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Ask Slashdot: Best Small-Footprint Modern Browser?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the treading-lightly-on-the-silicon dept.

Software 475

Annirak writes "I've recently started a paid internship at a company which is expanding faster than their IT department can supply new hardware. As a consequence, I've been issued a P4 2.4GHz with 512MB of RAM. Currently, I am using Firefox 4, but I find that it eats up far too much of my limited RAM. I'd rather not give up some of the more modern UI features that are offered by the current versions of Firefox and Chrome, but I need a smaller footprint. What other browsers are out there which could help me conserve resources?"

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Buy more ram (0, Offtopic)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985662)

It's not expensive and if you get worth out of the investment it's a good thing all the way around.

Re:Buy more ram (5, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985688)

It's not expensive and if you get worth out of the investment it's a good thing all the way around.

Spoken like someone who hasn't looked at DDR1 RAM prices lately.

Re:Buy more ram (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985788)

I think you haven't looked at DDR1 RAM prices. It's only relatively expensive: It costs 5 times as much as DDR3 RAM per GB, but DDR3 RAM is dirt cheap, so it still doesn't amount to much ($15 for another 512MB).

Re:Buy more ram (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985808)

It's not expensive and if you get worth out of the investment it's a good thing all the way around.

Spoken like someone who hasn't looked at DDR1 RAM prices lately.

They might be expensive new, but you can pickup a pair of 512 or a single 1024 stick of DDR for $10-$20. Rambus is even more ridiculous new, but there are still a bunch of eBay buy-it-now auctions for 1-gig RDRAM for $18 with free shipping.

Re:Buy more ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985696)

uhh, that's Rambus RDRAM, not DDR. It is expensive and no one makes it anymore because it was a dead end.

Usually, that's good advice, and everyone already knows it.

Re:Buy more ram (5, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985740)

Don't do this. As illogical as uppity Slashdot "power users" think it is, IT departments hate it when people upgrade their machines without consulting them. Full-time employees, they'd probably be willing to let it slide after a stern talk, but for interns? No guarantees.

As for keeping memory usage down, Opera 9 is a good bet (10 is a little heavier), but no matter what browser you use, you may have to change your browsing habits a little. Loads of tabs open is going to eat up memory no matter what browser you're on, and all of them have memory leaks to some extent (though none quite so bad as Firefox...), so you may want to set your browser to "reopen the tabs I had last" on startup, and just quit-restart every now and then.

Re:Buy more ram (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985884)

Don't do this. As illogical as uppity Slashdot "power users" think it is, IT departments hate it when people upgrade their machines without consulting them. Full-time employees, they'd probably be willing to let it slide after a stern talk, but for interns? No guarantees.

I'm sorry, adding some RAM is going ot tilt the IT Department?

First, remember, they are the folks that think a 10 year old Garage Sale computer is "acceptable" for the intern. Under these conditions, if *I* where the intern, I'd already be planning my exit, and exactly how I was going to BITCH OUT my college internship coordinator for hooking me up with these losers.

Second, adding a stick of RAM is not even in the same GALEXY with, say, running a rouge server or some other mystery service...

It's only a stick of RAM...

Re:Buy more ram (4, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985914)

Yes, that stick of RAM can fuck up the computer that the IT department will then have to fix or replace. In car analogy terms: you wouldn't bolt on a turbo kit on a company car just because you thought it wasn't fast enough, would you?

Of course that's not as bad as running a rouge server like that guy in the hospital, but it's also not as bad as Hitler, so I'm not sure what's the point of making such comparisons.

Re:Buy more ram (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985988)

No, a stick of RAM will *NOT* fuck up their ANCIENT piece of shit GARAGE SALE pc.

And *if* on the OUT OF THIS GALAXY chance it did, they have much bigger issues.

Re:Buy more ram (5, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985930)

I like my rouge server, but not as much as my teal one.

Re:Buy more ram (3, Funny)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985966)

Only whore servers wear so much rouge. Teach your server some proportion.

Re:Buy more ram (1)

standbypowerguy (698339) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986012)

Perhaps rouge is the norm for servers in their GALEXY...

Re:Buy more ram (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985950)

Sure, but it should be the company paying for it. Talk to your boss or IT department, suggesting some practical solutions. Part of the reason is that you should see if it is acceptable. You don't want to get burnt for the wrong reasons.

