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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > Firefox Slow on Mac OS X!

Firefox Slow on Mac OS X!
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Nov 25, 2004, 08:53 AM
 
Hi, after installing Firefox with a few extensions (mouse gestures, cute menu, spell checking, foxy tunes) I feel it's slow compared to safari. The problem is the following:

- The pages load just as fast or faster than Safari, but:
- When scrolling down a page FireFox takes more "brakes"
than Safari, which is annoying. This goes specially for
web pages with a lot of flash animations and commercials.
- Sometimes FF takes looong "coffee brakes" after this problem
has occurred a few times.

According to Mac OS X hacks it is possible to disable such commercials,
but why does Safari perform better in this situation than FF? Maybe it
slows down the browser to have several RSSs?? Any suggestions ?

Regards
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mdc
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Nov 25, 2004, 10:58 AM
 
to add to your post.

if anyone could explain what slows firefox's scrolling i would be so happy. my site scrolls so very slowly with firefox. i have made a style that is just text, no images/fancy css/etc, and firefox still scrolls slowly.

i do know that my html code is pretty bloated right now, but i do not have the time to go through it all to see if that is the problem firefox has with it.
     
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Nov 25, 2004, 10:59 AM
 
firefox with adblock or safari with pithhelmet.

what versin of os x are you using?

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Nov 25, 2004, 11:12 AM
 
Originally posted by The Oracle:
firefox with adblock or safari with pithhelmet.

what versin of os x are you using?
Well, I feel a little unprivileged not beeing able to watch ads. In that case I just
use Safari, even though I will miss the mouse gestures, spelling, RSS etc.

OS X 10.3.6

Why does FF scroll so slowly? It is the case on Windows as well?
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Nov 25, 2004, 11:25 AM
 
Originally posted by runejoha:
Why does FF scroll so slowly? It is the case on Windows as well?
Nope, just OS X I'm afraid..

     
dru
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Nov 25, 2004, 11:35 AM
 
It's those repugnant flash ads. Check the topic which asks folks to try out an alternative build of Camino. This build offers a phenominal improvement over even Safari with those wretched flash-based ads. I know it won't help with Firefox but it will give you a point of comparison from another Gecko-based browser.

I'm hoping the problem fix he's addressing can be rolled into the other Gecko-based browsers. I like Firefox but I can't stand how it drifts off to sleep and spins the wheel of death.

Damn you flash ad designers.
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dru
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Nov 25, 2004, 11:37 AM
 
Originally posted by runejoha:
Why does FF scroll so slowly? It is the case on Windows as well?
It's a Mac OS X problem. In fact, all of the browsers on Mac OS X have a slow scrolling problem as far as I'm concerned. It can't keep up with dragging the scroll thumb.

If you use Silk to turn off Quartz smoothing, scrolling speeds up.
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Nov 25, 2004, 12:10 PM
 
FF scrolls quickly for me. The page scrolls down as quickly as I can spin my mouse's wheel.

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Nov 25, 2004, 12:35 PM
 
Originally posted by The Oracle:
FF scrolls quickly for me. The page scrolls down as quickly as I can spin my mouse's wheel.
Which HW do you have? Which graphics setup?
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Nov 25, 2004, 12:39 PM
 
Originally posted by dru:
It's a Mac OS X problem. In fact, all of the browsers on Mac OS X have a slow scrolling problem as far as I'm concerned. It can't keep up with dragging the scroll thumb.

If you use Silk to turn off Quartz smoothing, scrolling speeds up.

No, Safari keep up with the mouse scrolling. 10.3.6 - PB 1.2 15''

Maybe the ibook is to slow for this kind of geek problems. The FF team should
optimize this lines of code..
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Nov 25, 2004, 01:18 PM
 
Originally posted by runejoha:
Which HW do you have? Which graphics setup?
powermac G4, 733MHz; 512 MB RAM; geforce 2mx (32MB RAM). A setup that is some years old.

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Nov 25, 2004, 11:56 PM
 
My firefox works perfectly. Nothing wrong with it.
     
