Whilst looking up information on industrial strength Open Sourced
medical/financial data base systems, I found this link:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?.../09/02/1418252

IE8 Beta 2 Fatter Than Firefox and XP
Posted by timothy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:11 AM

snydeq writes "Consuming twice as much RAM as Firefox and
saturating the CPU with nearly six times as many execution
threads, Microsoft's latest beta release of Internet Explorer 8
is in fact more demanding on your PC than Windows XP itself,
research firm Devil Mountain Software found in performance tests.
According to the firm, which operates a community-based testing
network, IE8 Beta 2 consumed 380MB of RAM and spawned 171
concurrent threads during a multi-tab browsing test of popular
Web destinations. InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy speculates that
Microsoft may be designing IE8 for the multicore future. But
until your machine sports four or eight discrete processing
cores, IE8 will remain 'porcine,' Devil Mountain's Craig Barth
says."
Reading the "Well it's beta for crying out loud" comments after
were rather amusing, to say nonetheless, but one comment in
particular had some interesting points:

Re:It's also _BETA_ (Score:5, Interesting)
by RobertM1968 (951074) on Tuesday September 02, @05:51PM
(#24850953) Homepage Journal

While what you say is true to an extent, I still don't understand
the use of 171 threads - especially on an operating system that
has "spotty" lotsa thread handling performance at best (when
compared to... well, anything else).

Optimizing the code will probably increase performance and
decrease memory usage a bit too, but unless all those threads are
being used for debugging purposes, then various performance and
resource issues will still exist when IE8 is out of beta.

Threads are a great thing. Even a lot of threads are a great
thing... but those have prerequisites, such as thread workload
that is independent of each other to a decent extent, not
overrunning the operating system's ability to efficiently manage
and schedule threads, not overrunning the various subsystems that
each thread (or a lot of them) may be calling (for instance, in
this case, the hard drive, TCP/IP stack and/or rendering engine),
and a design that scales down to resource availability of the
computer hardware (you dont want to try to use that many
resources or threads on a slow computer... CPU, bus, RAM, HDD, etc).

Thus, the real remaining questions are (since you
probably/hopefully correctly covered the memory footprint issue
in pointing out it is a beta and probably has a lot of debug code
loaded/running) are:
- Is IE8's threading model designed to be usable on low end hardware?
- Can the XP or Vista thread scheduler efficiently handle that
many threads?
- When they designed this implementation, did they take into
account hardware capabilities?
- And of course, how much of the bloat is actually due to the
debug code, and how much (like in recent MS products) is "bloat
by design"?
In casual observation, I must admit that IE8 appears to be one of
those "wow" applications that most likely won't make it on
lighter hardware. Here is where Linux and alternative browsers
like FireFox, Opera, Safari, etc. will shine. FireFox is already
shining:

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

Browser Statistics Month by Month

2008 September [rearranged by popularity & annotated]

42.6% Fx (FireFox)
26.3% IE7
22.3% IE6
3.1% Chrome (Google)
2.7% S (Safari and Konqueror)
2.0% O (Opera)
0.5% Moz (Mozilla)
One could argue, "Fer crying out loud, Microsoft Internet
Explorer has 48.6% hits compared with FF!" (Frankly, IE7 sucks,
I find its menuing system and layout horrible, IE6 is quite old
in software years (as in dog years)). However to even the
playing field, it looks like the alternatives have IE bested by 51.4%

I cannot help but think IE8 will further increase the popularity
of the alternatives. It coupled with Vista will provide
longevity and growth for Linux for years to come.

--
HPT
Quando omni flunkus moritati
(If all else fails, play dead)
- "Red" Green