Re:Buy more ram (2)

sirsnork (530512) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985974)

Yes, it is. If you read what he said it was heavily implied the IT Department _don't_ think it's acceptable, but they are likely has hand-tied as he is. The IT Department is responsible for the machine and everything in and on it. Screwing with that without their permission is rude at best.

Now if the company in question has such a small budget for IT (or at least for interns) then their current growth may very well not last long somply given how much time people are waiting for their computers.

Personally, I'd go talk to them, see if they mind. If not let them know when it's actually done so they can update their records and call it good.

Re:Buy more ram (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985994)

I'm sorry, adding some RAM is going ot tilt the IT Department?

Yes, opening the machine and messing with the internals will annoy IT.

Re:Buy more ram (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985890)

Whatever. Given how busy it sounds the IT department is, they should have bigger things to worry about than whether an intern added more memory to a machine. That change isn't going to conflict with their prebuilt system images the way that changing a video card would, and this machine is most likely going to the dumpster as soon as his internship is over anyway.

Furthermore, any competent IT department will know that adding unsupported software is a bigger problem than adding unsupported hardware. If they don't care about him installing whatever browser he wants, why would they care about adding more memory.

Re:Buy more ram (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985904)

It is illogical. And before someone says "What if the user does something wrong and breaks the company machine?", I'm perfectly happy to see them disciplined for damaging company equipment if the upgrade does go wrong, and taking that risk is their choice, but there's no sense in punishing someone for doing something that could potentially have done damage but actually made an improvement (at least not when the chance of damage is much lower than that of improvement, and the cost of the potential damage is relatively low. If we were talking about million dollar equipment, and/or an upgrade process with a 50% failure rate, I'd obviously reconsider my point).

The rules are what they are, and I'm not suggesting that the guy goes out and tries to push the point, because I'm sure he would end up getting a lot of crap for doing so. I'm just saying that your characterisation of "uppity Slashdot 'power users'" is a little unfair when their point of view has decent logical reasoning behind it.

Re:Buy more ram (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986050)

IT would never know anyway. Put in the RAM, if it works, great, remove it when you leave company. If upgrade breaks machine, take it out and put in ticket saying 'my pc stopped working". no problem.

Re:Buy more ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985920)

As illogical as uppity Slashdot "power users" think it is, IT departments hate it when people upgrade their machines without consulting them.

Gotcha. So your suggestion is for your devs to just suffer in silence when your IT department refuses to upgrade their machines' RAM? Perhaps you have never tried to develop software on a machine that can't run the IDE without swapping. No doubt you would also be aghast if users start doing development on their *own* machines that they purchased with their own money as an alternative to using a crappy dev machine that makes their work painful.

Naturally, I would put in the good faith request for an upgrade, but when IT refuses/doesn't get around to it for months, then more subversive actions are viable. I have even resorted to developing on a home machine from an under-specced, upgrade-request-refused work box (via SSH+RDP tunnel). Didn't touch their hardware, just used the crap box as a thin client. Heh...

Re:Buy more ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985924)

Then over clock it.

Use less RAM (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985822)

I assume you have Windows XP or Linux.

Try to disable as many services or daemons as you can to free up RAM. In the Microsoft world, MSCONFIG is your friend. If you manage to keep your "working set" below your actual RAM you should be okay. About all you really need is the bare-bones OS, networking and security software, a web browser and whatever extensions you need, plus whatever you need for your business. Those "business" applications can eat you alive, especially if they have the word "Office" in them. Consider closing all heavy-RAM applications first then surfing, then closing your web browser and resuming your "Office" work.

Firefox 3.latest is not bad, but I haven't done a RAM-usage comparison w/ Firefox 4.

If RAM is the issue and it's not something exotic like RAMBUS, I'd upgrade with "just enough" to get you up to what you need. Half a gig of DDR PC2700 is under $30 from a major hundreds-of-stores retailer's web site, with free ship-to-store shipping.