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Nov 26, 2004, 12:31 AM
 
Originally posted by F_Elz:
My firefox works perfectly. Nothing wrong with it.
How many extensions did you install?
Originally posted by runejoha:
In that case I just use Safari, even though I will miss the mouse gestures, spelling, RSS etc.
What are you talking about? Safari has a spell checker built-in.
     
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Nov 26, 2004, 02:25 AM
 
Adblock, and StumbleUpon. Thats all... works like a charm .
     
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Nov 27, 2004, 09:05 AM
 
Originally posted by mdc:
to add to your post.

if anyone could explain what slows firefox's scrolling i would be so happy. my site scrolls so very slowly with firefox. i have made a style that is just text, no images/fancy css/etc, and firefox still scrolls slowly.

i do know that my html code is pretty bloated right now, but i do not have the time to go through it all to see if that is the problem firefox has with it.
The reason for the slow-scroll is because Firefox is still using QuickDraw.
The next version of FireFox will use Quartz Extreme. Check out this interview with Ben Goodger, the lead engineer for the Mozilla Foundation:
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1723603,00.asp

On the Mac side of things, Goodger said Firefox 1.0 uses Apple's QuickDraw technology to draw to the screen, while the Windows version uses GDI. However, he said the next big move for the Mac version of Firefox would be away from QuickDraw.

QuickDraw, which Apple created in 1984, was the basis for 2D screen presentation in the Mac OS. With the advent of Mac OS X, Apple moved away from QuickDraw to its PDF-based Quartz rendering system, which is now incorporated in the Core Graphics architecture of Mac OS X.
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Nov 27, 2004, 12:08 PM
 
Originally posted by Siggi_arni:
The reason for the slow-scroll is because Firefox is still using QuickDraw.
The next version of FireFox will use Quartz Extreme. Check out this interview with Ben Goodger, the lead engineer for the Mozilla Foundation:
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1723603,00.asp
This proves that FF is optimized for win but is far from beeing a good alternative to Safari. This is really bad news. I thought the reason was a bad setup or to much expansion etc. If FF is poor programmed and use old libaries, then FF is just a bad alternative comapared to several other browsers on the os x platform. Bad news! BTW - why do FF on the OS X platform have "import bookmarks from IE". Who the H*** use IE on a mac? This is like buying wheels for a Lada and put on your new F16.
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Nov 29, 2004, 05:26 AM
 
@mdc:

I don't think your site has enough style options.
We need less Democrats and Republicans, and more people that think for themselves.

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Nov 29, 2004, 06:08 AM
 
Originally posted by runejoha:
This proves that FF is optimized for win but is far from beeing a good alternative to Safari. This is really bad news. I thought the reason was a bad setup or to much expansion etc. If FF is poor programmed and use old libaries, then FF is just a bad alternative comapared to several other browsers on the os x platform. Bad news! BTW - why do FF on the OS X platform have "import bookmarks from IE". Who the H*** use IE on a mac? This is like buying wheels for a Lada and put on your new F16.
The problems you've mentioned do not make Firefox "poorly programmed" or "not a good alternative to Safari." There are good reasons for the design decisions that were made. I doubt that switching to Quartz will have that much of an impact on rendering speed, and it will likely have no effect at all on launch time.

Have you tried the G4 optimized builds? I find that even the unoptimized versions of Firefox are much faster than Safari at rendering on my 800MHz iBook G4. With the G4 optimized builds its not even a contest.
     
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Nov 29, 2004, 08:17 AM
 
i think firefox is OS X's most clunkierest browser. If you want gecko, Mozilla is faster and scrolls better and is more stable.
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Nov 29, 2004, 09:22 AM
 
No - if you want gecko on OS X, Camino is the way to go.

     
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Nov 29, 2004, 09:38 AM
 
Originally posted by pliny:
i think firefox is OS X's most clunkierest browser. If you want gecko, Mozilla is faster and scrolls better and is more stable.
Mozilla is bulkier, and I don't find it to be faster at all, especially not compared to the G4 optimized Firefox builds. I haven't compared the scrolling lately, but I also disagree with you about stability. Can you give an example of a site that crashes Firefox but not Mozilla?

