Last modified: 2008-10-09 19:51:51 UTC

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Bug 1693 - English Wikipedia never finishes loading
English Wikipedia never finishes loading
Product: Wikimedia
Classification: Unclassified
General/Unknown (Other open bugs)
Macintosh Mac System 9.x
: Normal normal (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
Depends on:
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2005-03-13 09:15 UTC by Xiong Changnian
Modified: 2008-10-09 19:51 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description Xiong Changnian 2005-03-13 09:15:32 UTC
Wikipedia renders pretty much okay with Mozilla 1.2.1; "cologne blue" seems to
give the best results. However, pages often never finish loading. That is, all
the *content* seems to be there, but the browser continues to indicate loading
status -- spinner in the tab, beachball cursor, status bar text continues to
report "tranferring data", progress bar /almost/ complete, animation in the
logo, etc. This does not seem to cause any problems with page function, but it
sure is annoying and distracting. This seems to happen randomly about 2 out of 3
times I load a page, perfectly indiscriminately across all kinds of pages. 

On three trials with MIE 5.1.7, the en/WP Main Page failed to load at all twice;
it loaded once, with non-specific error messages originated by the browser (and
rendered it kinda funny). Netscape 4.75 loads the page (although it renders it
very funny), but like Mozilla, continues to show loading after all content is
in. I keep a copy of iCab pre2.98 with all sorts of options turned off -- JS,
CSS, etc.; it refuses to load the WP Main Page at all. Opera 6.03 crashed,
thankfully without taking down the whole system; I shan't repeat the experiment.
These are all fairly antique browsers. 

Note that this has nothing to do with the general server performance issue; it
is equally liable to happen when pages are loading quickly as when they are
nearly stalled. The only difference is that, since I've gotten into the habit of
CMD-dotting pages after they've loaded (to stop the annoying spinning, etc.) I
sometimes do so prematurely if a page is *really* loading slowly. However, even
pages that load /really fast/ often hang up at the end, trying to load
frog-knows what. I am not able to figure out what is "missing".
Comment 1 Brion Vibber 2005-11-29 09:45:08 UTC
Still happens or not?
Comment 2 Rob Church 2005-11-29 13:54:34 UTC
That summary is to die for. Positively the developer's die-hard dream for a
clear and descriptive summary.
Comment 3 Xiong Changnian 2005-12-02 16:10:24 UTC
Rob, I'm sorry if I'm a bit long-winded. When users tell me "Uh, it don't work
right" I wish I had more info. Who knows what detail will contain the Clue? 


I first noticed this bug while WP was running MW 1.4; upgrade to 1.5 seems to
have helped not at all, or very little. Hard to say, since it surfaces so
erratically. (And *now*, I simply do not use WP often, and do not edit.) 

My experience on other MW sites seems to indicate that the problem is most
severe at en/WP; smaller wikis seem to do this less. A non-WMF op is running a
MW install at; this is comparatively tiny. Here, this bug rarely
arises; I don't believe I've ever experienced it there, but I'll stop short of

Since I posted this bug I have been alert for non-MW sites displaying the same
behavior; noted very rarely and inconsistently on other sites. So, while it is
not limited to MW or to en/WP, it is here that it is most frequent. 

My gut feeling is that this bug is related to fetching from Apache; if Squid
could handle the page, I might not see it. But of course as a registered user, I
don't get cached pages. That may be the root of the bug. 
Comment 4 MZMcBride 2008-10-09 08:45:58 UTC
Does this still happen?

This is a rather old bug report, and while that's not a reason in itself to close a bug, this was several versions of PHP, MySQL, and MediaWiki ago. The Main Page also has different content, CSS, JS, etc. So unless this is still happening, this bug can be resolved.

Comment 5 Xiong Changnian 2008-10-09 19:51:51 UTC
Not sure how Main Page became central to the discussion. The bug came on many pages -- long ones more often than short but even stubs sometimes failed to load completely. 

I don't think this has all about MW; as I mentioned, I did not see the bug on smaller MW installs. Today I operate a couple of MW installs of my own, on different servers from one another, and none of them show this interrupted load behavior. I think this was related more to the server configuration. 

I'm going to mark this bug FIXED because I don't see the ''same'' fault these days. There are still loading problems, though. They are less frequent and less easy to define. There are other, more severe bugs these days but that's a topic for another bug report. 

I would like to leave any reader with this thought: Not all of us are equally equipped for the Information Revolution. MW has upgraded from 1.4 to 1.13 and beyond; I'm ''still'' running Mozilla 1.2.1, because it's the best browser for my ancient system, which is still Mac OS 9.2.2, still on a beige G3. Much is made -- in my opinion, foolishly -- of accessibility. Debates rage over the best way to format a page for the deaf, the blind, the color blind. For no earthly reason I can divine, there is a Basque Wikipedia. Yet there is little concern for the user with limited system resources. 

I've been urged (on several occasions) to trash my system and buy something better. There is no easy way to do this. Even with unlimited funds, it would be hard to create a new machine with the capabilities of the old. I'll need to accumulate all new peripherals, since the ones I have now run on ADB, SCSI, and old-fashioned serial. I'll need to replace all my applications -- and I have thousands. I'll have to reconfigure a dozen critical applications, such as email client, browser, word processor, vector graphics editor, and raster graphics editor, before I can even pretend to do useful work on the new machine. I'll also have to relearn my workflow. I'm extremely efficient on my old box; it may take years on a new one to come up to the same level of proficiency. I can't afford that kind of performance hit; I'll have to keep both machines running side by side for at least a year. Now we're talking ''real'' real estate. (I live in a room, not even an apartment.) And since there will never be a way to truly port all of my old work files, eventually I will have to condense my old system into a laptop for emergency access and drag that around with me for the rest of my life. 

Yes, I ''am'' doing something about it. I'm partnered up with a guy who is building me a Linux box. I recently ran short of cash so the project is on hold but eventually, I will have a modern system. I've been learning Macintosh, hardware and software, for 24 years -- hell, I helped build it. I look forward to the transition with all the trepidation an old man feels on the news that his beloved old wife, who knows all of his quirks, is going to be taken out and shot, then replaced with a new girl who, although she may be pretty, will be ornery and ignorant. 

Now that's me. I may be poor, I may be aging, I may be peculiar. But even so, I'm making the change. 

Consider the poor bastards out in rural Fiddlesticksistan. If they have net access at all, it's with some horrible TRS-80 kiosk running off solar cells. Some damn Peace Corps team came through ten years ago with a castoff peecee so old it had a Charlie Chaplin sticker. A laptop fell off a truck without a manual, the battery died long ago, and it's running off a clever series of inverters, generators, and improvised gimmicks that begin with a scrapped bicycle or waterwheel. These people have no upgrade path at all. 

'''Please avoid featuritis!''' The incremental benefit of a new feature always seems large and the incremental cost insignificant. The cummulative benefit of new features, though, is often modest and the cummulative cost a crushing burden. 

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