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Old 13th January 2009
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Default Need a lightweight browser to replace Fx3

uname -a: FreeBSD dixie.launchmodem.com 7.1-PRERELEASE FreeBSD 7.1-PRERELEASE #1: Mon Jan 5 00:42:11 UTC 2009 root@dixie.launchmodem.com:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/VIPER i386

Problem:

Firefox 3.0.3 (TabMix Plus / SpeedDial add-ons installed) tends to consume huge amounts of CPU resources and memory whenever I have many tabs open, or combine it with plugins.

Since I often idle at 3 or 4 tabs open, and surf with anything between 2~70 tabs open -- this is a problem. Any prolonged usage of Flash7 is killing the CPU monitor, actually having a lot of tabs open is ridicules, and over time even the MPlayer plugin gives things a royal screw. Over the past 3 days, I've seen temperatures as high as 74 C reported via the hw.acpi.thermal.tz0.temperature sysctl. Right now, I'm at 68C and rising (from 58C) with only this tab and a stream open in the MPlayer plugin - and CPU spiking from normal levesl all the way up to 90~100% periodically. Since the upgrade from 512MB -> 1024MB RAM, updating FreeBSD (and pkgs), and changing form a wooden chess board to a plastic lapdesk; the heat level has gotten much worse then it ever has been before. Previously, Firefox 3 tended to spike CPU and memory usage from here to Timbuktu like this just as badly, but heat was usually under control. Right now, it's just Flash/MPlayer plugins and having more then a couple tabs open that is killing heat....

Therefore, /usr/local/lib/firefox3/firefox-bin will soon have a evil date with a hex editor before being removed. This has become a ludicrous is situation for browsing the web


]Requirement:

I need to find a light weight (compared to Netscape/Mozilla spawn) web browser to use as my primary $BROWSER. I've begun more thorough testing, but have not found anything usable yet in ports.


I need something supporting (in order of priority):
  • http://, https://, ftp://, file:// support
  • Tabbed browsing, the ability to drag/drop the tabs would also be a great plus
  • The ability to manipulate the user agent string (without recompiling would be nice, but I don't mind that)
  • JavaScript support - sufficient for using GMail for hours each day
  • Support for passing on multimedia objects to external applications (without a big fuss; although code editing / recompilation is not a problem)
  • Support for common HTML/CSS including tables and frames; i.e. must render most pages in a usable manor.
  • Support for displaying JPEG/PNG/GIF/SVG images inline, or easy (i.e. one click) passing them onto an external application
  • STABILITY -- the web browser should NEVER under any circumstances crash or become "unusable"
  • Support for Cookies


When it comes to GTK/Qt dependencies, Gnome/KDE/Xfce, or programming language used: I honestly don't give a darn - unless it means installing another GCC build or half of GNUStep from ports. Start up time is really not an issue, only resource usage. Custom scripts / styles being loaded per website would be cool too. I need something that I can surf the web unhindered in on BSD. and still be able to handle multi-media content -- without burning my laptop up lol.



Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Last edited by TerryP; 13th January 2009 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 13th January 2009
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FreeBSD version of Opera. I tested all possible browsers with the same desire and I would use Opera if there was a OpenBSD version.

Note: Midori is still not stable enough and although supports JS it behaves very strange on some sites.

Last edited by Oko; 13th January 2009 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 13th January 2009
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I'll second Opera, since they started the tab browsing thing & the speed dial thing is standard(not sure if they started that too). But I've used Opera on *BSD since the 5.0 version when it was linux only. I don't usually have 70 tabs maybe 20 to 30 and I don't have the problems you mention.

You should be able the pass the mulitmedia stuff to extenal apps by setting them under Tools->Preferences->Advanced->Downloads.

It does everything else you want too. But no browser never crashes, but Opera is one of the more stable browsers.
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Old 13th January 2009
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Opera if you want the best browser, Midori (sometimes not stable) if you want small basic GTK2 + WebKit based browser.
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Old 13th January 2009
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Quote:
Firefox 3.0.3 (TabMix Plus / SpeedDial add-ons installed) tends to consume huge amounts of CPU resources and memory whenever I have many tabs open, or combine it with plugins.
Then quit using that extension.

I'll never understand these memory usage problems some people claim. (I don't understand the need for 70 tabs open either). I've used Firefox since 1.5 and have never seen them. I know there were problems in v1.x, and a couple in 2.x, but those have been eliminated. The only memory problems in 3.x are those created by 3rd parties, ie, extension writers and not Firefox. I'm a web developer and use Firefox exclusively to design and develop a number of ecommerce sites so I have a lot going on while I'm using it, too.

Memory usage can even be set to an upper limit but Firefox will use available memory to cache pages.

Switching to another browser means losing the extensions you may use in FF but, as the others have said, Opera would be your best. It's one of the 5 major browsers and includes lots of extensions and tools; and web developers use it as a test browser, too.
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Old 13th January 2009
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I use Firefox 3, it's bulky for sure.. but not an excessive strain on resources.

Just don't install 50 million extensions.. remove flash.. and.. yes.. restart your browser occasionally.

