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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Firefox Lightweights

Yeah, been a while since last post. That'll be fixed soon.
Anyway, Firefox 3 officially came out as the final stable release a couple weeks ago. I had been waiting MADLY for it for a long time. Seriously! My Firefox 2 would consistently, after being open for a couple days use up approaching 850 MB of memory. Almost a gig. That was a year ago or so. I got fed up and instead of reinstalling my system (come on, next to moving, I rate reinstalling my systems up there as the worst activities) I bought more ram. I jumped the lappy from 1GB to 2GB. I figured that would help. It sorta did, but frankly, it just gave the old FF2 extra headroom to pillage. Eventually, by late may, it would be eating up 1.2GB or memory.

In all this time, if I wanted to play a game (mainly Lord of the Rings Online - I'm usually Torband [Hobbit Burlgar] on the Elendilmir server, I have great screenshots to post) I'd shut down Firefox altogether to free up resources.

Blah blah blah. So FF3 came out and I was excited. I had already downlaoded beta 5 or so, but installed it seperately so I could maintain FF2 and just test. First, FF3 didn't seem to have a working version of the Session Manager etxtension. Errp. Game over. I live by that extension. You'll understand when I get to my point. The truth is that I believe it did at the time work, but I didn't dig deep enough or look properly. So I waited. I practically live in my web browser, so putting a beta in place is not my way any longer. I did back in the days. I would happily install the latest Netscape and Mozilla versions and jumped on Firefox as soon as it was publicly available. Anything to not us Internet Exploder.

Now I've had Firefox 3 installed for a couple weeks and have to say I like it and I'm happy. My system does run better now and my memory use is back down to something I'd consider acceptible. I just read a review on FF3 that isn't a bad one, but doesn't glow. I don't care about that. To each his/her own, really. What cought my eyes for real though was that he was commenting on running 4 tabs. Um... what's that? 4 Tabs???? What kind of web user is that? Am I really just way the hell out there? Let me explain. I currently have 37 Firefox windows open and a total count of 144 tabs. Yes, you read that right. 144 tabs. I believe the most I've had Firefox 3 take up memory-wise has been in the 550MB range. That's still a lot, but I'm also not a moron. I expect it will take a lot, but that's less than half of previous, and frankly, previously, I'd try to stay under 34 windows and about 130 tabs. I have noticed that CPU use is a bigger bottleneck, but my system still runs better with Firefox 3 than previously.

What's the real problem? All the jackasses who design web sites with unimportant java and flash content. All the tools who have to embed multiple youtube videos into the pages. I have some of those things on sites I make, but frankly, I'm just not like all the idiots on MySpace who actually think that using every tool at your disposal on your page makes you look cooler or like you know what the hell you're doing - because ... wait for it, you don't have a friggin clue. Just because there is more bandwidth doesn't mean every visitor wants your lame-ass example of design or layout. Ahem - I'm getting off topic.

I suppose the point of this was to point out that in my opinion, if your idea of surfing the web is having a couple windows open and a few tabs, you are in no position to really talk about the efficiency of th software. The original overhead of the software is always getting higher and higher. My first PC - an IBM PS/2 Model 55 - has (I still have it) a 40 megabyte drive. That's one long mp3 song and certainly couldn't fit most operating systems - barely even any modern linux distros. The fact that his 4 tab Firefox 3 experience chokes up 150MB of ram or so when my 37 window/144 tab instance is currently using **485,292KB (485MB) shows that is scales up well and has certainly solved the memory leak issue, and frankly, that's almost good enough a reason to upgrade.

In case you're still one of those people who are still using Internet Explorer, get over it and just get Firefox 3. I gain nothing from it other than one more person not being lazy and sticking with the default browser or M$ fanboy (only a little better than an Apple fanboy) who always claims "Microsoft just makes software that works" (hahavistahahaha). Of course, I also highly advocate to those Windows (and even OSX posers) out there with an extra machine or older laptop to install linux on it and give it a serious try. Try to not put it on an already broken system, because then you'll just blame linux and that's stupid.

**the memory useage will go up, and possibly down from time to time, but I've fun it for 5 day without a restart and it didn't go above 550MB or so.

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