Mozilla Promises Faster Firefox 7

IT Management

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While Firefox is still looked upon fondly, especially as an alternative to Internet Explorer, it has long been plagued by memory use issues. Things like memory leaks and resource hogging have gone hand-in-hand with Mozilla's browser.

Currently, the browser is in its fifth version, but by the time version seven comes out--six is available in beta--Mozilla hopes to have the memory hog issues addressed and, in fact, conquered. Thanks to a project called MemShrink--as pointed out by stated goal for future Firefox updates, well, seven and beyond, will be memory use reduction.

Over at Mozilla's site, they list the benefits of the project, provided it's successful:

There are three potential benefits:

  1. Speed: less cache pressure, and less paging. The latter is crucial, as it can destroy performance.
  2. Stability: fewer OOMs, whether due to address space exhaustion or otherwise. This results in fewer crashes (due to mishandling of OOM) or aborts.
  3. Perception: fewer people will complain about Firefox being a memory hog.

The fact that the last part is even stated shows just how bad of a stain Firefox's memory usage is on the browser's performance. Normally, such bold acknowledgments are saved for behind-closed-doors corporate meetings and the like. Rarely does the public get to see a company fall on the sword in such an open manner.

Mozilla also feels improving the memory usage of its browser is "doubly important" for the mobile industry. While resource use as a whole is the plan concerning Firefox's reduction, memory leaks are considered the biggest culprit that needs to be addressed. A couple of statements confirm this strategy:

Avoiding "leaks". This loose use of the term (which is used throughout this document) includes:

  • True leaks, where memory is lost forever.
  • Lifetime issues, where memory is not reclaimed until you close the page/tab/window/process.
  • Collection heuristic issues (e.g. GC is too infrequent in certain cases).
  • Bad cache algorithms and poorly tuned caches.
  • Fragmentation.

As well as:

Leaks are generally more important, as they are more likely to lead to horrible performance.

You can't be much more clear than that, I don't think. While Firefox 6 won't be the lucky recipient of the plugged leaks, and therefore, faster performance, it won't be long until other versions finally plug those leaks.

At least, that's what Mozilla is working towards.

If these leaks cease and Firefox becomes even more stable than it is now, would that cause an exodus away from Google Chrome? Let us know what you think.