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Firefox Mozilla Software Upgrades IT

Multi-Process Comes To Firefox Nightly, 64-bit Firefox For Windows 'Soon' 181

An anonymous reader writes with word that the Mozilla project has made two announcements that should make hardcore Firefox users very happy. The first is that multi-process support is landing in Firefox Nightly, and the second is that 64-bit Firefox is finally coming to Windows. The features are a big deal on their own, but together they show Mozilla's commitment to the desktop version of Firefox as they both improve performance and security. The news is part of a slew of unveilings from the company on the browser's 10th anniversary — including new Firefox features and the debut of Firefox Developer Edition.
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Multi-Process Comes To Firefox Nightly, 64-bit Firefox For Windows 'Soon'

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  • it would be exactly like Chrome :)

  • Waterfox 64 bit seems to work fine, have been using it for a while now as Firefox memory limits were just too annoying.

    • by devent ( 1627873 )

      What did you do to exceed 4 GB of memory with Firefox?

      • Probably loaded G+. That's the only explanation I can think of (high memory use) why it should be one of the slowest sites on the internet.

        • I use all the google services on chrome and everything else in waterfox as google is just so bad at programming that their products are just too annoying to use on other things.

          • I use all the google services on chrome and everything else in waterfox as google is just so bad at programming that their products are just too annoying to use on other things.

            I'm not sure it's all their fault. G+ exposes a bug in FF where it craps itself on form input, even after closing the G+ tab the problem persists while I'm typing into other forms until I close the browser completely and reopen it. Typing just goes straight to hell, it substitutes some buffer for the keystrokes. It only happens if I start typing too soon, while G+ is still loading. Why does G+ have such a stupidly-long page load time? Ugh.

          • I use all the google services on chrome ... their products are just too annoying to use on other things,/i>

            Google... the new Microsoft :-)

      • Well, I currently have 11 windows open with a total of about 230 tabs, Firefox was fine until it went over 3 gigs and then it just stopped, with every action taking 30+ seconds to do.

        Waterfox runs fine now at about 4.5 gigs total memory use.

        • Well, I currently have 11 windows open with a total of about 230 tabs

          Surely you can't be serious. You've heard about bookmarks, right?

          • Bookmarks are just such a clumsy interface overall and in many cases cause multiple extra actions to get to the thing you need like logins or such. A lot of websites are programmed by idiots.

            • Indeed, the GUIs for bookmarks always has been crap, it's a dump of links, you end up scrolling a drop down menu without a scroll bar, and it's not clear why would I want to bookmark everything I read then spend time cleaning it up.

              Having 220 tabs is not really special. It's like asking "who ever reads a book or magazine with 220 pages? no one ever reads that much".

          • Reloading a bookmark requires that your laptop have a connection to the Internet. Loading pages in tabs allows reading them while offline. The city bus system in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for example, does not offer Wi-Fi to paying riders. Nor will airlines now that AT&T has given up on in-flight Internet [slashdot.org]. Tabs mean you don't have to spend $400 a year on cellular Internet for your laptop.
            • by jonwil ( 467024 )

              Ummm, just because AT&T aren't doing inflight internet doesn't mean that the companies currently offering inflight internet like Gogo, OnAir and Panasonic are suddenly going to stop providing it.

        • Well, I currently have 11 windows open with a total of about 230 tabs, Firefox was fine until it went over 3 gigs and then it just stopped, with every action taking 30+ seconds to do.

          Umm, why in $diety's name do you need 230 tabs open? You cannot possibly use that many efficiently. It's a scientific fact that you cannot multitask worth anything (no one can). Hell you cannot even find a particular tab efficiently with that many open. That's one of the most baffling work "flows" I've ever heard of. Just because a few tabs are good doesn't mean a huge number is better.

          • Umm, why in $diety's name do you need 230 tabs open? You cannot possibly use that many efficiently. It's a scientific fact that you cannot multitask worth anything (no one can).

            Well, research would be an obvious candidate. You want to keep all related pages open until you're done, in case you need to reference them in light of new information.

        • by NotBorg ( 829820 )
          Firefox Nightly has also removed the close tab and close window buttons that no one ever bothers with.
  • Multi-process is the major reason I use Chrome. One tab freezing up the entire app, or even just making other tabs slower, is unacceptable.

    Then this hits general availability I'll definitely be re-evaluating Firefox.

    • There's one catch though. According to the Mozilla e10s page [mozilla.org], for now multi-process only means separating web content from the GUI. Having separate processes for each tab is coming later down the road.
      • Great. One reason I don't use Chrome/ium is there are two many processes, eventually consuming all available RAM + swap (even on a 32bit OS). I once counted 39 processes and every one of them allocate tens of megabytes, eventually hundreds for managing resources such as graphics, running bad javascript code etc.

        When even swap is exhausted, every action such as moving the mouse cursor takes 5-10 seconds or more . I have to ctrl-alt-f1 to a text console (if the computer still responds to that and the screen i

  • The multiprocess option was introduced a while ago. I tried it for about an hour, but any time I had more than about 5 threads open, it would hang the computer, and I couldn't do anything. This could be because I was on a relatively underpowered laptop, but... I am just going to stay away from it till it's more mature. It's honestly the only thing in Nightly that has made me look for a way to turn it off.
  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @01:19PM (#48361819)

    We prefer Firefox, but I was about to switch my wife over to using Chrome as it has become impossible to figure out which of the dozens of tabs she has open was slowing everything down, even with ad-blocking enabled. It will be interesting to see how the multi-process support impacts memory overhead, though, as Firefox has had the lead on Chrome in that area.

    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      impacts memory overhead, though, as Firefox has had the lead on Chrome in that area.