Re:Use less RAM (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985980)

I've tried a lot of optimization software over the years, but this is the one I've found that actually works as advertised: Advanced SystemCare 4 [iobit.com]

But, the thing is that in a corporate environment you're not likely to be allowed to install RAM or programs to deal with optimization. The best bet would be to prepare a report on how much time the OP is wasting waiting for the computer to respond and relate that to the cost of upgrading the hardware. That's really the best way of handling it in a business environment. They may still say no, but otherwise, why risk getting fired for screwing around with company property outside of the scope of work?

Re:Use less RAM (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986048)

You shouldn't need to purchase software to optimize your PC when it really is as simple as firing up MSCONFIG to disable services and apps that you don't need running in the background.

Re:Use less RAM (3, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986030)

You can also configure Firefox not to cache rendered pages in RAM.

But Arora might be the browser you're looking for.

http://code.google.com/p/arora/ [google.com]

Re:Use less RAM (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986036)

> Try to disable as many services or daemons as you can to free up RAM. In the Microsoft world,

Uh, MSCONFIG is a band-aid "solution" (although a fast partial one. :-) One really should be disabling all non essential services.

e.g. and scroll down, set Show entries to 100, and use the "SAFE" or "Tweaked" column ...
http://www.blackviper.com/2008/05/19/black-vipers-windows-xp-x86-32-bit-service-pack-3-service-configurations/ [blackviper.com]

Re:Buy more ram (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986028)

Even better idea. Install Ubuntu. As a back-up, I have old IBM T4 with only 512 RAM and Ubuntu versions installed past 5 years. Will work just great.

Re:Buy more ram (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986038)

What I don't understand is how a company can be expanding "so fast" that they can afford at least £15,000 on an employee, but not £300 on a bargain basement machine, or hell... £1,000 on a machine they'll actually be productive on.

opera (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985666)

opera

Seriously, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985686)

Quit that job, and become a hobo.

Use K-Meleon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985692)

K-meleon.

Opera (5, Informative)

Derf_X (651876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985694)

I use Opera 11 with Windows 2000 on my P3 with 256 MB of RAM and it works quite well.

Re:Opera (1, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985786)

Agreed. Make sure you turn off the features you don't want like the mail client, web server, torrent client, etc. It can get very slim.

Re:Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985940)

This is the way to go. Once you get the OS running as best you can, you should have no problems with Opera.
You also might configure the UI to give yourself easy access to the 'author mode' button.

Re:Opera (3, Informative)

WOFall (1265240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985942)

By "turn off" I assume you mean "don't turn on", because if you don't set up a mail account, enable Unite, or download a torrent with the built in client, these features will use the same amount of memory as they would disabled.

Re:Opera (2)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986004)

You don't really have to disable anything, all that functionality is there but it's not doing anything until you use it.

I set up Opera for my dad on a P4/512MB PC, and it does indeed run very well. However, soon he started complaining that it was very slow. I checked and it turned out that he had so many tabs open (many of them with some Flash videos paused) that you could only see their icons and none of the title text. Oops.

Admittedly I have the same habit of using tabs as bookmarks, but at least I have 16 times as much RAM and a huge monitor to fit them all.

Re:Opera (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35986052)

Yep, Opera is my recommendation as well, but put the Enable Plugins in the options to off, preventing flash from running unless you enable it for a site. In addition something like Foxit PDF over Adobe.

Obvious answer (4, Informative)

mrwolf007 (1116997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985702)

is of course Lynx.

Aside from that Opera should require at lot less resources.

Re:Obvious answer (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985772)

is of course Lynx.

Aside from that Opera should require at lot less resources.

telnet on port 80 is clearly less memory! :-)

Re:Obvious answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985828)

Uh no, Lynx sucks compared to "modern" text browsers like Links.

Lynx was decent in the 90's but that was a long, long time ago.

Re:Obvious answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35986060)

Lynx!

Lighten the Load (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985720)

Try disabling flash, other plugins, and javascript. It makes 99% of sites faster, and only breaks about 30% of sites. Of the sites that aren't worthless, only about 5% are broken (mostly shopping sites).

If you install NoScript in Firefox, you can selectively enable/disable scripts and flash and other plugins for specific domains, only enabling what you want.

This also prevents most advertisements from loading.

Re:Lighten the Load (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985816)

The trouble is that every goddam site uses Javascript for navigation, Flash for fucking content and video, and god knows what other motherfucking plugin needed to see their content.

