A picture is emerging of Firefox 1.5 that's less than positive. Issues cited by the more than 600 people who responded to an online query about their experiences with the new version of the browser include loading difficulties, high memory and CPU use, and browser freezes and crashes.
New features in Firefox 1.5 include automatic browser-updating functionality and the ability to check for multiple extension updates simultaneously. The new browser automatically disables, but leaves installed, any extensions that don't explicitly support it. It also is able to drag and drop reorder tabs, provides a significant reworking of the Options user interface, and lets you one-click to delete private data (such as user names and passwords) if you think you're being attacked by a phishing scam.
|Firefox 1.5 Users Speak Out|
|Of the more than 600 messages we've received to date on the latest version of Firefox, about a quarter offer up something like these:|
>> Firefox 1.5 frequently
freezes for a few minutes, most often
>> I'm having problems with
Web pages loading incompletely
>> It doesn't render many
pages correctly, particularly on The Motley Fool, where I use it the
Despite their small numbers, the people having problems aren't happy, and many are reporting the same woes:
• Firefox's use of physical and virtual memory is exceptionally high.
• CPU usage spikes to 100%, usually while loading a Web page.
• The browser freezes up for seconds, minutes, or permanently.
• It won't launch until errant "firefox.exe" processes are removed from Task Manager.
• The new version crashes, usually while loading a Web page.
• It has trouble loading specific pages, but there's no commonality as to which pages won't load.
• The initial launch of the browser loads slower.
• Third-party application hyperlinks, such as a link in an E-mail, take a long time to open a new Firefox tab or launch the browser.
One of the fallacies about software bugs is that, for a problem to be real, everyone has to have it. That's just not true. It's far more common for a widely distributed application like Firefox to have a long list of problems that only a small percentage of users experience. If multiple people in a selection of 600 have the same problem, it's most likely a real issue.
The page-compatibility issues are particularly inconsistent. Of the many Web pages that readers reported having problems displaying in Firefox 1.5, we haven't been able to reproduce a single one. They all work for us. At the same time, we've had trouble with other pages that won't load properly or at all. The problem may have nothing at all to do with Web-page rendering and more to do with some intermittent overall aspect of program reliability, such as caching issues.