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Ask Slashdot: Life After Firefox 3.6.x? 807

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-hear-netscape-is-good dept.
Mooga writes "I am a hard-core user of Firefox 3.6.x who has chosen to stick with the older, yet supported version of Firefox for many years now. However, 3.6.x will soon hit end-of-life, making my life, and the lives of similar users, much more complicated. 3.6.x has been known for generally being more stable and using less RAM than the modern Firefox 10 and even Chrome. The older version of Firefox is already having issues rendering modern websites. What are others who have been holding onto 3.6.x planning on doing?"
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Ask Slashdot: Life After Firefox 3.6.x?

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  • Why the anxiety? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:16AM (#39235949)

    I do not understand techie luddites. Why didn't you upgrade? Why the anxiety? It's a fucking WEB BROWSER. Life will go on.

    • by macraig (621737) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:23AM (#39236013)

      Except this Luddite's primary arguments, RAM allocation and stability, are apparently bullshit. Why even humor him with a Slashdot submission?

      • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:36AM (#39236097)

        I could have sworn back in the 3.6 days that everyone was complaining about its RAM usage, and that some pined for the 2.0 days of better RAM usage.

        Isnt there a saying about the grass being greener?

        • Re:Why the anxiety? (Score:5, Informative)

          by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@gamersTIGERlastwill.com minus cat> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:48AM (#39236169) Homepage Journal

          I was screaming about RAM usage because it sucked back then too.

          • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @02:21AM (#39236731)

            Are people really running machines with that little ram? I have 4GB on my 2 year old computer. Heck my last computer (which was work supplied and circa ~2008) had 2GB (Mac Leopard) and was fine. 400MB is a lot of RAM for a browser put it is rare that I'm anywhere's near my system RAM limit so I don't care.

            For example right now I have: VS 2010 pro, Vuze, VLC running a video, iTunes, and FF 10 running on a Win 7 box which is notorious for being RAM happy (actually a good thing if the ram is there it might as well have stuff loaded in it just in case you ask for it later), anyways 2.8GB of RAM used. FF is using 200MB of that, I really don't care that 1/19th of my used RAM is my browser. The quick access to streaming porn is more than worth it to me.

        • Re:Why the anxiety? (Score:5, Informative)

          by celtic_hackr (579828) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:52AM (#39236205) Journal

          3.6 did use more memory than 2. Every later version used more and more memory up until version 8. Version 8 still used more memory than 3.6. Version 10 may or may not use more memory, but from version 8 forward the browser is way faster. Version 3.6 was rock solid stability wise for a long time. It's old now. I moved off it sometime last year. Version 10.0 is the new long term support version. It's the only logical choice to run now. I found 4, 5, 6, 7, and even 8 to be less stable. Which ought to be expected. 3.6 was after all a .6 version and not a .0 version, with many more bugfixes along the way. 10.0 is twice the disk size as 3.6, but again it's going to be WAY faster, but perhaps not much different on the memory landscape. The poster should begin migrating now, before support ends.

          That is if you're one of those people who believes in keeping your system up to date, security patch wise. Kind of pointless to change the locks once everything is cracked open and stolen. So I guess I'm saying UPGRADE NOW to 10.0, while you have a choice.

          • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4&gmail,com> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @02:02AM (#39236633)

            10.0 is twice the disk size as 3.6, but again it's going to be WAY faster, but perhaps not much different on the memory landscape.

            10.0 has HTML5 support and a totally different, much faster JS engine. I'll give them a break if it takes up a little more diskspace.

          • Re:Why the anxiety? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by shadowmas (697397) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @05:37AM (#39237523)

            10 might take more disk space. But it is far supieror in memory usage.

            I keep the browser open for weeks with multiple tabs open and i've quite often seen it hit 1GB+ of memory use, but around version 8-9 that it went down. while it's still one of the more memory hungry it's memory usage doesn't seem to be stacking up as much.

            The only reason that I can see for holding back from the latest version would be, because of potential compatibility with existing sites. But this is mainly for corporates with intranet sites which might still have legacy html. I've personally not run into any such issues. For personal use I see no reason not to update to the latest version. In my experiance while in some version there have been regressions, it's generally been faster and more memory efficient.

            I think mozilla messed royally up with this fast update cycle. Had they slowed it down just a tad bit and not publically said anything about a fast updating and version numbers, most people would just update to the latest version without so much anxiety.

      • Re:Why the anxiety? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by slasho81 (455509) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @02:12AM (#39236679)

        Why even humor him with a Slashdot submission?

