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Mozilla ceases work on 64-bit Firefox for Windows

Mozilla ceases work on 64-bit Firefox for Windows

The 64-bit builds of Firefox for Windows have been cancelled, with no news from Mozilla on the future of the browser on that platform.

The Mozilla Foundation has announced that it is ceasing work on the 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows, claiming that the browser is a 'constant source of misunderstanding and frustration.'

Currently, Mozilla builds Firefox in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours for all its platforms, excluding the Android build codenamed Fennec. On Linux, it's typical for the 64-bit build of Firefox to be bundled by default with 64-bit distributions, while on Windows it can be installed manually as an alternative to the default 32-bit build.

It's the Windows version, however, that Mozilla claims is causing heartache. In a post from Mozilla's Benjamin Smedberg, the 64-bit builds are claimed to be 'a constant source of misunderstanding and frustration' for users, causing extra work on the development team for the open-source browser.

Smedberg points to issues with the lack of available 64-bit plugins under Windows, with many popular plugins requiring the 32-bit build of the browser to operate, frequent hangs in plugins that do exist due to differences between the 32-bit and 64-bit editions, and issues with bug reporting that cause important bugs to get lost in the 'noise' of 64-bit-related issues.

According to The Next Web, which has been tracking the discussion since Smedberg suggested shutting off nightly and weekly builds of 64-bit Firefox for Windows, the issue has now come to a head - and 64-bit Firefox for Windows is no more.

With a claimed 50 per cent of Firefox Nightly users on Windows - who, by definition, are on the cutting-edge and who don't mind trading stability for the ability to try out new features before anybody else - using the 64-bit build, Mozilla's decision to cease building the software leaves a not-inconsiderable proportion of its user base in the lurch. Those running on Linux or OS X can continue to enjoy the benefits of a native 64-bit browser, but Windows users appear to be left with legacy 32-bit code for the foreseeable future.

At least, if they choose to stick with the official Firefox builds. As an open-source project, the Firefox code is open to all to remix and rework as they see fit, and one such project does exactly that with the aim of making a more reliable 64-bit Firefox. The Waterfox Project takes the Firefox codebase and tweaks it to improve performance and introduce full 64-bit capabilities. Available exclusively for Windows, the software typically lags behind Firefox - the latest Waterfox is 16.01, compared to Firefox 17.0 - but for now looks like the best choice should Mozilla stick to its guns on the 64-bit Windows issue.

40 Comments

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Corky42 22nd November 2012, 13:29 Quote
When i tried Waterfox and Pale Moon the biggest problem i had was Flash player crashing. it's a real shame there stopping development as i found the 64-bit version to be faster.
dyzophoria 22nd November 2012, 14:24 Quote
it seems the frustration is the lack plugin developers wanting to develop on 64bit platforms, its a shame really, especially based on my experience with firefox, it tends to eat alot of memory ( for caching i guess? or whatever) it could have really helped the program if it were in 64bit,lol
MrJay 22nd November 2012, 14:32 Quote
This seems a bit short sighted to me!

If anything id bite the bullet and cut 32bit support.
derviansoul 22nd November 2012, 14:39 Quote
Maybe they should just cut the development on 32bits instead and force developers to update or get left behind.
Amsalpedalb 22nd November 2012, 15:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by derviansoul
force developers to update or get left behind.

That bit right there should be the current industry trend. Update to 64 bit or piss off.
maverik-sg1 22nd November 2012, 16:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amsalpedalb
Quote:
Originally Posted by derviansoul
force developers to update or get left behind.

That bit right there should be the current industry trend. Update to 64 bit or piss off.

100% with you on this, proper multi-core support and 64bit all the way.
SchizoFrog 22nd November 2012, 16:34 Quote
You can't drop 32bit support when the majority of systems are 32bit based. That thinking is just retarded.
Corky42 22nd November 2012, 16:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
You can't drop 32bit support when the majority of systems are 32bit based. That thinking is just retarded.

