Wed, 31 Dec 2008
So tonight I threw together a little script to "solve" this "problem".
# A tool for putting firefox to sleep when it does not have focus.
while true; do
if xwininfo -id $(xdotool getactivewindow) | egrep -q '(Firefox|Vimperator)' ; then
if [ ! $alive ]; then
kill -CONT `pidof firefox`
if [ $alive ]; then
kill -STOP `pidof firefox`
Obviously the most efficient way to do this would be to hook into X's focus
events, but I'm lazy...
*UPDATE*: I got un-lazy and implemented a better version using the python-xlib module. See Taming the fox (part 2).
Posted by Colin Walters at Wed Dec 31 08:31:13 2008
Cool hack. It's really something that should be part of Firefox itself, though doing it inside the firefox process would be quite tricky though.
Of course, you probably want to stop Flash npviewer.bin processes too.
Random general note: if you are an application author and want to do some sort of heavy lifting only when you're the foreground application, connecting to the "notify::active" in a Gtk.Window will do the right thing. I use this in HotSSH to enable/disable connection status polling.
Posted by Luke at Wed Dec 31 08:52:38 2008
@Colin: My F10-x86_64 setup no longer uses the npviewer.bin, as flash seems to be native now -- but yeah, the script could easily be modified to SIGSTOP that as well.
Posted by Peter at Wed Dec 31 10:44:04 2008
It is not such a good idea, let alone having it in firefox itself.
On the other side if all those open tabs and windows do not require the application to be really running this will also mean they do not require to be loaded, i solved my problem with many many open tabs by using "read it later" extension and I just mark the stuff i want to keep handy and then close it.
Posted by Luke at Wed Dec 31 16:43:54 2008
Yes, Peter, this will not play well with "real time" web applications, as persistent XMLHttpRequest's would most likely timeout. Your average person does not, and should not care about what Firefox is doing in the background. This hack is merely for geeks who want to save power or CPU cycles under certain circumstances. Such people should also understand the implications of such actions.
I don't think this behavior should be the default in Firefox either, as I am a big fan of live web applications, and I think they are going to become even more prevalent in the future.
Thanks for the "read it later" tip, I'll take a look at that Firefox extension...
Posted by Luke at Wed Dec 31 21:20:12 2008
Also, another caveat of this approach: It will send firefox a SIGSTOP when a password dialog pops up. You can resolve this by running 'kill -CONT `pidof firefox`'. Workaround suggestions welcome :)
Posted by Saikat Guha at Wed Dec 31 21:36:21 2008
Interesting hack. One problem though is with the script getting confused when there is a local firefox copy running as well as a remote firefox through X-forwarding. It tries to SIGSTOP/SIGCONT the remote pid, and crashes out when os.kill throws an exception.
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Great common sense here. Wish Id thoghut of that.
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