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Mozilla Dropping 64-Bit Windows Nightly Builds For Now

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the posted-from-64-bit-linux-firefox dept.

Firefox 224

hypnosec writes "Plans for 64-bit Firefox for Windows have been put on hold by Mozilla in a bid to concentrate more on the 32-bit version. Eliminating the 64-bit nightly builds was proposed by Benjamin Smedberg, a Firefox developer, last week. Some of the reasons Smedberg cited include missing plugins for 64-bit version; lack of windowproc hooking which facilitates smooth functioning of whatever plugins are available; and the inability to work on the crash reports submitted for the 64-bit versions because they were not on high priority. The proposal, it seems, has been accepted as is evident from this bug report." The bug tracking system seems unable to differentiate between 64-bit and 32-bit builds, causing a few issues since Windows 64-bit builds are much buggier. They also intend to reintroduce 64-bit Windows nightlies some time next year.

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224 comments

YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074335)

One more cut in the side of Ballmer's monooly !!

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (2, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074671)

This doesn't hurt Windows, only Mozilla. Nobody really cares if their browser is 32-bit or 64-bit, but if they did, it just means they'd ditch Firefox in favour of another browser like Chrome.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074693)

There's no 64-bit Chrome, so this is a moot point.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074773)

I believe this is mostly down to the various libraries that Chrome relies on not being 64-bit clean themselves.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (1)

Archenoth (2592069) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075043)

There are only 32-bit versions of most browsers for Windows... Opera for example has 64-bit versions for Linux and FreeBSD, but not for Windows. [opera.com]

I've always been a bit puzzled as to why though.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075337)

Unless you write 64bit-32bit plugin thunking glue, you're asking for users to use a browser which doesn't have the plugins they expect. When things in their browser are missing, they blame the browser (and they aren't entirely wrong since the browser could support this thunking).

There isn't much pay off for 64bit browsers on Windows. What IE and Chrome did - parent process + content child processes addresses the main issue - memory limits. Mozilla implemented this for Mobile but never finished the work, so it isn't present in Desktop Firefox.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074735)

Micro$oft is stuck in the past. Their windows OS is tied to the PC and to an old 32bit architecture which are both going to be deprecated soon.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (3, Funny)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074891)

Somebody notify this gentleman about the 64 bit versions of Windows which most people use.

PC deprecated in favor of what? (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075021)

[Microsoft's] windows OS is tied to the PC and to an old 32bit architecture which are both going to be deprecated soon.

You claim that the PC will be deprecated soon. What will replace the PC as a tool for medium-duty to heavy-duty creation of works of authorship, especially for software development?

Re:PC deprecated in favor of what? (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075105)

a 32-bit tablet, of course.

Re:PC deprecated in favor of what? (3, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075133)

Maybe for a short while. But even tablets are closing in on the 4 GB barrier and 64 bit ARM chips are on the way.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075117)

Go join the other casuals in seething over rounded edges.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075169)

IF they actually cared about 32-bit vs 64-bit browser thing, then other things would be considered as well, like privacy, where Chrome is utter crap.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075323)

It sure as fuck hurts us Mozilla 64 Nightly users. I've been using it for more than a couple of years, and with a few exceptions its tended to be better than the release version since shit doesn't stay broken for as long and I've only had a couple of DOA drops, including this morning.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074797)

Riiight, because this hurts Windows.....how exactly? this just makes Mozilla look Mickey mouse, because IE comes in 64 bit and has for something like 7 years now poor lame Mozilla can't even write well enough to tell the difference between 32bit and 64bit bugs.

And I hate to break the news to ya, but most Windows users have no clue if what they are using is 32 bit or 64 bit nor do they care, it "just works" either way and that is all they give a shit about. Besides most won't notice this as they've switched to Chrome as the falling numbers clearly indicate [tomshardware.com] .

