J.P. Larocque (jp_larocque) wrote,
J.P. Larocque

Firefox 3

Firefox 2 was a terrible memory hog. It would unusably amass 300-400MB of resident RAM in my daily usage over the course of about a couple weeks. This made it unusable to me.

Konqueror was zippier and more memory-efficient, but would crash about once every month or two. This made it unusable to me.

Opera goes back and forth in the browser history on mouse-wheel left-scroll/right-scroll events. I couldn't find a way to disable this. This made it unusable to me.

To me, things weren't looking bright for the top three Linux browsers.

Firefox 3 beta 1, so far, has been more responsive than Konqueror and much leaner than Firefox 2—about 100MB of resident RAM over the course of four days, with about 10-20 tabs open on average.

Only 32-bit Firefox 3 beta 1 builds are made available by Mozilla. I wanted a 64-bit (x86-64) build, which should be faster, at the cost of some memory. An x86-64 build would also correctly integrate with my system, versus my 32-bit chroot environment: timezone, MIME helper applications, fonts. I thought building Mozilla would be a big, involved, treacherous process, but it turned out not to be.

Grab the source. Absorb this documentation. This is the .mozconfig I used:

. $topsrcdir/browser/config/mozconfig
ac_add_options --enable-optimize='-O3 -march=athlon64'
ac_add_options --enable-default-toolkit=cairo-gtk2
ac_add_options --disable-debug
ac_add_options --enable-official-branding
ac_add_options --prefix=/usr/local/stow/firefox-3.0b1

I now have a stable, memory-efficient, 64-bit Firefox build for Linux, and all three integration problems above are solved.

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