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August 15, 2006

Firefox 3 Improves Memory Usage

If you use Firefox, you know that your browser has problems with memory leaks and will eat even 200 MB of RAM at times. I hoped that Firefox 2.0 (Bon Echo) will fix this issue, but unfortunately it's not the case, as this version focuses more on cosmetic issues. So I've decided to try the alpha version of Firefox 3 (Minefield), that is developed in parallel with Firefox 2.0. And the results are incredible: the browser has never consumed more than 70 MB of RAM even with 10 tabs opened.

This version of Firefox, due to be released next year, has more rendering problems than Firefox 2.0 and doesn't have too many new features (the most notable are Places - a unified interface for bookmarks, history, feeds, and a new data storage layer for bookmarks and history that uses SQL), but the memory management is clearly superior.

If you want to read more about the new features of Firefox 2.0 and how to make your extensions compatible, read this small review. Most of the things are still available for Firefox 3.0.

You can install the latest build of Firefox 3.0 from this page. For example, the Windows version can be downloaded from here [5.8 MB].

Remember it's an alpha version, so if you have problems, uninstall it and continue to use your current version of Firefox.

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  1. I tried Minefield some months ago... a stupid idea, it worse than a beta, an alpha version...

  2. I think it's the best version of Firefox I've ever tried.

  3. Now it's at 80 MB, but it's still much less than Firefox 1.5 or 2.0 Beta 1.

  4. Is the start-up time improved also?

  5. With only 8 tabs open, it already goes on 133MB and going up...

    What was the fuzz all about anyway?!

  6. Since last post, and now with only 5 tabs goes on 210MB and still going up...

    Is this better?

    Can't see how...:-P

  7. Its the same with the acid test. It won't be fixed until FF3 due to time constraints in getting FF2 out before IE7 really strikes hard.

  8. caesar, FF2 was always meant to be an interim release with very few core changes. The only time constraint they're under is that FF2 is actually behind schedule. And who knows if the Acid Test will even be passed with FF3; it's frankly not that important.

    Also, calling FF3 an alpha is very misleading. It is in the pre-alpha stage of development, and the first alpha is not scheduled to be released until at least October.

  9. I use the Alpha builds and its great! Many are afraid from the name "alpha" as they mean its unusable full of bugs and want even touch betas but we all know Mozilla takes more than 1 year until a new final build Version come out. I didnt found any heavy bugs nor in FF2 or FF3 (Boncho, Minefield) since November 2005!
    Some buids between eg. the 1st jan. build 2006 was for me unusable. Minefiled is great!

  10. Just installed ff 3.0a7 and transfered it to a 'portable' version,
    seems to be running smoother than ff 2.0, more stable and less memory consumption,
    but, if you open many tabs, it goes high again and not released until you do the 'trim_on_minimize' trick!

  11. apart from that, one has to take into account that extensions are not used, because they are not working in ff 3.0a7 pre yet!