Firefox’s Memory Appetite Decreased By 20% To 30%

By | August 11, 2011 | 11 Comments


Firefox's Memory Appetite Decreased By 20% to 30%Firefox 7, set to ship in late September, will be quite a bit faster because of recent efforts to plug the browser’s memory leaks. Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote credited the “MemShrink” project for closing memory bugs in the browser and producing a faster Firefox. MemShrink was announced approximately two months ago.

Firefox 7 uses less memory than Firefox 6 (and 5 and 4): often 20% to 30% less, and sometimes as much as 50% less. This means that Firefox 7 is faster (sometimes drastically so) and less likely to crash, particularly if you have many websites open at once and/or keep Firefox running for a long time between restarts. - Nicholas Nethercote, programmer at Mozilla

Nethercote recognized Firefox’s reputation as a “memory hog” and discerned that some versions had used memory more efficiently than others, giving special credit to Firefox 3, 3.5 and 3.6.

But Firefox 4 regressed again, partly due to a large number of new features (not all of which were maximally efficient in their first iteration), and partly due to some over aggressive tuning of heuristics relating to JavaScript garbage collection and image decoding. - Nicholas Nethercote, programmer at Mozilla


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Being passionate about software, Armin joined FavBrowser.com in early 2011 and has been actively writing ever since. Having accepted the challenge, he also enjoys watching anime, indulging in good books, staying fit and healthy, and trying new things.

  • Asknobody

    “But Firefox 4 regressed again, partly due to a large number of new features”. So from now on FF development cycle will look like this:
    X (4) version with new features, X+1 (5) version – Mozilla is hoping that users will start to like memory holes, X+2 (6) – users hate memory leaks, Mozilla starts preparing for plan B, X+3 (7) – fixing memory leaks, X+4 (8) – new features. And cycle will go on..

  • Anonymous

    Yawn, we have all heard this crap a million times before from Mozllia, yet all the while their browser gets slower and more bloated.

    These are TARGETS, and they won’t be shouting from any rooftops (like this PR Spin), when they don’t achieve it..
    Clearly they decided that after the Firefox and IE users are idiots report, they figured they can fool them with silly PR marketing like this….    And it seems to be working….

    • Tiago Sá

      You dumb idiot, Firefox 7 is already in the aurora branch and has those improvements. Go check it out and see for yourself.

      Firefox 8, in the nightly branch, is lighter and faster still.

      • Anonymous

        FF8 is damn ridiculous. It’s BETTER than Chrome in every way minus rendering speed (so far…).

        • Mikah

          Benchmarked Firefox 8 using Peacekeeper it scored 9770  only a little faster than Firefox 5 & still slower than Safari & far behind Chrome 13′s 15656 & Opera 12′s 17047
          http://clients.futuremark.com/peacekeeper/results.action?key=6QYc
          more importantly its still noticeably slower than Opera & Chrome in a mini test of googling a couple of search terms.

      • Mikah

        Went & checked it out &  installed the & Firefox 8 Nightly  it seems to have replaced the Stable Firefox 5 i was using ? 
        I assumed that it be installed alongside Firefox 5 as it states these builds are for testing only.

      • Anonymous

        And… this is why we can’t have nice things.

  • kls

    People will keep complaining, anyway; :)

  • kls

    People will keep complaining, anyway; :)

  • Guesty Guest

    Yeah I was going to say that 7 has been Aurora since late June and should be moving to Beta within the next 2 weeks. It should be any time from Tuesday 16th August onward. Rather than having a rant, if you really do care and want to find out what the fuss is about, download a copy of 7 and experiment with it yourself before you pass judgement. If not then continue ranting.

    Some time from 16th August onward, 6 is released, 7 moves to Beta and 8 moves to Aurora, 9 moves to Nightly and 3.6 is upgraded to 3.6.20.

    The dates to look out for are 16th Aug, 27th Sept, 8th Nov and 20th Dec.

    I can guarantee that when 6 is released there will be a bunch of people moaning about how they can’t see the difference between 5 and 6 etc. Look down the road at 7, 8 and 9 and you’ll see what is due to be released in the remainder of 2011.

    But instead people will act as if Mozilla doesn’t yet have any kind of idea in place for what is going to be released in the next 3 months and they will carry on bitching and moaning. If you can’t wait that long, then make a permanent move to the Aurora or Beta channels.

    It seems to me that Mozilla have taken a measured approach to Firefox.

    4 was the big change.

    5 stabilised it and included stuff they blatantly wanted in 4 but they ran out of time.

    6 further stabilises and sorts out Panorama, about:memory, about:permissions and adds developer tools.

    7 major improvements to graphics/rendering, memory and sync.

    8 further graphics improvements, speed and responsiveness really improve.

    9 don’t know yet but this is when the new UI may come in.

    They haven’t tried to fix everything at once but it’s all being worked on as we speak at various stages. Just because it’s not yet in the stable version, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

    Look here and see for yourself: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Release_Tracking

    • Anonymous

      wow they are beating google at there own game.

      Version 8? Impressive!