Mozilla Abandons 64-Bit Firefox Development for Windows for Now
November 22, 2012 11:17 AM
comment(s) - last by
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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: No big deal, 64-bit browsers are useless
11/27/2012 10:56:40 PM
Your support (
is testing 1 version of a program in two operating systems. This would be like running Firefox in Windows 7 x86 and comparing the results to running Firefox in Windows 7 x64. In both cases the application is still 32 bit. The only differences (if any) will be the result of MS coding of 32 bit emulation on the Windows 7 x64 machine, but since they are the same binaries (you are not using the x64 binaries) there should be little noticeable difference.
The problem is that most companies already realize that 64 bit apps are easy (just change the compiler) but actually perform slower then 32 bit apps, so they do not bother releasing the 64 bit versions. This is why all major games which do not hit the RAM limitation do not have a 64 bit version available.
There are a number of situations where having more registers, larger address space, and 64 bit instructions can be advantageous. In these cases the code was rewritten to take better advantage of these features, resulting in modest to large performance benefits. Even so, these are more the exception then the rule.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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