Firefox Memory Usage Improvements?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been using Safari as my default browser because Firefox was regularly sucking up far too many of my system resources. Sometimes it would chew up nearly 30% of my CPU and/or 300+ Mb of memory. Nothing beats Firefox for development purposes, but for day-to-day browsing and so-called productivity tasks…that kind of resource usage just isn’t acceptable. This morning before work, though, I was notified by Firefox that the latest drop – beta 4 – had been downloaded and was ready to install. So I installed.

Just to see what would happen, I launched Firefox and opened the two tabs that I keep open on what amounts to a 24/7 basis, Gmail and Google Reader, then left for work. In the past, doing such a thing would spin my CPU into a tizzy and leave me watching the beachball spin the next time I tried to do something. Not today, though. A good sign? Maybe. Evidently there has been a lot of focused effort to reduce the memory footprint, so maybe the effort was well spent.

I’m not claiming that my ultra-simple, ad hoc, one day “test” is any more than, well, an ultra-simple, ad hoc, one day test. Time will tell whether today was an anomaly, but color me cautiously optimistic. I’d really like to retain Firefox as my primary browser, but I need the memory usage to improve – and dramatically so – before I’m willing to commit.

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