Where did all of my memory go?


Apr 24, 2017
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It has been a while since I posted my own content. My apologies, finishing my degree, working full time, and doing my best to manage a robotics club took all of my time.

<begin rant>

Okay, so my memory did not actually disappear. Nor are any of my systems damaged. I thought a discussion about the increased memory usage of everyday applications is in order.

My trouble started last Thursday at work. What you need to know is that I am employed as a web developer working in about 3-4 different languages (PHP, Python, NodeJS to name a few). With all of the different languages I use, an IDE doesn't work terribly well. I'm also not a fan of huge memory and CPU usage of most IDEs. Therefore, I have been sticking with text editors and my preferred is Atom Editor by GitHub. If you are familiar with Atom, you probably know it is an Electron application. I don't mind it too much.

Communication at work is done through Slack. If you use Slack, you know that it too is an Electron application. You probably see where this is going. Last Thursday my laptop started freezing up when I was working and I found that my system was trying to use 11.4 Gb out of 11.6 Gb of memory. Digging deeper I found that there were 50+ FireFox processes, 20 Slack processes, 5 Atom Editor processes, and to top it all off Gnome's TrackerD was attempting to index my documents folder...on my Nextcloud server. So, naturally, all of my system resources were allocated to background processes. WHY is FireFox using so many resources for ONE tab? Is rendering a single page that difficult? There is a decent amount of JS on the page I admit (since I wrote most of it) but still. Come on Mozilla, can we reduce this please?

Now I know what some of you will say. Why are you not using Vim (Or Emacs or...). Well maybe I like Atom? My issue is how reckless these Electron developers seem to be with people's memory and CPU usage. I was taught to respect the end user's resources as much as possible but it seems to reduce production costs certain companies are just ignoring that philosophy.

I rather enjoyed this podcast from Jupiterbroadcasting on the subject. http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/125701/microsofts-electron-future-cr-314/

</end rant>

Now that's interesting :). I'll check that podcast when I get time.

Doing a little brainstorming, what version of FF are your work using, and is it stock standard or ESR?

What diagnostic tools for the memory loss and processes numbers?


Chris Turner
BTW everybody needs to have good rant sometimes :D
Things have been a little better after I did a fresh wipe of FF. I am on FF 61.0 (AKA Latest on the Quantum line). My system is currently using 4.8GB with Slack and FF being the only applications open though. It seems this version of Gnome is just bloated like crazy.

Very frustrating.

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