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Songbird's Memory Leak

I was hoping that Songbird's memory performance would significantly improve for version 0.7.0. I was sadly disappointed. On my Vista SP1 (x64) machine with 5GB of RAM, Songbird started at slightly under 100MB of RAM (which is too much). This wasn't the worst part. Opening a task manager, I could actually watch the memory usage increase before my eyes. Every 15-30 seconds, the memory usage went up a meg or two, until an hour later, when it was at 260MB. The memory use increases whether or not Songbird is being used to play music or not. When is this going to be addressed?!?!?

What makes this so painful is that I REALLY want to like Songbird. Its GUI's ease of use rivals that of iTunes, and the feature set rivals that of Winamp. Once the memory use is at a reasonable level, I will make it my main player in a heartbeat.
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  • Memory usage is an area that we are constantly trying to improve. While it is far from perfect, our tests confirm that it has improved since 0.6 and dramatically since previous versions. As 0.7.0 is beta software, memory leaks are completely possible. Rest assured, we are constantly working to improve memory usage and performance.

    260MB after an hour of usage is actually pretty good compared to previous versions. How big is your library? What activities do you perform in the hour? What would you consider to be a reasonable memory usage level? It might be interesting to know what iTunes uses after an hour of usage with the same library.

    I am sorry to hear that memory usage is not at a reasonable level for you. You should definitely check out future releases of Songbird for memory and performance improvements.

    Thanks for your feedback.
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  • I have this problem too, with my library of 14000 songs the memory is up around 250 MB after an hour of listening, it starts at 110 MB.

    To compare, I've been using foobar2000 in parallel, and after a whole day of listening it will never go up over 50 MB! With the same library!

    I also have Vista x64 SP1 and 3GB och RAM, single core.
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  • Our benchmark for comparison is iTunes...could you please compare against iTunes, thanks.
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    • @qdome: wake up to yourself. If you're so great a programmer and the progress is so easy to make, why don't you contribute? Oh right, you don't know anything about the issues involved in developing, improving, and debugging an application.

      Come back when you do. Or never. Take your pick.

      Fact is songbird was designed to be a competitor for iTunes at this stage, and it is an extremely good one at the moment.

      Later, once they reach their goal, they may change it, but your "maybe you should be more flexible" nonsense is what is known as "scope creep", and is one of the primary causes of failure in development of projects.

      The simple solution suddenly becomes a spec for skynet, and the AI never gets coded.

      Wake up to yourself
    • @qdome: wake up to yourself. If you're so great a programmer and the progress is so easy to make, why don't you contribute? Oh right, you don't know anything about the issues involved in developing, improving, and debugging an application.

      Come back when you do. Or never. Take your pick.

      Fact is songbird was designed to be a competitor for iTunes at this stage, and it is an extremely good one at the moment.

      Later, once they reach their goal, they may change it, but your "maybe you should be more flexible" nonsense is what is known as "scope creep", and is one of the primary causes of failure in development of projects.

      The simple solution suddenly becomes a spec for skynet, and the AI never gets coded.

      Wake up to yourself
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  • I’m a cross OS tester, maybe
    Would it be fair for me to do a comparison between Songbird on Linux and iTunes on Windows with the same library?

    Just want to check before spending time on this.
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  • We don't have a benchmark for comparison on Linux. iTunes is considered to be the bar we are trying to beat.
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  • I’m somewhat mollified.
    Thanks for everyone's replies! My library is about 9000 songs. Since the features and GUI of Songbird are comparable to that of iTunes, I will grudgingly be satisfied if Songbird is able to run with the same RAM usage as iTunes with the same library (about 75-80MB after several hours of use). However, if you guys can beat iTunes (which is a resource hog for its functionality), I would be ecstatic. For instance, Winamp or foobar2000 are both able to provide similar functionality with much lower memory usage (but with inferior GUI's).