As someone who used and advocated Firefox before it was even called firefox frankly.....sigh, the company just seems to be a trainwreck ATM. They've been all over the place instead of focusing on their browser which IMHO has gone to shit since around V6. I have to support plenty of low power devices and older office boxes and frankly Mozilla Firefox is just god awful on anything less than a dual core,especially if you have a decent amount of bookmarks, as it'll slam the hell out of the CPU when you do...well pretty much anything. This is why I moved my customers over to Comodo dragon (Chromium variant) several versions back, because between the UI changes, the bugs, and the CPU and memory usage frankly Firefox can't hold a candle to anything Webkit based, it just can't.

So frankly this doesn't hurt Windows in the slightest, it just makes Mozilla look lame but since more and more are jumping on Chrome I just don't see this affecting too many people.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (5, Insightful)

Geeky (90998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075083)

I hope Firefox does thrive. It seems to be the best browser for web developers. I use several plugins to assist in debugging websites (Firebug and Firesizer for example), and the ability to view image info is also handy - Chrome, by default, does not make that easy.

It's possible that similar functionality is available for Chrome, but it's also nice to have one lean browser for real browsing, and a plug-in laden one for web development. IE I only use when I want to see what it breaks, although to be fair IE9 now does a much better job at rendering things the same way as Firefox and Chrome.

Anyway, I still find Firefox useful and hope it has a future. At this point in time, I can't see the lack of a 64bit version being a major drawback.

Re:YAY !! DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS !! (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075157)

this just makes Mozilla look Mickey mouse, because IE comes in 64 bit and has for something like 7 years now poor lame Mozilla can't even write well enough to tell the difference between 32bit and 64bit bugs.

And yet, on a recently-installed Windows 7, there are web pages that don't work correctly when using the 64-bit version of IE.

Maybe it's a problem with plugins, maybe it's the browser...I don't know and don't really care...I just care that the web pages don't work right. I discovered this when I found out that typing "iexplore" in the Start Menu search box results in the 64-bit version being run.

Besides, who really needs a browser than can access more than 3GB of RAM? Google doesn't think that it's necessary, either.

64bit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074337)

Good thing I was convinced I needed a 64bit CPU and well over 4gb of RAM.

If only the software I used daily could actually use it...

Re:64bit (3, Insightful)

siride (974284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074395)

It's not just about memory, it's also about an enhanced instruction set that includes extra registers, addressing modes and the removal of some old x86 cruft.

Re:64bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075357)

Most of that is a loss actually. The memory footprint (bigger pointers, bigger code size) hurts your CPU instruction cache/memory cache more than you get benefits from registers (some of which are actually available anyway).

The bigger problem is that you have to write a JIT/VM for 64bit and get it to be as good/better than your 32bit JIT/VM, which takes a lot of work.

Re:64bit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074603)

If you want to use a 64 bit architecture switch a REAL 64 bit OS. Hint windows is NOT one of those.

Re:64bit (0)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074749)

Another clueless AC.

Re:64bit (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074821)

It sounds like the AC is in for some trolling, but he/she is kind of right in that 64-bit Windows has been somewhat of a bumpy ride compared to a few other operating systems. For Solaris, AIX, and even Linux there wasn't much of an issue in going to 64 bit a decade ago; yet even today Microsoft struggles with getting their own software onto 64 bit. For example, Microsofts own development environment Visual Studio is still 32 bit only.

Re:64bit (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074905)

If someone could make a compelling argument as to why it should be moved to 64-bit, I'm sure they would. Visual Studio has no problem allowing users to write, compile, and debug 64-bit programs -- I do it every day. I don't think they are even close to requiring more than 4GB of memory for themselves, so making a 64-bit version of it or most of Microsoft's own applications is just not needed, and would cause more issues, work, and overhead for nearly no perceivable improvement.

Then again, I've never had to try and debug one of my programs that required more than 4GB of code or data, so maybe there is an issue somewhere than I am not aware of.

