File Under: Browsers

Mozilla Celebrates a Year of Shrinking Firefox Memory

One year ago Mozilla launched MemShrink, an aggressive campaign to trim Firefox’s then much larger memory footprint. Since then not only has the browser’s overall memory use dropped considerably, but the effort has been expanded to tackle add-ons, a common source of Firefox memory woes.

Mozilla programmer Nicholas Nethercote, head of the MemShrink effort, takes a look back at the progress and some of MemShrink’s “big wins,” including better JavaScript performance, fewer memory leaks in add-ons and the new about:memory page, which is, according to Nethercote, “the single most important tool we’ve created, and has driven a lot of the MemShrink improvements.”

If you’re interested in the finer details about everything that’s been done to reduce Firefox’s memory over the last year, be sure to read through Nethercote’s full post.

As for the future, look for MemShrink to keep bringing down the memory overhead. “There’s no real secret to MemShrink,” writes Nethercote, “so far it’s basically been a long, steady grind, gradually improving tools, fixing leaks, slimming down data structures, and responding to user’s problems…. there are no plans to change that.”

If you’d like to get on the leading edge of MemShrink improvements, you can switch from Firefox’s stable channel to either the Beta or Aurora channels, which include any new features, as well as any memory improvements, much sooner.