        The answer is Soulskill. Have you seen the last dozen or so stories on the front page? Ridiculous.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @03:58AM (#39237113) Journal

        Except that its NOT bullshit, in fact that's why i moved my customers and family off of Firefox. I've found the newer versions of Firefox are NOT CPU agnostic and in fact really don't like AMD CPUs that much, especially the low power chips. I've also found once it takes RAM for a page it doesn't give it back, even after you close the tab, and in fact you can leave FF running 24 hours and watch as it slowly but surely sucks more and more RAM until it finally grinds the machine with swapping.

        For these reasons and the constant complaints about how FF will have "senior moments" and just freeze for a few seconds, just enough to really piss my customers off, I've gotten rid of FF from my default install list in favor of Comodo Dragon. With each new FF release I try it, hoping its changed, but so far no joy. oh they made a little improvement from 9 to 10, if you call going from 100% CPU to 94% CPU improvement but when the same machine hits less than 60% under Dragon I don't really consider that much to celebrate, certainly not enough to matter. In my own tests I've found Dragon, QTWeb, Opera, any of these do better than FF when it comes to memory and CPU usage, both at startup and over time.

        Now you may feel free to call me dirty names, claim I must be shilling for some nebulous corp, even though i just named three different browsers, two of which are FOSS, but the simple fact is THERE IS A REASON why Firefox has gotten such a bad rep, its because its deserved because so many of us have had bad experiences with their new direction. Personally i think its Gecko, I think they have stretched the engine beyond its limits trying to bolt more and more onto it trying to rip off Chrome and its in need of a rewrite. I've tried both ESR and Pale Moon which is FF built for speed and certain CPU flags and they both behave similar to FF which makes me think its the underlying engine.

        Frankly FF was better before Chrome came along when they were originally trying to just be the best little lightweight standards compliant browser they could be, remember that? What's happening with FF after Chrome reminds me of how MSFT is crapping their pants and screwing up their OS trying to "capture the magic" of the iPad. Both companies had a few bumps but seemed to be making progress but then this new thing grabbed headlines and made them crap their pants with fear, now its a "me too, ohhh me too!" fest and it sucks. Quit trying to be Chrome Mozilla, many of us would come back if you'd just stop it. if we wanted Chrome we'd install Chrome!

      • So 3.6 is now good with memory? There is nothing 3.6 offers that is better than the current release. Some people just hate change so much and expect the world to cater to their backwards ways. Well, tough luck. There is no reason to stay on firefox 3.6.
    • ya, they are missing out on all these awesome new features Mozilla has added.
      Like.........umm........

    • by Skapare (16644)

      If the developers of Firefox properly understood just how many things BREAK when upgrading a browser, maybe then they would design things to make it easy for two or more versions of Firefox to co-exist (even if there is a requirement that any one user only be using one version at a time and thus require switching user to use a different version). Then, it would at least be easier to migrate gracefully to their new versions.

      As it is now, it's a major pain in the arse to upgrade Firefox, usually much worse t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tqk (413719)

        If the developers of Firefox properly understood just how many things BREAK when upgrading a browser, maybe then they would design things to make it easy for two or more versions of Firefox to co-exist ...

        I ... what? ... Are you crazy?!?

        Assuming you're a developer building apps for multiple versions of Firefox releases, ... What!?!

        You're woefully ignorant of basic features that your target platform provides out of the box. Got it.

        This is the stupidest /. discussion EVAR!

    • There's a good reason. Firefox 3.6 is the last version that supports those nice-to-have goodies such as Firebug and, in my case, XPather. After 3.6 Firefox started to progress so quickly through the versions no plugin maker could keep up.
  • Sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by emeitner (513842) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:17AM (#39235965) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't seem too long ago that I was having the same questions about Netscape Navigator 4.5. I survived.
     

  • Just upgrade (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:18AM (#39235967)

    Stop being a pain the ass and upgrade.

    It's a browser, not some server software.

  • Not an issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spandex_panda (1168381) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:19AM (#39235979)

    I have switched to Chrome and am happy with seamless updates.

    Really, what advantages do you have with using an old, outdated version? Smaller memory footprint, well, are you actually low on memory? RAM is cheap. You already said that version 3.X is slower than modern builds.

    The only suggestion I have is live with the new version progression, stop being concerned with it and live with what the developers are doing. Either that or move to gentoo and compile you own!

    • Re:Not an issue (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zephvark (1812804) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:46AM (#39236163)

      The advantages to sticking with an older version are, you already know it works, and your add-ons work with it. You also know that the good gentleman at Firefox haven't decided to rearrange the interface again for no apparent reason. Finally, of course, the new versions don't actually seem to have any interesting new features.

