[K12OSN] Firefox 3 performance on clients

Jesse McDonnell jessemcdonnell at verizon.net
Fri Aug 7 13:41:42 UTC 2009

I'm posting this as a consideration point for anyone thinking about upgrading to FF3 as browser performance is how many/most of our users evaluate a system.

As we've discussed on here and on the ltsp list in the past, when viewing sites that have lots of images, earlier versions of firefox sometimes would crash the xserver on the client as a result of using up all the client memory with cached images. This doesn't happen with FF3 - it has clearly been rewritten and all images are loaded on the server and transferred across the network without been written into client memory. The downside is that on the same (very) graphic-heavy sites where Firefox 2 would sometimes crash (but was otherwise perfectly acceptable in terms of performance) Firefox 3 scrolls slowly and is quite jittery redrawing the screen with significant errors, overruns, and dropped packets on the network. 

Firefox 3.5 is reported to be much faster rendering pages but that may not make up for the performance drop on the clients. For now I'm using Opera 9.64 for anything other than sites that are mainly text. 

My system: LTSP 4.2, Term 150e w 128M ram, GigE to clients/100Mb network, trident xserver and Firefox 3.0.12, X86_64 builds of FF and Opera. How is FF3 working for those of you running local apps, ltsp 5 etc?


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