You’re Killing Me, Firefox

As I’ve said before, I’ve been a user of Firefox (albeit, by different names), since 0.2 (possibly 0.1). I’ve learned to love it. I love my core extensions, I love the tabs and the general feel. I have really enjoyed using Firefox.

As I’ve also detailed before, I have some problems with Firefox. In particular, a certain Firefox bug has pissed me off so much, not because of the bug, but rather, the fact that the Mozilla devs appear/appeared to be perfectly content with their decision, despite the arguments. I have blown off Firefox at home for the also-Gecko-based Camino. I am seriously considering blowing off Firefox at work for Opera.

But this is the real reason. It’s not just their XML arrogance. It’s this: Firefox is a mess when it comes to memory.

Click on the image for a full size view

Let’s break it down: Firefox allows developers to write extensions that utilize XUL, which means memory leaks could come from poorly written extensions. But as a user, my response is: I don’t care. If writing extensions can cause a WEB BROWSER to eat up over 1/2GB of memory, you’ve got a problem! Fix chrome! Fix XUL! Limit what the extensions can do! Otherwise, someone is going to release “Trusted Firefox,” or worse, offshoot Firefox to something simpler, something that is to Firefox what Firefox was to Seamonkey.

Camino, which doesn’t use XUL by the way, is much less featureful – sometimes annoyingly so, but guess what – it can runs for weeks without so much as a burp. This is Firefox after less than 24 hours with 6 tabs open, and the last 15 hours were of complete inactivity (overnight, while I was home).

I suspect this could be AJAX related (Gmail is always one tab). But since Firefox is my gateway to the web, it’s responsible for making sure the web plays nice through that window and correcting any behavior that makes it unhappy. And frankly, lately, it’s letting me down.

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