    I actually can't complain about processor usage. 0.6 was terrible, using 25% of my quad core system at all times (i.e. 100% of an entire core). 0.7 seems much better, on par with iTunes (2-3% of processor while playing, quite a bit more during the initial indexing). Plus, Songbird just FEELs much more responsive than iTunes does, the searches seem faster, clicking on a playlist doesn't have lag, all of these are better even than iTunes, let alone 0.6.

    Thanks again for your quick replies, and for your hard work in making Songbird! By the way, what is the ETA for 0.8, or whatever release will start making major steps toward better memory management?
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  • RE: Memory usage, one thing to remember is that Songbird is not just a media application. It does a lot more than iTunes, Winamp, and Foobar. It is a browser too. I am not trying to justify our numbers; just trying to get you to lean to my side a little :P

    RE: 0.8.0 eta, we just released 0.7.0. It is sort of an odd question to ask so recent to the release. It's like asking "When's Half-life 3 coming out?" when Half-life 2 was released. That being said, we typically try to aim for a 6-8 week release cycle.
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  • I was comparing to iTunes because iTunes also includes a browser (however, not one that can access any url's outside of apple.com, but a browser non-the-less. Winamp can also display HTML pages in certain windows. Not using foobar2000, I haven't used it much, so I can't comment on its HTML rendering skills, or lack thereof.

    Songbird is very similar to firefox, correct? Since this is the case, then perhaps a good baseline for performance would be Firefox's memory usage. This is also well under 100MB for a fresh browser window, and doesn't climb several MB per minute even when not doing anything. As such, it is pretty obvious that the memory issues are due to your code, not the mozilla base code.

    I understand that 0.7 just came out, but I really like the idea of Songbird, and am anxious to use it full time. As of the current release, it is just too much of a resource hog for day to day use, so I am counting down the days until it is!
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  • Songbird is based on the same code as Firefox 3 and provides iTunes-like functionality. Taking this into account, I would fully expect Songbird to use more than both...So if Firefox 3 uses 50MB and iTunes uses 70MB, I would expect Songbird to be somewhere between 50 - 120MB. I personally think a 100MB usage is an acceptable value. I also expect memory usage to grow the longer I use it; but not by the 2-3x it currently does.

    Watch for improved memory usage in future versions.
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  • Upon loading songbird it's, my memory jumps immediately up to 250 MB or so. My library size is around 7000 songs.

    You have to remember that the majority of people in the US are running computers that are at least a few years old. I'd wager that the majority of folks have 1GB of RAM or less. For one music app to be using 25% of that is ludicrous.

    Like the poster, I really like songbird in principle, but if you want to gain a reasonable size user base, the next few releases should focus on performance, not functionality.
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  • I’m a bit bored so thought I'd do this
    It sounds as if this issue is already in hand. If it helps I have been running a few comparisons on windows between iTunes and Songbird. I didn't get as far as playing files but here's what I got:

    Music library of 13,810 items all of which are well tagged MP3s
    System is Windows XP machine with all updates installed from windows update
    Intel Core2 CPU @ 2.40GHz
    2GB RAM
    149Gb HD with 11GB free

    iTunes 7.7.1.11
    itunes file scan start (import library): 60,984k
    itunes processing album artwork: 86,120k
    itunes Determining gapless playback info: 83,168k
    Open for 14 hours - nothing played: 82,524k