      I updated from 3.5 to the latest version, recently, because of some problem where the browser would just stall out for 3-4 seconds, becoming completely unresponsive. The update does seem to have fixed that problem. Otherwise, I haven't really noticed any significant difference, which is really just fine with me.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:20AM (#39235991)

    3.6.x has been known for generally being more stable

    Firefox 9 is perfectly fine. No problems.

    and using less RAM

    Who gives a shit if it uses a little bit more memory. I just bought 16GB of RAM for $75. It isn't 1991 anymore.

    I don't like the bullshit upgrade schedule where they make a few minor improvements and call it a major new release. That's why I'll probably stay with 9 for a while. But there is no reason to stay with 3.6.

    • by El_Oscuro (1022477) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:44AM (#39236145) Homepage
      The bullshit upgrade cycle is what is literally driving me away from Firefox. I have run Firefox since before it was called Firefox (it was called "Firebird" in the 0.7 days), but am now starting to switch to Chrome. It seems like every time I start Firefox, I have to go through several screens of verifying my addins, etc. Now, when Firefox "upgraded" to 10, my most important web application crashed it. Chrome runs it just fine. I love Firefox, but this upgrade bullshit is killing it.
    • by nzac (1822298)

      Who gives a shit if it uses a little bit more memory. I just bought 16GB of RAM for $75. It isn't 1991 anymore.

      Have a look at your local DDR2 RAM prices. Its become legacy hardware and is rather expensive.

    • by s-whs (959229) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:55AM (#39236223)

      and using less RAM

      Who gives a shit if it uses a little bit more memory. I just bought 16GB of RAM for $75. It isn't 1991 anymore.

      I don't like the bullshit upgrade schedule where they make a few minor improvements and call it a major new release. That's why I'll probably stay with 9 for a while. But there is no reason to stay with 3.6.

      You have a very poor memory as in 1991 memory usage was not 300-500 MB just for a silly webbrowser.

      And your argument that memory is cheap is true for DDR3, but if you've got a bit older machine like I have that's perefctly fine for everything I use it, using DDR2, it's a lot more expensive.

      Memory use of applications and Xorg too is just insane these days. Even Xemacs that I often use, I've got one editing a html file and it uses 32 MB (and that's a low value, it's often 100MB). Why? What the hell does it all load and do compared to the mid-late 1990s where you could use it without hogging all RAM on a 32MB machine?

      Always the arguments by people like you is 'memory is cheap', but it's not really. Not needing new memory is cheaper than new memory. Not needing to waste time on 'why the hell is my memory not enough any more' is better than wasting time on it. Sometimes you even need to upgrade your PC to get affordable new memory. That's the case esp. for a slightly older PC of my niece. Your argument is also the reason why developers don't seem to give a shit about memory footprint, whatever they claim. 300MB for browsing some webpages? Absolutely ludicrous. Thunderbird seems to have a complete built in webbrowser in it to display HTML stuff. Nuke all that crap and let it do emails! Then it wouldn't need 200-300MB.

      It's a vicious circle of upgrades that are not really necessary as quickly as they would be if applications didn't load so much useless crap and do so much useless crap.

    • Too bad that "client" versions of 32bit Windows only allow up to 4GB address space.
      And installing a new version of Windows is much worse than just using software that fits in the 4GB. Hell, I'd rather buy a DRAM SSD and put the pagefile on it than do a fresh install of Windows.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      I mostly agree with this. The issue isn't stability or RAM. It's retarded upgrade schedule confounded by minimalist design trend. I'm on 3.6 until the minimalist trend dies and upgrade schedule recover their sanity.

      P.S. Most exploits are rather irrelevant when you combine noscript, adblock, ghostery and a decent firewall. Or simply run browser sandboxed (sandboxie et al).

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:20AM (#39235997) Journal
    Memory management has improved somewhat in their later releases and I believe Mozilla has changed the plugin system to be compatible with their new release cycle. Additionally, the JavaScript engine is so much faster in later releases and HTML5 support has improved a lot as well.

    Let it die.

    (Then again, I became a Chrome user recently and haven't looked back. Their plugin and web app support is fantastic and built-in Firebug capabilities are great. Really love how well it synchronises with Google services and their Android version is looking very promising.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The benefits you mention are immediately negated by the horrible UI that Firefox has had starting with version 4.

      They threw out decades of experience, knowledge and convention, for absolutely no gains whatsoever.

      Getting rid of the menu bar by default was just plain stupid. Then they followed it up with the status bar bullshit. These are among the worst UI design decisions ever made in an application that's so widely used. They both harmed usability significantly, with no benefits. The 20 extra pixels at the

      • if simple actions that were easily accessible via the traditional menus now take us 30 seconds or more to figure out how to do, if we can even do them at all, since the UI changes have been put in place.

