are the only organization fighting for an accessible Internet. I hope that the latest efforts are not a case of too litte, too late. I'd certainly miss the old fox. :-P

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Praxis
by _xmv on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 20:12 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Praxis"
_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

Firefox 4 and beyond has changed their memory management from 3.5/3.6 and it started to use a lot of memory again, hence the big push they're doing now.

This push is also more important than when they analyzed memory issues and fixed them in FF 3.5/3.6 so they're going as deep as they can with it.

It seems it does pay off with more than just "memory savings" and I'm glad.

Reply Parent Score: 2