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I am running Ubuntu 16.04 and Firefox freezes my system about once a day. I know it is Firefox because my system works fine with Chrome. The same freezes occurred when running Firefox from live USB versions of Ubuntu 16.04 and 17.10. When frozen, the keyboard and mouse are unresponsive, and various Ctrl+Alt+ and Alt+SysRq+ combinations (commands on this page for example) don't seem to do anything. I end up having to hard reboot by holding the power button.

I am not a Linux expert, but my understanding is that at this point I should check /var/log/syslog, /var/log/kern.log, and similar files. I have checked the contents of these files, have web-searched the messages, but don't know enough to have any meaningful insights. So what should I do next?

If it helps, below is the end of my /var/log/syslog prior to the crash. And I would be happy to update my post with any more info.

May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer dbus[848]: [system] Activating via systemd: service name='org.freedesktop.nm_dispatcher' unit='dbus-org.freedesktop.nm-dispatcher.service'
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer NetworkManager[876]: <info>  [1525735721.7446]   server identifier 10.239.100.1
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer NetworkManager[876]: <info>  [1525735721.7446]   lease time 300
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer NetworkManager[876]: <info>  [1525735721.7446]   nameserver '10.239.100.1'
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer NetworkManager[876]: <info>  [1525735721.7446]   nameserver '10.239.100.1'
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer NetworkManager[876]: <info>  [1525735721.7446]   domain name 'lan'
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer NetworkManager[876]: <info>  [1525735721.7446] dhcp4 (wlp5s0): state changed bound -> bound
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer systemd[1]: Starting Network Manager Script Dispatcher Service...
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer dhclient[1352]: bound to 10.239.100.2 -- renewal in 139 seconds.
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer dbus[848]: [system] Successfully activated service 'org.freedesktop.nm_dispatcher'
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer systemd[1]: Started Network Manager Script Dispatcher Service.
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer nm-dispatcher: req:1 'dhcp4-change' [wlp5s0]: new request (1 scripts)
May  7 16:28:41 MyComputer nm-dispatcher: req:1 'dhcp4-change' [wlp5s0]: start running ordered scripts...
May  7 16:29:53 MyComputer wpa_supplicant[1118]: nl80211: send_and_recv->nl_recvmsgs failed: -33

update 1 (May 21 2018)

I am still getting freezes when I run Firefox from a terminal in safe mode with my profile path set to an empty directory (a step suggested by @dsstorefile1):

firefox -safe-mode -profile ~/some_empty_directory/ -no-remote -new-instance

I also ran debsums to check the checksums of the Firefox package, but it did not find any errors.

update 2

I installed Arch Linux on my machine and still got the same behavior. This means it is not a distribution-specific problem.

update 3

I upgraded by RAM, graphics card, and monitor. But the problem is still occurring.

update 4

I updated my BIOS, but the problem is still occurring.

  • @dsstorefile1 I haven't tried that. I will give it a shot and report back. – Trevor May 8 '18 at 4:45
  • What version of firefox? ... is it up to date? ... if not, you should upgrade it ... with old version, when it starts to slow down, this can help [ about:memory ] then hit 'clear memory' ... – cmak.fr May 22 '18 at 7:50
  • @cmak.fr My Firefox installation is up to date (version 60.0.1 as of today). – Trevor May 22 '18 at 20:09
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I have had this problem with Firefox for a long time, and it is not affected by updates to either Firefox or Ubuntu. It appears to be because Firefox does not release memory once it has taken it, so that every page you have loaded up stays in memory.

As far as I know there are only two ways of dealing with this problem:

  1. periodically close Firefox down and relaunch it, or
  2. don't use Firefox.

However, if anyone knows of a better solution that would be great.

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  • That may be a problem that Firefox has, but I don't believe it is what's causing my freezes. For example, my most recent freeze happened after a fresh restart and I had only opened 3 pages. – Trevor Oct 2 '18 at 4:39
  • @wxyz Actually, yes, I have occasionally had the problem after a fresh restart too, although most often a restart ends the problem. Clearly what I said is not the whole answer, and I would be very much interested if anyone could give more information. – Michael D Oct 20 '18 at 19:31
  • It's late 2019, I'm running Ubuntu 19.04 and I would love to switch from Chrome to FF (especially given that we are on the verge of the Manifest V3 update which will spell trouble for Chrome adblockers) but.. there's a big but.. FF 70 has been causing TWO severe system freezes in the few days I've been using it.. Granted I'm using it to do web development so it might not be the easiest setup but still.. I've been horrified to discover that absolute OS freeze (of the kind requiring a hard reboot) were still even possible, with a modern OS. – cjauvin Dec 6 '19 at 14:57
2

I had a similar problem. It is weird, but when I deleted the browser history (more than 2 GiB data) the problem went away and has not come back.

I know it sounds crazy but it helped me. I am not sure if it helps you, but I am sharing solution that which solved problem with Ubuntu freezing while using Firefox.

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