    Songbird Beta 0.7.0 - only recommended plugins
    Songbird file scan start (import library): 56,472k rapidly increasing to 104,688K
    Songbird Identifying and removing dups: 245,985k
    Songbird Reading Metadata: 251,608k increasing by one meg every 20 seconds or so to 440,296k
    I then closed songbird and re-opened
    Songbird opens using: 167,960k
    Open for 6 hours - nothing played: 252,864k
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  • Those numbers sound pretty much identical to mine. Its pretty easy to see that Songbird has a problem with memory usage. I still fail to see why songbird should be EXPECTED to use more memory than iTunes. iTunes integrates parallel features to everything in Songbird, and more (music player, movie player, browser, music organization, various display modes and visualizers). If anything Songbird should be expected to use LESS memory than iTunes, as apple has a history of writing bloated software. Winamp manages to do EVERYTHING iTunes does with a lower memory footprint. I still hold out hopes for this.
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  • The iTunes browser is not a full featured browser. Songbird's browser is basically Firefox 3.
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  • Right. But WHY does songbird have a full featured browser in it? I understand that having a browser to explore music sites is handy, but do I really need the ability to play flash games at Yahoo in my MP3 player? And why do the browser components need to run all the time? Since 95% of the time, I am only using the library page, couldn't the browser components be closed down and taken out of memory until I open a new browser tab?
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  • None of those are easy questions to answer. I will leave that up to others in the company to answer.
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  • Unlike Jozer I understand the vision of building an integrated app, including browser components, and I think it's laudable and exciting. I wish you guys all the best in tackling this problem, and hope to see serious performance improvements soon (as outlined in the roadmap).
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  • If you want an integrated browser, there are already MP3 plugins for Firefox that give you a full featured browser with lightweight media abilities that use way less system resources than Songbird (see Amazing Media Browser plugin, for instance). Songbird, with its extensive library features, MP3 player syncing, visualization, search, and media oriented GUI is clearly intended to be more MP3 player than browser. I have no problem with a web browser being integrated (as it is with Winamp or iTunes), but I was simply suggesting flushing the browser components from memory when not in use (this thread is about memory use, after all).
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  • I was simply suggesting flushing the browser components from memory when not in use

    Agreed - might be one easy way to lessen the footprint.
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  • One last thing I want to interject. I do not want to come off like we are disregarding this issue. Like I said earlier, we are constantly working to improve this issue. While it is far from perfect, Songbird 0.7.0 is so much better than previous versions of Songbird.

    If you go to getsongbird.com, you will see a list of features we are working. You will see the following:

    "Performance & Stability
    Improving the performance and stability of Songbird is an ongoing focus. Each release we set aside dedicated cycles to ensure we're making progress."

    I hope you find this to be an appropriate response.

    Thank you all for your feedback.
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  • For those of you truly concerned about memory usage, this is going to be a good bug to watch:
    http://bugzilla.songbirdnest.com/show...
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  • Songbird developers should really consider making the browser part of songbird optional, ie I should be able not to install it at install time. Some people just want a library management app and are not interested in web integration. That would dramatically reduce memory usage. The only problem I see if that this separation was never in the design goals, and that might be challenging technically to do now. And the devs might think that everybody want web integration.
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  • I’m amused
    i heard enough of this nonsense, if you guys want a music player so bad why not go for itunes, after all that one at least isn't in beta, as for songbird, it is intended for a niche market just like seemonkey, as for the browser component, i don't think you noticed but a lot of media players nowadays come with an inbuilt one, itunes with limited features, winamp, realplayer, and these are some of the most used ones too, the idea behind songbird is a great one and it could use more support from us the end users, not just criticism, the browse is a great idea, if you don't like it why don't you just go use another media player that doesn't have one inbuilt like mediamonkey and foobar. Just be patient, the memory usage will most likely go down soon, or don't you guys remember firefox two and it's memory usage compared to the present version?
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  • I’m not amused
    I do use iTunes. But I don't want too. Even on my quad core system, iTunes is slow as molasses. Even worse, iTunes occasionally deletes a few of my songs randomly (and permanently). Plus, every couple of weeks, iTunes keeps trying to install a bunch of software I don't want onto my system (Safari, MobileMe). I guess you are unfamiliar with the idea of feedback, but that was the whole point of this thread (and, in fact, this entire site; getsatisfaction.com). Developers need to know what their audience wants, especially for open source projects like songbird. And, if you will be kind enough as to read the first several posts, you will see that the point of this thread is NOT to criticize the direction of the project, or the developers, but instead to report a bug that causes excess memory usage.
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  • Hey Jozer, i think everybody wants a songbird with better performance! You can be sure, the developers want that, too. If you followed the last versions, you have seen, that they improved the performance very much!!! I'm confident, that they will make it even a better in the future... Just takes lots of time and work! And besides the performance, there are some other important and demanded things (like podcast support or equalizer for example). So the developers have to take a path between the different demands. You have to trust them, that they are doing that right! They have the best overview about the many demands...

