back to article AdBlock Plus man disputes Mozilla add-on tests

Wladimir Palant – the man behind the most famous of Firefox add-ons, AdBlock Plus – has pushed back against Mozilla's recent efforts to rate the performance of his and other add-ons, claiming the outfit's testing methods were flawed. As a result, Firefox has edited its public list that rates the startup performance of the most …


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  1. Steve Evans

    Startup time - thwarp!

    Fighting for startup times are really pointless. So much of what we do is done via a webbrowser that I doubt most of us start the browser more than a couple of times a day. The rest of the time it's either populated with tabs and in use, or minimised/hidden behind other windows ready to be used at any point. No browser will start fast enough to challenge pulling an existing browser into the foreground.

    I'm sure it's just for a bit of willy waving in an advert they have already got ready to publish.

    My FF stays open for days on end. My machine gets put to sleep/hibernated at night, and resumed in the morning. The only time I restart the browser, apart from M$ patch reboots, is when it's leaked so much it's eaten too much RAM and slowed my machine up.

    Even if I did start the browser multiple times a day, the alleged few seconds extra is more than outweighed by the faster page loading you get from having the ads removed.

    Maybe Mozilla should target code which causes the browser to eat resources and other things which continually impact the browser usage during the course of a day, and not just a few seconds at start up?

    1. heyrick Silver badge


      Got 18 tabs active, and I last started the browser four days ago and have had the machine in standby in between. Hell, I've gotten myself in the habit of toggling off WiFi while starting Firefox so existing tabs will error out (they're there, but not wasting as much memory with nothing loaded).

      I agree. Sod startup times and concentrate on memory leaks. And that one that goes "the more I use Firefox, the slower everything becomes" until the point where my machine just sits for 10s of seconds at a time with the HD light on. Quit, reload, normalcy is restored, so that sounds to me like a problem with Firefox. [and before anybody says - it isn't Windows doing housekeeping, I do *not* use swapping as it isn't friendly to SSDs]

      1. leexgx


        with opera i have never had issues with disk hammering i must have like 80 tabs open in opera and it works fine

        ram use is high but 800MB for 80+ tabs is very good and my HDD does not go nuts doing it (make sure the have the load plugins on demand tick under Pref > Content as that will disable Flash unless you click on them, chrome its flashblock, firefox unknown as i do not use it) you try do that on firefox 3.6 it thinks for an bit or Chrome is even worse the more tabs you have as Each Tab on chrome is an extra disk i/o (each tab can add 4-10 i/o per tab)

        only thing i have firefox setup for is TOR (that I rarely use)

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        @heyrick if your PC isn't swapping what is it doing?

        Look, just set up a minimal swap file even if you think you don't need one. Memory management gets passive-aggressive on you if it isn't there. I"m told that 300 MB on C is the minimum needed to allow crash dumps, but if you don't care about that, you can put the swap on a separate partitioned volume. Yes, an SSD probably will cycle all the unused "disk space" as your swap storage anyway, or else it won't and will use the same RAM over and of!ver again i!till it wears out. And then you just buy a new SSD and restore your backup.

      3. Dave Stevenson

        @heyrick Re:Yup

        You want to try BarTab ( instead of toggling Wifi off when restarting Firefox. It stops Firefox reloading all but the active tab on restart, and then automatically loads those tabs when you select them. It's made a big difference to me.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          BarTab - yes!

          I ♥ BarTab!

    2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Shit code...

      is shit code no matter how many times a day *you* happen to run it. Churnalists and web devs seem to think it's ok to crank out any old crap just so long as they crank it out fast. I prefer quality myself.

  2. raving angry loony

    startup time?

    I restart my machine maybe once every few days at most, usually once in a week. Firefox gets started on boot, and never really shuts down.

    Personally, I'm more concerned with bloat, memory leaks, and ease of configuration than with how fast it might start up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, startup time?

    Like others, I keep my FF running for days on end, only restarting it when rebooting the machine or it becomes sluggish.

    On my main machine I keep doezens of tabs open, treating the browser like a book where I can simply flick through the tabs like pages making it easier to have reference / comparison information on-hand instead of wasting time loading web pages when needed, but unlike a book if you have too many tabs open the browser eventually starts crawling.

    Which leads me to wondering why FF doesn't have some sort of tab overseerer process that stops giving CPU time to tabs that haven't been interacted with after x minutes, that way you can keep dozens of tabs open and the browser is speedy because it's not spending needless CPU time tending to tabs not being viewed.

