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Firefox Is Going 64-Bit: What You Need To Know

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the hands-extended-and-upturned dept.

Firefox 364

An anonymous reader writes "Firefox product manager Asa Dotzler determined that figuring out the 64-bit confusion surrounding Firefox it will be 'near the top' of his to-do list this summer and fall. One could conclude that Mozilla has no idea at this point what people are expecting from a 64-bit version of Firefox, so Dotzler is asking for some feedback. More speed? More security? What about plug-in availability? All of the above, please."

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364 comments

App idea that is directly related to this! (-1, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | about 2 years ago | (#36787220)


I would like to see them put in a timer of sorts. So that when you start the browser up it asks: "How long would you like to browse the web for?" and offer 15, 30, 45 and 60 minute options. At the end the browser would save the "state" of the browser then turn off and refuse to start for another hour.

An app idea I had (programmers contact me!) was to incorporate something like this for the entire computer with an app for a smartphone. It'd tell you "Go for a walk" or whatevever then the app on the phone would start reporting back the GPS info to the computer. The computer would know if you've moved about and how fast, so you couldn't get in your car and drive around for 10 minutes and fool it.

It sounds drastic, but when I brought it up at a Chirpractic seminar open floor, there was initially a lot of chuckles but as the idea fleshed out, folks got interested. Sitting on your butt in front of a computer all day is a 100% guaranteed way to develop vertebral subluxations which can cause all sorts of ills. Ever stand up and stretch your back after sitting for a while? That's your body dealing with neo-subluxations which have formed in that short period of time.

More serious subluxations must be dealt with by a professional Chiropractor. Only they are trained to detect and eliminate this scourge. Since people became predominately "office workers", the rate of subluxation has skyrocketed, especially in IT workers.

Take care,
Bob.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#36787250)

This loony quack is getting quite annoying. For the record, chiropractors are fraudsters, voodoo witch doctors in suits who take in the gullible. This particular bird has that extra pathetic aspect in that he seems to actually believe the bullcrap he spins to others.

You're a fraud pal, a vile repugnant fraud.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (0)

PNutts (199112) | about 2 years ago | (#36787272)

For the record, chiropractors are fraudsters, voodoo witch doctors in suits who take in the gullible.

Sorry your experience was so negative. I've had good luck with them for two different issues.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787308)

PNutts said:

Sorry your experience was so negative. I've had good luck with them for two different issues.

Let me guess... your penis and your nuts?

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#36787766)

Good for you, but chiropractors are "bullshit". Actually just go watch that episode and get back to me. Whoo! We're gonna adjust the spines of 5 year olds! Whooo!

Fuck off and die you creepy mother fucker!

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (-1, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | about 2 years ago | (#36787338)


That's bordering on slander.

Chiropractic has saved countless millions of lives without drugs and surgery. On the contrary, it's the Big Pharma controlled Medical system that are the frauds.

- Has an MD ever cured a subluxation? No.

- Has a Psychiatrist every cured a patient? No, they're kept as drugged up zombies.

- Has an Audiologist ever cured deafness? No, they give you hearing aids that blast your eardrums further into deafness.

- Has an Oncologist ever cured cancer? No, it goes into "remission" meaning they cross their fingers.

Chiropractic has done all of this and more. Don't just take my word for it, ask ANY Chiropractor and they will tell you the same thing. Look at Chiro videos on YouTube, they have lots of Thumbs Up from other Chiros.

Relax and go for a walk, your anger isn't healthy!

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#36787380)

It ain't bordering on slander, it's reporting the reality that you're a fraudsters, along with all the other vile fraudsters in your "profession".

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (2)

Chucky_M (1708842) | about 2 years ago | (#36787546)

Dam, so Jesus was a Chiropractor? someone should tell the pope.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about 2 years ago | (#36787652)

Didn't ya know that a carpenter is really a chiropractor? They just cure subluxations in trees!!

Funny note: Firefox says subluxations isn't spelled properly. So it must be made up.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (0)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#36787354)

He's actually either a troll or an anti-chiropractor himself. He could only be driving people away from chiropractic treatment with these posts.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787394)


Check out his Facebook page: over 400 friends last time I looked. All Chiropractors, Homeopaths, Acupuncturists, etc. The guy is a legitimate quack/loon.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (-1, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#36787414)

It's a pity consumer laws weren't up to the task of putting these lying evil fraudsters out of business.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (1, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#36787470)

I'm actually a little bit torn. I have a friend who is a chiropractor, and he honestly believes in his trade. And I think most of them do... I mean, why would you go through all that training and certification if you thought it was quackery?