Re:64bit (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075171)

Well, that's of course a good argument. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. A more common argument would be that you want to eliminate 32 bit code in the long run. I assume that they for example have to maintain dual stacks of 32 and 64 bit versions of all their libraries, and getting rid of the 32 bit versions would be good for maintenance reasons. But that's still far away due to backwards compatibility.

Re:64bit (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075319)

The IDE may be 32 bit, but the compilers and tools that do the actual work are 64 bit. Since the IDE is just a front end for the compilers and tools I don't see a big reason for them to move the IDE to 64 bit.

Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (5, Interesting)

OS24Ever (245667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074341)

I am not a programmer, I'm just a systems guy. I mainly use Mac and Linux, and 64-bit is something I've Just Done for some time now since the introduction of EM64T, however the few times I need to mess with windows the way it works with 64-bit just baffles me as to how 'hard' it seems to be and how 'little' 64-bit friendly / 64-bit stuff there is.

Why is that?

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074413)

It's 'hard' only because it's a huge - yes really - number of lines of code. Gigantonormous numbers.

Pointers are the main reason why software don't port between 32 and 64 bit easily. It was the same in the transitions from 8 to 16 and 16 to 32. The power of C is being close to the hardware, with less overhead. The curse of C is being close to the hardware, being harder to move to new 64-bit hardware. This is a known trade-off and it's worth it. People who don't believe it write hardware independent Java code etc, and as observed, their software usually don't provide all the desired features, hence people stick with the software written in languages closer to the hardware.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (3, Insightful)

siride (974284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074445)

The switch from 32 to 64 is a lot less painful than 16 to 32, because the memory model didn't change.

Even if you are writing in C, most code is probably fairly agnostic to 32- vs. 64-bit. But if you do things like cast pointers to ints, or use byte-based arithmetic when interacting with structures or unions, then you'll run into trouble. C code that conforms to the standard should be fairly portable from 32 to 64 bit, though, and this is yet another situation where the value of the standard and well-designed code pays off.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074481)

Firefox already runs 64 bit just fine -- over half of Debian installations are pure amd64. The problems here are caused by quirks in 64 bit versions of Windows only.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074477)

With OS X the main hurdle was to move from Carbon to Cocoa, as Apple dropped Carbon and never made it 64 bit. This took a couple of people a month or two at most.

So again, why is it so hard for Windows development?

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075177)

It was easier than that on Windows -- almost none of the APIs changed! You just switch the compiler to build 64bit. If your app didn't work, it was because some dumbass programmer wrote crappy code (e.g. assuming pointers are 4 bytes), not because Windows made it hard.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075333)

DLL Hell and the closed source nature of most Windows code.

Lets say you have Windows App A, it has a tie in to Windows App B which uses licensed somecode32.dll. Unless the maker of somecode32.dll releases a somecode64.dll and Windows App B recompiled to 64-bit, Windows App A has to stay 32-bit. Since there is such an insanely huge install base of 32-bit programs that are still being used but not actively developed that Windows developers stick with the lowest common denominator.

The other half is development time in performance sensitive code that's been 'hacked' in such a way that it only works on 32-bit systems. The time involved to un-fluck it isn't worthwhile for a lot of developers to fix currently.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074483)

Mozilla use C++ not C which if written properly shouldn't have any issues. At work we just ported a giant (1M~ lines) C++ codebase to 64-bit and it only took us about two weeks -- most of which was spent cleaning up third party components which relied on C-isms.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074517)

Your answer doesn't work since Firefox for 64-Bit Linux has no issue. We need an explanation for why it's hard to code for 64-bit *Windows*.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074647)

One thing that comes to mind is that afaict win64 is the only common platform where sizeof(long) != sizeof(void *).

I dunno if this is the reason for firefox's problems though or if it's just a case of noone caring to debug it.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074855)

Good point. I don't know about XP/7 but Windows 95 used to pass a lot of 'handles' around which were actually pointers to internal data. If the size of the handles has changed, people may have been storing them as 32-bit integers and now discovering that they're a different size in 64-bit code.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075053)

One thing that comes to mind is that afaict win64 is the only common platform where sizeof(long) != sizeof(void *).

