Memory Issues in Mac OS X

Lots of information on websites state that Mac is really good for memory management and you shouldn’t worry too much about it as Mac will handle it for you nicely. However, I have found it very untrue.

My MacBook Pro has 8GB of memory, but it always climbs up to use all my momeries and slows down everything.

You can see that I only had 33MB of memory left to use. There were more than 2GB of inactive memories that can be re-claim but Mac had refused to do so. My system becomes un-responsive proved it. Most of cases I have to quit certain memory hungry applications and restart them to re-claim some memory back, like FF4 who has been famous from its memory management.

Just in case you might wonder what those memories mean:

Free memory is available to be used right now

Wired memory is basically system memory for the kernel and other stuff

Active memory is memory being used right now

Inactive memory stores info from recently quit applications. The idea with inactive memory is that if you quit and app and start it up again it’s going to launch nice and quick because the info is still in RAM.

There is a “purge” command in Mac if you have installed developer tools which will allow you to force Mac to re-claim memories in the In-active state. However, your computer will become un-responsive during the operation, which normally takes from 30 seconds to up to more than 1 minutes.

This is a command that I don’t think you should use often as it freezes up your system for a while, I will only use it when it is absolutely necessary.

There is not much you can do about it unless Apple solves this problem, but I doubt it in the short term.

Firefox Memory Issues Still Not Fixed

I have upgraded to FF4 last week giving hope that it will solve the memory issue that FF has been having since the very beginning. I do noticed that the new version has better performance – start up and page loading are faster. However, it still have memory issues, at least on my MacBook Pro.

FF4 seems to have another process running in the background called “Firefox Plugin Process” which does use quite a bit of memory.

And the followings are my add-ons and plugins, there are not many.

The main problem is that after I use FF to open a web application that use lots of memory, it doesn’t release those memories after I close those tabs until FF is restarted. This is very poor memory management that FF just can’t get it fixed.

If anyone have similar experience, please share with the rest of the world.


Firefox Sync Finally Arrived

Firefox sync finally arrived on version 4 release, you can check out instruction on Firefox Sync. It allows you to sync your browser data cross different desktops & mobile devices. You also have the choice of selecting which data you want to sync, and disable others like bookmarks or history.



This is really handy for me as I can sync between my PC at home with my MacBook Pro, even though I mainly use Chrome at home. I have also noticed the performance is much better as well. I will continue to use it for a few days to find out whether it still has the memory issue or not when using it as a tool for web development. The previous versions were all memory hungry when using it at work.

A nice step forward for Firefox.

Move to Chrome as Main Development Environment

I have been using Firefox as the main tool for web development for the past few years. However I am getting sick and sick to the memory management in FF, it is so poor that it simply doesn’t release any unused memories at all, even if you close down all your tabs except one.

Chrome is my favourite browser now with its speed and simplicity, although the development tools for it is not as mature as Firefox, it has started to catching up. Firebug Lite for Chrome has been very useful and the internal development tools of Chrome have been helpful as well, especially the resource tracking tool that is missing in Firebug Lite:

I have already dumped Firefox at home ( not even install it ), and I will be dumping it at work as well and move completely to Chrome.

Installing Firefox 2.0 In Ubuntu

Firefox 2.0 is out for a couple of months now, but the Ubuntu’s built-in update package manager doesn’t pick it up, and it still shows updates to Firefox 1.5. This article shows you how to update to the latest Firefox yourself in no time.

Here’s a complete set of instructions

First, download this shell script to your Desktop, and rename it to if the name is something like firefox.txt after you downloaded.

Open up the command line (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and enter the following lines, one at a time:

cd ~/Desktop
mv firefox2.txt
chmod +x

That’s it. Open (or restart) Firefox now and you should have a fully updated spanking new version. Happy Firefox!!