Mozilla is too bloated, and Camino's featureset is anemic. Firefox is the best of the three.
     
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Nov 29, 2004, 10:01 AM
 
Originally posted by york28:
@mdc:

I don't think your site has enough style options.

i got bored ok?!
     
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Dec 1, 2004, 11:25 AM
 
firefox has poor behavior on my imac.

first when you launch it, the icon appears and disappears and appears and disappaears in my dock. pull down menus are somewhat slow to respond. their response is not immediate that's for sure.

bookmark menus are the same.

words/letters on the bookmark toolbar are fuzzy. some parts of the ui are fuzzier than others. the result is that some parts of the browser appear crisper than others, it is not an even appearing ui.

page rendering is slower than on the suite. response to commands is delayed (open new tab through keyboard, for instance).

then there is typing in menu fields like this one, which lags behind my typing somewhat. scrolling is slow.

in all these areas the mozilla suite (not to mention other X browsers!) outshines firefox even tho the code is "bloated" which, practically, may not be an issue if performance is very good.

firefox may be fine and even good on the pc but it has a ways to go on the mac.

this has always been my experiecne with firefox-mac.
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Dec 1, 2004, 05:58 PM
 
For the time being (10.3) quick draw actually scrolls faster than Quartz. I believe it is because of the added overhead in Quartz)However, in Tiger, from what I hear the actual drawing in the windows will be offset to the GPU (known as quartz extreme 2d). Not the same as quartz extreme, which only offloads the window frame data to the GPU. The demonstration at the developers conference was impressive.

But again this wont be available until Tiger due in early summer. I think scrolling for the mac will improve significantly then. I cant wait.
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Dec 1, 2004, 08:45 PM
 
Originally posted by pliny:
first when you launch it, the icon appears and disappears and appears and disappaears in my dock.

words/letters on the bookmark toolbar are fuzzy.
It should only disappear and reappear the first time you run it. If it does that every time, then there's something wrong. I suggest you trash your profile and start with a clean slate.

Is your system language something other than English? I've had font issues when using English Firefox on a Japanese system. One solution is to use the correct localization. Another is to install a theme that changes the UI fonts, like Aronnax's themes. You can also try using a custom userChrome.css file.
     
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Dec 9, 2004, 03:02 PM
 
Seems there hasn't been an update on this in a while, but I am having the same problems - VERY discouraging. I really like firefox, but when I use the down-arrow to scroll (as I have become accustomed on my powerbook), the thing GRINDS to a halt scrolling. The processor meter (menumeters) goes straight up to 100%.

It happens when you hold the down-arrow down, if you tap it to scroll its not as bad.

This is a deal-breaker for me - back to safari (which is fine, but I actually found firefox more compatible with some sites - banking, etc),

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Dec 9, 2004, 08:08 PM
 
Well, two to three seconds to open a new window from idle in Firefox on my machine, about a second or less for a new tab. For comparison, iCab is about a second or less for a new window, a new tab appears as soon as told to open a new one. While the difference of a couple seconds may sound like nothing, it's annoying, and raises when the browser is doing something else while opening a new window.

IMHO, Firefox is the best hope for a quality full-featured fast browser on OS X. Firefox right now is slow, a bit buggy, and resource intensive on the Mac...But I say we hold judgement until 1.1 in March (read: after march), for which they have Aqua HIG compliance listed....just that listed now, used to be "fix issues in the mac version", now it's general HIG changes, we'll see....
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Dec 9, 2004, 10:40 PM
 
Originally posted by yukon:


IMHO, Firefox is the best hope for a quality full-featured fast browser on OS X.
Hope is here!

Safari, Omniweb, Mozilla--these are all fast and compliant and excellent browsers. Tho another one would be alright I guess.

