Memory leaks, Firefox, Flock and Opera

Moving from IE to Firefox

*Update: This is a old post that i wrote when Firefox 3 was still in early days of development and before the performance improvements were done.*

I switched from IE to Firefox 1.5 because of its amazing features like tabs, better session saver, add-ons and most of all its developer friendly tools like FireBug which to me came as a breather for web-development. And needless to say i never missed IE.

But then, as i became addicted to the tabbed browsing, like many others even i cultivated a bad habit of opening the links that i would like to read and come back later when i had time. so usually i had i atleast 15-20 tabs in each window and atleast 2-3 windows open. see it was just convenience…!!

Memory leaks in Firefox and moving onto Opera

But because of my bad habit of having so many tabs open, the memory hogging in Firefox was *ahem* unbearable…and lo…to add to that it also started crashing…and at times i
would restart the Firefox manually when the memory usage was very high and i was hoping that this would be fixed in the future versions, but nothing much happened on those lines and i was looking for some alternative, and then i tried Opera (without the ads πŸ˜‰ and it had all the features that i wanted except for the FireBug. But hey..that was okay..when i had to test my sites, i would go to Firefox, but for normal web-browsing, i never missed Firefox, just the way i never missed IE when i switched to Firefox. Opera was just freakin…awesome..!!! and i loved it for the memory footprint that it occupied and it never crashed for me (though, YMMV πŸ˜‰ and to add to that, Opera had lot more features like integrated mail client, newsgroups, saving multiple sessions, needless to say i loved it πŸ˜‰


So when i came across the beta release of flock, i was just curious to try it out and my first thoughts were, oh its a replica of Firefox with few more functionalities, primary among those being a integrated access to various social networking sites from its sidebar. well..which was not bad..*ahem* quite good, just like you don’t want to open different mail clients for each and every mail account that you have, you would like to have an integrated access to all these social networking sites instead of logging into each one of them. so this integration was quite a welcome feature given the fad for social networking sites. But, hey…is that reason enough for altogether a new browser..? i don’t think so..but to be fair, Flock also has other features like Web Clipboard, Blogging client, Media bar, and obviously the sidebar.

But another interesting point that i came across was regarding the memory usage comparison of Flock vs firefox 3.0. well just to double check on this, i fired up all my tabs in Opera in Flock and also in firefox 3.0 and boy Opera beats them all and Firefox crashes as usual :), but though, Flock initially used more memory footprint than Firefox, it never crashed :), which was interesting and i’m just curious what tweaks did Flock guys do to the Firefox engine and why is firefox still not fixing it? i see that firefox 3.0 has loads of features but why are they not fixing this serios issue of frequent crashes..? what will we do with those features when the browser would crash anyway..? well in that sense , kudos to Flock and i hope to see how flock catches up with the new versions of the firefox 3.0 engine. And if they do manage to catch up, then i wouldn’t see why people who wants to move to firefox 3.0 should not move to Flock if not my fav browser Opera πŸ™‚

But hey..i am not going to switch my loyalty from Opera to this new browser for just the side-bar πŸ˜‰

Opera ROCKS!!!


55 Responses to Memory leaks, Firefox, Flock and Opera

  1. Josh Ebben says:

    I agree in general that Opera is a great browser; however, it is pay-to-use software (either by paying $30 or by looking at ads), and it is also closed-source. Firefox is free, and has source available for those who are interested.

    I’m not saying that means Firefox is superior, but it’s certainly worth taking into consideration. After all, I think that most people would rather get something for free, even if it means having some memory management issues.

    Also: Why so many emoticons?! Reading this made me feel like I was in an IM session with someone. I guess I would look for higher quality when reading a weblog.

  2. Bjorne says:

    It’s obvious you havent’t used Opera for years as it has been free for that time without any ads.
    What is it about know-it alls who speak without any facts backing them up?

  3. […] mostafa_mn7 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMoving from IE to Firefox. I switched from IE to Firefox 1.5 because of its amazing features like tabs, better session saver, add-ons and most of all its developer friendly tools like FireBug which to me came as a breather for … […]

  4. imaverick says:

    thanks for pointing to josh that opera is free and without ads.

    if you look at the post, I’ve mentioned that when i switched to opera, it was without any ads and it was free πŸ™‚

  5. Tim says:

    I’ve been using Opera since before version 4.0 (it’s currently on version 9), and had been only using IE when I absolutely had to, though, lately, when I find a non-standard site (ie: made to MS standards instead of web standards) that Opera doesn’t render perfectly, I use Firefox.

