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where is firefox heading?

  • 12 replies
  • 2 have this problem
  • Last reply by jscher2000

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I am using Firefox for years and I was always very happy with it. To be honest, there are not many options out there anyway, the google spyware that the majority of people are using now is a no go area for me.

But in the past 2..3 years every time I 'downgrade' firefox to a newer version it gets slower and slower, hangs sometimes for 1..2 minutes without doing anything using 100% CPU time. And how a browser displaying a web page with realistically 2.000 bytes of contents can use up 300.000.000 bytes of memory is difficult for me to understand.

So I finally had enough, ignored all those scary security concerns people are spreading here and installed version 17ish. And guess what: I have a nice usable browser again, no hanging, less memory use and very fast.

Maybe something for the developers to think about (if they care)... But performance and being careful with resources doesn't seem to be important for software developers any more...

Regards, Hugo

All Replies (12)

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Sorry that you went back to that old version of Firefox before asking "us" for support.

Sounds like a case of never creating a new Profile. Profiles don't last forever, they accumulate "junk" from older versions and from Add-ons that were changed to keep up with changes made to Firefox. IMO, roughly every 10 new versions is the time to create a new Profile. Firefox 4.0, then Firefox 29, then Firefox 39 or 40, and then Firefox 49 would have been the time for a new Profile. Each of those versions had massive changes that really affected the Profile and add-ons.

Starting around Firefox 41 or so, a new feature to Refresh the Profile was added to allow the user to "get a fresh start" while maintaining the user's data - bookmarks, passwords, etc. A new Profile involves the user needing to manually copy specific files from the old Profile into a new Profile.

You can provide feedback to Mozilla here: The developers and staff rarely grace us with their presence here in "support". So your comments may go unheard by the people running things.

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thank you for your reply.

I did go though all the posts and recommendations here on the support forum before and I did pretty much everything I could find (incl. profile). It improved matters a bit but not significantly.

The only add-on I ever installed was ad-block, otherwise it was the plain browser.

Problem is that software nowadays is bloated, every library and option is pulled in and nobody is really writing software any more. Only grabbing what is out there on the web and hacking around it until it runs. And every web site developer assumes a gigabit network.

"Perfection is achieved not when there Is nothing more to add, but when there Is nothing left to take away" (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

That your developers are never here is obvious, they seem to have lost touch with reality.

Version 17 works fine on all web sites I visited so far; I wonder what was added in the next 33 versions.... I might even go further back to get even better performance. Security concerns don't worry me too much since my work computer is not connected to the internet and my internet computer has only the Unix OS and the browser on it.

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To directly answer your question - where is firefox heading?

Mozilla is working with the new web technologies that are out there to keep Firefox relevant to the mass audience of internet users and is striving towards parity with the other web browser out there. Firefox remaining static for those users who want Firefox to stay the same isn't "in the cards".

Plus, Mozilla is an originator, Mozilla doesn't copy what other organizations are doing. And unlike most software companies, Mozilla development is done out in the open; anyone can see future versions as they are being developed and can also participate in the development process in any manner they wish or are qualified to do.

You need to consider that changing standards, like what is published by organizations like W3C, is what drives web browser developers to change what they are providing to end users or add new features to their products. No one organization operates in a vacuum, the expectations of their users is what drives software to be improved and new features to be added.

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I am not looking for a static firefox that stays the same. Some changes were actually quite useful.

What I am objecting to is that the performance goes downhills with every new version. Adding new features / methods should not make firefox slower. I work in software myself and I am adding new functionality every day. This increases executable size but has no detrimental impact on execution speed.

On top of your web site is says: "Looks like you’re using an older version of Firefox. Update to stay fast and safe."

I can only laugh at that. My little experiment proves the opposite. Every update gets slower.

But I think you are right: you write software for the majority of internet users and I am afraid the majority seems to like bloatware that creeps....

The global integral of the human intelligence coefficient is stricly monotonically descreasing.

Another thing: the-edmeister said

Mozilla is working with the new web technologies...

I object to this expression. Some piece of software, procedures, communication protocols, file formats are not technology. Technology is something totally different.

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I respect your right to disagree ... but I can find many references about my use of the term "web technologies" as being correct. Unless you question singular vs plural usage. What is web technology? below the image of three people sitting and working on their laptops

According to, some examples of web technologies include:

1) Mark-up languages including HTML, CSS, XML, CGI and HTTP;

2) Programming Languages and Technologies which help in creating applications for the web; some of the languages are Perl, C#, Java and Visual Basic .Net;

3) Web servers and server technologies which facilitate request handling on a network where different users have to share the same resources and communicate with one another;

4) Databases, which are crucial for data and information storage on a computer network; and

5) Business applications customized for specific execution of tasks on a network.