It's good to have choices, eh?
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Dec 10, 2004, 01:11 AM
 
Safari, Omniweb, Mozilla--these are all fast and compliant and excellent browsers. Tho another one would be alright I guess.
Not really. I had written my opinions of these browsers and more, decided to delete it (why be unnecessarily incendiary?). Oh well, here goes. Safari beachballs for me all the time, it acts when rendering as if it wasn't multithreaded for some reason, I navigate multiple pages while they load so this is unacceptable for me (this is WITHOUT pithhelmet BTW, I like adblocking though, I have privoxy available). Mozilla is large, takes long to load, uses a lot of resources, it's not much of an option for me. Omniweb costs money, and though it's damn close to being the best available browser, it's got a few nagging problems (no import/export of image blocking rules, thumbnails when pages aren't recognizable at that size...). iCab is featureful and fast, though it has stagnated now, pages render incorrectly and I can't turn off colors. Camino is an awesome replacement for Mozilla or Safari, but it's missing features I use all the time, very pleasant to use though. Shiira is missing features, though I'm not well aquainted with it, it was nice enough. Veli has no features (ISTR it's called something different now, mackiosk or something, haven't followed it). Dillo has about the same, but it's nice on a slow machine that has X11. I know I'm forgetting one, but lets just say it's something I've never run other than for WindowsUpdate. Firefox is slow on the Mac, but that's only because they haven't paid much attention to it yet, it's perfect on Windows/Linux - fast, lightweight, and it has extensions like adblock/bugmenot/webdeveloper

I'm still stuck on iCab since it's fast, and no one has duplicated the FilterManager yet. I use Firefox on Windows and Linux, and it's great there. Every time I try to move to Firefox, get all my extensions in order and get a -03 build, it's just too slow, if not for that I'd switch now. The hope is that Firefox, in this Mac fixing stage, will become more efficient on OS X. Of course Camino could develop all the features, Safari could be insanely fast in 10.4, Omniweb could be made more generic for me (I'm sure people out there love the thumbnails), Shiira could grow, Dillo could take over the world....but like I said, Firefox is the best hope for a fast (like iCab), featureful (like iCab or nearly Firefox with current extensions), and quality (like Chimera/Omniweb/Safari/Mozilla/Firefox) browser.

Please don't flame (like to argue Safari is fast, other than for raw render time), this typed on a single 450mhz G4, a quad dualcore 450ghz G5 user may not notice any difference in speed, people who don't care about advertisements/css/javascript/whatever won't see why I like iCab at all. And while a web browser shouldn't need anything beyond a "supercomputer" at the moment, this is all somewhat subjective, at least with priorities.
     
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Dec 10, 2004, 01:39 AM
 
Originally posted by yukon:
(...) thumbnails when pages aren't recognizable at that size
(...)
Omniweb could be made more generic for me (I'm sure people out there love the thumbnails)
(...)
Have you tried using OW 5.1 with thumbnails turned off?
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Dec 10, 2004, 03:15 AM
 
5.1b3. And to be honest, I didn't even notice that, I was looking in the tab preferences. It still isn't a very good way to do it IMO, though it is possibly more natural on OS X. It wastes a lot of vertical space, that entire bar. Unless I make it very wide, it only displays, for example, "Macintosh S" for Versiontracker.com, where iCab says "Macintosh Software Update.....ownloads - Versiontracker" at about the same window size....it requires a lot more horizontal space to be informative and yet uses the vertical space of the entire page, where the standard behavior uses the horizontal space of the page and just a bit of vertical space. It could be argued that you can fit many more tabs, but I usually don't use quite that many tabs.

There are other small things, like their use of regex in the adblocking, gotta be different from everyone else there. Also, for a browser based on webkit (or just webcore, ISTR they have their own JS thing), it launches terribly slow...I generally leave the browser open, it's fast enough otherwise....it probably won't change or add options just for me though, there are lots of people who would disagree with me ("i learned regex, it's easy!", "I prefer the tab drawer", "but importing advertising patterns encourages blocking advertisements!" etc). Not a huge deal, maybe just the PEBCAK thing, it's not what I'm used to. But thanks for pointing that out, they really have thought out everything that they put into the browser, I really like that about it.
     
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Dec 10, 2004, 05:24 AM
 
One question:

Can OmniWeb do CSS-adblocking?

     
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Dec 10, 2004, 08:31 AM
 
Hmm, speaking of resources...I bet Mozilla uses less cpu than Firefox. Tho bigger in terms of disk space, it benefits from longer and better coding. And there's still no option on the Mac to install only the parts of the suite you want, you have to install the whole thing.