And they do see results. Why? Because the placebo effect is real. Sure, a chiropractor probably isn't actually accomplishing anything, but if the patient thinks they are, they might see their pain symptoms go away.

So, yeah, they can't claim to be doing anything that has been proven science behind it, but on the other hand they are improving people's lives.

Now, pain is one thing... cancer is another. Anyone claiming that rubbing and cracking will cure cancer belongs in jail.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787538)


Chiros work in stealth, almost like Scientologists. They don't offer too much wackiness in public as that can scare people away. But behind closed doors is where they start doing the sales pitch.

You know that there are actual chiropractor seminars where the chiropractor is trained to estimate a new patient's cash flow and base an "adjustment schedule" on that?

I shit you not. Poor? Oh, one adjustment every 2 weeks. Rich? Oh, those subluxations are FIERCE! You need to come in 3 times a week.

They use the "Doctor" label over and over but aren't so quick to tell patients that they aren't actually MDs and have, in most cases, absolutely NO medical schooling. Most Chiro schools require a 2.5 GPA in mostly garbage courses for entrance. How's that for a low bar?

Disclaimer: a good friend is a chiro, we agree to disagree on it.

Re:App idea that is directly related to this! (1)

Streetlight (1102081) | about 2 years ago | (#36787756)

My feeling is that the chiropractic business model is to provide some relief for awhile and when the problem returns, one will go back to get this relief, over and over again. Many years ago when I was living in Utah, chiropractors were claiming all kinds of cures for about anything, including cancer. If I remember correctly, the state removed their licenses and stopped issuing new ones. Chiropractic was basically shut down. I don't know if it as come back, but I assume if all the quacks were flushed out of the system, it may be back.

If Mozilla has no idea what to expect (2)

Cito (1725214) | about 2 years ago | (#36787228)

Then why make a 64 bit version at all? If the company has no idea what people expect, then they don't need to be messing with it in first place.

Memory! (5, Funny)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 2 years ago | (#36787244)

Then why make a 64 bit version at all? If the company has no idea what people expect, then they don't need to be messing with it in first place.

Hurray! With 64 bits, Firefox might be able to address all the memory it uses...

Re:Memory! (3, Insightful)

grub (11606) | about 2 years ago | (#36787266)


Hurray! With 64 bits, Firefox might be able to address all the memory it uses...

Firefox and the OS will still need ZFS' 128 bit filesystem for the swap space.

Re:Memory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787434)

super epic winner spotted ;)

Re:If Mozilla has no idea what to expect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787258)

Exactly. It's not as if I'm sitting here, wishing to God my browser was 64 bit because it's so SSSLLLOOOWWW. It works perfectly well as-is. If someone wants to take up this task as a project to complete their PhD, then fine. To think that there are people out there just waiting for this to happen is plain silly.

Re:If Mozilla has no idea what to expect (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#36787430)

(Easy) compatibility with 64-bit plugins and not having to drag along a whole bloody system's worth of 32-bit libraries just to install the browser seem like the most evident reasons...

What confuses me is why they would be framing an address-length change in terms of additional features. With the specific exception of applications where the implementation of certain features requires easy access to gigantic slabs of memory, there isn't a whole lot of connection between 64-bitness and the feature list.

Re:If Mozilla has no idea what to expect (2)

truthsearch (249536) | about 2 years ago | (#36787584)

I was thinking the same thing, so I looked into it a bit (no pun intended). Apparently "true" 64-bit processing uses a more modern instruction set on the CPU, so I suppose there are additional performance and security benefits to using it.

Re:If Mozilla has no idea what to expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787712)

"Then why make a 64 bit version at all?"

So that they can better meet their rapid release plan!

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/06/21/1756243/Mozilla-Ships-Firefox-5-Meets-Rapid-Release-Plan

Re:If Mozilla has no idea what to expect (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 2 years ago | (#36787772)

Then why make a 64 bit version at all?

Maybe they need an excuse to change the version to 6.4?

