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Browser and OOM handling with Update 10

asked 2014-12-19 09:00:50 +0300

MSH gravatar image

updated 2015-03-14 23:54:48 +0300

sjn gravatar image

Hi, I updated my Jolla yesterday and it works smoothly. I guess partly because of rather aggressive OOM handling, which is visible when using browser.

My normal setup is to have SMS, E-mail, Calendar, Phone and clock running all the time, to access them quickly without going to the grid. Now, I open up browser, surf through couple web pages and close the browser and almost all apps have been closed, usually only phone being still on multitasking view. Which, IMO somewhat hinders the original idea ow multitasking view. So far this has only happened with browser (not for example playing CoC for long periods of time), so it makes me wonder if it's by design or does the OOM handling kick in too quickly with browser?

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I don't like the idea of closing apps in the background at all! It destroys the idea of multitasting. At the moment, if more than 2 Apps are open and i open a app like browser, an Android-game or even the original picture-gallery all apps except one will be closed! Not every time but often.

Sorry for beeing a bit pathetic, but i realy feel like using an Android device. Apps should only be closed manually by myself!

The same with the "real tabs"-feature brought to us just a half year ago!

HansA ( 2014-12-19 09:43:21 +0300 )edit

@tigeli I also don't like the idea that my Jolla is killing apps without my permission - even my setting active cover and this while only having Mitäkuuluu and settings open...

This behaviour is really rediciolous and I am sure that this will disturb my great Jolla experience. :(

Alex ( 2014-12-19 09:49:36 +0300 )edit

I can understand the idea of freeing up memory by closing background apps to enable smooth operation across the board. It was just surprising how quickly it happens with browser, just had to search info on something and total of three pages were loaded (ordinary, not exceptionally heavy), but e-mail, calendar and clock had been closed during that. Which makes me wonder, if browser is more memory intensive than it should especially when games like CoC don't experience such behaviour. Haven't tried other browsers though...

MSH ( 2014-12-19 10:15:09 +0300 )edit

@MSH I have the same experience with the CoC as with the browser.

@Alex@HansA I feel your pain and I don't _like_ it either but that something that needs to be done if there is no _free_ memory to maintain the decent usability and performance. Killing the topmost application is not either a good idea..

Neither is freezing the UI due OOM-situation a good idea.

tigeli ( 2014-12-19 11:15:35 +0300 )edit

@tigeli I am not familiar with technical details of memory usage, but i thought there was somthing like "virtual memory" on jolla.. and until update 8 it worked fine. No App was closed till i did it by myself. Except some android-apps. But not very often. For example i want to have the Jolla settings open all the time to switch bluetooth or ringtone-volume etc. But at the moment it closes(not each time, but mostly) when i open the browser, even if that are the only two open apps. On the other hand, when i first open the browser and than open whatsapp, threema, settings, email, gallery, chat and contacts they stay open and usable. When i open one more, 3-6 apps will be closed. this is not very consistantly in daily usage. And I would prefer some lag(200-300ms) on opening, more than open the app again(mostly 1-2second slower than switch to an open app), wait till the url is loaded again(if your in luck and you have internet connection) and finaly zoom and scroll to the point you have been.

HansA ( 2014-12-19 13:59:23 +0300 )edit

6 Answers

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answered 2014-12-21 12:48:32 +0300

HansA gravatar image

updated 2014-12-21 13:10:12 +0300

@tigeli I never experienced delay of seconds til update 8. If this would have been the case, I would not have written about milliseconds. until update 8 I could easily open 9 apps or more without disturbingly long delay. As I wrote, only some android apps struggle. But those where always the same ones.

In my experience, long delays on low memory came up with update 9, but as this one was opt-in I didn't take it too serious. With the 10th update, android apps become much more stable for me, which I totally like, but native apps got closed and if I want to use cover-actions, the app is gone.

I want to apologise if I upset you, but I try to express my fear, that a main feature of Sailfish is beeing limited. For me personally the multitasking view seems to be the heart of the navigation architecture. I can switch apps, use cover-actions and get fast infos. When apps are closed in background some of these design principals can not be used anymore.

There will always be memory hungry apps and limited hardware and with every update(both, system or apps) the memory situation wil get worse. That is something Android has brought to perfection and therefore I love my Jolla, because it gets me the full control.

So, sorry again for being that straight(maybe a bit narrow minded) I am not a developer, so I can only report, how it feels using the Jolla from user view. And I hope there will be a possibility in near future to get rid of the "automatic-app-closing" so that we can get back full control.

