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Firefox' memory nightmares

11 replies [Last post]
libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04

Something I experienced yesterday totally baffled me. I left my computer for a while, with firefox and xchat running, and when I came back, woke the screen up my hard drive was screeching to hell, everything slowed down to a halt to a point that even the mouse movements were breaking. After I finally managed to take a look at the stats I saw that about 900MB of my memory was in use and about 500MB more in swap.

Incredible. And I thought having 1GB of RAM would guarantee that swapping, especially this dramatic, would never happen.

Firefox shown to be using roughly 600MB of RAM, but I suspect that it was even more. What else could have done it anyway?

After this I'm left wondering whether any amount of RAM would be enough for running firefox for a prolonged amount of time and with multiple tabs and also whether Mozilla Corp. (or Foundation, either way) really has any valid excuses for keeping this issue unfixed for so long.

I've read them describing what people called "memory leaks" as a feature, trying to disprove a "myth" (which memory leaks are supposed to be I guess). From what I vaguely remember the feature has something to do with reserving memory for tabs so that they open faster, or something like that.

But.. even if this is really meant as a feature, it can't bloody be working that well if it pushes memory use to such extremes. No matter how you look at it, this is a bug, a monster of a bug, don't you think?

I wonder... just how far can Firefox really go? Those of you who have more than 1GB of RAM, how much RAM has Firefox taken the most? Also, are there any good workarounds that you know of?


Whistler's picture
Joined: 2006-01-03

Try this:

Not sure if it's working though.

tbuitenh's picture
Joined: 2005-12-21
Good workarounds? I use

Good workarounds? I use this combination:

- use a browser that starts quickly (kazehakase!)
- close it when you're done reading

Then how do I block/manage ads and cookies? Privoxy.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Thanks. I just applied the

Thanks. I just applied the suggestion Whistler linked to, set it to 32MB. Let's see how that goes.

Kazehakase is a very good browser, but I also use some extensions for which there is no workaround for kazehakase, namely stumbleupon, PageRank and FireBug.


AndrewB's picture
Joined: 2005-12-18
Heh, I always have my

Heh, I always have my browser open, normally more than one window with alot of tabs. It really does slow the system down. What makes them so damn heavy!

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Indeed. I also tend to have

Indeed. I also tend to have it open all the time with a lot of tabs although not usually multiple windows. That really kills it..

Joined: 2006-03-28
How many tabs do you guys

How many tabs do you guys usually have open?
I have Firefox open for about an hour with 7 tabs and it uses around 180MB.
Firefox, installed from source.

I'll let it run some more and see if something changes.

By the way: Why does Firefox run netstat?

Joined: 2006-03-28
After one and a half hours

After one and a half hours more and just little use of FF (I usually use Konqueror) memory-usage is mostly the same, it's just about 5 or 6 MB more than before, which might be related to opening and closing other pages and downloading a few files with it.

Of course 180 MB are quite something, but I guess it's still okay.
But maybe Firefox gets limited by the testrun of EasyLFS I'm running. It's pretty busy compiling everything so this might limit FF to a necessary minimum, although FF could take more. There's still a little memory left and so far I have no swapping.
All programs are responding really good and there's nothing I could complain about.

Joined: 2006-03-28
Okay, I had FF running in

Okay, I had FF running in for 5 hours now, with no significant increase in memory-use.
It's still less than 190MB.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Roughly I have an average

Roughly I have an average of up to 10 tabs open. My firefox often runs for a whole day keeping some of the tabs open, and I do use it heavily for everything web related so I guess that explains things somewhat.

I should just be closing it more often.

free-zombie's picture
Joined: 2006-03-08
At the moment, IceWeasel is

At the moment, IceWeasel is using 804M(virt)/420M(res), that is with 89 tabs accumulated over the afternoon open.

Joined: 2007-10-03
I also have this problem FF

I also have this problem FF slowing down from time to time and Im already using 1 gb of RAM.

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