A little more than a year after releasing the first version of Firefox,
Mozilla.org has finally released Firefox 1.5. This new version is supposed to
add all sorts of new features including Live Bookmarks which merge RSS and
bookmarks, improved error pages, improved patch mechanisms, as well as more
security and faster load times. Naturally, with all these new features, you’d expect it to be less efficient.
I started by loading Firefox 1.5 on my Linux
workstation. I had a few conflicts with packages loaded by prior versions, but
it was nothing that was Firefox’s fault. Once it was finally up and installed I
checked to see how big of a footprint Firefox 1.5 had over Firefox 1.07. Here’s
what I found:
- Firefox 1.07 showed RAM usage was 38.7MB, with 78.6MB of Swap.
- Firefox 1.5 showed RAM usage was 40.7MB, with 78.4MB of Swap.
As you can see, Firefox 1.5 is a little bigger on my
test machine than Firefox 1.07. But this was on a Linux machine and your mileage
may vary anyway. The added bulk hasn’t seemed to have negatively impacted
performance though. Firefox 1.5 seems to load a little quicker and load pages
quicker than 1.07 as well.
On my Windows XP workstation, Firefox 1.5 consumes 20.5 MB of RAM
before visiting the first page. The real proof in the pudding however
is how it performs as you use it. Visiting the TechProGuild homepage
immediatlely causes Firefox’s usage to climb to 24.8 MB on Windows and
42.3 MB on Linux. Load a couple of articles and read them, and the
memory usage continues to spiral. Firefox 1.5 occasionally releases the
memory but not as fast as it should. There have been occasions on my
Linux box where Firefox has grabbed over 150MB of RAM and wont let go
even though there’s only one window and page active. Normally
however that’s after I’ve had several windows and dozens of tabs
It’s interesting that Firefox uses less resources under Windows than
it does under Linux. I checked Erik Eckel’s Mac and Firefox consumes
more memory there as well. I’m sure this has a lot to say about
the robustness of the development tools.