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I noticed that firefox sometimes uses a lot of memory. Can something like setrlimit be used to control it? I tried to use it on the command line, but it didn't work.

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I'm not sure if this is a good idea. If Firefox reaches the memory limit, it may crash instead of continuing to run with no new tabs or other content (the behavior you appear to be expecting). –  DragonLord Apr 26 '11 at 5:04
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Various shells support setrlimit(2,3p), such as bash via ulimit. See help ulimit for more details.

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