    Just 2 things i want to add:
    1. Many people want application with less RAM usage. But RAM usage makes an application faster, that is whats RAM for (Of course good coding is needed, too). Most people got at least 1GB, most got 2GB. But they get restless, if an application needs 300MB...

    2. You are right, browser integration in songbird will stay standard. It's too late, too high demanded to get this optional. And i don't think it would be a significant performance boost, without it. Think of Thunderbird and Sunbird: they are equal with performance, but if you combine them (with lightning extension), you have a double program, with perhaps only 1.1x or 1.2x performance of one of the programs alone. Same with OpenOffice-Apps.
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  • Jozer99: your not giving feedback, your asking the developer to cut half the program out just so it runes a little bit faster
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  • AlucardNoir: Read first post in thread.

    Moderator: Can we close this thread somehow? Topic is getting farther and farther away from original topic, and less and less civil.
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  • I’m fine
    Ubuntu 8.4
    Songbird .7

    Songbird has been up for about 6 hours and been playing on and off. The memory usage is at 275mb right now. I notice if I open any websites within songbird this increases a good amount.

    For example I just opened 2 tabs and then closed them and the memory went up to 280mb and then fell back down to 278mb.
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  • I’m blah
    So 3 hours later and a steady playing of music has brought up the memory usage to 300.6 mb

    I wonder how high it can go?
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  • First of all I like to say I really enjoy Songbird. I have been hooked since I installed it. And I must say I do use the browser even with firefox on the side. I also installed google chrome to see what it is like. I like some features but not the browser itself. But as stated in the comic it is more like an impuls to all the open source project out there. So (as a none developer) I wondered if the media player and the browser couldn't be put into separate processes. Not splitting the programs but a way to gain a better memory usage when you use only one of the parts.
    This is just an idea and I don't know if it is feasible.

    I am sure this problem is thoroughly addressed and improvement is on the way.

    Keep up the good work

    Carnelain
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  • I would have to agree with Carnelain, it is an amazing feature that Google Chrome is doing by splitting processes, it would definitely help the memory footprint by splitting the browser and the player.
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  • I’m thankful to Songbird's team for his hard work
    To my experience, Songbird's team is one of the most responsive and user focused teams in opensource... I don't think absolutely that they are "unfamiliar with the idea of feedback" and the answers in this thread could account for that, IMHO.
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  • I’m liking songbird, but not the memory useage
    I love the player, i and especially love the browser integration, getting to the hype machine within my player, or last.fm is amazing. However it is a resource hog, for me it is even worse than itunes (songbird is about 125mb and itunes is about 90mb), I use foobar2000 and when that is minimized to tray it uses 10-15mb (30mb if it has been open for several days) which is the kind of performance I like. I understand that songbird will never be that good due to hte extra features it offers, and that a browser is system intensive for many reasons, but it seems to me that the browser in songbird does not need to be full featured, I really just want to look at music related websites, so perhaps the songbird team could think about making hype machine plugins etc. for music sites that interface with the website in some way ( I'm not a programmer, so do not know whether this is a massive ask). It just seems crazy to me to have the enormous resource hog of a browser when most of the time I just want the music playing in the background.