I don't agree, I know its not exactly accurate but the best i could find is the steam hardware survey and it shows 59% are using Windows 7 64 bit.
Adnoctum 22nd November 2012, 17:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by From Article
With a claimed 50 per cent of Firefox Nightly users on Windows - who, by definition, are on the cutting-edge and who don't mind trading stability for the ability to try out new features before anybody else - using the 64-bit build, Mozilla's decision to cease building the software leaves a not-inconsiderable proportion of its user base in the lurch

You what?

You claim that the 50% of Firefox Nightly users represent a "not-inconsiderable proportion of its user base"?

Either that is poor wording or it is poor logic, unless you think that Nightly Build users represents a significant audience for Mozilla? I would suggest the the proportion of Firefox users who utilise the 64-bit version of Firefox would be miniscule given there was never a Win 64-bit release.

What a non-story, especially given all Mozilla has done is kill a development program and not a released product.
32-bit Firefox lives happily on Win 64-bit, and at the moment the 64-bit version gives zero advantages for the vast majority of users (or any?) and quite a few disadvantages, and Firefox may be a bit of a memory hog but I doubt there would be many situations in which Firefox would need more than 3-4GB of memory. The use just isn't there yet.
My use of 64-bit Firefox (in Linux) does not give me an improved experience over my use of the 32-bit version (Win and Linux).

Not to mention there is no 64-bit Chrome for Windows, nor is there any plans for such, Opera 64-bit has only just been released as a stable version, and does anyone use the 64-bit IE? I don't, and there is little need to do so over the 32-bit version.

Good use of resources for Mozilla to use the development effort for 32-bit Firefox until it makes sense to make a move.
Adnoctum 22nd November 2012, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
You can't drop 32bit support when the majority of systems are 32bit based. That thinking is just retarded.

I don't agree, I know its not exactly accurate but the best i could find is the steam hardware survey and it shows 59% are using Windows 7 64 bit.

I have had this argument so many times that I should have a text file I can copy/paste from.

The Steam Hardware Survey is a snapshot of Steam users.
* Is every computer on the face of the planet polled in the Steam Survey? No?
* Then it must sample a wide variety of computer types and uses then? No, not that either?
Then it is NOT representative of the systems that "most people" have.

It is a very narrow view of a narrow audience. It is representative of the systems that Steam users have, users who game on their systems and are thus more likely to keep it updated with newer software and hardware.
That's not my mum, so she wasn't asked to participate in the Steam survey. Nor my dad. Nor my invisible friend Harvey.
Corky42 22nd November 2012, 19:08 Quote
@Adnoctum
I know i did say it's not exactly accurate but i did try to find some information on amount of x86 versus x64, i guess it's like politicians and how they interpret the numbers

But seriously how do you measure such a thing, i mean are we only including platforms that FF runs on, or are we looking at the bigger picture?
SchizoFrog 22nd November 2012, 19:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
You can't drop 32bit support when the majority of systems are 32bit based. That thinking is just retarded.

I don't agree, I know its not exactly accurate but the best i could find is the steam hardware survey and it shows 59% are using Windows 7 64 bit.

Yeah, 59% of Steam Clients... I bet Steam users don't even count for a third of PCs that use a browser and even just over half of those on Steam have a 64bit machine. I think you killed your own argument there.
SchizoFrog 22nd November 2012, 19:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
@Adnoctum
I know i did say it's not exactly accurate but i did try to find some information on amount of x86 versus x64, i guess it's like politicians and how they interpret the numbers

But seriously how do you measure such a thing, i mean are we only including platforms that FF runs on, or are we looking at the bigger picture?

Corky, you have to look at the overall picture as FF is a user CHOICE. If they went 64bit only then they would limit themselves to a tiny minority of PC users. I guess Mozilla would have a good understanding of the numbers as they can tell how many unique PC id's download their browsers and of which bit type.
IvanIvanovich 22nd November 2012, 20:25 Quote
I've been using the x64 version on Windows since it has existed. I've never had a single problem with it or the 2 relevant plugins that I use which have an x64 version Flash and Java. I could give a flying f*ck if there is no silverlight, quicktime, or any of the other myriad crap I would go out of my way to disable and/or remove if there happened to end up on my system anyway.
Poor show Mozilla. Maybe if you actually relased a stable x64 Windows version all of the plugin developers might have bothered to release. Chicken and egg nonsense. It's no wonder x64 software uptake in general is still so pathetic with these attitudes.
Corky42 22nd November 2012, 20:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
I think you killed your own argument there.

