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Tagopen source

Make Firefox fast

Recently, I have been trying to untangle myself from closed software, and move to open source and free (as in speech) alternatives. The first switch I made was from Chrome to Firefox. I was always a Firefox fan, but after college, when the only computer I had was a borrowed 8 year old MacBook Pro, I had no choice but to switch to Chrome for it’s speed.

Even though I have a fast computer now, I was a bit skeptical about Firefox’s performance. I use it often for testing and the speed did not compare favorably with Chrome. Upon a friend’s suggestion I installed the Developer Edition and was pleasantly surprised to see the improvement that Electrolysis brought! After a few days of using it, I decided to do some more research and stumbled upon a config that lets each tab run it’s own process. I set the process count limit to 128 and since then it has been smooth sailing.

These features exist in the normal versions of Firefox too, but are hidden behind config flags. To set them, go to about:config and set the following:


browser.tabs.remote.autostart true
dom.ipc.processCount 128

Restart, and see multiple browser processes (Activity Manager on Mac OS). Enjoy your new 128 Foxpower browser, yes foxes are better than horses.

Update: Based on when you’re reading this, you might need the Developer Edition or the Beta version of Firefox for this to work.

The Year Without Pants

by Scott Berkun

This book is a form of participatory journalism where the author talks about his experience of being one of the first managers at Automattic (the company that runs WordPress.com) . He gives a commentary on the culture of the company as it moves from a flat to a hierarchical structure. He often contrasts it with his experience at Microsoft.

A Year Without Pants

This contrast isn’t as clear as Cathedral and Bazaar. The author even points out instances where WordPress’ culture tends towards cathedral and Microsoft’s towards bazaar. The quality and quantity of work done amidst the chaos of the open source project amazes him, and he attributes this success to the people at the organization – who are passionate about their work, and to Matt Mullenweg – who grants these people autonomy, and encourages them to experiment. He also talks about how he manages his team which is distributed across the world and sometimes even across timezones.

This is the first time I’ve read about open source culture from a manager’s viewpoint. His critique for the communication tools used at Automattic resonated deeply with me. Reading it I was able to look at the Wikimedia Foundation, its work, and my place in it through a new lens.