Avoid them you say? Really? I fucking wish!

The traffic map [511ga.org] is one mother fucker that I have to use. My Credit Union and bank is loaded with that shit. The online magazine content I read is loaded with that shit.

AND it's getting fucking worse! Sites that were clean are being corrupted by that shit!

Re:Lighten the Load (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986006)

Disabling flash still allows you to vist most sites, though disabling Javascript is now unrealistic given the number of sites using Ajax. Flash video can increasingly be worked around if you have an HTML5 capable browser, since many sites support the video tag.

Call your admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985724)

Call your local admin and request an extra bit of memory because you need [obscure app] to run properly. It's a nice chance to get befriended with him too.

To answer you q.. IE <cough>

What version of IE? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985870)

To answer you q.. IE <cough>

Internet Explorer 9 requires 1 GB of RAM because it requires an operating system that won't run well with less. Or are you recommending using Internet Explorer 8?

Lynx (3, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985726)

Lynx [wikipedia.org]

Browsing in Lynx consists of highlighting the chosen link using cursor keys, or having all links on a page numbered and entering the chosen link's number. Current versions support SSL and many HTML features. Tables are formatted using spaces, while frames are identified by name and can be explored as if they were separate pages. Lynx cannot inherently display various types of non-text content on the web, such as images and video, but it can launch external programs to handle it, such as an image viewer or a video player.

Just... wow. (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985734)

I saw the "expanding faster than their IT department can supply new hardware" note, but - come on. That hardware is close to a decade old! Is their IT department run by an 80-year-old man?

Re:Just... wow. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985784)

That hardware is close to a decade old! Is their IT department run by an 80-year-old man?

Exactly. I'm not sure I would want to intern (slave labor) at a place that tossed me one of those. Is it a "Gateway"? You can find them at Goodwill for $20!

Re:Just... wow. (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985804)

No one ever got sacked for buying IBM boxes and Lotus123 software... and who needs more than 640K anyway? From and 80 year old man.

Re:Just... wow. (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985842)

Doesn't really surprise me.
A while ago I had to use a laptop with a 1.5 GHz Celeron, 1GB RAM and Intel graphics.

I would buy my own. (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985742)

If I had to work all day on this PC I would simply buy one for work. There is no way a P4 with 512mb is going to get the job done in 2011.

Re:I would buy my own. (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985762)

It's not expensive and if you get worth out of the investment it's a good thing all the way around.

Those machine specs are decent for a general office computer running Office 2003. If you want more bang out of it, hit eBay and double the ram for pretty cheap. XP really improves with 1-gig of ram. Of course Firefox still being a memory hog is still a separate issue.

Re:I would buy my own. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985806)

$350 for a laptop on Newegg, I so agree.

Re:I would buy my own. (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985998)

I wound up doing this in early '07 before my last upgrade, with leftover parts from when I upgraded my personal PC. Socket-A Athlon 2600+ and a gig of DDR was a heck of a lot better than the 1.5 GHz P4 with 512MB of Rambus work had issued me.

OP is probably young enough to not have a stock of computer parts, though.

Re:I would buy my own. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986040)

There was one company I brought in my own portable, asking permission first, for this reason. The IT dept said they would let it slide, but wouldn't support it. Since they weren't really supporting developer desktops anyhow I went ahead and took the risk. Ironically it did reveal some limitations in the software we were developing, so I provided a fix to deal with it.

Reduce FireFox ram usage (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985746)

The RAM usage in FireFox isn't a bug, and there are things you can do to make it use less RAM:

Re:Reduce FireFox ram usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35986022)

You seem to be actually offering helpful advice, so I'll add my response to yours.

Firefox is probably still your best option for full-featured browsing. Throw in adblock, flashblock, and perhaps noscript, and you seriously cut down on ram consumption. Fiddling with about:config like the parent post recommends can get you some boosts as well - I recall in the firefox 2.x days you could seriously trim ram use by disabling the option to keep pre-rendered copies of the forward/back history in memory. In a pinch you can even disable all images in the normal options, but most people find that an unpleasant way to browse the web.

I can tell you that firefox still runs surprisingly well on both p2 and p3 hardware with 256mb ram, but performance will degrade noticably as you increase the number of open tabs.