64-bit is a misfeature (3, Insightful)

chrylis (262281) | about 2 years ago | (#36787236)

Perhaps if they instead focused on fixing the memory leaks, pushing out 64-bit builds wouldn't be so pressing an issue?

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#36787262)

After playing with FF4 for a couple of weeks, I finally grew tired of it and installed Chrome. Chrome still needs a few features, but all in all, it outperforms FireFox hands down.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (2)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about 2 years ago | (#36787366)

I've had chrome use 14gb of ram (only thing to make swapping an issue on my computer), measured by change in available RAM after killing it. I would say I find Chrome's runnaway resource problems a bigger issue, only slightly mitigated by the ability to individually kill tabs.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787428)

You do realize that the firefox.exe process is not in any way related to Chrome, right? When firefox.exe is using 14 GB of RAM, it's not Chrome's fault.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787480)

You do realize that he was not referring to Firefox, but was criticizing Chrome's use of RAM in comparison to Firefox...?

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (1)

Bithir (409924) | about 2 years ago | (#36787508)

I am sure he referred to Chrome.

I have had Chrome eat 8 GB of memory on my 6 GB machine - I love Chrome and use it over FF for almost a year now, but it is not without faults.

Chrome has been a bit better on turning out fixes, but giving that FF is trying to adopt a faster paced delivery. If it is successfully implemented then they might soon do it in the same speed as Chrome, or perhaps even faster, only time will tell. This is the advantage with competition.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787692)

Or we could just look at the severity of the browser issues.

Firefox: millions of people reporting memory leaks with Firefox.
Chrome: dozens of people reporting memory leaks with Chromium.
Other: thousands of people reporting obscure Nvidia/ATI driver leaks ... by blaming the affected programs (usually video games).
Opera: 1/3rd of its userbase reporting crashes (1 report total)

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 2 years ago | (#36787634)

After playing with FF4 for a couple of weeks, I finally grew tired of it and installed Chrome. Chrome still needs a few features, but all in all, it outperforms FireFox hands down.

After playing with Chrome for a couple of weeks, I finally grew tired of it and installed FF5. FF5 has all the features I need and many of those are implemented far better than Chrome, but all in all, it outperforms Chrome hands down.

Fixed that for you.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787770)

After playing with FF4 for a couple of weeks, I finally grew tired of it and installed Chrome. Chrome still needs a few features, but all in all, it outperforms FireFox hands down.

After playing with Chrome for a couple of weeks, I finally grew tired of it and installed FF5. FF5 has all the features I need and many of those are implemented far better than Chrome, but all in all, it outperforms Chrome hands down.

Fixed that for you.

Me too, me too!

After playing with FF5 for a couple weeks, I finally grew tired of it and installed lynx. Lynx has all the features I need and many of those are implemented far better than Chrome, but all in all, it outperforms FF5 hands down.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#36787390)

64-bit is important because an increasing number of operating systems are no longer shipping 32-bit libraries by default, and on the ones that are, most apps are 64-bit so they may not be swapped in. On this machine, only four of the apps that I'm running are 32-bit - and two of those are just because I'm running really old versions and haven't bothered to upgrade (they're open source and 32-bit clean). With these running, I have a lot of libraries loaded twice, once for them and once for every other application. A couple of years ago, the balance was in the other direction - a few 64-bit apps and a lot of 32-bit ones. If FireFox is the only 32-bit app that you're running, then that's a huge amount of 32-bit shared library code that is loaded solely for FireFox's benefit.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787474)

Which operating systems are you talking about? I've been using 64-bit Firefox for years. Almost any 64-bit Linux distribution that offers Firefox will offer it in 64-bit. The downloads available on mozilla.org are irrelevant.

If you are talking about Windows, I don't think they're throwing away 32-bit support any time soon. Maybe Mac OS will stop 32-bit support at some point as they seem to like throwing out backwards compatibility, but they're just as likely to switch to some other, completely different architecture.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#36787834)

Other than some random Linux distro, name an OS that has 'stopped shipping 32bit libraries' by default.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (2)

DickBreath (207180) | about 2 years ago | (#36787444)

No need to fix FF's memory leaks.

Having a 64 bit version will all FF to take advantage of more than 4 GB of memory.