Why is the program storing a pointer in a long instead of an intptr_t or a union?

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075289)

Because the person who wrote it (incorrectly) assumed that the size of a pointer would always be the size of a long.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074689)

It's 'hard' only because it's a huge - yes really - number of lines of code. Gigantonormous numbers.

Not quite Gigantonormous, but it more than doubles some sections with tests to see if you're running in 32bit or 64 bit, then using the proper size of variables.

Pointers are the main reason why software don't port between 32 and 64 bit easily. It was the same in the transitions from 8 to 16 and 16 to 32. The power of C is being close to the hardware, with less overhead. The curse of C is being close to the hardware, being harder to move to new 64-bit hardware. This is a known trade-off and it's worth it. People who don't believe it write hardware independent Java code etc, and as observed, their software usually don't provide all the desired features, hence people stick with the software written in languages closer to the hardware.

To elaborate, pointers are variables which point towards specific places in memory, and are quite useful for passing data between functions (or even other programs) without having to copy the data. A 32 bit pointer can not point to any address space beyond the 32-bit limit (4GB), so 64 bit pointers are needed in 64 bit systems, assuming they have more than 4GB RAM (often including video RAM; found that out the hard way). If one source tree is used for both 32bit and 64 bit systems, there will be the endless if-statements that I mentioned above any place where pointers are defined (and in some cases, used). And of course it affects some bit shifting, etc. This is on top of endianness [wikipedia.org] , which is a whole mess unto itself.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (3, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074807)

If you use the right types in C there is no problem at all.
No endless if statements needed.
However the world is filled with idiots who mix integer and pointer types.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074879)

If one source tree is used for both 32bit and 64 bit systems, there will be the endless if-statements that I mentioned above any place where pointers are defined (and in some cases, used).

Uh, really? Maybe I've got this wrong, but some any code I've written works just fine with all its myriad pointers when compiled in either 32bit or 64bit.

In fact, yes, hold on:

printf("%d",sizeof(int*));

returns 4 on 32bit and 8 on 64bit.

The only things I had to change in my code where some places where I'd used int as pointer offsets - I swapped those for size_t and everything was done.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074427)

I am not a programmer, I'm just a systems guy. I mainly use Mac and Linux, and 64-bit is something I've Just Done for some time now since the introduction of EM64T, however the few times I need to mess with windows the way it works with 64-bit just baffles me as to how 'hard' it seems to be and how 'little' 64-bit friendly / 64-bit stuff there is.

Why is that?

Because most programmers in the last 20 years of x86 PC development have used data structures that are designed for 32-bit systems and switching all of those to take advantage of (or even be compatible with) 64-bit systems is a challenge.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074999)

Unless you're using Linux/GNU which is going on 20 years of being portable. For fuck sake they not only go 32-bit to 64-bit they go to completely different architectures like ARM.

The problem with Windows is that it's not just about ABI when you change architecture. If you go from a flavor of x86 to ARM you get a completely different API as well as a different ABI. Even if a function has the same name and parameters it's probably going to do something different. It becomes an unmanageable mess of #ifdef's if you try to reuse the same code. You practically have to have independent code bases for every architecture you try to go to on Windows.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074463)

this is where the programmer mantra of "dont reinvent the wheel" catches up to the real world. We have hotrods sporting flintstone rock tires because hey why reinvent the wheel? redo all the memory management and asorted libraries just so you can have more than 3gb ram? maybe next year.

remeber. 640k ought to be enough memory for anyone.

Blame Microsoft (0, Redundant)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074507)

This is actually something that you can blame them for directly. On operating systems like OS X, you could run 64bit programs in OS X running in 32bit mode if you had a 64bit processor. The program would work but it would only have access to a maximum of 4GB and this was not a problem if you had only 4GB of memory in your machine anyway.