        Install Status-4-Evar and move on with your life. Oh, wait, less drama - nm., as you were.

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        Menu bar, tabs and status bar all have options to be put back to 3.x style and once you change back the to the classic look they stay there through upgrades. Putting a close button on the status bar is kind of bizarre and petty though.

        As for plugins working, the only problem I ever have with my 18 extensions is that no-script and ghostery clash and cause browser freezes with new page loads.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:22AM (#39236001)

    Making your life "much more complicated"? It's an outdated web browser. Update to something modern and move on with your life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:22AM (#39236007)

    If you want to browse the current web, use a current browser. You may *want* to use an older browser, but clearly it's not working out for you. I may *want* to spread butter with a screwdriver, but I'd be better of using a tool appropriate for the job.

    I'm sure you're feeling indignant about being "forced" to upgrade, and I'm sure you think your reasons for wanting to hang onto an old piece of software are valid. Nobody else cares. Either fix it for yourself or move on.

  • by Fancia (710007) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:23AM (#39236017)

    3.6.x has been known for generally being more stable and using less RAM than the modern Firefox 10...

    I actually don't agree with your premise. While Firefox had some issues around version 4, Firefox 10 is actually faster and more stable than Firefox 3.6 was, and RAM usage is on a downward trend. I understand that Firefox ~4 turned you off because I was really irritated by the regressions that came around that time, but things *did* get better. If you give it another try and make sure you give it a fair shake without already having decided it's worse, I think you'll find it's actually an improvement over what you're using right now. It's not like Firefox 3.6 was a speed demon in its day either... Firefox's memory hog problems go back way further than that.

    • by belg4mit (152620)

      Cancelling some moderation here, but I finally went for 10 from 3.6 once the ESR was available. It's not been a nightmare, but certainly no picnic. Windows 7 now frequently suggests I close FF to free memory, whereas it never did before. I also get lots of slow script warnings I did not have before. The only pro I've found is that 10 is better at restoring eozens of tabs, as it does not try to load them all at once.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:26AM (#39236041) Homepage Journal
    You want SeaMonkey [seamonkey-project.org]. Modern Gecko, archaic memory management model. Required system specs page says 128 MB of RAM and 233 MHz Pentium. It even sits in your system tray if you ask nicely enough. Not exactly pretty by modern standards, but I gather that's not your highest priority.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:33AM (#39236083) Homepage Journal

    Unless you're being forced to run obsolete software by some perverse corporate mandate, you have no excuse nor valid reason for running such outdated software. You are the smoking clunker on the highway of the internet. You are the grey haired granny in the fast lane of the web. The road hazard. The surfing security hole.

    Are you getting it?

    You are the security risk.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      How often should people be required to upgrade? Keep in mind that upgrading does break things very often, and Firefox is among the leaders of breakage. Upgrading takes time. And with something like Firefox, that's a very critical point to be broken, because you may not be able to access anything until the glitches and other bugs are worked around (which is often slow when answers are not forthcoming on the forums where asked). My last Firefox upgrade took 2 weeks to get it working right.

      And of course yo

  • Make your own fork (Score:4, Informative)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:33AM (#39236085)

    I'll skip the obvious question about why you don't like new Firefox or other browsers and try another tact.

    Since this is all open source software, why don't you find like minded people and make a new fork based on Firefox 3.6? If you want to go older than Firefox 3.6, you can always use K-Meleon. [sourceforge.net]

  • Two Choices (Score:4, Informative)

    by kwalker (1383) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:39AM (#39236123) Journal

    You have essentially two choices: stay on 3.6 after EOL and deal with it, or upgrade.

    Staying on 3.6 (Which I have to do one one machine because it's a G4 Mac and already has no support) is an option, but eventually, depending on what kind of websites you frequent, you may get pwn3d. But if you restrict yourself to known-good websites, and use extensions like AdBlock, FlashBlock, and possibly GreaseMonkey, you can probably coast along for years.

    Upgrading to a new browser (Especially on Linux) is also not a terrible idea. Firefox 10 is actually pretty good about RAM use (Better than Chrome 17, for my uses), and you can set the interface to match Firefox 3.6 so you don't have to re-train yourself to the new look and feel. It's even a bit more snappy than Firefox 3.6, and it does have some nice features for web-centric users (Like pinned apps, and Firefox sync).

    I understand the "I'm staying here" feeling, but unless you're willing to make some serious compromises, you're on your own.

  • by Cyko_01 (1092499) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:44AM (#39236139) Homepage
    give up the F.U.D. and enjoy the FUN!