Web technology for developers

Web technologies Basics

HTML HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is used to describe and define the content of a webpage. CSS Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to describe the appearance or presentation of content on a webpage. HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is used to deliver HTML and other hypermedia documents on the Web.


JavaScript JavaScript is the programming language that runs in your browser. You can use it to add interactivity and other dynamic features to your website or application. Web APIs Web Application Programming Interfaces (Web APIs) are used to perform a variety of tasks, such as manipulating the DOM, playing audio or video, or generating 3D graphics.

The Web API interface reference lists all the object types you can use while developing for the Web. The WebAPI page lists all the communication, hardware access, and other APIs you can use in Web applications. The Event reference lists all the events you can use to track and react to interesting things that have taken place in your webpage or application.


SVG Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) let you describe images as sets of vectors (lines) and shapes. One advantage of SVGs is that they scale smoothly regardless of the size at which they're drawn. WebGL WebGL is a JavaScript API that lets you draw 3D or 2D graphics using the HTML5 <canvas> element.


MathML Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) lets you display complex mathematical equations and syntax.

more options well I better not get started on that...

The term 'technology' is nowadays widely but incorrectly used in the software field, mainly by marketing and people trying to bring their businesses onto that same level as real technology companies to extract more money from investors.

I'd like to cite the Encyclopedia Britannica (which I would consider relevant when it comes to English language):

Technology: "The application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment."

And to clarify further:

Science: "Any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws."

I think it is very clear from that that some algorithms that can be easily applied by 14 year olds is not technology.

I noticed that you did not respond to my original problem with the ever decreasing performance of firefox (despite opposite claims on your web site).

I would recommend some basic reading of computer programming literature for your programmers (Mr. Knuths masterpiece is a good starting point) and encourage them to walk away from bloated libraries and start coding themselves.

Now that I mention it I remember that this was actually the original motivation of the people who wrote the first firefox browser.... But it seems 20 updates per year and time to market seems to be the main driver behind firefox these days and not getting good compact and fast software.

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Sorry that I didn't respond directly to your original problem, but hyperbole like "And how a browser displaying a web page with realistically 2.000 bytes of contents can use up 300.000.000 bytes of memory is difficult for me to understand. " is hard to take seriously, but at least it wasn't bits you mentioned.

If you are looking the provide feedback to Mozilla, you can do that here:

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I am disappointed that Mozilla Support is not taken me seriously but to be honest I am not very surprised either.

Please do the test yourself: open a few text web pages (no videos) and then open system monitor and check how much memory firefox is using. I have this support web page, yahoo mail (without ads) and a google search page open now and firefox is using 236.200.000 bytes of memory. This is version 17 of course, my example above was from version 45.

And here are a few examples of technology for your consideration:

Now compare that to moving a few bytes from A to B which is basically all your web software is doing.

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How much physical memory does your computer have and what Linux distribution are you using?

If you get low on free memory then the page file (swap partition) will be used and that will slow down any computer.

300 MB isn't that much unless it would rise that much with every tab you open. Firefox need memory to store data and render the web page. Especially when there are a lot of large images then the memory usage will quickly rise.

See also the about:memory page that has a minimize memory button.

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I have 8000MB of (physical) memory and I am running RHEL6.8.

The slow speed is not memory / swap related.

> 300 MB isn't that much...

Right. For displaying about 2000 bytes of information (ok, let it be 20000) using 300MB is not that much? Maybe I am too old fashioned. When I started building and programming computers 65536 bytes of memory was considered a lot.

I suppose it is accepted since MS gobbled up 1.4M for a keyboard driver translating 100ish key scan codes into characters.... So why be careful with resources when you write software? You simply assume resources are plentyful and if not the user simply has to buy new hardware.... Processor speed has gone up by factor 100 in the past 20 years and the software is a slow as ever.

the_edmeister actually said it already that firefox is made for the majority of users which is children wasting their lives on facebook and youtube. I was under the misconception to find somebody here interested in requirements important for professional use.

Hence I think we can close this thread and I only hope that one day people like Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt, and Blake Ross get up and do something against bloatware again. Since Moores law does not apply any longer for processor speed I still have hope.

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I thought refreshing Firefox would remove all add-ons and other accessibility fixes. So I thought it was a permanent equivalent of (dangerous) "safe" mode.

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MarjaE said

I thought refreshing Firefox would remove all add-ons and other accessibility fixes. So I thought it was a permanent equivalent of (dangerous) "safe" mode.

I don't think this reply was intended for this (seemingly completely unrelated) thread. Anyway, no, Firefox's Safe Mode works differently than post-Firefox Refresh regular mode.