Microsoft took a different approach because there is very little hardware abstractions in their code base even within the Win32 API. They run their code at a much more bare metal level and so you cannot run 64bit apps on a the 32bit version of windows even if you have a 64bit machine. Microsoft even has its own separate API layer that only exists on the 64bit version to run 32bit apps on it. OS X and possibly linux seem to be able to run other bitness apps pretty seamlessly.

Re:Blame Ignorance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075153)

OSX didn't didn't magically recompile/emulate 64bit code. They embedded both 32bit and 64bit code into a single binary and selected the right one based on the target architecture; it wasn't free.

It's the Windows API (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074645)

The native Windows API was always a mess, and the 64 bits API is a case of "what were they thinking?!" even when compared to the other Windows ones.

Re:Dear Computer Programmers: Why do this? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074703)

I am not a programmer, I'm just a systems guy. I mainly use Mac and Linux, and 64-bit is something I've Just Done for some time now since the introduction of EM64T, however the few times I need to mess with windows the way it works with 64-bit just baffles me as to how 'hard' it seems to be and how 'little' 64-bit friendly / 64-bit stuff there is.

Why is that?

I would contest the notion that Linux is more or less 64-bit "friendly" than Windows. They way both of those systems implemented concurrent 32/64-bit application support feels like a giant hack.

Solaris does it fairly well since it has had to handle multiple concurrent architectures for a lot longer, like SPARC/SPARCv9
On 64-bit systems prior to Solaris 11, you can just boot back and forth between 32 and 64-bit kernels. With 11, they just dropped support for 32-bit systems I think, something Microsoft and Linux distributors should be jealous of :)

On Linux, if you had an application that needed a 32-bit system, and you had a 64-bit install, I'd tell you to reinstall a 32-bit OS. AFAIK you can't just boot it into 32-bit mode in any supported fashion. Then there's the weird way yum and kickstart work on a 64-bit install, I don't care what you say, THAT is far from flawless. There is almost no documentation on the bounds you should be within when messing with kickstart, and you easily wind up with builds that are not 32-bit app friendly.

Then I don't want to come across as a fanboy, but why everybody didn't do what Apple did with fat binaries or uh.. the whole experience is beyond me. The average Mac user didn't have to be aware of which architecture their system identifies itself as. I don't want to get into technical details, just that I see no reason whatsoever that Microsoft and Linux distributors couldn't have provided the same experience one way or another.

The sad part is that Apple and Oracle stopped selling 32-bit systems and moved on, and they had the best support for the architecture transition (both for earlier, non-Intel related reasons I'll give you). Microsoft and Linux distros still muck around in the last and do it wrong while they're at it, IMHO :\

FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074347)

Remember when FireFox was "the browser to have"? A couple years of poor development is really killing it off.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (1, Troll)

Nadir (805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074381)

I still think Firefox is one of the browsers to have: of all the browsers developers, they really care about freedom on the web.
Temporarily abandoning the 64bit Windows builds is more of a lack of resources than poor development.
Please also note that Chrome is not available for 64 bit Windows either...

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074683)

Please also note that Chrome is not available for 64 bit Windows either...

No, but since Chrome runs each tab in a separate process it has practically no memory limit (at most 4GB/process). As far as I know Mozilla announced plans to do the same in 2009 but put the plans "on hold indefinitely" = cancelled a year ago. For speed I don't think there's a major reason to go 64 bit, except maybe to win some "computing in the web browser" benchmarks with little relevance to normal browsing.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074719)

64-bit chrome would be largely useless. It's not large address aware, but being a multi-process browser, every tab/plugin/etc runs in a separate process, and each can independently access up to 2GB of RAM. Chrome's overall memory usage on a 64-bit system can greatly exceed 4GB without any problems.

If they need a bit more RAM per process, they can (without going 64-bit) add large address support, bumping that up to 4GB on 64-bit systems.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (0)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075135)

You people are so full of shit. There's more to it than just memory use. (I don't give a fuck anyway, my browser can have 8 Gb of RAM if it will take it)

Browsers are one of thing things that DO benefit from a 64 bit build because they handle relatively large amounts of data and can do it with fewer clock cycles.

