[clug] firefox top-like plugin

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Wed Sep 15 21:01:00 MDT 2010

Robert Edwards <bob at cs.anu.edu.au> writes:
> On 16/09/10 09:29, jeff wrote:
>> Is there a plugin for Firefox which would given me the CPU and memory
>> usage for various elements of Firefox, eg, pages, plugins, etc. Every
>> morning when I get into work Firefox is consuming a large amount of CPU
>> on one core and is sluggish. Forcing me to restart it. If I can figure
>> out what is causing this growth in CPU usage over the course of the day
>> I can at least avoid that page, turn off that plugin, or know that I
>> should limit it's usage to a different browser to isolate the problem.
> Maybe the proposed plugin would report itself as consuming the most CPU
> cycles :-)  Anyway, good idea - I would certainly be keen to see such a
> plugin.

It isn't very practical: Firefox doesn't[1] sandbox various windows or other
execution threads, but rather runs actions from a range of sites, plugins[2],
and other tools in a given thread.

It would require a lot of complex, and low level, code to track those
activities uniquely, and would be a pervasive change to the XULRunner
codebase, as well as the browser built on top of it.

The reason that Chromium and Chrome can do this is their sandbox design does
allow for independent resource tracking using only the tools supplied by the
OS vendor.  Think of it as a benefit of *not* throwing away fifty years of
learning about how to manage processes or something. :)


[1]  Caveat: I have not looked at their codebase in, like, a year, so things
     might have changed more than I expect from the externally visible

[2]  With out-of-process plugin support this is no longer entirely true, but
     I can't recall if that is "production" yet or not.

✣ Daniel Pittman            ✉ daniel at rimspace.net            ☎ +61 401 155 707
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