UbuntuFirefox performance bad on Ubuntu Hardy Heron

May 7th, 2008

Following on from my initial report about Hardy, I have another grumble: Firefox 3.0 beta 5 comes with Hardy, but has significant performance issues due to some problems with some internal databases. I’m not sure, but I expect 3.0 beta 5 is the default version of Firefox that gets installed with Hardy.  People that did a clean install can perhaps tell me if it is. These problems appear periodically after using Firefox for some days. The bug that is hitting me is: “Committing to urlclassifier3.sqlite causes excessive CPU usage and disk I/O.”

This bug causes very heavy disk I/O which renders Firefox temporarily but completely unresponsive for a number of seconds or sometimes about a minute or more (or so it seems – I haven’t timed it). It is highly annoying and inconvenient. It also impedes various other applications as they struggle for disk air. A workaround is described in the bug report, but given I have at least 8 accounts on various Ubuntu machines here, I’ll probably just wait for the update. I seems strange that Firefox 3.0 was the default for an LTS release.

It took me quite a while to track down, as it seems that this nasty problem is not widely reported yet.  In the process, I discovered atop. Installing and running the atop tool and hitting ‘d’ (presumably for “disk”) soon showed the culprit. Some Googling then found the bug report. Before that I’d tried removing trackerd and various other disk hogs to find out what was making my disk thrash.

On the Wacom tablet front, I still haven’t solved that problem.  I’ve tried the procedure here:HOWTO: Wacom in 8.04 Hardy” but it was unsuccessful. I may try again from scratch.

Finally, I can report that my RT61 wireless card has worked perfectly since I installed linux-backports-modules-hardy as mentioned in my last Ubuntu item. This card has never worked properly under Linux before, so I’m very pleased.

Posted in Ubuntu | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Firefox performance bad on Ubuntu Hardy Heron”

  1. Chris Says:

    I can’t believe there is someone else in Brisbane that actually uses Ubuntu.

    Getting people to consider any distro is like pulling teeth.

    Not had that same problem. But I don’t know why for an LTS that a beta of Firefox was put in. Seems dumb to me.

    I bought a new Dell with XP on it (for work, need specialist software) and whacked ubuntu on it. a couple of minutes of playing with the wireless and it was all sweet. Am lobbying for Ubuntu Dells in oz, will see how it goes. I’m too lazy to build many computers anymore.

    My Missus uses ubuntu, because she killed XP when I first bought her a laptop (2 years ago) and prefers it.

    Completely off topic, but excited that someone else uses ubuntu in this harvey norman/WOW dominated Microsoft stronghold.

  2. pt Says:

    I cant believe they use computers in Queensland.

  3. Sam Stainsby Says:

    Yes, we have computers, bananas, and even a fair few Ubuntu users in Queensland.

  4. Luke Hoersten Says:

    Nice find. I’ve been having this problem for quite some time and just can’t stand it! I too though it was just trackerd or something. Thanks for the post!

  5. ben Says:

    hey thanks, great information. i just had this bug. another reason to install epiphany!

  6. Sam Stainsby Says:

    I should mention that as of a day or two ago, this was fixed in hardy-updates.