After reading an article about memory leaks in Firefox extensons, I decided to look for updates to my existing 20 or so extensions. None of mine were in the guilty list, but I hadn’t updated for a while, so thought I’d see what improvements were made. About 8 or so of my extensions had updates. So, I installed the lot, and restarted Firefox, only to be presented with a dead browser that called up the title of a page and then hung.
If I’d known about Firefox’s safe mode beforehand I could have speeded up the process, but instead I did a reinstall. With the extensions still in place this did no good. I wasn’t in the mood to delete extensions one by one to find out which one was responsible, so I just deleted all of them. Right now I’ve only reinstalled two extensions, Web Developer Toolbar and Submit to Tab. The others can wait until I rememember why I need them.
My first reaction was of course to grumble about shoddy quality and poorly-written extensions. Then came understanding, and how great it is that any intrepid explorer armed with a good tutorial can whip together an extension. If I want to write Greenman’s vanity extension with a leak like my old 1969 Ford Escort, and people are keen to try it out, great! Twisting another metaphor, after all, risking some dodgy rotton mangoes in the bazaar is better than waiting for the cathedral mango shop to open, right?
However, if I’d happened to be a novice, and simply reinstalling Firefox had failed, that would be the end of it. Back to Internet Explorer (or in my case, Konqueror) we go. And it’s really not good enough. I expect that extensions on the main Mozilla addons site have been through some sort of quality control. The idea behind extensions is great, a lean, trimmed down browser that you can enhance according to your needs. Unfortunately, many of these extensions are poorly written, and it’s Firefox that’s suffering a poor reputation for stability, not extension X. Perhaps it’s time to get involved and help out.
Being without a browser for an hour or so (I’ve nuked Konqueror as well, that’s another story) made me realise how lost I feel without it.