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Decision leaves Opera and Microsoft with the only 64-bit browsers, though Google will soon join the pack

Fans of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation have waited... and waited... and waited more still, for Mozilla's popular Firefox browser to add 64-bit support.  With pickup of 64-bit SKUs of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows operating system rapidly accelerating, it certainly seemed a 64-bit browser would be just around the corner.

Instead Mozilla has made the curious decision to pull the plug on the long-delayed project, while offering only small clues as to why the decision was made.

The announcement was posted by Mozilla Engineering Manager Benjamin Smedberg on the Bugzilla development page.  He ordered Mozilla employees and community developers:

Please stop building windows 64 builds and tests.

As for why the he opted to pull the plug on 64-bit for now, he comments, "Many plugins are not available in 64-bit versions.  The plugins that are available don’t work correctly in Firefox because we haven’t implemented things like windowproc hooking, which means that hangs are more common."

Firefox laptop
Firefox 64-bit development is dead for now. [Image Source: Flickr/dimnikolov]

Mozilla may soon find itself in lonely territory.

With Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL) Java and Adobe Systems Inc.'s (ADBE) Flash now supporting 64-bit Windows plug-ins, both Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 and Opera Software ASA (OSE:OPERA) have made the leap to 64-bit.  Meanwhile Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chrome, one of the most popular browsers due to its clean UI and strong GPU acceleration, has added 64-bit support in Linux and is in the process of porting its changes to Windows.

In other words, soon Mozilla may be the only browser maker without a 64-bit browser.

Of course, Windows compatibility libraries ensure 32-bit applications (like Firefox) can still run on 64-bit Windows.  But there is a small performance penalty associated.

For that reason one has to wonder whether Mozilla might come to regret its decision to halt development, even if it is only a temporary one.

Source: Bugzilla

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Slightly off topic...
By wordsworm on 11/22/2012 9:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
Last week my boss told me about how slow his old laptop was. his kids couldn't play basic Flash games on it. I thought maybe it was because it was an old machine, but looking around it was fine. It was Vista, but it was fine.

And, opening IE took about 20 seconds for a window to open for that program. So, I installed Chrome. I clicked on IE again... waited a few seconds. Clicked on Chrome... on in a flash. 8 seconds later (I did count), IE came to life.

Now his kids can play the games they want and it's like a new computer, he said. Then he asked me what he could do to keep his wife out of his browser, so I installed FF for him. FF is my main browser, so I know its extensions better than Chrome. It was easy to install a login for Firefox to open.

Anyways, initially I had some major crashing issues with FF, but they seem to be ok now.

FF for the win, btw. Chrome is a close second for me.

RE: Slightly off topic...
By Ringold on 11/23/2012 1:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
Then he asked me what he could do to keep his wife out of his browser, so I installed FF for him.

Yeah, gotta keep the porn and girlfriends from the wifey. :P

RE: Slightly off topic...
By nedsand on 11/28/2012 2:13:06 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I have Opera installed.

RE: Slightly off topic...
By Etsp on 11/23/2012 9:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
I had that same issue on a friend's laptop. Turns out there were about 10-15 pre-installed add-ins for internet explorer. Uninstalling those improved start times and browsing times significantly.

RE: Slightly off topic...
By zephyrprime on 11/23/2012 1:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm running vista and if IE is running that slow for him, there is some sort of problem with it. Zombie ware or something is running on it.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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