Firefox 1.5 has been out since November 29, 2005, and has garnered glowing reviews around the Internet. This is not one of them. In fact, I recommend holding off, at least temporarily, on installing Firefox 1.5. I’ve installed and used Firefox 1.5 through the betas, and had no trouble, but somewhere early in the Release Candidates I began to encounter problems. And I’m beginning to learn that I might not be alone in that. I can’t speak with authority that a large number of Firefox users are having issues with Firefox 1.5; I am, though, hearing sufficient reports about trouble to be cautious.
The issues people are reporting to me are highly varied. Some of the more dramatic problems have included damaged Firefox profiles and loss of right-button context menus, but the more common issues by far have to do with CPU and/or memory usage.
Problems With Memory
Matt McKenzie, Editor of the Linux Pipeline, recently sent me a screenshot that showed Firefox 1.5’s main process (firefox.exe) using 398,108K physical memory and 405,540K virtual memory â€” way more than is comfortable or necessary. And the number, he said, was rising while he was sitting there. On the other hand, on my system, a quick check showed Firefox 1.5 using about 27,000K on first launch, and between 50,000K and 60,000K after a couple of hours of hard use. That level of memory use is within bounds. (By comparison, IE6 used only 13,000K after initial launch on the same machine in the same session.)