Stop spreading FUD, you apologist for lazy cunts.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074403)

Only for people who buy into propaganda like yours. It's still the most stable, feature-rich, and fastest browser out there. Of the two major alternatives, IE is slow and buggy, and Chrome, while flashy and boasting a much smaller footprint, has compatibility and stability issues. Most of the flak FF gets is just the kind of trash-talk that comes with being best-of-breed, and anyone who not only agrees with it but also repeats it is going above and beyond the call of stupid.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074443)

Just because something is slightly less shit than the competition doesn't make it good.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074465)

Where's the upvote button on this lousy comment system?

Don't worry, FireFox will be less shitty in version 58, due sometime in March.

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074513)

Chrome...has compatibility and stability issues.

Really? That's news to me in the past 12 months since I switched from Firefox to Chrome. What compatibility & stability issues would these be then?

Re:FireFox - the browser for people who want less. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074631)

Many popular plugins, anything incorporating silverlight, CAC-enabled websites, various NVidia software, various antivirus/firewall packages... you could just Google it; there are lists out there, I'm sure. Of course, that wouldn't have been quite so showy and presumptive, forcing people to climb your hill rather than the reverse. Your next step should be to present personal anecdote as a valid counter...

To be fair, Chrome is a good browser, but it's just not as "complete" as Firefox -- though that's understandable, since Mozilla has been at it longer. Not trying to undercut what is to some a valid alternative... just giving the facts.

Why so difficult? (-1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074357)

I am not a developer. Can someone explain why making apps 64 bit for Windows is so difficult compared to other operating systems?

Re:Why so difficult? (1)

Archenoth (2592069) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075143)

Because things change between them.

"sizeof int" will return "4" on 32-bit and "8" on 64-bit... When working with pointers (Variables that "point" to memory addresses), you need to make code that can handle these changes appropriately, and to change size-dependent operations so they handle multiple architectures.

With luck this will coincide with Firefox 64 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074393)

"They also intend to reintroduce 64-bit Windows nightlies some time next year."

Not much point in 64 bits here (1, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074397)

Since Windows doesn't have pure 64 bit versions, there is little reason to insist on 64 bit Firefox. Unlike most other systems, almost all libraries have to be compiled into Firefox anyway so better ABI doesn't win you much, and going 64 bit has a significant memory cost -- for typical C++ code, around 33% extra.

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074515)

I have 32 gb ram on my system, faggot.

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074629)

and going 64 bit has a significant memory cost -- for typical C++ code, around 33% extra.

Which is more than offset by not having the Windows 7 32-bit default limitation of 2 GB max per process, 3 GB max total memory.

16 GB ECC memory should be standard now, with RAM prices as low as they are.

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (2)

Dagger2 (1177377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074987)

To be fair, a 32-bit process with the LARGEADDRESSAWARE flag running on 64-bit Windows will have access to 4 GB of address space. Even for heavy Firefox users, 4 GB of memory generally ought to be enough if you decide ignore the effects of memory fragmentation.

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075251)

16 GB ECC memory should be standard now, with RAM prices as low as they are.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of motherboards sold can't support ECC memory at all.

And, despite the low price of memory, ECC has a huge premium in price (as much as 100% for registered ECC) even though it needs only 12% more components.

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074659)

That's not "typical." It's more like a bad case.

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (2)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074831)

Since windows does not have a 64bit version, there is little reason to insist on a 64bit firefox.
Since most windows applications are 32bit, there is no reason to insist on a pure 64bit OS.

Am I the only one seeing the endless problem here?

Re:Not much point in 64 bits here (1)

Sam H (3979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075159)

and going 64 bit has a significant memory cost -- for typical C++ code, around 33% extra.

