We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Mozilla Cracks Down on Memory Leaks in Firefox Add-Ons

Thanks to a new patch, memory consumption can be reduced by as much as 400 percent, Mozilla says.

It was only a few short months ago that Mozilla put its Firefox browser on a memory “diet,” and this week it announced that it's doing much the same thing for Firefox add-ons as well.

“Leaky add-ons are a big problem,” began the blog post on Monday from Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote.

Accordingly, Nethercote's post outlines a summary of Mozilla's strategy to deal with such problems as well as requesting help from testers of its current Nightly versions.

'Working Splendidly'

A promising new patch, in fact, has shown great potential in addressing what Nethercote calls “chrome-to-content” leaks.

“In theory it would prevent almost all add-ons' zombie compartments, which constitute the majority of leaks from add-ons,” Nethercote explained. “And in practice, it appears to be working splendidly.”

In fact, tests of the new patch so far have found a reduction in memory consumption of as much as 400 percent, Nethercote said.

The result--regardless of hardware capabilities--can be much faster browser speeds, he added.

“Even on high-end machines with lots of RAM, leaks can greatly hurt browser performance,” Nethercote explained.

More details on the new patch can be found in a recent blog post by Kyle Huey, its creator.

The Add-On SDK

Of course, it's a rare patch that fixes any problem in one fell swoop without any side-effects, and this latest one is no exception.

To wit: At least one add-on--Wallflower, to be specific--appears to cause a new problem once the patch is applied. Turns out, however, that the glitch occurs only in add-ons built with older versions of the add-on SDK, Nethercote reported.

As a result, Mozilla asks users of the Firefox Nightly builds to file bugs if they see similar problems in any of the add-ons they use.

“Firefox 15 is scheduled for release on August 28th,” he concluded. “We need as many affected add-ons to be rebuilt with the latest SDK before that date to minimize potential problems.”

IDG UK Sites

Android M / Android 6.0 UK release date and new feature rumours: Android M live video stream -...

IDG UK Sites

Why I think the Apple Watch sucks and you'd be mad to buy it

IDG UK Sites

Ben & Holly's Game of Thrones titles spoof is delightfully silly

IDG UK Sites

Jony Ive 'semi-retired' into new role: kicked upstairs as Chief Design Officer