Fixing leaks is a waste of effort on mozilla's part. If you had a boat with leaks would you waste time, effort and money to fix it? No. Just get a bigger hull.

Its About Compatibility (Re:64-bit is a ...) (2)

EXTomar (78739) | about 2 years ago | (#36787548)

Releasing a 64-bit install is about compatibility in the environment. But an implication by the parent is that Mozilla can't work on increasing compatibility and fix bugs at the same time. These two things aren't related at all where we should welcome things like this.

Or another way to think about it: We should applaud Mozilla for releasing the 64-bit installer and continue to complain about the bugs.

Re:64-bit is a misfeature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787642)

They _are_ focused on fixing the memory leaks. See the MemShrink project:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Performance/MemShrink

Switch to a Webkit based browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787270)

Firefox has served as the alternate web browser for years. Now, that the KHTML inspired, Webkit browser engine has matured, it is time to thank Firefox for its years of service, and switch to one of the many Webkit based browsers, such as Chrome, Safari, or Midori.

The most obvious feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787328)

I'll be happy if it correctly renders the web pages I visit that are over 4 GB in size. Of course, they're mostly Flash.

Why ? (1)

advance-software (1770510) | about 2 years ago | (#36787336)

Why does a browser need to be able to access more than 4GB ? Has anyone hit that limit yet ? Or even close ?

Re:Why ? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#36787398)

Why does a browser need to be able to access more than 4GB ? Has anyone hit that limit yet ? Or even close ?

I want the one with the bigger GB's.....

Re:Why ? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#36787490)

I've not seen my browser use more than about 800MB of memory (and that seems quite ludicrous), but there are several reasons to want a 64-bit version:

  • In 64-bit mode, you have more registers available. This makes makes compiling JavaScript easier.
  • You can store a 63-bit integer or a 32-bit floating point value in a JavaScript pointer and only promote them to real objects wrapping 64-bit values when an operation would lose precision. This reduces memory required for JavaScript.
  • 64-bit, on x86, implies the existence of SSE. This means you can generate efficient SSE code instead of slow x87 code.
  • Most of your other apps are increasingly going to be 64-bit, so launching a 32-bit app will result in swapping in a huge number of 32-bit versions of shared libraries.
  • 64 is bigger than 32, and customers want more of those bit thingies.

Re:Why ? (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 2 years ago | (#36787500)

> Why does a browser need to be able to access more than 4GB ?

Because I may want Linux running on a PC emulator written in JavaScript. Or I may want the latest Flash based animated jumping blinking dancing flickering seizure inducing graphics which make the web so much more informative.

But seriously, the real reason of global importance is so that you can have a much larger Farmville.

Eh? (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 2 years ago | (#36787344)

I thought I had been running a 64bit Firefox for years. So I wasn't? Or is this about finally doing a 64-bit Windows build? Probably since Moz Corp is entirely focused on Windows and treats Linux as a red headed stepchild.

Re:Eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787362)

and treats Linux as a red headed stepchild.

and justifiably so...Linux is still considered the cheapskate OS.

Re:Eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787482)

and treats Linux as a red headed stepchild.

and justifiably so...Linux is still considered the cheapskate OS.

Cheap as in freedom, you fascist collaborator.

Re:Eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787560)

Cheap as in beer...Meisterbrau.
People don't go around picking up dog poop because its on the ground free either..or as the saying goes...
It's free as long as you don't have value for your time.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787746)

"People don't go around picking up dog poop because its on the ground free either.."

But dog poop is free as in beer, not free as in freedom. What have you got against freedom? (And I'm not talking about the "American Gladiators"-McDonalds-bomb-the-monkeys-without-tails-kind of Freedom as sold by the economic elites and the US, but actual freedom.)

Re:Eh? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#36787784)

It's free as long as you don't have value for your time.

Hey, that's just what your mom told your dad the night you were conceived.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787582)

Where on earth do you get a cheaper GNU/Linux system than Microsoft Windows? I see systems on par in terms of price. Not cheaper. Unless you are taking into account things like the price of Microsoft Office, Anti-Virus, etc. Then it is significantly cheaper. BUT people are using it because it is better or free. Cheapskates go with Microsoft Windows not GNU/Linux because they see too good to be true deals. They fail to realise the costs of Microsoft Windows once they walk out of the door exceeds that of GNU/Linux systems.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787378)

They have had 64-bit Windows builds for over a year, but now they are actually going into production.