    Firefox has been gradually copying more and more of the Opera features through the use of plug-ins, while Opera comes with everything installed by default. No plug-ins necessary. I’ve found myself toying with Firefox more lately, and finally found a useful plug-in that Opera doesn’t have yet – Grab and Drag. So, I’m using Firefox right now just for the fun of it, but for my real browsing, it’s always Opera. Mouse gestures are extremely useful, and Opera has had them for years. Every time I go back to IE or Firefox, I inadvertently find myself trying to use mouse gestures, and then I kick myself when I realize I’m not using Opera.

    Opera has been free for a long time now, yet people keep raving about Firefox. You haven’t used a real browser until you’ve tried Opera.

  6. Jason says:

    Have you looked at safari? It is the fastest browser with the smallest mem footprint of the bunch. I used to hate it, but safari 3 has come a long way. I’d give it s ahot if you are looking for something light and fast (and fully standards compliant!)

  7. greysoace says:

    Opera was my browser of choice before I left Windows for Linux, roughly six years ago. I was a fanatical Firefox partisan (since the “Phoenix” days) until roughly v1.5, and haven’t been happy with it since. Crashes, bloat, memory rape, lock-ups; name it. Three times out of four it doesn’t even quit elegantly, and I have to manually kill the process. It’s been a painful thing to watch, and the 3.0 beta is — for me; your mileage may vary — the worst yet. This is across five different distributions of Linux, too. Ugh.

    My biggest gripe with Opera for Linux is that — again, for me — it doesn’t handle Flash terribly well. Better than Firefox by far, as it doesn’t choke on it outright half the time; but I’ve found that if I have something Flash-y running in one tab, switch to another, and then go back, the Flash application is gone and can only be resurrected with a refresh. Then again, this may very well be Adobe’s fault.

    Anyway, these days I’m dividing my browsing time roughly equally between Opera and Kazehakase. The latter is extremely fast and lightweight.

  8. ThePeach says:

    As stated befere: it’s a fault comparing a closed-source costy products with some community open-source product. it’s like comparing photoshop with the GIMP… what the heck!

  9. Memory leaks, Firefox, Flock and Opera

    […]Memory leaks, Firefox, Flock and Opera[…]

  10. Forbes B says:

    I recently switched to Opera too, because of the bad Firefox performance. Firefox startup is slow, even with a few plugins and the memory usage is awful.

    I have recently read that only 20% of the bugs will be fixed in the final 3.0 release, which for me clearly shows that the Mozilla foundation doesn’t care for making quality releases anymore.

    For me Firefox = Slow + Huge mem usage + Bugs

    For Opera however things are exactly the opposite: low mem usgae, very good rendering speed, few bugs. Not to mention that they have the best support for web standards.

  11. Yes it’s true I use Firefox 2.x and it uses a lot of memory, Opera is better for that but a lot of new ajax site doesn’t work in Opera coz a lot of Ajax frameworks have problem with it, so I’m also trying Safari and look for Firefox 3 to see if they fixed memory leaks…

    @Forbes B
    it’s not true that Mozilla said that only 20% of the bug will be fixed in firefox 3!! Search on google…


  12. aceman says:

    I thought I’d read this somewhere else, then I realised it’s similar to the TechCrunch article from November 20th, but with worse grammar.

    Anyway, although Firefox may use up a lot of memory, it’s my browser of choice due to it being able to handle the internet properly and enable me to use plugins/extensions that make it a better and more secure experience.

  13. imaverick says:


    i don’t think you’ve read the post fully, anyways fyi, if you look at the link for memory usage comparison, i”ve pointed out the same techcrunch article, and after reading the article, i just wanted to to check out whether its worth moving onto flock from opera, but as i expressed earlier, i dont think its worth it!

    …and regarding the worse grammar, i’m working on it, but anyways thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

  14. aceman says:

    Yes, I read the post properly, which is why I said I would rather stick with Firefox and a select amount of plugins/extensions, despite it’s memory usage than to ‘move onto’ another browser. πŸ™‚

    In my opinion, Flock has too much of what I don’t want or need and Opera may be fast and light on resources, but it doesn’t handle many web-standard sites correctly and is therefore my second browser.

