Messina’s Mozifesto

Chris Messina’s 50 minute video manifesto about where Mozilla ought to be taking itself is mighty impressive stuff.  He’s obviously put a heap of though into his position, although I think that my Web Worker Daily colleague (I’m guest blogging there in May), Anne Zelenka’s response is possibly closer to the mark.

Here are my thoughts:

  • while I think that the browser will become less important as platforms such as Apollo and Silverlight build market share and deliver browser-like functions to user desktops, I don’t think browsers are likely to disappear in the next two to three years;
  • Firefox has the browser add-on market stitched up for the moment.  IE7 has a lot of catching up to do.  I’d guess that most Firefox users (a growing sector) have at least one add-on installed.  The attraction of the all-in-on plus extras client is strong;
  • an “ecosystem of browsers” looks like fractured, dispersed market to me.  Firefox needs to remain strong and provide even better hooks for XUL apps, such as Songbird to be a part of a single ecosystem.  Firefox as petri dish in which to grow beautiful things;
  • Firefox needs to further increase market share beyond the geek hipster set and tech-savvy.  My Mum uses it because I tell her to, Mozilla needs to reach those people without intermediaries.

Mozilla’s, and by association, Firefox’s futures are their own to determine.  They need to be the Purple Cow they promised to be.  I think they need to try harder, but I don’t think they are as doomed as Chris thinks.

Browser slowdown factors

I don’t think that this issue is wholly with Safari. And I think it’s a little unfair for the article to imply so.

Browsers these days are complex beasts; they need to render (X)HTML and CSS properly (or not…), provide supporting frameworks for who knows how many mimetypes and plugins, run multiple tabs, be extensible so that addons can be… well… added on.  It doesn’t surprise me in the least that today’s browsers have memory management issues. And when addon authors inadvertently don’t properly manage thread and memory safety, frankly, you’re doomed.

I’ve been having massive issues with Firefox lately – beachball of death, insanely slow page load times, streaming at a snail’s pace. That kind of thing. I apparently solved the Firefox issues this morning, however, by removing several addons I wasn’t really using. Now, it seems to go whoosh.

&%#damn Powerbook crashes

UPDATE – Not Firefox but another dodgy logic board. See this post.

Of late, my Powerbook has been crashing to a “grey screen of death” (you know the one with the overlay on the screen) or just freezing. Many, many reboots have ensued, accompanied by profuse swearing. Occasionally, what I’m assuming is the leftover pollution from the crash causes another crash on startup. More swearing.

I’ve pretty much singled out Firefox (or at least Firefox and a combination of one or more extensions) as the culprit. Be damned if I can single out which of the little buggers it might be, although I strongly suspect FlashGot.

I’m about to go through another cycle of disabling and progressively re-enabling my (20-odd) extensions as I try to figure out which extension is to blame. My kingdom for better memory management in these things!

Firefox + OS X = CPU and RAM (chomp… chomp… chomp…)

Firefox on my Powerbook is really starting to give me the sh#*s. I’ve ensured that I have as few extensions as I can live with. I think I have around 15, including Google Toolbar, Adblock, Adblock Filterset.G Updater, coComment, FireBug, FasterFox, PDF Download, Web Developer, Sage,, CustomizeGoogle, Update Notifier, Restart Firefox, Download Statusbar, Linkedin Companion and the new Google Browser Sync).
As it stands, every time I shift tabs, or try to load a page, the thing goes into beachball madness and the CPU maxes out for anything up to 30 seconds. Frankly, I’m not delighted about it. I’m pretty certain that it’s one or more of the extensions I’m using, but I can’t isolate which one.

Anyone out there have a clue about which one is likely to be the culprit? I reckon I can live with a few less extensions if I can get Firefox to work properly.

Sometimes you’ve just got to wonder about these people…

Soundbuzz stupidity

Soundbuzz is an Australian (I think) online music store. It would appear that their aim in life is to alienate as many potential customers as possible, with this idiotic approach to browser limitation. To quote:

Thank You for visiting the Soundbuzz Music Store,

! We have detected that the browser you are using is not compatible with the Music Store that you are attempting to access.
This site has been designed to work with Internet Explorer Version 6 or above.
Please launch the site in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or click here to download Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.

Also, music can only be downloaded via your Windows PC as this store is not compatible with Macintosh.

The Soundbuzz team…

Obviously, some people are still living out the browser wars and just don’t have the smart to realise cross-platform delivery is the way to go.

Firefox memory leak potential fix – redux

UPDATE – Firefox is still eating just as much memory over time; it’s now up to ~200Mb. However, with this morning’s fix, as detailed below, it remains rock-solid stable. Last week, it would go down like a cheap… ermmm… cheap thing. Yeah.


More information to light on the previously mentioned Firefox memory issue.

As you read through the comments, you’ll notice there are many people mentioning memory leaks associated with extensions and the like. Well, I run a s%#@load of extensions (25 at current count), and suspected they were the collective, but unidentifiable, culprits. This fix at least seems to have them reined in.

This one seems to have a significant effect, my Firefox RAM usage hasn’t topped 90Mb (previously, close to 200Mb was common) since I implemented browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers to 0. There’s no noticeable degradation in performance.

Firefox memory leak potential fix

This is NOT NEW INFORMATION, it’s around eight months old now. But I’ve just come across it.

If like me, you’re a dedicated user of Firefox, you may have noticed that it has a tendency to leak memory like a sieve. So much so that for me, there are distinct stability issues with it on both Windows and OS X.

I think I have tracked down a couple of sites which provide usable (and useful) workarounds to the issue until it’s actually fixed. This site provides the most detail, however the author acknowledges this site was the source of the original solution.