samskivert: WTFF?

14 September 2010

I saw some weird background activity on my network interface and undertook an investigation. netstat readily revealed that Firefox had a metric ton of TCP connections open:

yonami.local:58809      cdce.sef004.interna:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:58828      cdce.sef004.interna:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:33425      pv-in-f106.1e100.ne:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:58829      cdce.sef004.interna:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:46025      208.50.77.78:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:46001      208.50.77.78:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:41860      208.50.77.95:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:45853      pv-in-f100.1e100.ne:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:45339      px-in-f102.1e100.ne:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:58807      cdce.sef004.interna:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:58801      cdce.sef004.interna:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:41861      208.50.77.95:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:41864      208.50.77.95:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:41862      208.50.77.95:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:41863      208.50.77.95:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:58808      cdce.sef004.interna:www ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:56984      185-131.amazon.com:www  ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:52057      208.50.77.72:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin
yonami.local:41865      208.50.77.95:www        ESTABLISHED 7215/firefox-bin

This was especially peculiar, because the only Firefox window I had open was to some totally static webpage. No Comet or other JavaScript funny-business going on there. No other Firefox tabs or windows open. So what the hell are all these other connections?

Googling reveals that 1e100.net are Google servers and that Firefox may have connections open to these to do Safebrowsing or other random bits. The others are mysterious: cdce.sef004.internap.net is probably some Internap CDN service, the 208.50.77.xx addresses all live behind verio-1.ar5.SEA1.gblx.net, and look like Akami servers. 185-131.amazon.com doesn’t even forward resolve (I didn’t save a copy of the netstat -na output).

Nothing looks especially nefarious, but why would I have so many lingering established connections? Surely if I close a tab, Firefox closes all keep-alive connections originating from that tab. Of course, when I killed Firefox, the network activity stopped.

Meanwhile, Chrome was running with tabs open to Gmail, another Gmail and Google Calendar. It’s open connections were explicable and substantially fewer:

yonami.local:45460      pv-in-f83.1e100.net:www ESTABLISHED 3002/google-chrome
yonami.local:43754      pv-in-f139.1e100.:https ESTABLISHED 3002/google-chrome
yonami.local:49226      pv-in-f83.1e100.n:https ESTABLISHED 3002/google-chrome
yonami.local:35690      pv-in-f17.1e100.n:https ESTABLISHED 3002/google-chrome
yonami.local:40323      pv-in-f83.1e100.net:www ESTABLISHED 3002/google-chrome

I won’t even start on Firefox’s memory utilization “patterns”. Either way, score another point for Chrome’s process-per-tab resource management model.

©1999–2015 Michael Bayne