And yeah, this is just referring to Windows.

Firefox on Linux is actually great, with -O3 support on GCC and 64-bit support.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787404)

treats Linux as a red headed stepchild.

How do you figure? Linux got 64bit binaries before Windows. Sounds like 64-bit Windows is the stepchild to me.

Re:Eh? (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | about 2 years ago | (#36787542)

treats Linux as a red headed stepchild.

How do you figure? Linux got 64bit binaries before Windows. Sounds like 64-bit Windows is the stepchild to me.

OP is probably referring to how measurably slow Firefox is on Linux (and Mac OS X) compared to Windows, the assumption being that Mozilla cares less about Firefox on less popular platforms.

Re:Eh? (0)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 2 years ago | (#36787602)

How do you figure? Linux got 64bit binaries before Windows. Sounds like 64-bit Windows is the stepchild to me.

Only because it is open source and can be compiled by the distribution developers. Whether it can actually be called "Firefox" or not without stepping on some asshole's foot at Mozilla Corporation for making "unauthorized" changes to the source... well, that's another story.

Mozilla has to produce the Windows Firefox binaries and set up the installer, so it's just pure laziness that they didn't already start producing 64-bit Windows binaries a long time ago. Maybe the Corporation needs to spend less money on legal issues regarding how you can and cannot use the code and more on development and support.

Re:Eh? (2)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about 2 years ago | (#36787668)

>I thought I had been running a 64bit Firefox for years.
I know I have. First third party SeaMonkey builds, then the SeaMonkey Nightlies got 64 bit options, and I went to that.

Please provide native support of PDF for OS X. (1)

KuRa_Scvls (932317) | about 2 years ago | (#36787360)

Otherwise I'm never coming back from Chrome.

Re:Please provide native support of PDF for OS X. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787526)

Why would anyone WANT to read a PDF inside a browser?

It's not a web format and shouldn't be treated like one by any browser.

Re:Please provide native support of PDF for OS X. (0)

ToadMan8 (521480) | about 2 years ago | (#36787530)

OS X has the only tolerable PDF viewer already (Preview.app). If anything, the other platforms are worse off with PDF support.

Re:Please provide native support of PDF for OS X. (1)

Vladimus (583117) | about 2 years ago | (#36787674)

Please don't add native PDF support. Feeping creaturitis is never the answer.

A 64-bit version of FireFox is what I am expecting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787364)

I am expecting a browser that runs in 64-bit mode under 64-bit versions of Windows. Sincerely, Captain Obvious.

Wrong title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787384)

Should have been: Firefox is going 64-bit on WINDOWS

I've been using a 64 bit version of Firefox for 6 years now (on Linux). Even Flash works.

Re:Wrong title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787462)

Indeed- I was really confused at the title, and event went and did this just to see if I was going crazy:

$ file /usr/lib/firefox-5.0/firefox-bin /usr/lib/firefox-5.0/firefox-bin: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.15, stripped

64 bit works since forever (2)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#36787416)

What's the problem with 64 bits? Firefox worked just fine with it for years. Unless you're using a doorstop machine or a doorstop OS, even having 32 bit libraries is a waste of disk space. Heck, even phones start having 2GB ram, suggesting ARM will need to transition soon. MIPS (Longsoon) is already there.

When project electrolysis finally lands on Firefox trunk, the only current benefit of 64 bits will be gone, but that's still not a reason to have a complete set of 32 bit libraries in memory (or even on disk).

Limits of 32 bits are annoying. For example, gcc-4.6 can partition flto compilation but it still needs to load everything into the memory. It'd be a huge waste of programming time to implement your own swapping if the OS is perfectly capable of doing that. If the address space is big enough, that is. You currently cannot compile Firefox with flto on a 32 bit machine at all, and it gives a huge (~20%) boost on typical C++ code.

Thus, your precious 32 bit systems are a doorstop architecture that would be nice to get rid of.

History repeats (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 2 years ago | (#36787478)

This sounds like like the, "Why should we rewrite our perfectly good 16 bit applications just because everybody else is jumping on the 32 bit bandwagon" conversations that we went through back in ancient times.

