Firefox Memory consumption

Firefox 5 has fewer leaks than Firefox 4

There’s been some confirmation from users that Firefox 5 has fewer leaks than Firefox 4.

From bug 640923:

Well, FF5b2 is really doing way better in my environment. This is great! I’ll abandon FF4 now for me, it never was “stable” in my world.

From bug 657232:

I’ve just upgraded from Firefox 3.6.17 to Beta 5 and it at first appeared to be a lot more stable and responsive than Firefox 4.

Nice to hear!

“Fewer memory leaks” (or “reduced memory usage” if we want to be less blunt) should definitely be on the Firefox 5 feature list when it comes out.

11 replies on “Firefox 5 has fewer leaks than Firefox 4”

Really? If so I will have a try. The firefox 4 beat me and I have back to Avant browser. If the new firefox 5 works well in my computer I will back when it becomes more stable

From all we’ve seen so far in analysis, I’m also pretty confident that Firefox 5 is less crashy than 4. I think the new release process is quite helpful for those measures!

Yes, Firefox 5 is awesome! Firefox 4 used to crash like hell and it wasn’t much stable as Firefox 5. 🙂
Didn’t crash since updated.

The only problem with listing it as a feature is that “faster, more stable, and less leaking” has been said about pretty much every Firefox release since 3.0, and yet the reputation remains.

RyanVM: I don’t think “less leaking” has been said about all releases. But more broadly, I’m not sure what point you’re making. Is it that prior release claims haven’t been accurate, therefore we should stop making claims on future releases (even though in this case we have evidence that things are better)? Something else?

From a web design point of view I was initially amazed at the look and feel of ff4. I’ve always felt ft was superior to all other browsers but I started to notice when I was working on an older machine FF would start out fast but after an hour or so things would slow down. Just started to look into it and found this blog. I think I I will try FF5.

My point is mainly that Firefox has claimed better memory management (less leaking and lower usage) in every release, yet the perception remains that it leaks like crazy. To the average person who’s not likely to be following specific bugs, I’m just wondering if the claims are falling on deaf ears given the pathological cases that remain (the vague “I left it open for a few hours and it was using 2GB” type reports).

To me, I think that’s where the “Mozilla devs don’t care about memory leaks” accusations come in on places like Slashdot. For what it’s worth, I think blogging like this helps to fight that image.

Ryan: Did we claim better memory management in 4.0? I don’t recall that. It would be incorrect if we did.

I still think mentioning that leaks have been fixed is a good idea. It might prompt some people to try 5 and then they might find it makes things better for them. (I’ve had several people do this in response to things I’ve written in this blog and in bug reports.) If someone thinks we’re crying wolf, they probably wouldn’t be likely to try 5 anyway.

I have been trying Chrome 11 for a few weeks and it has no memory leak whatsoever. I regularly have about 6 tabs open all day long in work environment and highest I’ve seen memory go to is 120MB. It also has built in developer tools with most of features of firebug. I am tired of slowness ff causes and permanently switching to chrome. If your a developer I suggest you check out chrome.

Memory usage and management has been an ongoing issue for Firefox in my experience. 4 certainly isn’t very good at handling memory. I think it’s disingenuous to state that you didn’t highlight better memory management for version 4 when you have highlighted it in the past and users have every right to expect that new releases will not regress the gains in memory management in previous releases. Whilst that may seem harsh to Firefox developers given how many features went into 4, it is perfectly reasonable for the average user who doesn’t really care about WebGL and HTML5 features (if for no other reason than most of the time they will not know they are using them) but just want Firefox to keep handling complex JS-heavy sites like their gmail well, without memory bloat.

A great example of indirect regression in memory handling for Firefox 4 is the addition (then mysterious de-prioritising by removing the UI button) of Panorama. Possibly the biggest single benefit of Panorama is to allow users to keep tabs ‘open’ but reduce memory usage by unloading them from memory when they are in an inactive group. This never happened as is evidenced by Firefox 5 supporting this.

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