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Firefox 64-bit development quietly ended for Windows

By Rick ¬∑ 29 replies
Nov 22, 2012
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  1. It appears Mozilla has quietly toe-tagged 64-bit builds of its Firefox browser for Windows. In a Google Groups discussion, managing engineer Benjamin Smedberg requested coders halt development on nightly builds of its 64-bit Windows distribution.

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  2. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 428   +44

    It's not clear but does this mean Waterfox is going under? I use Waterfox on all my Windows machines and it's great!
  3. sapo joe

    sapo joe TS Member Posts: 81   +6

    I stopped using Firefox altogether because of this. I loved waterfox, but it's been months since the last update and recently it started to crash every 5 minutes. So, I made my (painless) move to chrome, that, inspite of being 32bit, is running faster.

    I just miss my youtube download component.

    Edit: Just found a youtube dowloader for Chrome... :)
  4. This doesn't mean that waterfox is done for, just the official 64-bit nightly builds. Waterfox is compiled from the source code which means it's safe.
  5. Levingston

    Levingston TS Rookie

    Waterfox updated a few weeks ago..maybe you should check their website every once in awhile for their browser updates, dude.
  6. yhtomitn64

    yhtomitn64 TS Rookie

    Besides a process using more memory what is the benefit of a 64 bit browser?
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,920   +3,296

    So you don't have to run Windows, (x86), on top of Windows, (x64). There's arguably a speed penalty for doing so. As to whether or not that's a benefit, or can be quantified by a home user, remains to be seen / who cares.

    I expect that until the majority of internet transmission is 64 bits , then perhaps a 64 bit browser wouldn't be necessary.

    Remember, you can't argue against more, (or excess), memory usage in this market. Intel has capped CPU memory management capability on certain CPUs to 32GB. That's still way more than you'll ever need for a browser.

    Keep in mind, software and hardware manufacturers are doing s*** simply because they can, hoping to invent a market for it later. 64 bit browser, gotta have it, (as long as it's not "Chrome").
  8. sapo joe

    sapo joe TS Member Posts: 81   +6

    I updated to the latest and it didn't solve the problem.

    If you read the news in question, you'd see they're stoping to develop it.
  9. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 428   +44

    Waterfox uses a separate updater. It is not built in like Firefox. You should search your start menu for it :)
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,355   +1,388

    64bit data on the Internet is not a requirement to support 64bit browsers - - they are two different concepts. 64bit data is also not a requirement to support IPv6 network addressing.

    Try this analogy; An interstate UPS truck carries many more packages than the local delivery truck. Whether Interstate or local, the package still has the same tracking number, is the same weight and size. The Internet is akin to the package itself, not the truck in which it was it transported. Our browsers can 'hold more packages' in a 64bit browser than they can hold in a 32bit browser. Due to User Interface design issues, a single webpage is seldom more than a few Page Down strokes. Even vary large PDF presentations can be delivered in 32bit Internet packets.
  11. sapo joe

    sapo joe TS Member Posts: 81   +6

    Read my other reply. :)
  12. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,913   +538

    EXACTLY... such an easy decision to just drop 64-bit because people couldn't be stuffed doing it until the **** hits the fan rather than being pro-active. Hopeless...
  13. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,913   +538

    64-bit has better native process protection mechanisms in Windows e.g. harder to exploit holes such as memory leaks in applications in 64-bit.

    Apart from that, not really anything special but memory limits are worth at least monitoring. Particularly for Firefox. Running half a dozen addons and a dozen tabs, my firefox memory can easily hit over 1GB. 32-bit limit is normally 2GB (you can get this up to 3GB with some options enabled). Not a whole lot of headroom.
  14. dcnc123

    dcnc123 TS Enthusiast Posts: 57

    Yeah... I think they should focus on 32bit... or better yet improve their bug tracking to determine what and which version of the browser got errors.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,920   +3,296

    Almost everyday I regret giving in to updating past FF 3.6. I can put up, literally hundreds of tabs and chug along on a machine with only 1.5 GB of memory. It's usually hovering around 700 to 800MB. This is on an XP box. When FF does finally decide to crash, it just goes away in an instant. Running multiple security solutions, I could care less if a 64 bit browser would be more natively secure. It's a moot point. Of course, I do my banking on another machine.

    I'm on FF17 now with Windows 7 32 bit. about 70 tabs are open, and task manager is telling me I'm using about 700MB of memory.

