Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 17:41:11 -0500 (EST)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LXP] Linux Pipeline - 02.22.2006 - Firefox Stays Hungry Linux Pipeline Newsletter | Firefox Stays Hungry | 02.22.2006
Linux Pipeline Newsletter

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: Firefox Stays Hungry
  • Top Linux News
        - Study: Linux Beats Windows In Cost, Complexity
        - Oracle Faces Tough Sell To Open-Source DB Community
        - Firefox Users Spar Over Memory-Management Issues
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Firefox Essentials: Getting To Know Your Profile
        - Former FCC Chairman Powell: Net Neutrality 'Doing Great'
        - Firefox 2.0: This Time, It's All About The Interface
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: Is DRM DOA?
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    This issue sponsored by Microsoft
    Visit the Enterprise Server Systems Resource Center, a microsite for your server software needs. Onsite you'll find frequently updated custom-written columns, blogs and resources on the latest in server technology, database server technology, and TCO issues.


    Editor's Note: Firefox Stays Hungry

    A short work week following a holiday weekend usually means one thing: Slim pickings for the week's newsletter. This week, however, is different: such an embarrassment of riches that had a hard time deciding which stories should get their own headlines.

    In fact, even this week's advertisement is more interesting than usual (more on that in a moment).

    My personal favorite among the week's headlines, however, shouldn't be too hard to guess if you're a regular reader: The long-standing, and increasingly peculiar, debate over memory-management issues in Firefox. Back in December, I wrote in this space that Mozilla was finally addressing its browser's growing notoriety as a RAM pig -- and days later, I took it all back after contributing my own experiences with Firefox 1.5 to Scot Finnie's story on this and other glitches in the release.

    Given this context, you can understand why I found Ben Goodger's comments on the subject to be of great interest. Unfortunately, his explanation -- mass confusion over new page-caching functionality in Firefox 1.5 -- turns out to be useful only if: first, you forget that user gripes about memory usage predate Firefox 1.5 by a year or more; second, you quit picking nits over things like cause and effect; and third, assume that most of the Firefox users who have complained don't know what they're talking about. I might be able to spot Ben two out of three here -- his pick -- but this is stretching things a bit too far.

    Of course, some folks probably are confusing the new page-caching features in Firefox 1.5 with excessive memory usage. According to the information posted on Goodger's Firefox blog, for example, a PC with 1 GB of installed RAM will keep up to eight additional pages cached, speeding up page-load times considerably in many cases.

    Again, I read this with great interest: My primary Windows XP system sports 1 GB of RAM. Just a few hours earlier, while starting my work day, I noticed that my system was running very slowly. It had been running for nearly 48 hours since its last restart, and Firefox itself (showing more than four hours of CPU time) had probably been open most of that time, as well. A quick look at Windows Task Manager showed that Firefox, which was using a single tab at the time, was currently holding around 170MB of physical memory -- although it had, at some point, peaked at nearly 650MB of physical RAM. (That's not a typo.)

    Firefox was also getting jiggy with the virtual memory -- nearly 1.5GB of virtual memory, to be exact. (That's not a typo, either).

    Maybe Ben Goodger left a few zeros off, and he meant to say that Firefox now caches up to 8,000 pages at a time instead of eight. Otherwise, forgive me for thinking there's a real problem here -- and even if there are extensions, plugins, or other third-party factors involved here, I think Mozilla is making a serious mistake playing this off as anything less than a must-fix issue.

    In case you're wondering, by the way, the RAM-usage runner-up at the time was the system's SageTV service, which checked in at a little under 16MB.

    Mad Apple
    Next, I wanted to sneak in a quick update on our story covering Apple's efforts to -- well, I'm not sure what the company expects to accomplish going after the OS X hackers who have flocked to the product's Intel-based version like ants to a picnic. The OS X genie is, in fact, out of the bottle, and Apple knows perfectly well that's a one-way trip.