    Like I say, I love the idea of combining all of the web based music services, and the firefox style add ons, but to me the memory use is just too big to be used instead of foobar 2000. I also think the UI is great, the cleanest and most logical that I have used. If you can cut down on the memory use I will jump ship from itunes/foobar2000 in a second.
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  • I’m liking songbird, but not the fact it keeps using more and more memory.
    I'm using Songbird on Vista SP1 and I got merely 1GB ram. Now I've been reading this topic while listening to music in the background. Since I started reading at the top the memory usage has gone up with 35MB. My music library isn't that big so it uses only 115MB at the moment.

    I think even if Songbird would use 120~150MB I think the features and clean interface it offers greatly outweigh the memory usage.

    The real problem is it just keeps increasing. (it's using 118MB now) I remember one time it used 210MB, after being opened for 2 hours, having played just 5 songs.

    The only solution I can come up with is just logging of, then starting Songbird again to clear the memory. Maybe it's possible to have Songbird "purge" its memory once in a while to get it back to its start value?

    (it's using 127MB now, still okay but for how long?)
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  • I’m happy I can use Songbird better now.
    I just switched back again from Vista SP1 to XP SP3. Now I have more memory available, and strangly enough, Songbird seems to take less memory. It took only 55MB!
    • I'm starting to get the idea Songbird isn't optimized for Vista. I'm running it in the background on XP now, playing a 102-song playlist. Its memory usage started out as low as 19MB. It still does start climbing again however, but not as much and seems to slow down around 70MB, increasing only slightly after minutes.
    • You are right. It is not "optimized" for any OS. Songbird is cross platform and works about the same on all platforms.

      Everything you are reporting has been reported many times on get satisfaction already, has been witnessed by ourselves on our performance machines. Hence, it is a known issue which we are working towards resolving. Unfortunately, performance cannot be fixed in one release. We are committed to performance improvements in each and every release. This has all been stated before, however. In fact, I have mentioned it a couple times in this thread alone.
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  • I’m thinking
    Hmmm,
    Even am experiencing the same issue in Hardy. But one noticeable thing was that the memory leak was more (400mb) when I used the deb package from getdeb. The normal download was just ok (150 mb after an hour).
    Any guess why??
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  • I’m yaying about memory usage. Rock on.
    Not sure about the deb vs current version on getsongbird.com but the latest nighties are much better on memory. The media scan is still pretty vicious, but after that, for general playback etc, I was getting about 150Mb average; less than FireFox! Yay!
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  • 1
    It's not a memory leak. A memory leak constitutes that the program uses more and more memory over time indefinitely or until the physical memory and virtual memory is so maxed that the computer crashes. You guys act like your ram size is a hard limit, when you go over the physical ram limit windows (or in the case of Linux it uses the swap partition with a preset limit) allocates more paged virtual memory.

    I think it has more to do with the size of you're library than anything because mine is steady @ ~100-125mb and I'm playing tracks from the web interface of my remote ftp server in the browser. My library also has ~2600 songs loaded currently.

    BTW, people are acting like 10000+ songs is not a lot? That's about 700 albums (like bittorrent much?). It doesn't matter what application you're using, having a database constantly tracking that many items is going to create a little lag and eat a lot of memory to process. Memory management isn't magic, there are real limits to this stuff.

    And for those of you using foobar, that's great and all, but foobar can't do what I'm doing with Songbird right now (nuff said...).
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  • I’m happy
    Hi guys,

    just thought I'd check in. I think you'll find that memory usage is much improved in 1.0. There's will always be room for improvement, but we've made huge strides during the last couple of months and I think everyone who chimed in here will be able to appreciate the difference.

    Also, HarmonicStyle, while there are still some rough edges, we're (gradually) working towards supporting 100,000 tracks in a Songbird library. At this point, I'd certainly feel very comfortable running Songbird 1.0 with 10,000 tracks or even substantially more. For those who try, the major slowness I'm aware of right now occurs when you try to delete thousands of tracks at once. I suspect you could probably create some Smart Playlists which would be pretty darn slow with that many tracks too.
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  • Yup - 1.0 rc1 is great for me! only using 160Mb as I type. Yay. Well done Songbird team!
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  • I’m waiting for a decrease in memory use.
    My library is around 24k songs, and Songbird is currently running at 250mb, while firefox with 5 tabs open is running at 135mb. I'm noticing that things are better than they were in previous versions, but it's still a bit of a problem.

