05 February 2006

Fixing the Fox

I love Firefox. It really does everything I need, in the way I need. I've been using it since well before it was called Firefox (judging by the names it has gone through, it seems to have a serious identity problem).


Every single version I have ever used on Windows has had one, near-fatal flaw: a massive memory leak. Even the latest version, currently, has sucked 182 Mbytes out of my system (the GNU/Linux version seems fine), and it's still going up.

True, I like to have lots of windows open, with lots of tabs in each window - but isn't that point of the Internet? So, every day or so, I have shut down all of them, wait for the memory to suddenly remember itself, and then off we go again. Thanks to Firefox's tabbed bookmarks, such shutdowns are not too painful to cope with. But it does mean I tend to lose those transient, interesting pages you come across and leave open for later perusal - but which aren't quite important enough to bookmark or add to del.icio.us.

I was therefore heartened to find that people are seriously working on this problem (still): this entry at the excellent site from Jesse Ruderman goes into what's been happening, and what's being done. If you're a Firefox user (and if you're not, you should really give it a whirl), this is a blog that's well worth keeping an eye on. Maybe even bookmarking.


Anonymous said...

Firefox under Linux isn't much better, in my experience.

This is version 1.5 under Ubuntu, and not from a .deb; I got the tarball and installed that instead. With about a dozen tabs open, it's running at about 180M used, and I've seen it up over three hundred megabytes in some circumstances.

Glyn Moody said...

Interesting; my experience is with Firefox running on Knoppix, both live and installed. But it's probably true I don't push Firefox so hard on GNU/Linux, so maybe I don't notice the memory leak as much. On Windows it makes the PC unusable every few days...