TinyXP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985752)

Since you don't mention your OS, I'm forced to assume it's Windows of some kind. If so, check out some of the various remasterings of the XP install CD put out by various release groups. There is one in particular called TinyXP which is about 400MB installed and idles with around 24MB of RAM used. A very good friend of mine put it on his brother's old machine and it runs Chrome + youtube stuffs + games just fine.

Otherwise install linux and lynx :)

Re:TinyXP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985860)

I've seen it running too, but that 23Mb is before drivers. Once you install video and other applications, it's on par with regular xp idling. The really big problem is, when something does end up not working it's harder to figure out what's causing it to break and impossible to fix without reinstalling the OS.

Re:TinyXP (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986008)

"The really big problem is, when something does end up not working it's harder to figure out what's causing it to break and impossible to fix without reinstalling the OS."

So... it's just like regular Windows?

Re:TinyXP (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986014)

Hmm, I'll have to try that. I'm migrating away from XP, but this sounds like just the thing for those times when I need to use a Win only app which doesn't run under Crossover. At this point, I pretty much am only using XP until I can finish my last set of backups, and install Linux.

Grail (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985756)

Bring back grail.. it was small, fast and mulitplatform out of the box, being based on Python.

( and one of the first broswers.. )

Seems like you have been duped (5, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985760)

"...expanding faster than their IT department can supply new hardware" is corporate terms for "..because we are almost broke"

My recommendation, just stay away.

Re:Seems like you have been duped (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985894)

A lot of companies have old, shitty hardware. Doesn't mean they're going broke, just means the people in charge don't have a clue. Turns out a lot of UK companies don't have a clue.

Not necesarilly (3, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985936)

This happened to me (an apparently many other interns) at one of the National Laboratories. The lab wasn't strapped for cash nor going away anytime soon. The real problem was that the guy that hired me didn't plan ahead and order a computer (which can take weeks to get thanks to procurement overhead), so he panicked and snagged one on the way to reapplication. I scrounged up some more RAM from reapp, and it worked fine for the three months I was there.

Re:Seems like you have been duped (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35986024)

"My recommendation, just stay away."

Sounds like a true government employee that hasn't had to look for a job in the last few years.

P4 is a perfectly adequate office PC. Most of the people using them couldn't tell the difference between that and an i7 so why waste the cash?

Re:Seems like you have been duped (3, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986026)

Nah, that's corporate speak for "Interns? They don't need a laptop to make coffee! Just dig up something from storage and let 'em play with that."

be more specific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985764)

What are (as far as you're concerned) "the more modern UI features?" If you can nail down what you really mean by that, we can probably come up pretty easily with one of these two answers: 1) Browser X, of course 2) Nothing; you're screwed.

Is the Firefox awesome bar a bug or a feature? Is fast javascript a "UI feature" or nearly irrelevant? And so on. You mention FF4. Is FF2 just as good a UI, or worse, or better (and if so, how)?

Midori (1)

timothyb89 (1259272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985766)

Midori [twotoasts.de] is really lightweight and fast. It tends to outperform Chrome on older computers in my experience. Plus it runs in XFCE, so you're set for a lightweight environment.

Re:Midori (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985882)

Plus it runs in XFCE, so you're set for a lightweight environment.

Considering the computer is provided by the company, It most likely runs windows. I doubt IT would look kindly to wiping it and installing some form of Linux to run XFCE.

Yes, I know Midori does run on Windows.

X (padding to eliminate "Filter error") (5, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985792)

Run the browser on the Corei7 guy's computer, use his RAM, and see it on yours. ;-)

from the merry openbsd team (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985818)

Kmeleon/(E)Links (1)

wallyhall (665610) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985820)

If you're on Windows - Kmeleon http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] Otherwise (all joking aside on this!) - (E)Links. I use it on both Linux and Windows regularly - with the right setup you can even get a graphical UI... http://elinks.or.cz/ [elinks.or.cz]

Emacs? (1)

L473ncy (987793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985832)

How about using Emacs as a web browser? Specifically, XEmacs and this one random one I've heard in passing called "w3m" or something should be able to do it pretty much out of the box.

Lynx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985834)

*rimshot*

Flashblock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985848)

flashblock is the single most important piece of software to install for browsing on older (or current) machines, it's a firefox extension that replaces flash ads and videos with a "click to play" icon. avoids total CPU overload as well as ram use.