Not a argument just a matter of opinion..
Gradius 22nd November 2012, 20:50 Quote
They are going far back with this stupid decision. 32-bit is DEAD!
Adnoctum 22nd November 2012, 21:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lysol
I've been using the x64 version on Windows since it has existed. I've never had a single problem with it or the 2 relevant plugins that I use which have an x64 version Flash and Java. I could give a flying f*ck if there is no silverlight, quicktime, or any of the other myriad crap I would go out of my way to disable and/or remove if there happened to end up on my system anyway.
Poor show Mozilla. Maybe if you actually relased a stable x64 Windows version all of the plugin developers might have bothered to release. Chicken and egg nonsense. It's no wonder x64 software uptake in general is still so pathetic with these attitudes.

Yes, poor show Mozilla for not providing Lysol with the browser that he wants[1]. He is even doing his best to accommodate you because he is also refraining from using many of the other plug-ins and tools that most other Internet users use or are obliged to use.

Furthermore, how dare you use your collective professional judgement to make the best choices on where to devote finite financial and software engineering resources. It really shows up your lack of commitment to providing Windows users with the best possible product when you are outspent by your competitors like Microsoft. Don't you want to win the highly profitable browser market?

Certainly it is true that Google also doesn't see fit to develop a 64-bit Windows version of Chrome, but they have never shown much interest in developing tools that would enhance the experience of using the Internet.

I'm sure that if he donated $10 in his native currency (not including beads, clams and coconuts) you could have devoted a team of software engineers[2] for 6 months or more in order to complete a 64-bit browser for him and his extremely important 64-bit Internet browsing needs. Obviously his very important 64-bit browsing needs aren't being addressed by other options like IE8/9/10 64-bit or by the recently released Opera 12 64-bit.

Buck up your game, Mozilla! Also, pull up your socks!

[1] But not the browser he deserves. Also, there should be permabans for making Batman jokes.
[2] Located in Mauritania. $10 doesn't go far on software engineers.
impar 22nd November 2012, 21:19 Quote
Greetings!

I used to hit the 32bit RAM limit for Firefox some months ago, in my case around the 3,2-3,3GB RAM use. With the new versions and after changing two RAM wasteful RAM addons I havent met that limit yet.
Firefox is still the most stable and light on resources for my use (roughly 40-50 tabs average open at a time).
Bogomip 22nd November 2012, 21:34 Quote
None of this matters anyway... Chrom eis the future, everybody knows it!

Get on board the chrome train now, baby :)

edit: src: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp
impar 22nd November 2012, 22:08 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogomip
None of this matters anyway... Chrom eis the future, everybody knows it!
It cant handle stress the same way Firefox handles.
tuk 22nd November 2012, 22:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogomip
Chrom eis the future
Hope not! ..Chrome is the new IE
leslie 22nd November 2012, 22:31 Quote
I agree, this is very short sighted. It will be back at some point, it's not like 32bit is the way forward. Instead of killing it, why not push out the 64bit public release, you might just force these others to get their act together.

At any rate, I'm not sure where the problem is, I have been on 64bit Firefox in one form or another for around 2 years(?). At times it has been the only browser installed and I got along just fine. Other than Quicktime not working (Quicktime Alternative does), I haven't run into any issues lately. Things have been running smooth since somewhere around Firefox 10, so much so that each release I expected a normal 64bit version along with it.



As for Chrome, if Firefox keeps heading the way they are, it's going to be a clone of Chrome anyhow. Which is something that annoys me to no end. Chrome reminds me of the Iphone, it's all shiny until you need to do something just slightly outside the box, and then you may as well be living on Mars. The last two times I needed to step out of the box was for relatively normal things (such as adding the ability to change the default program for a specific extension), Google software engineers actually came out and said they wouldn't support it. After the second time I ended up needed to change something, my response was to throw it right back at them, I won't support it.
cool_dude 22nd November 2012, 23:32 Quote
High ho... high ho... its off to chrome we go......