There is no such thing as "typical C++ code" for the memory usage metric. Pointers may be larger, but a decoded 1680×1050 32-bit image takes 7 megabytes of memory on a 32-bit platform and 7 megabytes on a 64-bit platform. Remember that the web is full of images.

I work on multi-million-line C++ projects and my personal experience indicates about 5% overhead. I'm not saying you're wrong, but you really need to back up that claim with some real life figures if you're going to use the word "typical".

64-bit on the Mac works great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074441)

It's even only using 1.4gigs of RAM with 20 tabs or so open.

Bonus: (2, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074467)

That naturally limits FF's RAM consumption to the 32bit address space. Bravo, they've reduced it by 90%+!

Re:Bonus: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074497)

Never seen vanilla FF go above 500M or so, even after several days of operation. With shitty plugins that do poor memory management, sure, it will go up into the 1G-2G range... stop using shitty plugins.

For the record, my IE session, right now, with three tabs open, is consuming 1.2G.

The reasons are stupid. (4, Insightful)

Bryan Bytehead (9631) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074479)

The one point that I find quite laughable as a reason for stopping work on it is that there are not that many nightly 64-bit users.

Well, first, if you want to run 64-bit, you have to know that it exists in the first place. They offered a download link for awhile on the page where you could download the beta, Aurora and Nightly, but that disappeared over a year ago when I was rebuilding my computer. Not that that particular page was well known, either. I knew it was in the FTP site, I just had to look for it.

Yeah, I understand that the compiler has started putting out invalid code for the 64-bit version. OK, well then maybe the compiler needs to be changed or fixed then?

And browsers don't use more than 4GB?? Really?? I have the memory screenshot that shows me using 5GB of RAM under these nightlies. It happens every day and usually multiple times per day for me. It's not a bunch of tabs with media opened in them, it's one tab with Google Reader running for a few hours. Can't wait to see what happens when I switch to 32-bit, and I run out of memory before I run out of physical memory on my machine. And I've only got 8GB.

There will be a time when they HAVE to support 64-bit under Windows. They are talking about some point in 2013. I can't believe that a period of a few months is going to make it easier. There was a recent patch when they went from 19.0A1 to 20.0A1 that made the nightly unstable in a matter of minutes. Works in 32-bit mode, but doesn't in 64-bit. Is waiting nine months later after bad patches like that getting into the main code really going to help debug those bad patches?

Re:The reasons are stupid. (2)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074619)

If your browser is using 5GB with just one tab open, then it's leaking memory and quite a lot of it. You might want to look into disabling a few extensions to see if you can find the one that's leaking.

Re:The reasons are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074669)

Get Google to fix their piece of shit Reader. Absolutely no reason it should be eating ram the longer you use it.

Re:The reasons are stupid. (1)

alexo (9335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074847)

Get Google to fix their piece of shit Reader. Absolutely no reason it should be eating ram the longer you use it.

Have you ever managed to get Google to "fix their piece of shit" anything?

Re:The reasons are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074787)

Yeah, I understand that the compiler has started putting out invalid code for the 64-bit version. OK, well then maybe the compiler needs to be changed or fixed then?
...
They are talking about some point in 2013. I can't believe that a period of a few months is going to make it easier.

So you want them to spend time replacing their compiler, making sure it doesn't break all their existing projects, while also making sure it fixes the 64 bit problems... Then follow that up by now allowing them any time to do all that work that in?

I think we are all a bit confused at exactly what you are demanding of them (yes demanding, it didn't sound like a polite request or suggestion to me)

Re:The reasons are stupid. (1)

gQuigs (913879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074815)

Actually... your memory usage will likely be better under the 32 bit version. 64 bit will use more memory usually somewhere in the 1.5x to 2x range. I also don't think one process can access more than 4 GB of ram on 32 bit.

I do still agree that the reasons they presented aren't very good. It doen't seem like there was any real discussion about it... All new machines are 64 bit capable and I hope installed 64 bit by default now.