  4. NakedStranger

    AdBlock Plus, NoScript and Firefox ROCK!

    Steve Evans, above, said everything I wanted to say about this article -- and said it well! I shut down my computer every 3 or 4 MONTHS ... if that often! Like Steve, I hibernate it, then unhibernate it when I need it, with Firefox OPEN CONTINUOUSLY and I NEVER have less than 125 FF tabs open always in 5 or more FF windows. The SCRIPTS that FF "hangs on to" are my biggest problem, as FF RAM footprint simply enlarges with each webpage script I allow to run (thank you, NoScript! NoScript ROCKS!). Once a tab/webpage is closed, FF MOST OF THE TIME DOES NOT RELEASE THE RAM OCCUPIED BY ANY SCRIPTS I ALLOWED TO RUN ON THAT WEBPAGE! With both NoScript and AdBlock Plus -- inarguably the two best and most important FF extensions of all time -- installed and running, and with judicious use of NoScript in allowing only well-trusted scripts to run (users eventually learn the “bad scripts!”), I have not needed or bloated-down my computers with antivirus software since 2004 and my computers all pass occasional online root kit malware and virus scans with “flying colors”. Kudos to AdBlock Plus!! Kudos to NoScript! Kudos to the Mozilla community for incessant difficult work on continuously improving an already awesomely wonderful web browser, Firefox! ~~~~~ ><(((;> ~~~~~ JLH 20110412Tu2019PT

  5. Anomalous Cowturd

    May I recommend...


    With 10 tabs open, current RAM usage is 108MB with an up to date urlfilter.ini. Re-started today because there was an update to 11.10.2092

    Starts in 10 seconds with all tabs loaded. FF 3.6.16 takes over 20 seconds for 1 tab.

    Fast as feck once it's up. Shows a clean pair of heels to ALL the other wannabe browsers in my book... They are where the innovation is, and always has been. All modern browsers owe Opera Software a great deal. (I will now dismount my high horse)

    YMMV... Although I doubt it. ;o)

    Cue the down votes in 3,2,1...

    1. Cameron Colley

      You may recomend anything you like.

      But I shall not be making Opera my main browser because I don't like it.

      There is nothing comparable in Opera to Adblock and NoScript -- the built in whitelisting in Opera is not the same thing and is a PITA in comparison.

      Firefox is the only browser which allows cookie whitelisting and I like to only hold cookies fro sites I want and to clear them on exit for all but a few sites -- no other browser allows me to do that without clicking on several thousand ("Do not allow", "Only this one", "Only allow from this domain on Sundays") type messages.

      I regularly use IE8, Google Chrome and Opera and, on occasion, I can be found using Konqueror, lynx and a few other ones. I use Firefox because it works how I want. I will, and have, recomend[ed] to others that they give Chrome and Opera a go, because they are both good browsers, but no amount of Opera evangelism will make Opera work how I want it to.

      Sorry, just had to get that off my chest as I'm getting bored of Opera evangelists.

    2. efeffess

      Opera <-> FireFox

      I was using Opera for the longest time on my XP box, and FF under Linux. Two things that miffed me about Opera was the lack of No-Script style functionality, and the lack of nested tabs. However, because of its rather decent speed on my old 256MB 1.5GHz XP box, I was pretty okay with that. Not happy, just content enough.

      Enter: VPNtunnel, a service I had chosen due to some research projects which necessitated a certain level of privacy. Opera had problems downloading from some sites through VPNtunnel, but FireFox had no problems.

      I'm now running FireFox under XP, and it's actually pretty zippy once it's loaded. The long startup time and the lack of runtime speed versus Opera, though both annoying, are factors I'm willing to endure for the No-Script, AdBlock+ and nested tabbing features that Opera lacks. I also prefer to have a couple dozen or more tabs open, there being numerous sites I frequent at any one time.

      Opera is a fine, stable and fast system, however until it reaches the feature-full stage of FireFox it'll still, sadly, be a cult browser. No down votes here, though, Cowpatty. ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        @ Opera <-> FireFox

        Just FYI Opera does have nested tabs now

      2. CD001


        Just saying...

  6. Goldberg

    oh wow

    People still use Firefox ? It's like I am really in 2007 !

    1. CD001


      All teh trendiez kids are moved to Chrome innit?!

      That's why some of us still use Firefox - muppet.

    2. Marvin the Martian
      Gates Halo

      It's the man from the future!

      You probably found the article via Bing?