I wonder if Firefox development will advance on the Mac the way it has on the PC. I've definitely noticed more PC users using gecko browsers, which is good, since they are standards based and are much safer than IE. I don't know why people would keep using IE if it presents the security risks it does.

Anyway I'm glad that there are so many good browser choices on the Mac.
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Dec 10, 2004, 04:40 PM
 
Note that there are special versions of Firefox optimized for G4 and G5 respectively:

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=149532
http://www.beatnikpad.com/archives/2004/11/06/firefoxG5

They may be faster for you. On my machine, the G5 native version is faster than Safari (though neither is slow).
     
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Dec 10, 2004, 09:42 PM
 
Originally posted by nooon:
One question:

Can OmniWeb do CSS-adblocking?
Yes, but this is a Firefox thread. It would be better to ask in the OmniWeb thread.
     
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Dec 11, 2004, 09:51 PM
 
The Firefox 1+ nightlies are coming along... the interface seems more responsive and rendering speed even seems a little snappier as well.

I'm not sure about the other improvements that supposed to be coming... is there a way to test any of that?
     
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Dec 11, 2004, 11:56 PM
 
RedH, what other improvements do they say? I only know of what's in the roadmap, something along the lines of "Changes to accommodate GNOME and AQUA HIG rules". If I gave the impression that they're working on making it more efficient on the mac, sorry, it's only what I'm hoping for, I don't follow the actual development.
     
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Dec 14, 2004, 07:12 PM
 
Originally posted by runejoha:
No, Safari keep up with the mouse scrolling. 10.3.6 - PB 1.2 15''
Just as note, FireFox uses Quicktime to do the rendering which adds overhead. They're working on shifting to Quartz.
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Dec 14, 2004, 08:12 PM
 
Originally posted by dru:
Just as note, FireFox uses Quicktime to do the rendering which adds overhead. They're working on shifting to Quartz.
I'm pretty sure you mean Quickdraw..

     
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Dec 15, 2004, 01:01 PM
 
I've ditched Firefox completely because it was too clunky. Safari seems much faster. I even disabled font smoothing using Tinkertool for a speed boost but for some reason posting replies on this forum is insanely slow. My text isn't keeping up with my typing. That wasn't the case with FF.

Anyway, FF uses at least twice the Ram of Safari and it doesn't support a lot of javascript stuff out there. Even about 50% of flash sites just hang it up. It is in the bin. If I need to save pages with media (with Safari still doesn't do) I'll just use Camino.
     
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Dec 15, 2004, 01:09 PM
 
the text not keeping up could be because safari is busy animating all those animated gifs. i have pithhelmet installed so that it stops the animated gifs from continually repeating.
     
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Dec 21, 2004, 06:16 PM
 
Reasons to use Firefox :

1. XML support
2. XSLT and XSL support
3. Standards compliant
4. Multiplatform
5. Better inline searching
6. Better bookmarking
5. For the future : XUL rendering (Yes, XUL is a powerful XML language to create web interfaces and applications. Try the Amazon Browser from Mozilla or the Mozilla Callendar to see the power of XUL)

If you want fonts to be antialiased, buy SILK from Unsanity. It should make the job, as it do with IE.

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Dec 21, 2004, 07:17 PM
 
Originally posted by osxrules:
I've ditched Firefox completely because it was too clunky. Safari seems much faster. I even disabled font smoothing using Tinkertool for a speed boost but for some reason posting replies on this forum is insanely slow. My text isn't keeping up with my typing. That wasn't the case with FF.

Anyway, FF uses at least twice the Ram of Safari and it doesn't support a lot of javascript stuff out there. Even about 50% of flash sites just hang it up. It is in the bin. If I need to save pages with media (with Safari still doesn't do) I'll just use Camino.
My experience with Firefox versus Safari is the exact opposite of yours. Safari had a lot of problems, particularly with banking sites (in spite of spoofing what it was reporting to web servers), while I haven't had any problem with Firefox in that regard.

