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RAM Charger 8 For Macintosh
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Netscape and RAM Charger.


(Tech0019A -- 03/26/98)

We recommend disabling RAM Charger for Netscape

Please remember, RAM Charger is not all or nothing. You may disable RAM Charger for individual applications, in the "Get Info" window, or in RAM Charger Application Settings. In this way. you may continue to use RAM Charger to obtain the most from your memory with other applications.

Though many users report that they notice decreased crashing and fewer out of memory errors when running Netscape RAM Charged, other users report that Netscape consumes all the memory on their machine - causing more problems than it helps. As a result, we recommend that you avoid enabling RAM Charger for Netscape.

If you select Netscape in the RAM Charger Settings application and read the "Notes" you should see:

¥Somewhat "greedy" application¥
This application can be RAM Charged. However, though it
starts small, RAM Charged it will grow to consume all
memory on your machine without releasing memory.

In more recent releases of Netscape, or depending on the plugins you have loaded, Netscape may even consume unreasonable amounts of memory on startup.

Should you wish to try RAM Charging Netscape, please pay special attention to the Total Memory available, and watch Netscape's expansion, to be sure Netscape is not using more memory than is reasonable. To monitor these values use the RAM Charger pull down menu, and the More About This Macintosh window. If Netscape consumes too much memory, you may find you are unable to accomplish other tasks - like launching other applications and printing.

Netscape employs its own RAM Charging methods, though not as comprehensive as RAM Charger, and this rasises two noticable points:

  1. Disabling RAM Charger for Netscape is not the end of the world, since Netscape has its own dynamic usage of the total free memory.
  2. Beware that Netscape's own dynamic growth may show up as your "system" growing and shrinking.

What's the deal?

It would be nice if there was an effective way to optimize a program like NetScape. Unfortunately, its memory use strategy just doesn't adapt well to RAM Charger giving it access to all free memory on your machine. It will usually start out small (depending on your configuration), but as you access things on the Web, Netscape continues to keep everything it can in memory, as long as more is available. That way it is very quick to return to any page you have been to before. So, as you use it, Netscape just takes more and more memory and never gives any of it back.

In general, most applications on the Mac allocate memory only when and where they need to use it. Since RAM Charger's purpose is to give charged applications access to all the free memory in the computer, some greedy apps may take it all. This greedy nature of some applications is a historical artifact resulting from the traditional "Fixed memory" model of the Mac. Unfortunately, there is no way RAM Charger can make all memory available to applications, yet stop them from using it. That will have to be taken up with the application's author. We do have a settings that help with applications that take all the memory immediately at startup by delaying access to available memory, but this does not help with Netscape. This is the Charging Method "Delay Access To All Memory" documented in the RAM Charger manual. Since this method does not help with Netscape, the best I can suggest is that you disable RAM Charging Netscape, using RAM Charger to help wit the rest of your applications.

In the past we have attempted to work with Netscape to address these concerns. However, they were unresponsive. If you have some feelings on the matter you may wish to contact Netscape directly to see what their current postion is.


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