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CPU Leak

I just had to quit Firefox for the umpteenth time because it was taking up 25% of my CPU and 1.5 GB of virtual memory. It makes my lap hot and burns down my battery and activates my fan and slows down my click response time. I have no idea if it was Gmail or Google Reader or one of the other JS-heavy apps and frankly, I’m sick of guessing.

Let’s face it: the browser is an operating system. It’s time it started acting like one.

Here’s what I want my next browser to do:

  • Put every tab’s JS in its own thread or process space
  • Pause that process when I switch tabs (i.e. I don’t want Gmail to check for incoming mail or chats unless it’s in a visible tab)
  • Show me a list of the CPU and memory usage of each JS slice like “top” or the Windows process monitor and allow me to kill them without restarting my browser
  • Same goes for Flash but even moreso: I want every seizure-inducing, focus-stealing, ringtone-blaring flash app to be individually killable and blockable
  • Show me the content of the page now even if some stupid ad or web bug or analytics script on a different server is slow to load

And for Santa’s sake when I tell you to quit don’t swap in every little JS object and free it individually. Throw the whole heap away and quit, damn your eyes!


  1. Mike Cavaliere says:

    AMEN. Especially to the threading, I’m sick of Netvibes and Gmail (both great apps) causing firefox to hang and having to restart.

  2. Daryl says:

    I think I disagree with “Pause that process when I switch tabs.” Perhaps more accurately, I’ll agree with this if I have the option of disabling the pause for specific domains.

  3. About a month ago, I made a separate profile in firefox that includes all the plugin I use for development (firebug, etc.) and it has made a huge difference. My main firefox profile I use for daily browsing has almost no plugins and I can keep it open for weeks without it taking too much cpu and RAM.

    But you have some interesting ideas. Let’s hope firefox 3 really improves the memory issues.

  4. Brendan says:

    I’d really dislike if the processes in the unfocused tabs were paused. The only reason I go to the Gmail or Google Reader tabs is that they update the title, and I can see that there’s actually something there for me to read. I hate checking things manually.

    I feel the “memory/CPU hog” pain, too. Try out the Beta release for Firefox 3 ( — it seems to run a little cooler, and seems to have far fewer memory leaks. The downside is, of course, that almost no add-ons work with it (Adblock Plus does, however, so it’s usable).

  5. Levi Cook says:

    And then there was chrome :)

    Hopefully it’s as good as it looks.

  6. Alex Chaffee says:


    Scott McCloud [in the house](

    ![Multi-Process Browser](

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