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3.0 x86 Official (blue) vs 3.1alpha2 x64 (red) (w/ jemalloc), shorter is better   (Source: Mozilla wiki)

Windows Vista x64 jemalloc enabled or disabled (32-bit in blue, 64-bit in red, shorter is better).  (Source: Mozilla wiki)
Will Mozilla catch up with Internet Explorer?

Mozilla's Firefox browser does not lead Microsoft's Internet Explorer in market share, but it does lead in other ways.  The new 3.5 version of Firefox introduced last week offers support for the latest standards, including HTML 5, XHTML, and SVG graphics -- all of which stock installs of Internet Explorer 8 do not support.

However, Mozilla does trail Internet Explorer 8 in one respect -- Mozilla has not offered an official 64-bit version of its software.  One developer is working to catch Mozilla up, though.  Since 2008 a contributor who goes by the screen name Makoto has ported Firefox 3.0, and now 3.5 to 64-bit editions.  He has announced recently that he plans to contribute the 64-bit versions for 3.6 and up, which may mean that Firefox will at last get an official 64-bit build.

Advantages of the transition to 64-bit include faster speeds on pages using encryption, fast-call type function calls, and more efficient memory mapping of large files.  Initial benchmarks from the 64-bit build show impressive gains in certain applications.

A notable downside of the patch for Firefox 3.5 is that it breaks Mozilla's plug-in system, which relies on a 32-bit architecture.  However, Mozilla has talked recently of adding official 64-bit support in the near future, so this will likely be addressed shortly.

Google's Chrome also is not offered in 64-bit versions.  Apple's Safari 4 browser is offered in a 64-bit version (and is the first Safari browser to add official 64-bit support).  Opera is offered in 64-bit for Linux and OpenBSD operating systems, but is only offered in 32-bit form for Windows.  Within about 4-5 years all of these are expected to jump to 64-bit as the next version of Windows (after Windows 7) is expected to only be offered in 64-bit form, though legacy support for 32-bit software will almost surely be included.

Anyone who wants to take 64-bit Firefox 3.5 out for a spin is suggested to back up their profile, as the build will use the same profile as your current installation.  It should also be noted that the build only works with 64-bit operating systems such as those based on the Windows x64 platform, like the 64-bit build of Windows 7 Release Candidate.



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RE: Huh? We've had 64-bit Firefox for ages
By drebo on 7/6/2009 3:34:03 PM , Rating: 2
No, it's because most people recognize Linux for what it really is: not useful as a desktop operating system. It's great for appliance and server applications. It just doesn't have the application or tool support for desktops, though.


RE: Huh? We've had 64-bit Firefox for ages
By ipay on 7/6/2009 4:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
That was true 5 years ago. I have every application I need or want today, with full interoperability with Windows and Mac OS X files and drives. Stop listening to anti-Linux FUD, and try a LiveCD for yourself.


RE: Huh? We've had 64-bit Firefox for ages
By Blight AC on 7/6/2009 4:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
Until Linux can learn to finish an install on the next bootup, it still won't be ready for the masses. I played with a recent copy of Linux (well, sometime last year) and it took me an hour to install the Nvidia Graphics drivers, because I have to be in some BS no GUI mode, and figuring out how to get there for me took a bit of searching, and then I had to install some package IIRC, and in order to do so I had to leave the no GUI mode, and install it and get back to the no-GUI mode to try the driver install again. Luckily I had a Windows PC nearby I could keep websites with the relevant information on to work with. For the majority of end users I've worked with, it would be unfeasible. This is why Windows is so popular.

Also, Linux users scoff at Windows Vista's pretty UI and say you can get better stuff on Linux, I couldn't find it. Admittedly, I didn't try very hard though, and that's because I'm happy with Windows anyhow. My games work, my programs work, and to install my Nvidia Drivers I just double-click the installer and click on the prompt to reboot.

While, I agree with the original comment that yes, Jason Mick (author of this blog) seemed completely clueless that Firefox has had a 64-bit version for years now. However, it has limited OS availability (I think only Linux) and I think Mozilla made that decision mainly because the PC users would get their hands on it and flood Mozilla that they can't get YouTube to work, or whatever Flash or other third party plugins that don't support 64-bit to work with it. I think Mozilla made a smart move, by keeping only the 32 bit version available to Windows users until at least Flash was either obsolete or supported 64-bit.


RE: Huh? We've had 64-bit Firefox for ages
By Kalessian on 7/6/2009 5:02:09 PM , Rating: 3
In Ubuntu, all you had to do was:

"Go to System->Administration->Hardware Drivers and check the box to enable the restricted drivers for your NVIDIA card"

If you picked a more difficult distro, then why complain? I use Arch64 because I don't mind learning new things, but if you're new, then use Ubuntu. Even Fedora is more geared toward power users.

Isn't firefox for Windows open source? What was stopping anyone from building their own 64-bit firefox years ago?

Oh, wait: http://wiki.mozilla-x86-64.com/Firefox:Download


By MrPoletski on 7/7/2009 9:17:28 AM , Rating: 1
wat? even the windows 64bit version has been out for a while?

This article is even more out of date than the initial respondant thought!


By SavagePotato on 7/9/2009 1:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
The Nvidia driver package from their site is actually pretty darn good as Linux installers go.

If you are new and you use it on Ubuntu though it will be a mess, been there and done that. The thing to remember with Ubuntu is just stick with the repositories.

Use it on a super vanilla distro like slackware though and the nvidia driver and X control panel is pretty good and easy to use. Yes you do have to shut down X and install it from the command line, and yes it does have to compile it's own kernel module and stuff but it's all automated and easy if you have slackware installed with all the tools. The X control panel even makes setting up multiple displays really easy where it's normally a massive pain in a distro like this.

That's pretty much the kind of distro the nvidia installer is made for...

Once again, stick with the repositories in Ubuntu. If you want to do things for yourself use a distro like slackware.


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