Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Is Firefox having performance issues?

Firefox the most used web browser has been dealing with a lot of bad criticism that has been spreading around the blogosphere. What is this performance problem that Firefox has to deal with?

According to a recent article in Information Week, more than 60 percent of Firefox users did not have any problems using Firefox, however there were little under 10 percent of users who were experiencing stability problems.

What were these stability issues –

  • Firefox's use of physical and virtual memory is exceptionally high.
  • CPU usage spikes to 100 percent (usually while loading a Web page).
  • The browser freezes up for seconds, minutes, or permanently.
  • The browser won't launch until they remove an errant "firefox.exe" process in Task Manager.
  • The browser has trouble loading specific pages, but there's no commonality among users as to which pages won't load.
  • The initial launch of Firefox loads slower.

Moreover Nik Cubrilovic, a developer at OmniDrive also is having stability problems using Firefox 1.5. Some of the problems encountered are –

  • "I can’t remember ever being an Internet Explorer user, and for the first time I am really struggling with the alternative – Firefox in this case. Today with only a couple of hours of web surfing I have had it crash on me at least 4 times, the last time it just kept on eating up more and more free memory while the application wasn’t even running."
  • "The problem seems to be that Firefox will not free up the memory once you close the tab, and with some pages it just keeps eating and eating into the free memory while using up all the free CPU cycles."

All this comes at a very bad time as Microsoft who just recently launched a beta version of IE7. Microsoft has included a lot of the same functionality which is used in Firefox into IE7. Can they increase the user base for IE users with this release? They have done it in 1997 by over taking Netscape and running them out of business. Being a Firefox user I do have ran into similar kinds of stability issues. Who will win the race from Internet Browsers only time will tell as of right now, Firefox can fix these problems so no user of theirs will switch to IE.

Is Firefox dropping the ball, like Netscape in 97?

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