Then, some websites are obviously more heavy than others, you can load a lot of "web 1.0" pages with simple layouts and few features but you will get groped by the bloated sites - no marvel, fat browser memory use comes from fat content. you can try Adblock and/or Noscript if you really feel the need to.

Firefox 4 is nice enough, better than previous versions though helps more with CPU load than memory load. you can try Opera or some other browser but you will run in the same, content-based memory limitation (ultimately).

a bad sign for the company (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985858)

I hope your system is not on the dells with bad caps.

but any ways that hardware is so old and the IT department saying that it can't supply new is a bad sign for the company. What do they want you to do on your job anyways and I hope they don't force windows vista / 7 on that hardware or any kind of bloated AV or other stuff.

Yet another Windows related problem (1)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985866)

Most distro's will run fine on 512MB of ram. Your OS is the problem not your browser.
However just go to the dump crack a couple of cases open and viola free ram. I do it all the time for older computer parts. Last time I found a broken (dead cmos battery) IBM Lenovo ThinkCentre 3.2 GHZ, 1 GB ram, 80 GB hdd. Upgraded the ram (4 GB) hdd (500GB) Hooked it up to my 37" LCD TV running openSuse with Gnome 3. I fix dozens of older computers for friends and family with dump parts. Simple things like power supplies can save a lot of money.
But even if you have the spare ram get the tech guy to install it even though you know how so you don't step on any toes.

Lean back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985878)

I interned at a company that issued me similar hardware (p4, think it was 1,6ghz, and I know for sure 384 megs'o'ram). Even at the time that sucked balls (2007), especially because I had to do coding on it (eclipse). Asked for an upgrade, they didn't have the budget.

I told them: I'm sorry, but a paid internship costs like 1/6th of a FTE. You can drop 50 bucks on RAM and add a gigabyte. Of course they didn't, so whenever I was held back by that box I made a point of it to lean back in my chair and assume the most relaxing pose possible (even closing my eyes). Any time they asked what I was doing I'd tell them (truthfully) that I was waiting for my compile/whatever. Eventually it worked and I got a whopping 512 megs more. Big whoop.

Theres no reason any company needs to shove 10 year old hardware on an intern. You call up Dell or whoever, say you need a thousand PCs and they will bring it out.

Re:Lean back. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986056)

Theres no reason any company needs to shove 10 year old hardware on an intern. You call up Dell or whoever, say you need a thousand PCs and they will bring it out.

Nor is there any reason why they need interns, just just need to post a help-wanted add and a thousand people will send their resume.

There's just the small matter of funding - when you get a real job in the real world, you'll find that unbudgeted capital expenditures and adding headcount take more than a phone call to a vendor to resolve.

Linux or else. (1)

Kwpolska (2026252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985898)

You need Linux and luakit. They are awesome on old machines.

telnet... (1)

pr100 (653298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985908)

... what more do you need?

going minimal (1)

consumer_whore (652448) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985910)

openbsd and links

Opera (4, Informative)

vga_init (589198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985912)

I think you would want to give Opera a try. I compared some of the major browsers several months ago, and what I found was that Chrome was fast but uses RAM excessively, and Firefox was slow but used less RAM. Opera seemed to be strong in both speed and memory conservation, the main drawback being that it is not open source. Firefox is faster now that version 4 is out, putting it in competitive range of Opera, although I'd wager that Opera is still more efficient.

Now if you're able and willing to try non-mainstream browsers, there are a lot of fun things you can play with. Epiphany is a popular underdog choice, and other alternative browsers run a full gamut of niches. In the past I've tried Konqueror, Midori, Aurora, Dillo, and yes, even elinks (I've actually used it productively, so I'm not joking). There is even that funny K-Meleon browser for windows. I don't know how many of these are still in active development, but many alternative browsers do excel in being lightweight, so on systems with limited resources you will see noticeable speed gains. The downside is that you will get compatibility problems, and the Javascript engine may be slow.

If you really want to have fun try browsers designed for embedded/mobile systems, such as Android.