Re:History repeats (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#36787494)

Funny thing. I don't remember any arguments at all when the shift was 8-bit to 16-bit. :)

Re:History repeats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787680)

I do. Bbbbbbut address space that big won't fit in a word.

Re:History repeats (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#36787752)

Funny thing is, I doubt you've ever used an 8 bit general purpose PC. The x86 architecture was never 8 bit, it always had a 16 bit data bus. The 8088 only made 8 data lines externally available and thus needed multiplexing but it too was 16 bit, the 8086 just gave you all the lines externally rather than multiplexed.

8 bit consoles aren't really 8 bit, just 256 color. The Atari 2600 could access far more than 256 bytes of memory directly, so it wasn't really 8 bit either.

Basically, you don't remember it cause it didn't happen in the public's eye.

Re:History repeats (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 2 years ago | (#36787750)

It's not really the same. 16 bit applications had all sorts of issues on Windows. E.g. huge pointers (i.e. to objects bigger than 64K) were available but they required the compiler generate code to reload the segment base register. That was very slow in protected mode. The 16 bit API was very much cruftier than the 32 bit one due to near vs far pointer differences and the need to handle discarding code segments in software. By contrast a 32 bit application could use 32 bit pointers that could address any part of the address space with no issue. Plus everything was demand paged. 32 bit pointers were the same size as 16 bit far pointers so there was no speed penalty.

By contrast a 32 bit application has a 4GB flat address space. Every single one of the applications I use runs fine in that. A move to 64 bits gives you more registers but larger pointers. So it's not necessarily a net win in terms of performance. And there's no "API overhead" for 32 bit code compared to 64 bit code since both are flat and demand paged.

But it all comes down to diminishing returns. At the point people switched from Win16 to Win32 almost all programs had data segments much bigger than 64K. So the old selector:offset scheme had really started to bite. Now there are a few programs that need more than 4GB of data. But the vast majority don't and won't ever. So a lot of applications don't really need to be 64 bit.

Don't get me wrong - I've written some freeware applications and the recent ones build and run fine in both 32 and 64 bit mode. But I'm still only distributing the 32 bit builds. Maybe at some point in the future Windows will ditch support for 32 bit applications and then I'd probably distribute both.

Would've been nice if they would have done this... (1, Insightful)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 2 years ago | (#36787486)

...back when I actually gave a damn. More specifically, when I ran Windows, which was a hell of a long time ago now (in computing terms)... back before mid to late 2006. Now, I run Linux, so Firefox, or Iceweasel, or whatever spinoff is included in the distribution due to the Mozilla Corporation's bitching is often included as 64-bit by default--as long as it's a 64-bit distro.

To top it off, with all of the bullshit Mozilla has been pulling off for quite a while now (starting not long after the formation of the corporation and their increasing grasp and restrictions on the use of their products), I've been considering switching. There are a bunch of extensions that IMO are must-haves, and they make the switch more difficult, but every release, every news story of Mozilla/Firefox is making me consider jumping ship before this titanic sinks. They already seem to be so disillusioned from everything they already stood for, it's rare for them to impress me any more.

What the hell has become of the Mozilla of the Firefox 1.0 to 2.0 era? They've really jumped off the deep end. First they started wanting more control and placing more restrictions on the distribution and use of the software, then they started chasing Chrome in every way possible. And more recently, they switch to a clusterfuck of a release/versioning system, forcibly breaking extensions every couple months.

Ditching this Asa dipshit (never did like the guy) and scrapping the whole "Mozilla Corporation" idea would be a great first start. Oh, and listening to the users, instead of blatantly copying the competition's (specifically Google's) every last move... most of which of which are just bad ideas in the first place, at least in the context of Firefox. If I want Chrome, I'll use it; make Firefox actually be Firefox. Us Firefox users want Firefox, not some fucking Frankenchromeopera; if we did, we would have escaped from your increasingly controlling grasp long ago.

I forced myself into some of the changes in 3.x eventually, but with all the needless shitty changes in 4/5 and the new rapid major version releases, it looks like I've reaching the end of my use (and recommendation to others) of their products.