  7. Johnny Canuck

    This is not a title

    Cripes! You guys are crazy! I start and stop my browser twenty times a day because I don't live on the internet and when I'm not on the internet I don't want my computer's resources being used up by unnecessary processes. Regarding ABP, a slight delay is worth it for the good it does.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You need to learn how an operating system works. An idle process will not be consuming CPU, and the OS will swap out the used pages of memory once it has been idle for a while.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Only if you disable AJAX, et al.

        Which makes all of your idle browser tabs active every 1 second (or whatever). Just like was mentioned above, the ability to suspend tabs would be great.

  8. Adam Trickett

    Start time does matter

    While many people here leave their browser (most flavours) open for days at a time, many less technical people do not - stopping and starting all day long. Start up time matters to them and I'd suggest Microsoft thinks so too, as they have in the past put effort into pre-loading IE and other MS products to make them start quickly.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    I don't care if AdBlock Plus takes twice as long to load - I'd rather block the Ads (and the Malware they commonly carry)

  10. Phil 54


    I only shutdown my FF notebook once or twice a week, if that, but I close Firefox numerous times per day. I've been using Firefox Preloader for years now and it really makes a difference in FF start-up time. After updating to FF4 I had to play around with it a bit, because they seem to have changed where sessions are held. When I restarted FF it came up with the last pages viewed instead of my start page. I solved it by adding the "Exit" button from the Toolbar Buttons extensions(identical to the File>Exit menu) and the Hide Captions Titlebar Plus extension to hide the normal windows close button. The only problem is that I don't have a minimize button anymore, although I can just click on the taskbar button.

  11. The BigYin

    Not too bothered...

    ...if some add-ons slow the start-up down (so long as it doesn't become ridiculous, i.e. minutes). AdBlock, Flashblock and NoScript are two I would still use regardless of how slow they were. Why? Because without them the Web would become almost unusable with pop-ups, pop-unders, floating ads hiding content, in-line ads messing up flow, content ad links and flashing adverts.

  12. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    ABP is a the Dog's

    ABP does more to prevent bandwidth wastage than any other add-on I know. Mozilla would be better concentrating on fixing the crashes and memory gourging that goes on rather than picking on developers who make the browser a pleasure to use.

  13. Kar98

    Who cares about start up time?

    The point is, AdBlock Plus is THE add-on that makes Firefox the browser of choice for many, and makes the WWW usable.

  14. Horridbloke

    Mobile devices

    Anyone using a mobile device will care about startup time, because leaving the application running all the time isn't a sensible option. I (still) use a linux netbook and the long pause between clicking the Firefox launcher and being able to do anything really grates. FF on my Android device has a similarly annoying pause.

    I agree about ABP being a requirement though - it's the main reason I haven't switched to Opera on those devices.

  15. Elmer Phud


    WTF is all this about?

    Turn on machine, put kettle on, make tea, sit at machine and sip tea.

    Do people have a life away from thier machines?

    Mozilla had better leave ABP alone - it's the only reason many of us use FF

    1. Marvin the Martian

      One reason to rule them all

      The one reason is ABP, and Noscript. Hm. So, the two reasons are ABP and Noscript, and the wide user base across Linux/Mac/Windoze. Yes: the three reasons are APB, Noscript, wide user base, and an almost fanatical devotion to the brand. OK, among the chief reasons are: ...

  16. davcefai

    Resource Utilisation

    To all those worried about CPU cycles and RAM usage.

    On my relatively modest 2 core AMD + 2GB RAM I have to work hard to max out my resources. Surely it's easier to have enough resources and then concentrate on the work, rather than the engine's rpm?

  17. Bob Camp

    No choice in web browsers

    Both Opera and Chrome have compatibility problems with three Web sites I visit daily. After contacting these sites, they all only officially claim compatibility with IE and Firefox. After contacting Opera and Google, they claim it's the websites' fault. I don't care whose fault it is, I just want it to work! So I use Firefox and occasionally IE (shudder).

  18. webdude

    This is complicated, so I will only say it once.

    First of all, get a very large and powerful tractor. Second, we will need a very heavy duty chain. Now attach one end of the chain to the tractor, the other end around your neck. Start the tractor and rev the engine, then pop the clutch and pull your head out of your ass! The human brain needs oxygen to function properly, and their is no oxygen up their!

    In your web browser settings; disable JavaScript and "load images automatically." Its that easy.

    Now your browser is faster and your are not the of many a botnet far and wide.

    All this fresh air and sunshine is kind of nice isn't it?

    Only enable JavaScript and "load images" for sites You trust.

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