  15. extrapreneur says:

    I use talk talk broadband, or have I missed the point? Check out my blog at

  16. akorhonen says:

    What? 20-30 tabs. Luckily I don’t use Firefox, because couple days ago I counted that I had 104 tabs open in Opera.

    Even I don’t need so many tabs now, because I tried the Quickdial feature, and even I didn’t understand it earlier, now I almost couldn’t do without it. But for the record, I wouldn’t have so many tabs, if Opera just had usable Bookmarks/Favorites, that is one thing I miss from IE times.

  17. Sukrawan says:

    Bravo Opera…opera always save the previous page so when i want to come back to the previous page, opera can load the page very fast. How about firefox? firefox always load and load again, too slow…i think

  18. Nick Mudge says:

    Nice post. I wanted to tell you that I posted this article to

  19. Guyz I agree, Opera rocks!!!….

    I’ve alos been using opera for the last almost 9 years, and it has never disappointed me. Better tab handling features than the other browsers… FireFox is really trying hard far from getting there, IE… well shan’t comment.

    Bravo Opera πŸ™‚

  20. Joe says:

    Firefox represents a culture of software publishers that’s arrogant, selfish and disrespectful to customers-yet they expect us to use their software. Come on don;t you think the engineers at firefox know about the memory leaks? the issue is that they know this and could care less how it affects the end user. The continue to carry home huge salaries, bonuses and a warped sense of fulfillment that their twisted minds foster. Companies like this are one of many reasons why I support piracy on any level. As a small businessman I am at my last length of frustration with software makers. I think it’s safe to say I am developing an unhealthy hatred for them that’s only lowered by what I see happening to their products with the pirates. Firefox is just another example that’s affecting all our lives. F them

  21. Terr says:

    “As stated befere: it’s a fault comparing a closed-source costy products with some community open-source product. it’s like comparing photoshop with the GIMP… what the heck!” –ThePeach

    “Costy”? I don’t suppose you’d care to admit that Opera is hardly “costly” when the full version is available for free?

  22. Ferefox 3 beta has just been released and the memory issues with previous Firefox versions have been resolved and it is much faster. Well worth a try!

  23. Dog training says:

    Very interesting… as always! Cheers from -Switzerland-.

  24. “The Firefox memory leak is not a bug. It’s a feature! The ‘feature’ is how the pages are cached in a tabbed environment.”

    “To improve performance when navigating (studies show that 39% of all page navigations are renavigations to pages visited less than 10 pages ago, usually using the back button), Firefox 1.5 implements a Back-Forward cache that retains the rendered document for the last five session history entries for each tab. This is a lot of data. If you have a lot of tabs, Firefox’s memory usage can climb dramatically. It’s a trade-off. What you get out of it is faster performance as you navigate the web.”

    To disable this feature, type about:config in your url bar, then change – “set browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers to ‘0’ ”

    I hope this solves the problem…

  25. Smifis says:

    #Just so everyone know… I have been using firefroz 3 since the day it was released and it is very good, i had noticed the memory leek in firefoz 2.x but they have fixed this in firefox 3.x! Woohh!!!! go firefox. down with Internet Explorer!!!!!

  26. NettiCat says:

    Yes, they fixed the issues with Firefox 3. But only in your dreams.
    Dream on.

  27. tom says:

    firefox 3 memory leaks haven’t been fixed. please do not spread misinformation just because of favoritism. at one point on my macbook pro, it ate up 500+ mb but and i had to frequently kill it so other apps could function. but that wasn’t the most frustrated thing i had with it (and safari). these two browsers, at times, couldn’t spin out of a bad embedded object (audio, flash etc.) and pulled all cpu cycles to themselves which rendered my macbook pro unresponsive for several seconds if not minutes.
    i’ve tinkered with opera on and off over the years mostly due to the frustration i had with safari and firefox but never really got a hang of it until recently.
    i was hanging to firefox for years just because it rendered the page beautifully, especially the handling of the fonts (i have an obscure preference for font sizes and looks).
    however, i tested opera 9.5 one day just to see if i could get away from being imprisoned by firefox and safari frequent freezes with flash/embedded-object pages. to my surprise, opera has a marked improvement in handling fonts and appearance. the memory footprint is significantly smaller than both safari and firefox. pages are loaded faster AND best of all, no freezes!!!
    needless to say, opera is now my default browser of choice.

    opera, i salute thou.

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