Mozilla Abandons 64-Bit Firefox Development for Windows for Now
November 22, 2012 11:17 AM
Decision leaves Opera and Microsoft with the only 64-bit browsers, though Google will soon join the pack
Fans of the non-profit
waited... and waited...
and waited more still, for Mozilla's popular Firefox browser to add 64-bit support. With pickup of
of Microsoft Corp.'s (
) Windows operating system
, 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 64-bit development is dead for now. [Image Source: Flickr/dimnikolov]
Mozilla may soon find itself in lonely territory.
With Oracle Corp.'s (
) Java and Adobe Systems Inc.'s (
64-bit Windows plug-ins, both Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 and Opera Software ASA (
) have made the leap to 64-bit. Meanwhile Google Inc.'s (
) 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.
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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