Firefox 15 fixes addon memory leaks, makes other improvements

Firefox 14 just arrived but Firefox 15 is already in Beta and will be released before you know it. So what exactly does Firefox 15 bring us? Well it is too early to provide a full official changelog but there are a few interesting changes you can expect.

Without a doubt one of the major end-user affecting improvements made in Firefox 15 is the plugging of memory leaks (i.e. excess RAM usage) by addons. Mozilla has put great effort into fixing Firefox’s memory leaking issues but addon memory leakage has still been a thorn in Mozilla’s side. According to Nicholas Nethercote, a Mozilla programmer, Firefox 15 has successfully implemented a fix for memory leaking addons:

We have confirmed, via in-house testing and from real-world telemetry data, that it [Firefox 15] prevents the vast majority of leaks that occur in existing add-ons.

Users who upgrade to Firefox 15 won’t have to upgrade their add-ons to see the benefits. While it is hard to predict the effect of this improvement on any individual user, many users should experience greatly reduced memory consumption, particularly on long browsing sessions. This should result in better performance, fewer pauses, and fewer crashes.

How exactly did Mozilla fix addon memory leaks and why did it take so long? There is a huge blog post by Nicholas providing answers which you can read yourself if you are interested. I, personally, am just happy this fix has been implemented.

Other changes made to Firefox 15 so far are:

  • Support for the new audio format, Opus. According to Mozilla, “Opus is a completely free audio format that was recently approved for publication as a standards-track RFC by the IETF” and “Opus offers these benefits: Better compression than MP3, Ogg, or AAC formats; good for both music and speech; dynamically adjustable bitrate, audio bandwidth, and coding delay; and support for both interactive and pre-recorded applications”.
  • A new JavaScript debugger for debugging JavaScript code
  • A new “Responsive Web Design” view which can be used to easily resize pages
  • A new “Layout View” in the Style Inspector tool
  • Page Inspector highlighting behavior can now be triggered on/off
  • Web Console has been improved, making it faster

Are you excited for Firefox 15? Or are you one of those naysayers to rapid releases? Share with us in the comments below!

[via Mozilla]

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  • Frank


    I am an early adopter of FF. Back in the days when these dinosaurs were our hugest threat. But I guess I’ll stop using FF!
    I cannot tell you /how/much/ it sux they have every other week a new version! Every other week this or that addon doesn’t work anymore etc.
    I rather use IE in a sandbox than this shit!

    Yours, Frank

  • Rob (Down Under)

    Do many of you guys install FF Beta’s.
    If I were to install FF 15, what happens when the public (official) release comes out ?

    The reason that I ask, is I have been having short freezing, stuttering recently.
    I just went to check my version, and it is 14.01
    I assume that updated very recently.
    Wondering if that (14.01), is causing my stuttering / freezing ?

  • Stephen

    Just upgraded to 14 from 5. Because 5 had started using 50% of CPU, even with all add-ons disabled. By the way, even though Mozilla and the Conceiva web sites say that Download Studio add-on won’t work with 14, it will!

  • Yochanan

    Firefox 14.01 just introduced a “click to play” feature, no add-on required: Plugins can now be configured to only load on click (requires an about:config change)

  • chuck (detailer)

    I’ve been using Memory Fox since 3.whatever,and find it very effective.Tops out at @ 70MB.and then decreases to @ 5MB and slowly climbs back up.
    Funny everyone complains about FF memory leaks,but they don’t seem to mind the fact that Chrome is just a flat out hog when you total up all the separate processes.
    Gizmo has a nice article today about “click-to-play” add on for FF and Chrome
    Nice little program to turn Flash on/off without visiting your plugins settings-check it out,as there’s more to it than just that.