Firefox can handle "ridiculous numbers of tabs" in versions 55 and 56

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 24, 2017

A tab hoarder at Mozilla made a decision to document the performance of the latest versions of Firefox and found that the engineers responsible for improving the browser's responsiveness have actually been doing their jobs: while Firefox 51 took almost 8 minutes to open a profile comprising 1691 tabs, the same only took Firefox 55 and 56 a couple of seconds.

All this is down to the new "quantum flow" project in which Firefox engineers are seriously trying to optimize the browser's level of responsiveness, clearly with a good deal of success.

It seems that versions 55 and 56 of Firefox can handle "ridiculous numbers of tabs", according to testing carried out by a Mozilla developer. However, as of Firefox 55 it only takes 15 seconds. His default browser profile means that when Firefox loads it loads with 1691 tabs.

The worst performer looks to have been Firefox 50, which took nearly 8 minutes to start up and become responsive with the 1691 tab user profile. With Fx55 and 56, and the same 1691 tabs open, memory usage after startup is reduced significantly.

If you're a tab hoarder, then you might want to take the latest builds for Firefox for a spin. It's interesting that Firefox startup time got consistently worse over time until Firefox 51. In the chart below you can see the Quantum Flow optimised app uses up under half a GB of RAM while older modern versions would easily consume 2GB plus.

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