      Never thought I'd see that sentence. Man, how far Firefox has come! (or how far Chrome has fallen?)

      • It depends a lot on how you use things. If you just open one tab and browse in it, then Firefox is likely to use more memory.

        But as you open more and more tabs the overhead of the extra processes in chrome make it use way more memory fast.

    • Just look for the tab which is running the Flash plugin and close it.

  • ...plus "e10" still doesn't play well with copy/paste nor gmail compose window editing. ah well, i admire their dogged efforts.
  • by snarfies ( 115214 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @01:42PM (#48362013) Homepage

    Pale Moon has been available in x64 for a long time now, and doesn't have advertisements bundled into it.

    I'll just stay put.

    • Palemoon crashes a lot on my machine, Firefox doesn't ... which is weird, given that Palemoon is essentially a rebranded Firefox.

  • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @01:42PM (#48362019)

    I've been using Firefox for the past six months or so because I don't like Chrome, but Chrome still has the technology edge in several cases. This looks to be bridging at least some of that gap. It would have been better if it happened three years ago, but late is better than never.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MSG ( 12810 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:43PM (#48362701)

      Chrome still has the technology edge in several cases

      Some, maybe. It's getting harder to name them. Firefox is a smaller download, uses less RAM, starts faster, and (if arewefastyet is to be believed) has a faster JavaScript engine now. And the mobile version supports plugins. And I can run my own sync server if I want to.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Firefox takes longer to start for me, especially when restoring a session with multiple tabs open. It doesn't enough enough memory without tweaks, resulting in choppy scrolling and lag switching tabs as it has to load and decode images from disk. I've got 16GB of RAM, I'd prefer to use it rather than wait around just for the sake of seeing a lower number in Task Manager.

  • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:18PM (#48362407)

    I switched to Chrome a while back when it came out. It supported most of the then new HTML5 features, most importantly, playing youtube videos without flash. At first I used chrome sparingly, it took a bit to get used to. Then, after a few vulnerabilities were found in FF which could allow attackers to read the memory of other tabs, I switched. The internet is a dangerous place, multiprocess sandboxing of tabs made perfect sense. I also really liked its UI which was much more simple: tabs, URL bar and a few controls like forward, back and reload along with a settings button.

    But it came with a cost. I connected it to my google account and it also integrated with my phone and tablet bringing my bookmarks, passwords and other credentials across all of my devices. So I am hooked on the convenience of Google integration, for better or worse. Worse most likely. Plus logging into sites that use Google is very convenient. I'm addicted.

    So going back to FF for me will be difficult.

    My only concern with multi process is memory footprint. FF is great for low memory systems like virtual machines and older systems. Chrome is a memory hog and easily uses a gigabyte or more. Right now with 8 tabs open I have 12 chrome processes, two are close to consuming nearly 300 megs each, one nearly 200 and the remaining are anywhere from 12-87 megs. I assume the three large processes are the ones running the show (windows, IPC, etc). The largest being the parent process that spawns the others. The smaller 8 processes are the actual tabs. That is pretty much 1 gig of RAM for 8 tabs. I have computers and VM's with less running various test systems. FF on those machines clocks in at 250-300 megs under heavy use.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I am surprised Chrome uses more RAM than Firefox. I like the addons and customizations in Firefox and SeaMonkey. I still can't stand Chrome. :(

  • by TyIzaeL ( 1203354 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:18PM (#48362417)
    My daily web browser is Nightly. A few days ago when they enabled e10s by default I found out about the change because my browser crashed on startup. The only way I could get it working again was to start Nightly in Safe Mode and disable e10s. Multiprocess in Nightly is varying states of very broken for most addons. For me the key ones are HTTPSEverywhere [mozilla.org], Adblock Plus [mozilla.org], and Reddit Enhancement Suite [mozilla.org]. None of these addons are functional with e10s enabled currently.
    • e10s still interferes with pretty much any addon that needs to have some type of JS input to the page/window.

      RequestPolicy, likely all UserScripts (e.g. Greasemonkey and kin), LastPass (last I tested a week ago, was still non-functional).

      Although Nightly with e10s enabled does at least appear to be working (better) with addons that only need to have input/listeners/control of the GUI.
  • Catching up to Chrome 1.0 ... eventually! :)

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:23PM (#48362479)

    Notice they add the new advertising features yesterday and then make the things people want (official 64-bit support, better performance) a future version feature.
    Gotta take your medicine before you get candy.

  • All very nice to hear about shiny new features, but I would be even happier to hear Mozilla foundatation announce that they plan to fix the longstanding bug where 200 open tabs causes firefox to crash [google.ca] every two days or so.

    Oh, also announce that the bug where keystrokes go to the wrong window [google.com] will be fixed. Thxbai.

  • But will it support a 64-bit JRE on Windows?
  • Ive been running Waterfox (64 bit firefox) for several years now. I'm not sure what difference it really makes but makes me feel better.
  • If 36.0a1 is any indication of what to expect in the future, we should all just switch to IE and burn in hell. It'll be a better experience and it won't hurt as much.

  • Have loved and used Firefox for years, but last several versions (past v28) have crashed frequently for me (Win7) with what appear to be memory leaks and then the ironic submitted crash report. I'll be looking forward to multi-threaded 64-bit crashes and memory leaks!
  • A move to multi-process in Firefox can be bad news for anyone using multiuser thin client environments (uncommon but still used). On a shared system, you generally want to have control over which applications can use multiple processes, lest they can go runaway and eat up all cores and resources on a system. Traditional tools such as "nice" don't scale well with single applications that can throw off dozens of threads. As an example- JAVA is *extremely* hostile in a a thin client environment (not just CP

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