When Mozilla released Firefox 3 as a public release candidate, it was supposed to fix a bunch of memory leaks and use less memory. In fact, it reads:

Memory usage: Several new technologies work together to reduce the amount of memory used by Firefox 3 over a web browsing session. Memory cycles are broken and collected by an automated cycle collector, a new memory allocator reduces fragmentation, hundreds of leaks have been fixed, and caching strategies have been tuned.

Technical, yes. Real? Not really. While I have heard from others saying that Firefox 3 is running lean and mean for them, I have heard from many others saying it is just as bad in the memory department as Firefox 2.

Check out this screenshot from my own Mac Pro running Firefox 3:

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Yes, that’s 550 MB of RAM in use.

Now, I’m fully aware that the plug-in functionality of Firefox can lead to this issue. It is non-Mozilla code which is in use in the browser. But, I used pretty much the same selection of plug-ins with Firefox 2 as I am now with Firefox 3 and this is about 150 MB more memory than I had ever seen Firefox use previously.

Plus, if you have to steer clear of plug-ins to keep Firefox running correctly, then that is a stupid tradeoff. One of the primary “selling points” of Firefox is the ability to use plug-ins.

I have tried the RamBack plug-in. It shaved maybe 12 MB off the memory usage, but who cares. For all essential purposes, it doesn’t work.

I’ll continue to use Firefox, but thank God I have a bunch of memory in this system. Looks like I’m going to need it.