    In any case, the hacker whose whereabouts were unknown at the time the story was written has, in fact, turned up -- free and apparently not all that bothered by whatever Apple's attorneys might have cooked up for him. For the latest on what "Maxxuss" is up to, check out his new blog.

    A Word From Our Sponsor?
    Yes, that's a Microsoft ad you see just above this space. I don't sell 'em, I just run 'em. And frankly, if Microsoft wants to support our newsletter with their hard-earned advertising dollars, then who am I to stand in the way?

    In fact, I would encourage all of you to click on those links and see what the good folks in Redmond are cooking up these days. Microsoft might be so delighted with the results it's getting that it decides to sign up as a permanent sponsor -- and the last time I checked, Redmond's money spent just as well as anyone else's.

    That's it for now. Have a good week.

    Matt McKenzie
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

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    Top Linux News

    Study: Linux Beats Windows In Cost, Complexity
    Open Source Development Labs takes the offensive against Microsoft, citing the results of an OSDL-sponsored report giving Linux an advantage over Windows in both total cost and complexity.

    Oracle Faces Tough Sell To Open-Source DB Community
    Following its purchase of open-source database maker Sleepycat, Oracle must convince the developer community at large that it's not simply knocking off a database competitor.

    Firefox Users Spar Over Memory-Management Issues
    Firefox's appetite for memory is a long-standing sore spot for some users -- and Mozilla engineer Ben Goodger's recent blog post, attributing many of their complaints to the browser's new page caching feature, left the matter far from settled.

    Chinese Net Rules Not Unusual, Says Official
    A Chinese government official begs to differ with criticism of his country's Internet censorship policies: Its rules, he insists, are actually based on those used in the United States and elsewhere.

    Apple Bites Back Against OS X Hacker
    At least for the time being, Apple has lost its battle to keep OS X tied to the company's own hardware -- and now, Apple is apparently looking to make an example out of the hacker who was one of the first to accomplish the feat.

    Negroponte Leaves MIT Media Lab
    MIT Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte has stepped down as the lab's chair; his replacement, tech entrepreneur Frank Moss, may usher an era of closer relations with the private sector and a greater focus on applied-research projects.

    Google Buys Blog Analytics Service
    Google Inc. has bought Measure Map, an online analytics tool for blogs. The amount was not disclosed.

    State Department Launches Internet Freedom Task Force
    Responding to a request for help from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, the U.S. State Department has established a task force to look at the challenges of dealing with repressive regimes such as China's.

    Editor's Picks

    Firefox Essentials: Getting To Know Your Profile
    Your Firefox profile can take months to create -- and minutes to lose. We'll explain what's in your profile, where to find it, what can go wrong with it, and how to bounce right back from even the most serious profile problems.

    Former FCC Chairman Powell: Net Neutrality 'Doing Great'
    Two years after his "Internet Freedoms" address, now-private citizen Michael Powell says net neutrality is a fact of life -- and the telecom industry's posturing has more to do with playing the game than with trying to change the rules.

    Firefox 2.0: This Time, It's All About The Interface
    Firefox 2.0, expected early in the third quarter, is turning its attention from nuts-and-bolts platform development to giving users the UI of their dreams -- and to giving Internet Explorer 7 at least as good as it gets.

    Open-Source Oracle: A Sign Of The Times
    With its purchase of Sleepycat, Oracle is the latest commercial-software behemoth to adopt a new paradigm: It's far more profitable to work with open-source developers than it is to work against them.

    Unix, Linux Firms Focus On Security As Selling Point
    Rivals Sun, Red Hat, and Novell try to one-up one another--and Microsoft--with news of new security certifications and other security enhancements for their respective Unix- and Linux-based platforms.

    Voting Booth: Is DRM DOA?

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    This is the final week for our poll asking what you think about the Sony BMG Entertainment case and its possible impact on the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology. Will Sony's deal settling the class-action lawsuits filed against it scare the rest of the industry straight? Don't miss out -- cast your vote!

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