Also; consider using less tabs.. 70 tabs? get real man.
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Old 13th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
and surf with anything between 2~70 tabs open
What do you do after realizing that you have 70 tabs open?
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Old 13th January 2009
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I also have often 40+ tabs open @ Opera.
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Old 13th January 2009
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I tested BSD native and Linux Opera some time ago, before finally adapting Fx3 for general unix usage and SeaMonkey for Windows usage. I guess it's time to reevaluate that old friend called Opera, hehe. I spent last night testing out Links 2.2 in GUI mode. The largest problem I encountered was a lack of tabbed browsing and frames :-(. Today, I'll set to work on both versions of Opera and on Dillo, but don't expect much from Dillo (SSL, JS, Frames).

Midori, I've never tested, but who knows where the road may lead next....


Quote:
Originally Posted by vermaden View Post
Opera if you want the best browser, Midori (sometimes not stable) if you want small basic GTK2 + WebKit based browser.
I very much like WebKit, but stability is first priority. Opera and Konqueror actually, have always been my primary browsers for testing webpages - if Opera displays it wrong, but Mozilla doesn't; I know I've probably got a typo.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
Then quit using that extension.
The extensions were added recently (couple months ago), the resource usage has however plagued me the entire time that I've used Fx3 under FreeBSD 7. The main issue occurs when running multimedia plugins or using many tabs; I reckon this could be caused by TabMix Plus, but it shouldn't be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
I've used Firefox since 1.5 and have never seen them. I know there were problems in v1.x, and a couple in 2.x, but those have been eliminated. The only memory problems in 3.x are those created by 3rd parties, ie, extension writers and not Firefox.
I have used Firefox since [at least] the early 1.x days when my best friend introduced me, and summery addicted me to tabs! The only problem I ever experienced back then was the "IE only, go fsck yourself in the corner" messages some sites would utilize. Even after Fx2, since I was heavily dissatisfied with it, I stayed on Fx1.5.x as long as possible; but never had serious performance issue in Fx2.

Across 2003~2004 to 2009, I have almost never used any extensions in Fx or any other browser (I don't believe they should be necessary to fully use a web browser). After using Fx3 for some months, I finally got sick of its theme and went in search of a new one (ironically, finding a Qute based one, similar to what I used up until 2007ish). While I was at it, I took a look around and found a few useful extensions.

After a bit of stress testing to see how the extensions changed browser performance (negligible) and stability, I finally adopted them as useful supplements (TabMix Plus provides some features, that should be in any tabbed browser). Performance remained the same, including the irksome burning of cpu cycles to the point that text fields barely become usable at times.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666 View Post
Just don't install 50 million extensions.. remove flash.. and.. yes.. restart your browser occasionally.
I am like a freak, I use Firefox with as few extensions as possible, and Vim with as few plugins as possible (the only plugins I use often, come with Vim!). I believe software should empower users to get more done, but not make them exercise that power just to get stuff done.

There are 3 things I hate to restart: computers, terminals, and web browsers. If it gets restarted, that means an upgrade is being done or I pushed the wrong button :-).

Quote:
Also; consider using less tabs.. 70 tabs? get real man.

What do you do after realizing that you have 70 tabs open?

At idle, I usually have {2,5} tabs, during active surfing {4,12}* tabs, while working through various forums it is not uncommon for me to have several dozen tabs open at one time. Heck, last time I was looking up some math topic, I ended up with about 16~22 tabs open during most of my reading. When I have a LOT of tabs open, I usually think that it's time to start picking and choose what I am gonna read, before I forget to sleep or the web browser gets any slower.

There is a screen shot of mine somewhere, showing Opera with SO MANY tabs open that there is little more visible in the tab bar, then little X's that can barely be clicked ;-)

Ok, so I expect a lot from software I use all the time....
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Old 13th January 2009
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Short term evaluation of Opera complete:
Code:
Test scenario:

browser startup and monitoring for error messages in terminal. Check my usual music stream (94.9 The Bull), check YouTube for good measure (random video selected for test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMBQuWb7GJg), check BBC Radio 1 in case I ever tune in. Then evaluate the tabbed browsing situation; random pages of wikipedia used to simulate a live load. GMail used to simulate common JavaScript usage.

General plugins installed:

mplayerplug-in		-- used in BSD version only
linux-mplayerplug-in 	-- used in Linux version only
linux-flashplugin7	-- used in where applicable
linux-realplayer10	-- used in Linux version only

BSD Environment: FreeBSD RELENG_7 compiled 2009-01-05
Linux Environment: linux_base-fc-4_13, compat.linux.osrelease=2.6.16
Java Environment:
	java version "1.6.0_07"
	Diablo Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_07-b02)
	Diablo Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 10.0-b23, mixed mode)


www/opera tests:     (9.63)

	FAIL: Multimedia 
		http://www.bullatlanta.com/cc-common/streaming_new/index.html?refreshed=yes
		any attempt to load MPlayer plugins results in temporary 
		browser lock up. stderr reports the plugin is not responding
		and will be closed; no playback.

		http://youtube.com

		No flash plugin loaded after changing my plugin paths to
		exlucde it.

		http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/

		Attempt to "Listen Live" results in temporary browser lock up
		and same result and no playback.