Re:Opera (2)

ya really (1257084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986046)

I second the opera recommendation, even if endorsing opera on slashdot means getting flak from the haters. I currently have around 140 tabs open in opera and I am only using 1200mb of ram. Try doing that in any other modern browser :)

Chromium (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985918)

Back during the Firefox 4 betas I sometimes used a 300Mhz P3 laptop (380ish megabytes of RAM). Firefox pegged the processor just by being open, but Chromium didn't.

Not so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985944)

2.4 Ghz P4 with 512mb of ram is not that bad, I used one with these specs up until last summer, and my sister is still using it.
I do not recall the browser slowing down the system (I used chrome).

firefox3 + noscript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985946)

I run firefox 3 on my old 512Mb p4 laptop (it doubles as a hotplate for frying eggs). With noscript installed it runs reasonably quickly, plus a lot of annoying crap on websites doesn't work with javascript off which is a bonus.

Is browsing in your job description ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985954)

The job you're been hired to do probably does not include browsing the web on company time anyway. Just don't do it. Problem solved.

compile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985960)

Firefozilla 4 compiled with -Os, sorted. Thank me later.

Use Chromium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985962)

I know you already mentioned it (and specifically asked for "other") but my computer is much, much older than yours and Chromium runs fine on it. If it doesn't on your computer, chances are that the browser isn't the problem. Open up Task Manager (or better yet, Process Explorer) and see what crap you've got running in the background. You don't really need it.

Chrome or Opera (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985970)

Don't know if this is still true, but as recently as v9 some websites would have problems with Opera's Javascript implementation.

surf [suckless] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985976)

OpenBSD, CWM and surf.

Get to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35985984)

Are you getting paid to browse the Internet? No?

Then quit the browser and go back to work :)

Lynx (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35985992)

Enjoy! :)

Konqueror (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986000)

I used to use Konqueror 3.x on a 200 MHz Pentium with 96 MB RAM. It was the only graphical browser that both had good support for the Web at the time (HTML4, JavaScript (including AJAX), Flash and other plug-ins, tabbed browsing) and that would allow me to have multiple tabs open and still have the browser respond immediately to mouse clicks.

On top of that, those versions of Konqueror have some nice features that weren't common at the time, such as access keys (press control, then a letter to follow a link) and web shortcuts (type a short keyword and some search terms in your address bar, and you could search the web using your favorite search engine, Wikipedia, or whatever else you would add). Konqueror is a very nice browser even if your machine isn't resource-constrained.

I haven't used the post-3.x versions of Konqueror, but I've always enjoyed 3.x. About the only annoyance is that a number of "Web 2.0" sites don't work with Konqueror, or require tweaks. Support has improved with the increasing popularity of WebKit (which originated with Konqueror as KHTML, but is now used with Safari, Chromium, Chrome, and several other browsers), and most sites will actually work if you set the browser identification to some more popular browser (e.g. Opera, Safari, or Firefox).

If you are willing to use closed-source software, Opera is a very good browser. I don't know about the resource usage of their newer releases, but they are known for packing an amazingly good feature set in a small package. Same as with Konqueror, though, you may need to set the browser identification to some other browser to get certain websites to work with it. Opera makes this very easy to do.

Firefox 4 (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35986002)

Firefox 4, built in bartab [zpao.com] . When you set browser.sessionstore.max_concurrent_tabs=0 , only tabs you click on get loaded.

If that's not good enough for you, get the same setup on lubuntu or similar lightweight Linux, or just go buy some more RAM [crucial.com] and install it yourself. Should be $30-60 for 2 1-gig sticks depending on the type needed. If that's too much to expense or pay out of pocket, can't you help much.

Maybe, just maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35986020)

You were given an ancient machine to discourage browsing. After all, you're getting paid to do a job, right? Does that job really require you to have much of a browser or computer? Apparently not, given what they stuck you with.

If browsing is supposed to be a big part of your job, then you're hosed anyway.

If you're really need bare-bones performance, use lynx. Who needs all those silly graphics, anyway?

It's not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35986032)

Hi, here at Contact ( http://www.contactmorpeth.org.uk/ ) the standard PC is
512MB RAM
Windows (some XP, one Vista) or Ubuntu Linux
web browser (sometimes IE, sometimes Firefox, sometimes Safari)

And they work fine!

Which web sites are you accessing that cause you grief?

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