Firefox 15 Will Finally Fix Memory Leaks Caused By Add-Ons

    July 19, 2012

Firefox 14 just came out earlier this week and brought some pretty neat stuff with it. At the time, I didn’t think that Firefox 15 would bring anything too groundbreaking to the digital table. I was wrong.

One of the major problems with current builds of Firefox is that some add-ons can cause massive memory leaks that forces the browser to consume a lot of memory. This slows down your computer which slows down your browser and then you switch to Chrome because you’ve had enough. The team at Mozilla is going to fix that problem in Firefox 15.

You may be familiar with the MemShrink project that has sought to address the issue of older apps leaking memory let and right. That project is going to be integrated into Firefox starting with Firefox 15 according to Mozilla engineer Nicholas Nethercote. The change should make Firefox 15 faster and less likely to crash.

It’s good news for Firefox users because Mozilla has found that a lot of the most popular add-ons for Firefox have suffered from memory leak problems in the past. Popular add-ons like Adblock Plus and GreaseMonkey suffer from the problem. Nethercoote points out that the developers have fixed these leaks in the apps, but not all apps have been fixed. That’s what this patch in Firefox 15 is developed for – to fix the leaks when developers can’t.

So what kind of benefits can we hope to expect with the release of Firefox 15? Nethercote did a test of Firefox 14 and 15 coupled with a known leaky add-on and then ran MemBench, a memory benchmark tool. The difference between the two is pretty drastic:

Firefox 15 Will Finally Fix Memory Leaks Caused By Add-Ons

As you can see, Firefox 15 is much better at handling memory and preventing memory leaks caused by add-ons. It should be going into beta soon now that Firefox 14 is out, so look forward to it then to start getting a faster Firefox experience. If you can’t wait, you can grab the Aurora release which contains the fix.