Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Firefox 15 to Fix All Common Add-On Memory Leaks

 
 
About a week ago, Mozilla was talking about a patch that fixed most of the biggest and most common memory problems related to add-ons. The biggest leaks were fixed, making a huge difference for users, however, the patch also caused other memory leaks for add-ons created with older versions of the Add-on SDK.


At the time, it looked like fixing the new problem would take a while, making it very important for add-on developers to update their creations.

However, the problem has now been fixed, an updated patch now prevents the second type of leaks as well.

The end result is that Firefox 15 will use up a lot less memory than its predecessors, with the benefits being bigger the more add-ons you use.

"Firefox 15 is scheduled for release on August 28. Assuming we don’t hit other problems with these changes prior to release, for users with add-ons there’s a good chance that Firefox 15 will use less memory and suffer fewer annoying pauses," Mozilla's Nicholas Nethercote wrote.


"Once again, it would be great if users of Nightly builds, particularly those that use add-ons, could pay attention to memory consumption and file bugs for any bad behaviour," he encouraged users.

By Mozilla's account, all the common memory leaks caused by add-ons are fixed by this patch, in one fell swoop with no modifications to the add-on themselves. It's hard to understate this, as add-ons are more often than not the cause of Firefox's memory usage or sluggishness problems.

Mozilla has been working on improving memory usage, project MemShrink, and on speeding up Firefox, project Snappy. Of course, those two goals are at the opposite ends of the spectrum quite often.

Still, there's been a lot of progress in this department, Firefox is as light as it ever was and it can finally be described as snappy, though it still feels slower than Chrome most of the time.

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