Experiences with optimized Firefox builds

I'm running Firefox on all my computers. And I have a habbit of collecting lots of tabs for later reading or further actions. Furthermore, a lot of the pages I'm visiting have at least a little bit of JavaScript running. Some of those use scripting quite extensively.

So it was no surprise that over time the oldest of my computers at work, which I use for reading email, was getting slower and slower with Firefox using up to 0.5 GB of the available RAM. Which got paged out to the harddisk a lot, when I also switched back and forth to Outlook and some other applications. It became quite inconvenient to use.

I decided to take action and try the speed- and memory-optimized Firefox-Builds from pigfoot (via Lifehacker). Installation consisted of unpacking the downloaded package (available as self-extracting archive or also as portable version) and copying over my Firefox-Installation (after making a backup of course).

Upon startup the first thing I recognized was the new application icon and startup screen. And it felt just a bit faster, almost unnoticeable. In all other manners it behaved exactly like the original Firefox. But now after having it runnig continuously for some days, which would have made the old Firefox crawling like a disabled snail, it is still running fluently and reacting a lot faster than I expected it.

I'm very satisfied with this build of Firefox and hope, that some of the optimizations somehow make it into the original build. I think many power-users like me would only appreciate that.

One drawback should not stay unmentioned: I do not know, if this version follows the automatic updates from Mozilla. Nevertheless, new versions have to be installed manually after these are available at pigfoot's weblog. But for the improvements I'm experiencing on my stressed computer I'm happy to live with that.


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