Perhaps? :D
fluxtatic 23rd November 2012, 02:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogomip
None of this matters anyway... Chrom eis the future, everybody knows it!

Get on board the chrome train now, baby :)

edit: src: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

Let's hope not - Google already tracks everybody enough. Aside from that, look at Google's track record - eventually they'll lose interest in Chrome and it will be the new IE, like tuk said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
does anyone use the 64-bit IE?

It would help if MS didn't hide it - on a fresh Win install, the shortcut to IE that's easy to find (on the start menu, up through Win7) is for the 32-bit. Your average citizen could likely go their entire life without even knowing there's a 64-bit version of IE hiding deep in the guts of Windows. If the default shortcut opened the 64-bit version, usage stats would skyrocket for it.
lysaer 23rd November 2012, 04:15 Quote
Meh Firefox is crap anyways, mine constantly freezes when watching videos.

I've tried every solution Google can spam at me and nothing works.

I used to love Firefox but Chrome is my browser of choice now.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
LordLuciendar 23rd November 2012, 04:52 Quote
This is rather crap news. I have been using Nightly 64 bit (Trunk build) as my primary browser for three to four years now, it is lightning fast and the few plugins I use have rarely had any issues. I have experienced maybe two or three few hour segments where flash caused it to crash in the whole time I have been using it.

Seems IE is moving away from x64 space too... I wonder what this means for the future of browsing, essentially 32 bit is here to stay?
crudbreeder 23rd November 2012, 07:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordLuciendar
Seems IE is moving away from x64 space too... I wonder what this means for the future of browsing, essentially 32 bit is here to stay?


64bit doesn't matter to the vast majority of application developers, they don't see any gain from switching their products to 64 bit. And the facst that they must still produce a 32bit version for their current customers, and that developing for both 32 and 64 bit in parallell isn't without issues tend to be the final nail in the coffin.

So it's a catch 22, people can't use 64bit OSs fully, because most of their applications are 32 bit, and developers won't do 64 bit versions since most of their customers use 32 bit OS.

So yes, you will see 32 bit dominating the desktop world for a lot of years to come.
IvanIvanovich 23rd November 2012, 16:11 Quote
Adnoctum, what is your problem? If everyone thought like you I'm sure we would all still be on 8bit. I mean, surely 8bit browser is good enough to display text... everything else is just overkill right?
derviansoul 23rd November 2012, 16:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crudbreeder
64bit doesn't matter to the vast majority of application developers, they don't see any gain from switching their products to 64 bit. And the facst that they must still produce a 32bit version for their current customers, and that developing for both 32 and 64 bit in parallell isn't without issues tend to be the final nail in the coffin.

So it's a catch 22, people can't use 64bit OSs fully, because most of their applications are 32 bit, and developers won't do 64 bit versions since most of their customers use 32 bit OS.

So yes, you will see 32 bit dominating the desktop world for a lot of years to come.

The funny thing is that everyone here finds excuses to keep supporting 32bits. But this should actually be done by microsoft themselves by stop selling the 32bits.

All this discussion about legacy only proves in my opinion that the desktop is dying slowly and the fact that mozzilla instead of pushing 64bits version is actually killing it. i wonder if it will take more than 10years for mobile based OS's to get rid of 32bit. (I would go even further in saying that in less than 5years, OS's in the mobile space wont even support it).
Anfield 25th November 2012, 21:13 Quote
On a brighter note, less versions means more dev time to improve the renaining ones.
MrJay 25th November 2012, 21:46 Quote
Although slightly un-related, is anyone else finding FF buggy and unstable of late. My current install keeps hanging and sucking up all my memory. By the time I had the inclination to terminate the process it had swallowed up 2gb of memory!
impar 26th November 2012, 10:47 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJay
By the time I had the inclination to terminate the process it had swallowed up 2gb of memory!
I am a heavy tab user and I cant reach that on these new versions.
Should be looking to the addons you are using, some are very leaky. If you arent using addons, reinstall a clean Firefox, dont forget to keep favourites, history and passwords.
ssj12 26th November 2012, 23:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJay
Although slightly un-related, is anyone else finding FF buggy and unstable of late. My current install keeps hanging and sucking up all my memory. By the time I had the inclination to terminate the process it had swallowed up 2gb of memory!

