[Bug 269188] [NEW] Extreme slowness, "Firefox is already running" error for >3 users launching Firefox in LTSP environment

Jordan Erickson jerickson at logicalnetworking.net
Thu Sep 11 23:02:31 UTC 2008

Public bug reported:

Binary package hint: mozilla-firefox

Ubuntu Hardy 8.04.1
Firefox 3.0.1
LTSP Environment
Various sites, various thin-clients, same server (HP Proliant ML370 G5, 2x dualcore Xeon 1.6GHz CPU, 8GB RAM, 160GB SAS

I'll just paste in what seems to be the common problem here amongst 4 of 
my schools, when there is a full class of ~35 students logging on and 
trying to launch Firefox (these are all different people sending me 

Just had a class in here and they went on Firefox, it took about 4 
minutes to get them all on.  First 5 popped up right away then it 
started to slow down.  Had 3 stations that after everyone was in I had 
them click on the browser icon and they go right on.
Four or five students were able to start working in typingmaster (within 
Firefox).  For the rest, it told them they were already in Firefox.
It took 15 minutes for 20 computers to logon to Firefox.  The first one 
took 10 seconds, the next 20 seconds, the 6th one to try and come up had 
the "Already Open" error.  After 20 minutes I went back into 
Apps/firefox with the remaining workstations and all but two went in.  
Workstations s8, s9 have the error message.

Tested Firefox today with a class of 20. About half could get on 1 at 
a time, the other half froze up the desktop and kids couldn't even 
logoff Ubuntu.


After a ton of research for the past 3 days, I've come up with the 
following potential fixes which have sped things up just a bit, but 
definitely do not solve the core "Firefox is already running" (and most 
of the slowness) issues:  http://lns.wikidot.com/firefox3ltspoptimizations

These are all beefy HP Proliant servers, 2xdualcore Xeon CPUs, 8GB RAM, 
so horsepower shouldn't be an issue. Gutsy + FF2 worked beautifully, 
this only started happening at the beginning of this school year, after 
I had upgraded all servers to Hardy+FF3 over Summer break.

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Log 10 different users into separate Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTSP client sessions
2. Launch Firefox 3 in all user sessions at the same time
Actual Results:  
Extreme slowness in launching Firefox, random "Firefox is already running"
error message popping up with users, extremely high CPU usage (30-60% usage on
2x dualcore Xeon 1.6GHz CPUs) with all running Firefox processes at idle. Some
users will experience "Starting Firefox" on bottom Gnome panel, and then it
will disappear (no Firefox gets launched)

Expected Results:  
Firefox should launch normally for all users, with minimal CPU usage, and no
"Firefox is already running" errors popping up.

Running 'firefox' from a terminal yields no output.

"LTSP-Discuss" List thread describing the issue and commented on by others with the same problem:
Also reported upstream, here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=453704

** Affects: firefox
     Importance: Unknown
         Status: Unknown

** Affects: firefox (Ubuntu)
     Importance: Undecided
         Status: New

Extreme slowness, "Firefox is already running" error for >3 users launching Firefox in LTSP environment
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