Monday, January 25, 2010

Firefox 3.6 went crazy

For several years people have complained vociferously about Firefox and memory leaks. For those same years, I have wondered what they were on about. They’d say things like, “once Firefox gets to about 1.2 GB RAM usage, I have to reboot.” All this time I have been thinking, “what the hell are you doing to get a web browser to that kind of memory utilization?” I figured they were ad-in junkies with fifteen different ad-ins running and that they had a leak in one of them. I only run adblock plus and I had never seen this problem. The other day, Mozilla released the 3.6 version of Firefox and I upgraded immediately. Today, my machine started running extremely slow and very obviously paging to disk. I checked task manager (which took about 30 seconds to start), and to my surprise found Firefox using almost 1.2 GB RAM – just like those other users have been reporting for years. Interestingly, Mozilla’s web site says they fixed many memory leaks in Firefox 3.6. My experience today and the graphic below would seem to indicate that they caused at least one new leak:


Wow! That’s a lot of memory to be consuming on a 2 GB Windows 7 machine! If anyone else is getting this type of result from the new 3.6 I would expect there will be an update pretty quickly.

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