Check add-ons. To be more exact, Ad-Block Plus tends to break itself every once in a while and do that.
zoom314 27th November 2012, 00:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by derviansoul
Maybe they should just cut the development on 32bits instead and force developers to update or get left behind.

I agree, 32 bit should have been killed off, problem is Mozilla had a fairly good version that worked at 12.0a1, later versions like 13.0a1 to 20.0a1 had functionality most likely just loped off to discourage people from using the 64 bit browser, could 12.0a1 have been released or even gone to Beta? In My opinion, YES. Do I think Mozilla ever intended to release the 64bit Firefox Browser? Nope, especially now that Mozilla has taken Market share from IE, Mozilla thinks half the Nightly users might jump ship to Opera 12.11 which has a 64bit browser that unlike Mozilla is released for everyone to use.

I've been using 12.0a1 for about a year flash does crash, sometimes, but not as much as it used to do, Java and the Java development kit both work, as does Silverlight and those are the 4 plugins that I have.

In 13.0a1 to 20.0a1 for example making a bookmark is great, their all unsorted, this didn't happen in 12.0a1, there is a popup memu(a dialog box) in 12.0a1 that's missing in 13.0a1 to 20.0a1, also in 20.0a1 about:addons would seem to be a simple mouse click like under 12.0a1, but unlike in 12.0a1 that mouse click goes no where, also in 20.0a1 Ctrl-Shift-A which takes one to addons in 12.0a1 does nothing in 13.0a1 to 20.0a1.

If You want a 64bit Windows web browser and have an installed 64 bit Vista/Windows 7 Operating System, If You have the 32bit version of Vista or Windows 7 do not bother as a 64bit program will not run on a 32bit OS(Operating System), then here's the link:

firefox-12.0a1.en-US.win64-x86_64.zip(22MB)
impar 27th November 2012, 13:17 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
64-bit Firefox for Windows should be prioritized, not suspended
64-bit browsers are more stable and more secure; Mozilla should build one.
...
Why does memory matter so much for browsers? There are two reasons. One is common to all browsers; the other is more specific to Firefox. The first reason, the universal reason, is a little thing called security. Security flaws in browsers are an unfortunate fact, so operating system and browser developers both implement various features to try to reduce the impact of these security flaws.
...
About we mentioned there were two main issues with 32-bit on Firefox. That second problem is specific to this OS: Firefox is getting too big for a 32-bit memory space. Firefox does opt in to using 3GB of memory if it can, and 4GB when run on 64-bit systems, but this isn't enough.
...
impar 23rd December 2012, 21:24 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Firefox 64-bit Windows development resumed
...
Smedberg has apparently had a change of heart and now claims, "I believe that we can keep a set of users happy by making a modification to the original plan." That plan will include moving all of the current users of Mozilla's Win64 nightly channel to the Win32 channel. However, he added, "Users who need the 64-bit builds will have to download it after the migration point."
...
Eldorado 27th February 2013, 16:13 Quote
I'll stick to SRware's Iron, when that fails I use Waterfox & as a last resort, Opera.
IE is the first thing I disable after a fresh installation.
rollo 27th February 2013, 17:29 Quote
How many open tabs does 2gb even take to get too these days. even with the 10 tabs i have open now its bearly breaking 200mb.
impar 27th February 2013, 21:08 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
How many open tabs does 2gb even take to get too these days. even with the 10 tabs i have open now its bearly breaking 200mb.
I reach the RAM limit with Firefox some times, around 3,2GB. It then recovers all Firefox windows and tabs, waiting to be reloaded. It used to happen once or twice a week, now its once a month or so. The RAM saving features do work.
IE9 and Chrome cant handle my browsing habits.
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