Thanks, Hans Andrée

P.s.: It is not only browser driven problem. Sure, the browser is memory intensive but it also happens with the native picture gallery or android games etc. .

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@HansA Don't worry, you did not upset me.. I acknowledge there are issues and we are working on them to make the situation better.

And yes, the killing of apps happens always when there is a need to free memory to keep system responsive all the times, so it's not just the browser.. :)

tigeli ( 2014-12-21 14:32:37 +0300 )edit

@tigeli Ok. Thats fine. I hope there will be some solution. As for now, I will try to get back to update 8.

HansA ( 2014-12-24 03:17:18 +0300 )edit

The lowmemorykiller thing seems to work pkorly together with a system where swap is used.

The ideal, of course, would be if data that will never be used again is pushed into swap, to free more ram. However, predicting the future and knowing what would never be used again is hard.

Currently, however, when lowmemorykiller starts killing stuff when there's 200Megabytss free ram, means the kernel is rarely motivated to push anything at all into swap. Additionally, zram takes away some ram, making it into a virtual ram backed swap. I do wonder if that makes sense considering the very aggressive thresholds for lowmemorykiller.

ShadowJK ( 2014-12-29 01:05:37 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-12-24 12:39:52 +0300

The device is now almost impossible to use - if you listen through the media player and the native browser to open multiple pages, then the media player shapeways... :(

Also collapses Android game Assassin's Creed Unity Companion immediately after connecting to Uplay...

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True about useless. I had only native media player active&cover, shuffling music through bluetooth. After device enters deep sleep app closes. RAM usage were about 40%.

DarkWhite ( 2014-12-25 17:11:37 +0300 )edit

The phone is definetly useless if I cannot use media player in background while browsing. Kinda spoils idea of Jolla as super multitasking phone when it kills apps from left and right.

finfly ( 2015-01-13 20:12:59 +0300 )edit

I have to eat my words. Don't know exactly what app/package from openrepos & 3rd party broke my memory handling. Maybe zram, only a wild guess. When I could not tolerate that behavior anymore I decided do a factory reset by recovery menu. I upgrade back to latest OS with only core apps installed. Since then with everything restored, I can keep 9 covers active.

DarkWhite ( 2015-01-14 22:36:26 +0300 )edit

I guess that I have the same... some openrepos package may be the problem. I may want to investigate a bit more before doing a factory reset. But it's good to know that this option would help!

arno784 ( 2015-02-27 12:01:51 +0300 )edit

After deactivating some repos from openrepos and updating Sailfish OS from version 10 to 11, the problem still existed. Suprisingly, it is after some applications update from the jolla store, that the faulty package seems to have been replaced. No more apps killed, even with android apps open it seems.

arno784 ( 2015-03-18 11:15:13 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-12-19 09:08:10 +0300

tigeli gravatar image

updated 2014-12-19 09:38:47 +0300

The multitasking is still there but when you start a memory intensive application the device's low memory killer will take care of that there is memory available according to preset values to make sure that the device stays responsive and does not get hit by out of memory killer.

So it is by design to keep the topmost application running and guarantee that we have enough resources e.g. to open up the voicecall ui in case of incoming call without making the whole device to freeze while it is freeing memory at that point.

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Wow. I accidentally opened the native browser, which promptly started downloading TJC. The other opened apps, including Firefox for Android and the mail client closed, and for some reason the screen turned off. This behavior sucks. It might not be the OOM handling per se, but the memory usage of the browser. I'd rather put up with some lagging, than this...

Fuzzillogic ( 2014-12-21 01:45:28 +0300 )edit

@HansA@Fuzzillogic The lag is not 200-300ms but we are talking about 30sec or more lag when the device runs out memory and the oom-killer sorts out what to kill. With lag I mean.. UI stops responding completely until the situation is sorted out.

However we continue working on improving memory handling but it is really hard when there are applications which require >150M of memory and others which are happy with <50M in a device which does have limited amount of memory available.

Update 8 had the very same issue when it had swapped out enough ram.

tigeli ( 2014-12-21 11:31:15 +0300 )edit

For me this is huge step back in user experience. I have never before update 9 noticed that phone is out of memory.