    If you can't stand the constant updates you can always get the ESR (extended support release) [mozilla.org]. If you have javascript enabled then upgrading is absolutely worth it. Firefox 10 also has add-ons set to compatible by default so your add-ons should work unless the developer has opted out, or the add-on uses binary components. Memory usage has also improved leaps and bounds since 4.0 - I dare say it is better then 3.6 since I can now leave it running overnight with no adverse effects when I go back to it
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @12:59AM (#39236251)
    . . . and upgrade it any way you like. That's what all /.rs do, right?
  • by Eric Coleman (833730) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @01:02AM (#39236283)

    I'm in the same boat, I just (two weeks ago) switched from 3.6 to 10. I still have 3.6 installed just in case, but so far I'm adjusting.

    In order to have some stability though, try the ESR version, it's what I'm using. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html [mozilla.org] And if you want to read the FAQ, go with http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/faq/ [mozilla.org]

    So far, there are a few hiccups. There were a few add-ons that didn't make the switch, but they were rarely used, so I haven't noticed their absence yet. The tab size is annoying and I haven't figured out how to fix that yet. The old about:config fix doesn't work, and the userchrome.css fix just screws things up more.

    I did need to readjust the default layout, the lack of a refresh and stop button is just annoying, but they're easy to add back. I like having a user interface, so yeah, that.

    Noscript and Adblock plus work. I recommend the "status-4-evar" addon to get the status bar back.

    Overall, I haven't noticed the slowdown or memory consumption. Of course, everyone's mileage will vary.

    One new feature, at least new for me, is that you have FF restore all your tabs after you close your browser, but when you start back up, the tabs won't load unless you click on them. I really like this feature. Back in 3.6, it could take a really long time to restore a browsing session.

    Overall though, the shock of switching isn't as bad as you think.

    I think I should probably end this post with instructions on doing a side-by-side install. Before installing anything, make a copy of your firefox profile. Then edit the 'profiles.ini' to reflect this, it's up a folder or two from the profiles. In the profiles.ini, make a new name, something like myff10stuff for your profile. Then, get the ESR build and install to a different folder, but do not start FF at the end of the install. Edit the existing FF shortcut or make your own, but put -P on the end. it should read something like
    "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 10\firefox.exe" -P myff10stuff
    All that is because the profile manager doesn't let you copy an existing profile. You can delete, rename, or create a new one, but you can't copy. You'll probably want to do the same thing to the 3.6 copy and use the 3.6 profile.

  • Opera welcomes you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaPERIODhoo.com minus punct> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @01:22AM (#39236403)

    Opera is where I went after I stopped feelin' Firefox. Tab groups, notes, mail/irc/bittorrent/rss clients built in, Opera Turbo for those times you're tethering and need to conserve on your wireless cap, gestures, widgets and extensions (including AdBlock and NoScript), speed dial, session preservation, private browsing, reasonable memory usage, skins and themes, configurable download behavior, configurable keyboard shortcuts, a sane release schedule, and performance that frequently rivals Chrome. Also, it runs on basically anything - Windows (as early as 2000 with the current version, I believe), OSX, virtually every flavor of Linux, and Solaris (and basically every mobile operating system ever developed), and the Windows installer for Opera is nearly 33% smaller than the most recent edition of Firefox. While it's not Richard-Stallman-Free, it is freeware now.

    To be fair, the only issues I've had were with some IE specific sites. The most prominent example is...basically every version of Outlook Web Access Microsoft ever released, even though the more recent versions have worked correctly on Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. The Sharepoint at work does work correctly, however lists aren't rendered in database view the way they are in IE. Opera tends to take standard compliance to the point where it seems as if the browser says, "if I don't render it right, the site is wrong". While technologically correct, in practice Firefox handles these kinds of sites with much more practical grace, in no small part because FF is almost invariably a part of website design testing, while Opera is less frequently tested. Still, it's the rare exception for websites to not display correctly in Opera, at least to the point of getting the content you need, but even these discrepancies are relatively infrequent.

  • by sfled (231432) <sfled.yahoo@com> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @02:53AM (#39236863) Journal

    Low RAM usage, pretty stable on Windows 98 & 2000. Yeah, IE 5.5, that's the ticket!

  • Switched to Chrome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aoMONETl.com minus painter> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:30AM (#39238233) Journal

    My laptop only has 2GB of RAM, so I can't run Firefox anymore anyway, so I switched to Chrome.

    A browser should not consume 1.2GB of RAM (and Firefox 10, 11, 53, 1275, or whatever they're up to now, WILL consume that much if you leave a GMail tab open long enough)

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

Working...