One thing that has put me off using Firefox more is the crazy levels of memory usage that the browser sometimes seems to exhibit. The Mozilla development team have long claimed that the issue that users are experiencing is not a bug but in fact a feature. However, now that Mozilla is looking to port Firefox to mobile platforms, the issue has become a high priority.
Christopher Blizzard, Mozilla board member, explains:
For a long time there have been a lot of complaints about the memory usage in Firefox and anything else that used the Gecko engine. And looking at the numbers for what Firefox would use for memory, they seemed valid. But on the other side of the story, I know that the Mozilla team has been pretty diligent about fixing memory leak bugs. Allocations are tracked closely across checkins and leaks are fixed when they are discovered. So why the different perceptions for what people were seeing in the field and what the programmers were tracking during a development cycle?
As Mozilla starts down the path to running in the .mobile space we are spending time looking at memory pressure issues more closely. .Stuart and .Vlad. spent time .looking at the behavior of the allocator during some simple tests. and it sounds like the early data suggests that Mozilla really doesn’t leak that much memory at all. But it does thrash the allocator pretty hard and that’s what causes the perception of memory leaks. There’s a lot more information in .Stuart’s post of course, including some good visualizations..
Reading between the lines, I'm getting the feeling that these memory leaks (assuming that's what the problem is and not some something else that makes it look like a memory leak) hasn't really been a priority because users (fanboys?) are happy to put up with it and restart the browser on the PC. However, this kind of issue would kill Firefox on the mobile platform and be embarrassing to the Mozilla. Therefore, before we see a mobile version of Firefox, the development team need to clean up the code more.
Personally, I much prefer Opera to Firefox, not only is it lighter but it's faster. Opera also make excellent browsers for mobile devices.