    Is there anything I can do to help decrease the program's memory use while waiting for a new version? (for example, disabling certain things such as a browser)
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  • First of all, yes. There is definitely a huge memory leak. After a few hours the memory footprint has more than doubled.

    The additional factor is that the *starting* footprint. It starts at 200M, with 100 songs and two shoutcast streams in my favorites. After only a few hours of playing a single shoutcast feed, its now over 500M. That's a pretty severe leak, and a pretty severe bug in the startup memory usage.

    For those of you saying "oh, well compare it to iTunes". No problem. Equivalent library in itunes, it starts as 50M. Songbird already loses by a factor of 4.

    As to the question of what I define "reasonable" - I'd take equal to iTunes. I'd think less would be quite possible considering iTunes "does" more in general and could be considered more bloated (though in an arguably good way).
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  • Just for the record, songbird is now using more memory than my windows 2003 VM. With 100 songs in playlist and two shoutcast streams. That's f***ing amazing.

    This isn't fixed! It still leaks ~1M of memory every minute if not more. Pretending its fixed doesn't make the problem go away. Why is this marked fixed??
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  • i im suffering from this as well. i think that the songbird team should ditch the web browser and work on making a great media player, adding the browser once the media player is excellent.
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  • I would most certainly agree, if they REALLY need a browser inside songbird, why not take some of Mozillas basic website engines and make it take up a smaller footprint. That way you don't have to have a huge memory allocation to it. Better yet, work on making the media player efficient that way the browser doesn't get overwhelmed.
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  • Even if what I'm saying is not "possible" or whatever you want to call it, why not throw in a switch in the code to turn off the web browsing?
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  • Just deleted old version, then had to clean up directory after it, installed V0.7. Even worse! Takes minutes to load (on a 3 gig twin core pentium with 3G memory), starts at 270G and creeps up about 1meg per minute even with nothing playing. Remembered old settings for add ons and library even though I used the uninstall before and cleaned the songbird directory.
    I asked it to search for something in the library and it hung at 50% for ever.
    0/10, giving up, staying with iTunes even though I hate it.
    Hopefully someone else will build something IPOD compatable one day, this isn't it. Start with a working kernel before hanging "nice to have" stuff all over it.
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  • I’m Loving Songbird
    My 50,000 library uses on average 350 MB of memory and takes a minute to load the first time.

    HOWEVER

    Songbird is still my main player cos I love it! Searching the 50,000 songs is near instantaneous, and the UI is perfect.

    Is there a build of Songbird with the browser removed? That would reduce memory yeah?
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  • Hey guys,

    You've gotta check out 1.0. Seriously. Our developers have spent a ton of time doing some really great work to reduce Songbird's memory footprint. 1.0 is a slimmed-down, stronger bird. We have a release candidate out now, if you're interested in a sneak peek, or you can just wait for the final release to announce itself through Songbird's auto-update feature.

    There are a couple of things to try if you're still dissatisfied with Songbird's memory footprint after getting 1.0:

    1. Quit the app and restart it after you've imported media.
    2. Try disabling add-ons to see if they're causing any additional memory bloat. If you find an add-on that's being piggy, you can contact the add-on author through the add-ons site.
    3. Let us know where you're finding memory usage problems! We'll keep working on it.
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  • Surely the problem is two-fold.

    Memory usage is one problem but the other more important problem is CPU utilisation. I like the Songbird app and the combination of browser and player the problem for me is that CPU utilisation is so high that using Songbird when running other apps (especially at work) causes other apps to run slowly or prevents them from working all together.
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