I think you have other processes going on in the background that keep your typing from showing up as you type-how much RAM do you have? We upped our iBook to 640MB, and EVERYTHING is much better! The one thing about the iBook that I think Apple did wrong was starting it out with a paltry-and non upgradable!-128MB of RAM.

I do have some problems with a few sites that use very new implementations of Flash, though Shockwave is just fine. Obviously, YMMV, but I'm VERY happy with Firefox.

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Dec 30, 2004, 10:09 AM
 
Does anyone else have high cpu usage when running FF? Mine is hovering around 30% and going up to 80 odds. it's the same in the offical and G4 opt. builds. The fan on my PB just shoots into wildfire mode as soon as I use FF, but it's fine with Safari, Omniweb, etc.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.
A Jew with a view.
     
eep
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Dec 30, 2004, 10:38 AM
 
Originally posted by dru:
It's those repugnant flash ads. Check the topic which asks folks to try out an alternative build of Camino. This build offers a phenominal improvement over even Safari with those wretched flash-based ads. I know it won't help with Firefox but it will give you a point of comparison from another Gecko-based browser.

I'm hoping the problem fix he's addressing can be rolled into the other Gecko-based browsers. I like Firefox but I can't stand how it drifts off to sleep and spins the wheel of death.

Damn you flash ad designers.
Well here's an extension to get rid of all the flash crap, but you still have the option to view the flash content if you want.

http://flashblock.mozdev.org/installation.html

Also here's a list of all the compatible FF 1.0 extensions:

http://www.extensionsmirror.nl/index.php?showtopic=1351
     
eep
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Dec 30, 2004, 10:41 AM
 
Originally posted by version:
Does anyone else have high cpu usage when running FF? Mine is hovering around 30% and going up to 80 odds. it's the same in the offical and G4 opt. builds. The fan on my PB just shoots into wildfire mode as soon as I use FF, but it's fine with Safari, Omniweb, etc.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.
Only when viewing a page with a flash ads, or I have been running FF for days. Use flashblock to stop the flash ads. BTW if you press the esc key in firefox all the animated gifs will stop. Or use the extension:

https://addons.update.mozilla.org/ex...=MacOSX&id=157
( Last edited by eep; Dec 30, 2004 at 10:50 AM. )
     
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Dec 30, 2004, 10:56 AM
 
Originally posted by eep:
Only when viewing a page with a flash ads, or I have been running FF for days. Use flashblock to stop the flash ads. BTW if you press the esc key in firefox all the animated gifs will stop. Or use the extension:

https://addons.update.mozilla.org/ex...=MacOSX&id=157
That's it, the flash ads. cheers, I tried various sites and nailed it down to ad.


Thanks.
A Jew with a view.
     
eep
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Dec 30, 2004, 10:58 AM
 
Originally posted by version:
That's it, the flash ads. cheers, I tried various sites and nailed it down to ad.


Thanks.
Great!!!

I hate flash ads too.
     
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Dec 30, 2004, 11:04 AM
 
This so cool, lol. My CPU usage is way down to 5-10%, mucho improved. Flash ads begone!

Have a great New Year.
A Jew with a view.
     
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Dec 30, 2004, 11:22 AM
 
Originally posted by runejoha:
Hi, after installing Firefox with a few extensions (mouse gestures, cute menu, spell checking, foxy tunes) I feel it's slow compared to safari. The problem is the following:

- The pages load just as fast or faster than Safari, but:
- When scrolling down a page FireFox takes more "brakes"
than Safari, which is annoying. This goes specially for
web pages with a lot of flash animations and commercials.
- Sometimes FF takes looong "coffee brakes" after this problem
has occurred a few times.

According to Mac OS X hacks it is possible to disable such commercials,
but why does Safari perform better in this situation than FF? Maybe it
slows down the browser to have several RSSs?? Any suggestions ?

Regards
Yeah I noticed the slow scrolling but quickly figured out the problem. Go to Firefox preferences and select the "advanced" menu and make sure that "Use Smooth Scrolling" is unchecked. If it's checked it makes Firefox scroll very choppy and slow. I don't know why it does this but that's the solution.
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