Print 48 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Jul 22 at 11:28 AM

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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Why, who cares?
By Oregonian2 on 7/6/2009 6:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
After reading the article, I don't see any improvement in my use of Firefox (which I'm using now) that I'd have using a 64-bit version. Off hand it doesn't seem like something that would benefit (from a user's point of view) by going to 64-bit.

There are some generic comments that I read to mean that some artificial situation might save me a few milliseconds twice a year, but I not being the nerd that I used to be, am willing not to care about that or even the pride of being "ahead" with 64-bits vs a measly 32-bits.

What real practical and significant (don't save me a few ms in loading of this page, I don't care) difference would it make to me if I were typing this in a 64-bit version rather than 32 bit version?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything, I really don't see how it would make any user (like me) noticeable difference.

RE: Why, who cares?
By Lerianis on 7/22/2009 11:28:42 AM , Rating: 1
Ah, but there is a difference in speed with 32-bit compared to 64-bit, with 64-bit having a sizeable edge. I have a lot of 64-bit applications now, and they run faster than their 32-bit counterparts.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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