Mozilla Quantum Flow Engineers Mod Firefox Browser To Open 1700 Tabs In Mere Seconds

How many tabs do you currently have open on your web browser? One? Ten? How about 1691 tabs? Mozilla Quantum Flow Engineer Dietrich Ayala recently demonstrated that Firefox 55 is able to load 1691 tabs in a mere fifteen seconds.

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Ayala kept track of the wall-clock measurements of start-up time and memory use for Firefox versions 20, 30, 40, and 50 through 56. He discovered that Firefox 51 took almost eight minutes to load the tabs, however, Firefox 55 ad 56 clocked in at 15 seconds. Ayala also realized the Firefox 54 and earlier used roughly 2 GB of memory. Firefox 55 and 56 used less than 0.5 GB. He remarked, “Yes, this is without actual web pages loaded, but look at this, haters: I've now got 1.5 gigs of memory to load web pages into that I didn't have before.”

firefox tabs start up times
Image from: Dietrich Ayala,

He closed most of the applications on his MacBook, turned off the Wi-Fi, and eyeballed the minutes using "time cat" on the command line. He measured the start-up times at least five times and shut off the timer when the "server not found" page was rendered. He also “waited for one minute after the startup measurement point and then grabbed the total value from the bottom of about:memory”. He noted that there was a consistent spike in the memory at the initial startup that tended to stabilize after roughly a minute.

firefox tabs memory
Image from: Dietrich Ayala,

Ayala’s tests are part of Quantum Flow, “a performance task force focusing on eliminating performance cliffs in the browser”. The project originally started while a group of engineers gathered in Taipei worked on improving the performance of G Suite in Firefox. The group considers themselves a foundation for other projects to build upon.

The Quantum Flow team is understandably excited about these “SUPERF***INGFAST” speeds. As of this summer, Firefox only had a 6% global worldwide market share, while Google Chrome rang in at almost 54%. It remains to be seen if faster loading speeds will help Firefox to gain more users.