Mozilla is making plans for 64-bit Firefox browser

October 6, 2014 by Nancy Owano, Phys.org

Late last year, a questioner sent his query to Mozilla support: "Is there still not an official 64-bit version of FIrefox available for Windows?" The answer: "Mozilla doesn't have a release version of Firefox 64-bit for Windows operating systems." The latest news is good news for those hoping for a different answer.

The latest news is that a 64-bit version of the is planned. The Mozilla Wiki website suggests that the organization will release a 64-bit Firefox version for the Windows operating system. Mozilla had been exploring a 64-bit Firefox browser for years, and it will target a 64-bit web browser for next year. The product manager of Firefox at Mozilla, Javaun Moradi, in a meeting plan page, "[Approved Plan of Record] Firefox Desktop Project: Win64," said Firefox has been doing 64-bit builds for Windows for years. The outstanding engineering work to complete 64-bit on Windows, he said, is: "finish test coverage, plugin compat work, and installer work. The last two are significant obstacles." Why persist? Is a 64-bit version so important? Moradi said, "64 bit is incredibly exciting to those of us who understand what it offers in stability, performance, and security. We're the minority. Most of the world has no idea what 64 bit means. They can already do everything they want to do online. Many will only notice 64 bit if their experience breaks. Our job is to deliver the benefits—even if they're invisible—and avoid the breakage." Google Chrome and Internet Explorer offer 64-bit editions. He said that "Chrome is doing us a huge favor by setting NPAPI expectations in the market. We can learn from their rollout."

(In August, on the Chrome side, Will Harris, a software engineer, posted in the Chromium blog that "64-bit Chrome offers many benefits for speed, stability and security. Our measurements have shown that the native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks.")

Commented Rob Williams on HotHardware: "To be fair, a 64-bit version of Firefox hasn't been hard to come by up to this point. A visit to the project's nightly channel could have hooked you up with what you needed, and alternative browsers based on Firefox have also made 64-bit available to users. With the fact that an official stable 64-bit Firefox is en route, though, it's a solution that fans of the browser can truly trust."

Martin Brinkmann of Ghacks, a technology news blog, also noted that for Firefox users, those who run the browser on Windows systems "have two options currently when it comes to running it as a 64-bit application. They can either run the 64-bit Nightly channel version of the browser or use a third-party build such as Pale Moon which is offered as a 64-bit version as well."

Among the 64-bit objectives mentioned by Moradi were to take advantage of a limited window of opportunity in gaming and performance browser apps; offer users a better experience with improvements in stability, performance, and security; and stay competitive with the rest of the browser landscape.

More information: Firefox/win64: wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/win64

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