Firefox/Profile on RAM
Assuming that there is memory to spare, caching all, or part of Firefox's profile to RAM using tmpfs offers significant advantages. Even though opting for the partial route is an improvement by itself, the latter can make Firefox even more responsive compared to its stock configuration. Benefits include, among others:
- reduced disk read/writes
- heightened responsive feel
- many operations within Firefox, such as quick search and history queries, are nearly instantaneous
Both of previously mentioned options make use of tmpfs.
Because data placed therein cannot survive a shutdown, a script used when moving the whole profile to RAM overcomes this limitation by syncing back to disk prior system shut down, whereas only relocating the cache is a quick, less inclusive solution.
Method 1: Use RAM-only cache
Firefox can be configured to use only RAM as cache storage. Configuration files, bookmarks, extensions etc. will be written to harddisk/SSD as usual. For this
about:configin the address bar
browser.cache.disk.enableto "false" (double click the line)
browser.cache.memory.enableto "true" (double click the line)
browser.cache.memory.max_entry_sizeto the amount of KB you'd like to spare, to -1 for automatic cache size selection
Main disadvantages of this method are that your tabs won't survive a browser crash, and that you need to configure the settings for each user individually. On the other hand on a personal system it probably is the easiest method to implement.
Method 2: Use PKG from the AUR
Relocate the browser profile to tmpfs filesystem, including
/tmp for improvements in application response as the the entire profile is now stored in RAM. Another benefit is a reduction in disk read and write operations, of which SSDs benefit the most.
Use an active management script for maximal reliability and ease of use. Several are available from the AUR.
- Profile-sync-daemon wiki article for additional info on it; AUR - refer to the
Method 3: Build your own system
Relocating only the cache to RAM
Adapted from this forum post
about:config into the address bar, create a new string by right-clicking in the bottom half, selecting New, followed by String. Assign its value:
Now, double-click the newly created string and direct it towards the RAM directory:
Upon restarting Firefox, it will start using
/dev/shm/firefox-cache as the cache directory. Do mind that the directory and its contents will not be saved after a reboot using this method.
Alternative way: in /etc/fstab
tmpfs /home/<user>/.mozilla/firefox/default/Cache tmpfs mode=1777,noatime 0 0
Relocating the entire profile to RAM
Before you start
Before potentially compromising Firefox's profile, be sure to make a backup for quick restoration. Replace
xyz.default as appropriate and use
tar to make a backup:
$ tar zcvfp ~/firefox_profile_backup.tar.gz ~/.mozilla/firefox/xyz.default
Adapted from verot.net's Speed up Firefox with tmpfs
The script will first move Firefox's profile to a new static location, make a sub-directory in
/dev/shm, softlink to it and later populate it with the contents of the profile. As before, replace the bold sections to suit. The only value that absolutely needs to be altered is, again,
Be sure that rsync is installed and save the script to
~/bin/firefox-sync, for example:
#!/bin/sh static=main link=xyz.default volatile=/dev/shm/firefox-$USER IFS= set -efu cd ~/.mozilla/firefox if [ ! -r $volatile ]; then mkdir -m0700 $volatile fi if [ "$(readlink $link)" != "$volatile" ]; then mv $link $static ln -s $volatile $link fi if [ -e $link/.unpacked ]; then rsync -av --delete --exclude .unpacked ./$link/ ./$static/ else rsync -av ./$static/ ./$link/ touch $link/.unpacked fi
Close Firefox, make the script executable and test it:
$ killall firefox firefox-bin $ chmod +x ~/bin/firefox-sync $ ~/bin/firefox-sync
Run Firefox again to gauge the results. The second time the script runs, it will then preserve the RAM profile by copying it back to disk.
Seeing that forgetting to sync the profile can lead to disastrous results, automating the process seems like a logical course of action.
Manipulate the user's cron table using
$ crontab -e
Add a line to start the script every 30 minutes,
*/30 * * * * ~/bin/firefox-sync
or add the following to do so every 2 hours:
0 */2 * * * ~/bin/firefox-sync
Sync at login/logout
Deeming bash is being used, add the script to the login/logout files:
$ echo '~/bin/firefox-sync' | tee -a ~/.bash_logout ~/.bash_login >/dev/null
~/.bash_loginas bash will only read the first of these if both exist and are readable.