    I'm not sure what add-ons I would have to install to get results similar to yours. Let me know please, so I'll have the good sense to avoid them.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  16. They never actually worked on it.
  17. The problem I've seen with 64 bit browsers is not the browsers themselfs but the plugins.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,774   +4,587

    I honestly don't see where the fuss is! Why not stop creating problems for themselves and fix the ones they are facing. Since they started the rapid version acceleration, I have heard nothing but complaints. Stopping development of 64-bit is not a solution, it's a stall on moving forward into the future.
  19. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson TS Maniac Posts: 488   +10

    We really need to just push everyone off 32 bit so that developers can focus on 1 code base. And the people that are actually using 64 bit and know it can have some peace. Microsoft should stop offering 32 bit Windows (We had XP, Vista, 7, now 8). 64 bit runs 32 bit code, and it will let all the driver manufacturers hurry up and support 64 bit since 32 will bite the dust... Geez... Are we there yet! No?! What's the hold up?!
  20. p3ngwin

    p3ngwin TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +9

    Other browsers manage it like Internet Explorer, and even smaller market-share browsers with smaller engineering teams and less money mange it like Opera.

    What's Mozilla's excuse ??

    Plugins? Java and Adobe Flash have 64bit version for a while now. So what's the reason ?

    Incompetence, laziness, disorganized.
  21. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson TS Maniac Posts: 488   +10

    I agree. Driver support is at an all time high. There needs to be a hard deadline or no one will plan for the move. Here is hoping we will see it with Windows 9.
  22. p3ngwin

    p3ngwin TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +9

    totally agreed.

    CPU's have been ubiquitously 64Bit for over 5 years, and we're still getting 32Bit OS's ?

    people ask what the point it for 64Bit and what's the harm running 32Bit code on 64Bit OS's like Windows.

    my answer is "you go back to running 16Bit programs on your OS and get back to me when your system runs like crap, then ask again why running 32bit programs on 64Bit OS's is insanity".

    The Driver benefits alone are worth their weight in Gold.

    you want to run legacy programs? then you can enjoy running them on legacy hardware, but what you don't get to do is hold up the evolution of the planet just because you want to try and run the latest software on your archaic hardware.

    can't run the latest 64bit browser with all the benefits of GPU acceleration and 64Bit plugins, etc? replace that 5+ year-old computer and stop holding the rest of us back.

    it's not as if we're going to migrate to 128Bit computing any time soon, so get rid of 32Bit and fully invest into the CURRENT generation of 64BIT computing.
  23. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson TS Maniac Posts: 488   +10

    The thing is we get the good parts this time around. There is hardly any issues running 32 bit software on the 64 bit Windows. It is the drivers for hardware that need updating. In most cases there is no reason people should have to purchase new hardware if the manufacturer can create the updated drivers. I even would not mind paying for the updated drivers if I'm trying to use a device that was on XP. But why do I need to throw away my hardware if it is in ment condition and cost a lot of money. It is wasteful. Charge me like 15 bucks and extend my ability to have drivers for the current driver model for windows. Or if you tech is so old, look into open sourcing them.
  24. p3ngwin

    p3ngwin TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +9

    I'm running Firefox with 35 tabs and about 30 extensions.

    I have a triple monitor setup, I multitask a lot and I'm obviously an edge-case, or "power-user". This is relevant, as unless Mozilla get creative in Firefox's memory usage, as Web technologies increase in complexity and hardware requirements, more people will soon feel the pinch with even less tabs and extensions open.

    I'm simply hitting the wall earlier than others soon will.

    Firefox constantly stutters as it hits the 2GB limit for processes under 32Bit, this would not happen if Firefox was coded to capitalize on 64Bit hardware.

    Chrome side-steps this problem by opening a new processes for each tab, and this works fine, as it's a lot easier to have more RAM than it is to circumvent the problem of hitting 2GB limit on Firefox's single process.

    I can't do anything about Firefox's restrictive process, but I do have the flexibility to add more RAM if I need. That's not even considering the question why Internet Explorer and Opera can somehow mange 64Bit versions, so what's Mozilla's excuse ?

    "But why do I need to throw away my hardware if it is in ment condition and cost a lot of money."

    Your hardware may be in "mint-condition", but that doesn't mean it's software compatibility is competent. I have perfect-condition IBM 386-SX right here, why am I forced to buy an expensive modern computer to run Windows 8 and Firefox 32Bit ?

    Updating your hardware from 32Bit to 64Bit brings you into the current generation of computing, and we're not going to be moving to 128Bit for decades, so complaining that your "mint-condition" hardware is obsolete is simply complaining that 32Bit didn't last decades longer than it already did.

    Would you be as sympathetic to those running "mint-condition" 16Bit hardware, or did they already have their time and you would say they need to upgrade to current hardware to run current software ?
  25. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 162   +83

    I agree with some of the above posters, It's time to clear out 32bit and move on. I'm a programmer for a large 3D CAD company and we have been pushing the use of 64bit for ages. Any programmer worth his salt should be able to make any code work in 64bit.

    The 64bit machines should last quite a long time, But one can never say for sure how soon 128bit will be needed or if something different will come along before that, but I say the sooner everything is 64bit the better.

    If making Firefox 64bit breaks a load of plugins, then those plugins need reworking, If the programmers of them can't be bothered then the plugin will die, and rightly so.

    Viva la revolucion

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