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Firefox has a few different settings that automatically get tuned based on the system ram. This is all great if you're running nothing besides Firefox, but when you're running half a dozen apps at the same time and they all assume that they can take a decent chunk of mem it just kills the box.

Example settings:

How can I make Firefox automatically configure all these settings with the assumption that I only have 512MB of memory instead of 4GB (or whatever number, but you get the idea).

I am running Ubuntu 12.04 with Firefox 14

Current workarounds:


Running a Windows XP virtual machine with 512MB of ram.

It actually runs smooth and takes less memory (including Windows) to run than having Firefox (or Chrome for that matter) run standalone.


Install the 32 bit version of Firefox

By installing the 32 bit version of firefox (apt-get install firefox:i386) the base memory usage is only about 50% of what it is with the 64 bit.

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I'm not aware of a Firefox setting to limit the entire applications memory itself, but you could manually do it in Linux using the setrlimit command (linux.die.net/man/2/setrlimit) or if you're uncomfortable doing that, you could use softlimit (cr.yp.to/daemontools/softlimit.html) to limit FF's RAM usage. –  Oliver G Aug 9 '12 at 9:43
    
@OliverG: setrlimit is a bit of a hassle so I'd prefer not to use that. It seems that softlimit does not have the desired effect, Firefox simply doesn't start if I give it 1GB of mem: softlimit -m 1073741824 /usr/bin/firefox. The same goes for ulimit, when lowering the allowed memory Firefox simply crashes instead of lowering the parameters it seems. It just won't work with a 1GB ulimit. –  Wolph Aug 9 '12 at 10:48
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Perhaps try timeout (github.com/pshved/timeout) instead? It allows you to limit child processes also, which could be causing the error (i'm referring to Firefox's plugin container). –  Oliver G Aug 9 '12 at 10:53
    
I already tried actually, timeout is a very nice tool to limit growing programs and automatically kill them. But it doesn't really limit them. It just checks every couple of seconds if it exceeds your resource limits and kill the app if it does. –  Wolph Aug 10 '12 at 11:14

1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Not really solutions, but nice workaround regardless.


Running a Windows XP virtual machine with 512MB of ram.

It actually runs smooth and takes less memory (including Windows) to run than having Firefox (or Chrome for that matter) run standalone.


Install the 32 bit version of Firefox

By installing the 32 bit version of firefox (apt-get install firefox:i386) the base memory usage is only about 50% of what it is with the 64 bit.

share|improve this answer

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