Mozilla: Firefox 3.0 beta plugs hundreds of memory leaks

It's 'dramatically improved' in memory management, beats IE 7, brags chief engineer.

Firefox 3.0's memory consumption is "dramatically improved," claimed Mozilla's chief engineer, because developers have aggressively attacked the open-source browser's notorious memory "leaks."

"We've been working on memory [leaks] for years," said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering. "But it really started to come together in the last six months."

Another milestone, however, might have been three months ago, when a member of the Mozilla board of directors said attention had to be paid to Firefox's memory allocation if the browser was going to compete in the RAM-tight mobile market.

No matter the reason or the timing, Mozilla claims progress on the memory front. In its release notes, the company trumpeted the fact that the just-released Beta 3 plugged more than 350 leaks, with over 50 stopped in the last eight weeks alone.

"We've made a lot of progress," said Schroepfer. "Our memory usage is significantly improved, and dramatically better than [Microsoft's] Internet Explorer 7."

But the work's not finished. "Most of the big memory issues are resolved, and we're seeing some pretty good numbers [on memory consumption], but some additional [work] is one reason why we felt we needed Beta 4."

In the run-up to releasing Beta 4, Mozilla acknowledged that it would take the time to do at least one more beta build. According to Schroepfer, Beta 4's code freeze date -- when all work stops in preparation for the build to enter final testing before release -- has been set as Feb. 26.

"It looks pretty good" for a March delivery of the next beta, he added.

Schroepfer, however, declined to set a release date for the final version of Firefox, saying only that it would ship some time during the first half of the year.

Firefox has been roundly criticized for years for leaking memory. The longer Firefox runs and the more pages it opens, the larger its appetite for memory, according to critics. At some point, the load becomes big enough to degrade overall performance of the computer, or in some cases, lock the browser. Closing tabs doesn't reclaim the memory; only shutting Firefox down and restarting does.

"Users will see a dramatic difference between Firefox 3.0 and 2.0," Schroepfer said.

Firefox 3.0 Beta 3 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 32 languages from Mozilla's site.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
Use WhistleOut's technology to compare:
Mobile phone plans & deals
Mobile phone models
Mobile phone carriers
Broadband plans & deals
Broadband providers
Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?