Pulling no punches: Firefox 3.x sucks

Having used it, watched it crash, hog memory, stall, screw up rendering, …

I have to wonder exactly what the Mozilla corporation is thinking by releasing this stinking pile of bits. My laptop is a dual core Intel machine with 2.5 GB ram, and a fast 7200 RPM SATA drive.

And it is brought to its knees by firefox 3.0. A third of ram gets snarfed by it immediately upon running. User load increases to 1 during anything stressful. Like loading Drudgereport. Javascript? Yeah, it can, and does bring the browser to a grinding halt, driving user load and memory consumption through the roof. Don’t believe me?

Have a look.

landman@lightning:~$ top

top - 11:22:31 up 15:57,  5 users,  load average: 0.81, 0.91, 0.81
Tasks: 191 total,   2 running, 189 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu0  : 14.6%us,  2.9%sy,  0.0%ni, 81.6%id,  0.0%wa,  1.0%hi,  0.0%si,  0.0%st
Cpu1  : 21.1%us,  3.5%sy,  0.0%ni, 75.4%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:   2571704k total,  2552028k used,    19676k free,    16004k buffers
Swap:   995988k total,     7748k used,   988240k free,   262708k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND            
16975 landman   20   0 <strong>2021m</strong> <strong>1.3g</strong>  36m R   19 53.4  11:51.32 firefox            
 6363 root      20   0  302m 117m  21m S   11  4.7  52:05.96 Xorg               
22044 landman   20   0  288m  88m  19m S   10  3.5   0:12.32 opera 

Yes, indeed, that is 1.3 GB of RESIDENT memory that firefox has grabbed.


All I am doing is reading news sites (Drudge, Fox, Freep, and a few others).

Firefox-2 was good in comparison. No, really. It was.

Notice the Opera line in there. I am typing this in an Opera window, because Firefox keeps greying out at every keypress.

I can’t wait for Chrome. Opera works well, is fast, so I might just switch.

Firefox has become bloatware. We try to actively discourage use of IE due to its numerous security … er … issues. Vista doesn’t work reliably on our corpoate network. I assumed this was the case as Vista was bloatware and not a serious OS. But Firefox? Same browser, many different OSes. Same results on all OSes. Must be something else.

Google, please get Chrome out for Linux sooner than later. Please?

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4 thoughts on “Pulling no punches: Firefox 3.x sucks

  1. On Windows XP I sometimes use Flashblock ad-in to help with Firefox_3 using 100% CPU and becoming almost unresponsive. In Xp Firefox_3 has been notably faster than Firefox_2 for me. My most serious issue w Firefox_3 is that after few weeks it forgets all my cookies. When googling, I saw others with the same problem, but no simple solution / workaround. I use Opera 9.63, I like the look / fonts, easy on eyes. I do have occasional problem with Opera too (9.62 froze few times a week) and not all sites support Opera. I use IE as well, some sites work poorly with anything else. I tried Chrome, but I was not excited enough to probe too deeply. I also did some testing using Safari, I did not like it too much. Going with Firefox_2 (or even 1.5) is probably your best bet.

  2. Looks like you need to show them how to use free(); or quit browsing with 50 tabs open at once.

    I also experience FF3 to be much better on XP x86, x64 and Vista x32. No cookie problems.
    Current version: 3.0.5, running at a (relatively) slim 100mb of memory after hitting a bunch of articles on Ars Technica. And I thought it was bloated when it would peak over 200mb b/c of flash movies, but it will reclaim memory when you close tabs (at least in Windows).

  3. I never have more than 20 tabs open. Happened again though … at my desk, it grabbed 1.9GB of resident ram, 3.8GB of virtual memory, caused my laptop to swap.

    I disabled lots of plugins. Still when I use it, it is hovering between 300-400 MB resident ram. It does grow, but more slowly.

    I wonder, not having looked at the code, if each plugin is completely replicated per tab. Or if there are other such design errors.

    The memory grabbing goes exponential when flash is used, and sadly most sites now use flash for even basic functions. This is as annoying as websites that are written for one particular browser. Its 2009 folks … lets stick to some standards here when we write websites … we want the website to work in all browsers correctly…

    On the flash side, I am wondering how green it is (not that I am a fan of these arguments) and how much extra carbon footprint (and other dubious measures of being energy greedy) you have for all them thar bouncing widgets and doo-dads…

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