In general, each window starts with one tab, but as I do more research into something, more and more tabs open. I religiously close tabs I'm not using, and the ones I keep open tend to be API references and similar.
I also use tabs as a TODO list, so any open tab is something I have to do. Closing them means my system breaks.
This would all be completely unmanageable without a few optimizations:
- TreeStyleTabs makes managing 25-30 tabs per window manageable. I almost never have more than that.
- Firefox Nightlies use considerably less memory than the release version, mostly due to the MemShrink effort within Mozilla (where I work)
- I set browser.sessionstore.max_concurrent_tabs to 0, to prevent a restart opening all my tabs and sinking memory into windows that aren't in my regular rotation.
Even so, Firefox typically uses 1.5-2GB of RSS, and slows to a crawl after a few days. This is due to fragmentation, and I'm working on fixing it.