But reading between the lines there is not much to do to fix this because phone just doesn't have enough RAM and new firmwares need more RAM.

markom80 ( 2014-12-21 11:58:51 +0300 )edit

To me it looks like something that needs more good old optimization to squeeze more out of available RAM. Otherwise new higher spec device would be just about the only way to fix the issue. I experienced those lags several times with update 8 (as I always had at least 6 apps running at the background). Not very frequently though. Compared to that update 10 is very smooth and performance is constant, so in that regard it is very very good. If only the browser wouldn't be so keen to kill everything... (we have a "killer app" :D)

MSH ( 2014-12-21 12:46:25 +0300 )edit

@tigeli Just out of curiosity: Is swapping affected by btrfs? From what I've heard, btrfs needs quite a bit of free space to work correctly. Is swapping done with a swap file or a swap partition?

shfit ( 2014-12-21 13:13:50 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-12-21 12:26:06 +0300

simo gravatar image

It's been a while since I have used the native browser - It's at the moment both lacking some important features and uses huge amount of RAM (depending on the content of the sites).

Even that the native browser is open sourced, it's improving very slowly. There is a question for selecting the default browser, please vote up here

As an answer to this question - Avoid using apps not compliant with a limited amount of RAM or using swapping efficiently. For better multitasking experience, I suggest using some Android browsers. Personally I've found Dolphin a nice replacement.

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Also give Webcat a try, it's native and its memory footprint is smaller than Jolla browser's.

thisisme ( 2014-12-31 19:30:42 +0300 )edit

I hope that is not a final solution...then I can really start using Android.

Seems Java GC is working better than expected.

sm-jolla ( 2015-03-13 05:53:03 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-09-15 11:53:44 +0300

Broekeman gravatar image

It's already September 2015 but I found this issue to be quite up-to-date actually. I have recently updated to Björnträsket and now Sailfish is closing apps faster than I can open them. I seem to experience all the things the previous posters have complained about. Having three apps minimized is the best SF can do nowadays. It gets so bad that the music player stops while opening E-mail or the calendar. This never happened before the update and it's driving me crazy! If I have to start up the music player everytime I want to read emails or open the browser and have to scroll through the files, enable repeat etc. then what's the use of having a smartphone in the first place? I can understand the need for freeing up memory, but I wonder why the system ran smoothly before the update without apparently having clogged up memory... Am I missing something? And, is there a solution?

Greetings, broekeman

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Which music player are you using?

tortoisedoc ( 2015-09-15 12:45:52 +0300 )edit

Did you reboot already ? It sounds to me there is a process eating up memory.

leszek ( 2015-09-15 12:47:55 +0300 )edit

@tortoisedoc: It's the built-in player from Sailfish.

@leszek: I have rebooted several times after which I did not experience a change in the behaviour. I'll do it again and see if it improves - I'll let you know.

Thanks, you both.


Broekeman ( 2015-09-15 13:32:29 +0300 )edit

I find it's still worse in Eineheminlampi. The problem is that 1 GB is too little memory. Although I don't understand how can a system take up 1 GB when the first Linux systems ran in 4 MB including X-Window, it looks like we will need new systems with more RAM to fully exploit the potential of SailfishOS.

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2015-09-15 14:01:22 +0300 )edit

I cannot confirm such problems, using As of this writing, I have the Jolla Together app open, the original Sailfish broeser, web pirate browser, e-mail app and the media player is playing Cat Stevens. So not a general problem?

Holger ( 2015-09-15 23:39:55 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-26 07:16:31 +0300

finfly gravatar image

Seems to be solved in U11. Music still played on, even when I loaded multiple tabs in browser and opened a few apps.

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On my device the Apps will still be closed. From the logs (journsltctl -an) I can see that lowmemorykiller did that. So this cannot be fixed.

I really wonder why my N9 did not need something like the memorykiller (which seems like a crude hack to me).

sm-jolla ( 2015-03-13 05:49:52 +0300 )edit

Confirmed here too. Yesterday, I started the phone again after an unexpected reboot, started the native web browser and book, instant reboot.

Tkaartama ( 2015-04-02 10:07:58 +0300 )edit

music player is fine but with other apps like browser if you keep it minimised and do other stuff it gets closed after sometime and its to bad to have lost data for refering stuff..

And the same with the video player it kills and its too hard to resume wher you left of from.

Same happens with the Android apps too

i am now running

I had no problems with the previous versions

Ghost ( 2015-09-27 16:05:23 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2014-12-19 09:00:50 +0300

Seen: 2,880 times

Last updated: Sep 15 '15