[rescue] Memory usage (was: Needed: Older laptops)

Doug McLaren dougmc at frenzied.us
Thu Jul 5 11:09:19 CDT 2007

On Wed, Jul 04, 2007 at 11:51:37AM -0400, Charles Shannon Hendrix wrote:

| > That is not normal.  Firefox is fine on this computer, and it's got
| > 256 MB.
| Um, where have you been?  FF is reported to use over 1 GB of memory
| on many systems.

... and yet it works, and is usable on a slow laptop with 128 MB of
RAM.  256 MB of ram does make it faster, however.  IE works similarly
-- well, IE6.  I haven't tried IE7 on the laptop yet.

Yes, I occasionally see Firefox sucking up large amounts of memory on
my computers that have it.  But it still works reasonably well on the
computers that don't have it.

My point is, if all somebody wants to do is do Office, Outlook, web
browsing and IM, a 266 MHz laptop with 128 MB of ram and XP is
adequate, but 256 MB is significantly better.  This is not
theoretical, not second hand information -- I occasionally use it
myself, as I prefer not to spend good money on fragile laptops.

Don't look at the memory usage of Firefox on your 4 GB box and
extrapolate that to mean that it won't work on a 256 MB box.  I'm not
sure why, but it seems that FF looks at the memory available and tunes
itself accordingly or something (so, is there a way to fool it into
thinking this is a wimpy box? :)

Where have I been?  Using FF on my beefy desktop, watching it suck up
lots of cpu and memory, and also using it on my wimpy laptop, watching
it also suck up lots of cpu and memory -- but not more than the laptop
has to offer.

| FF and Thunderbird both leak like a Louisiana levee.

Oh, so they work fine 99.9% of the time, but when things get really
bad, they fail catastrophically?  Or was it just a poor analogy?

Yes, FF leaks.  But that doesn't stop it from being perfectly usable
on a computer with limited memory.  (Never used Thunderbird myself
... my mail is read with mutt.)

With session saver, if the leaks get too bad, stop and restart.  I've
not had to do that more than once a day or so on the laptop.

| The worst of the memory leaks are in the base system.

Personally, I've found the worst memory leaks to be the flash player,
at least under Linux.  And having huge bookmark and history files
don't seem to help either (that's base system, yes, but the large
sizes are not the default.)

| > It works with a lot less by default.
| I wish that were true.

Let's see, doing it myself right now vs. can't be done ... which
should I believe?

Doug McLaren, dougmc at frenzied.us
"If I worked out my glutes as much as I work out my smartass, I'd have
 the best butt in the world."   -- Bob Smith, Openly Bob, Page 189

More information about the rescue mailing list