Just make it work properly, please. (0)

wickerprints (1094741) | about 2 years ago | (#36787502)

Since version 4, Firefox just stops functioning at random, with no warning. The menu bar becomes unresponsive, keyboard shortcuts and commands are not recognized, and tab switching is lost. You can still browse within the page you're on, but that's it. I went back to version 3, and realized that it was incredibly, incredibly slow.

Frustrated with no fix, I tried Google Chrome. So far, I am not impressed. It got caught in a loop when it tried importing my saved passwords from Firefox.

I may go back to Safari. I can't believe how obscenely hard it is to find a decent browser. So many choices, none of them any good.

64bit Firefox - what you need to know (1, Funny)

Rufty (37223) | about 2 years ago | (#36787524)

Firefox 64bit - now capable of completely glooping 2 exbibytes! At current rate of leaking, this means you now only need to restart one a day! (Warning, depending on speed of swap device, Firefox 64bit may take more than a day to restart.)

A 64 bit version number (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787554)

A 64 bit version number and support for IPV8

64-bits (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787616)

They need 64-bits because the version number won't fit into a 32-bit unsigned integer.

What? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#36787622)

This entire article makes no sense.
We simply want a version of Firefox that takes advantage of the additional resources our 64-bit machines have.
Sure there are probably specific optimizations you can do, but really the most important thing is simply to compile it to a 64-bit program instead of the x86 they use currently.
Can someone explain to me why anyone would think differently?

break that 32 bit barrier!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787704)

Yay, with 64 bits it'll be able to leak MORE than 2-4 gigabytes of RAM.

What do I expect? Nothing (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#36787706)

Of course, I understand what 64 bit means, and if my browser is hitting the 32 bit memory limit, I'm dumping the fucking browser anyway.

I've been developing for years, have apps for windows that are 32 and 64 bit, and several fat OSX binaries that support 32 and 64bit, if the 64 bit version runs differently than the 32 bit version, you did it wrong.

I have nothing against making it a 64 bit binary in general, but there really is absolutely no advantage to doing so. If your browser is eating more than 3 gigs of memory, your browser is broken, you should fix that problem first, not make it so it can eat more memory.

How about not breaking add-ons? (1)

WebManWalking (1225366) | about 2 years ago | (#36787714)

Here's an idea. How about not breaking add-ons with every new version? That would be great!

I'm in the Firefox beta program, so they FORCE me to upgrade over and over and over again (really obnoxiously). And every single time, Firebug and Greasemonkey stop working. Problem is, I need Firebug, in particular, to do my job, so it's inconsiderate at the very least, a horrible way to treat your beta testers. And yet, much of my coding is in preparation for HTML5, so I need to use what's in the beta too.

So that's my suggestion for 64-bit. Use some of the extra address space to track add-ons better and not refuse to load them just because they haven't yet been certified to work in your tiny little frickin' point release.

Thanks a bunch!

About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787720)

who uses 32-bit systems any more?

Re:About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787736)

Netbooks and IE6 loving corporations.

Re:About time... (2)

ryanov (193048) | about 2 years ago | (#36787858)

Anyone with average computing requirements, more than half a brain, and 4GB or less of RAM.

Mozilla Need to Get Their Act Together (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787726)

At this time, Mozilla seems like a baby screaming for attention. They seem to be scrambling to match Chrome. I had been a Firefox user for ages. I didn't try Chrome because I don't like that Google runs background process to update Chrome. So I decided to go with Chromium (which does not have auto update feature but gets updated via Ubuntu repository). I found, once you go Chromium you never go back. Chromium is blazingly fast and stable. Even Firefox 5 is no match for it. Chromium uses way more memory than Firefox, but guess what? It doesn't have memory leaks. Firefox uses less memory but keeps leaking it. Fix memory leaks and stability issues in the current version (call it Firefox 100 for all I care). 64 bit version would be nice but not at the cost of basic problems that need fixing.

Finally freed of nspluginwrapper? (1)

javanree (962432) | about 2 years ago | (#36787792)

Maybe this will FINALLY mean no more nspluginwrapper crap;
Every time I try to open more than one PDF (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS / 10.04 LTS) nspluginwrapper goes nuts, no more PDF rendering....

With all of the Firefox updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#36787848)

I'm surprised they didn't just decided to support 128 bit and deprecate 32 bit.

On a side note, my Firefox is using 1.2GBs of RAM while Debian in a VM is using 400MBs.

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