		Estimated valuable to Wasted use of time ratio in exploring 
		further plugin config: 1:3

	PASS: Websurfing
		mail.google.com

		Unable to change tabs while GMail loads after a point.
		(All browsers I've used display this problem, except 
		Google Chrome). Load time however is quick and performance
		very smooth.

		Various websites tested render correctly and (very) quickly.

	PASS: Tabs

		Required: New tab, duplicate, detach, and close tab, ability
		          to open tabs in foreground/background.

		Bonus: close all other close all but active, lock, and follower.
		       open window in foreground/background.


		Stress Test: 19 tabs, minimal resource usage.

	UNKNOWN: Java

		No test conducted on Java; no need for it.

	STABILITY RECORD?

		I've never had issues with Opera 8 or 9 family, except
		with plugins under FreeBSD.


www/linux-opera tests:      (9.63)

	PASS: Multimedia 
		http://www.bullatlanta.com/cc-common/streaming_new/index.html?refreshed=yes

		Works perfectly.

		http://youtube.com

		Works perfectly, however causes massive increase in CPU usage
		(20-50%) as reported by GKrellM2, and corrisponding 
		operapluginwrapper*  instance goes to the top of the display
		in `top`. (I _hate_ it when friends send me youtube links
		anyway.)

		http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/

		Attempt to "Listen Live" works almost perfectly; triggers
		the real player plugin.
		
		Estimated valuable to Wasted use of time ratio in exploring 
		further plugin config: 1:1

	PASS: Websurfing
		mail.google.com

		Unable to change tabs while GMail loads after a point.
		(All browsers I've used display this problem, except 
		Google Chrome). Load time however is quick and performance
		very smooth.

		Various websites tested render correctly and (very) quickly.

	PASS: Tabs

		Required: New tab, duplicate, detach, and close tab, ability
		          to open tabs in foreground/background.

		Bonus: close all other close all but active, lock, and follower.
		       open window in foreground/background.


		Stress Test: 12 tabs, minimal resource usage.

	UNKNOWN: Java

		No test conducted on Java; no need for it.

		Errors foun don stderr at startup:
			ERROR: ld.so: object 'libjvm.so' from LD_PRELOAD 
			cannot be preloaded: ignored.
			ERROR: ld.so: object 'libawt.so' from LD_PRELOAD 
			cannot be preloaded: ignored.
		which is likely due to the fact that I have FreeBSD 7 i386
		packages installed from the FreeBSD foundation; not Linux Java.

	STABILITY RECORD?

		Unknown, I used FreeBSD native and Win32 native Opera on their
		respective platforms; never Linux on BSD.

Linux Opera seems to be a little heavier then the FreeBSD version, but easier to live with; even if all linux binaries seem to have ugly menubars and context menus. Tests for Dillo2 temporarly postponed, the stress test the Linux build of Opera 9.63 Vs BSD build of Firefox 3.0.3. Midori and Arora enqunued for later testing after Dillo2.
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Old 14th January 2009
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I run a small shell script after each browser run (mozilla-based, opera, webkit, etc)
that accumulates one. Started in win98 FE when firefox would lockup with too
large a cache. Speeds up loading, crash recovery (if the browser supports it), etc
AFAIK.
only thing problematic is figuring out where the cache is installed when the port is.
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Old 14th January 2009
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Wouldn't it be easier to just set the `clear disk cache on exit' option?
In any case, disk cache should not decrease speed, only if you have a huge cache (Like the 20G I found on one machine last week).
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Old 15th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Wouldn't it be easier to just set the `clear disk cache on exit' option?
In any case, disk cache should not decrease speed, only if you have a huge cache (Like the 20G I found on one machine last week).
maybe for one of the 5 or so browsers. But clearing the cache
is even slightly educational. Also sometimes a GIF or JPG remains
that I want to save/find etc.
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Old 14th January 2009
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I chucked Firefox 3 out the window on my Mac as well. FX3 is ridiculous. It's replaced with Opera and Safari. Safari is rather very good. I'm thinking of going Konqueror + Opera on my FreeBSD box.
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Old 11th February 2009
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Strangly, despite all the browsers I've tried.... they all still suck lol.

Arora is an interesting thing, but would require custom coding (both for features and performance). The elinks browser seems to have everything, except GUI support. links-hacked is close, but still missing a few things. links 2.2 actually seems best, but would need custom coding in a few things (more then links-hacked).

*sigh*
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Old 12th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
Strangly, despite all the browsers I've tried.... they all still suck lol.

Arora is an interesting thing, but would require custom coding (both for features and performance). The elinks browser seems to have everything, except GUI support. links-hacked is close, but still missing a few things. links 2.2 actually seems best, but would need custom coding in a few things (more then links-hacked).

*sigh*
Links2 (www/links - gui can be compiled in) is where I'm transitioning to. It offers just about everything I need. It's still questionable on some sites that rely way to much on Javascript and the like, I'm still not 100% comfortable with it's https support (still looking into that, testing it), and it could improve on rendering frames -- but every browser has it's drawbacks.
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