Re:The reasons are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074939)

The last set of statistics I've heard put Nightly Windows users at around fifty percent. This is completely over-represented relative to Aurora/Beta/release users; presumably this population is more likely to seek out the builds.
I believe the recent crashes have to do with modifications to the JavaScript engine and GC.

Re:laughable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074969)

OMG. Where will you get your untested, bleeding-edge technology now?

I find it laughable that you think this is a big deal.

Switching to Chrome (1)

geekmansworld (950281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074679)

Sysadmin for an SMB here. We develop our own browser-based app in Flash/Flex that we use for a big part of our work. It's also computationally intensive, and I was often being asked how we could improve the performance of the application on the client-platform side. Sure, we have decent hardware, but we were developing for the standard Firefox build, and that meant 32-bit and the restrictions that go with it.

Eventually I convinced the development team that since they had moved the backend to 64-bit code, that the client runtime environment should be there too, and so we optimized the frontend for Chrome (which obviously, is 64-bit, with Flash built in). The speed increase wasn't phenomenal, but it WAS noticeable. Now I'm even more glad we made this change.

Re:Switching to Chrome (4, Informative)

Anaerin (905998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074809)

Sorry, but Chrome is x86, not x86_64, and thus only 32-bit. The process isolation it uses means that each tab can access 2GB of memory, but the program (and the plugins) are 32-bit. The only 64-bit browsers are Opera, IE and (up until now) FireFox.

Re:Switching to Chrome (3, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075167)

You can still get 64-bit Firefox. It's called Waterfox and tends to lag behind the official version a bit, but it's there.

Re:Switching to Chrome (1)

LoadWB (592248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075379)

If only I had mod points. I've been using the nightly x64 builds now for a while. I'll echo OP's statement on not easily finding the 64-bit nightly builds. I'm running a lot of 64-bit software on my XP x64 system (will be 7 x64 when I get around to it) simply because I have noticed performance increases in Firefox (with a butt-load of add-ons) and The Gimp in 64-bit. AutoCAD and Revit in x64 run like dreams, too (aside from the standard bugs.) Anyway, I'm disappointed I'll not be seeing more nightly builds. Even though every once in a while I have to go back a date because something got broken the night before, that's the gamble with using beta software. It was also pretty neat to see features folded in before they made it main-stream (though I suppose there's 32-bit builds to do the same?)

Without delving into the technicals presented in above threads on developing in a 64-bit environment, I'll just note that in 2012 (soon to be 2013,) with x64 Windows OS pretty much the standard I see no real reason why we don't have x64 software as the standard. My best guess is once developers drop XP, and maybe Vista support as well, perhaps we'll see more.

Re:Switching to Chrome (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074843)

If you really cares about performance on the client side in the first place, you would never have used Flash/Flex.

Firefox + 64bits = Waterfox (3, Informative)

mZHg (2035814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074681)

If you want a 64bits version of Firefox, use Waterfox :)
http://www.waterfoxproject.org/ [waterfoxproject.org]

Re:Firefox + 64bits = Waterfox (1)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074753)

Ahhh thank you very much! I was about to mention that i was suprised no one else knew about Waterfox. :P

Re:Firefox + 64bits = Waterfox (1)

Anaerin (905998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074781)

Except that Waterfox is currently at 16.0.1, whereas FF nightlies (The only place you could get 64-bit builds) are at 19.0a1.

Windows being the laughing stock of the OS world.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42074805)

As a Linux user, I find it quite strange and absurd, that nearly a decade after 64 bit processors were first built into consumer PCs, there still is some reason why somebody would not do 64 bit.
My Firefox on Linux has always been 64 bit. And back in the days, when the (by definition) shitty closed-source plugins, like Flash, still failed to be 64 bit, we simply put a nsplugin-wrapper around it, and the problem was solved.

This whole thing is silly. And as a programmer, I find it even more silly.
There just is no excuse for a 32 bit version to even exist anymore, unless you're completely and utterly incompetent as a programmer. (Obviously not including those programming for limited 32 bit embedded systems, etc.)

Yes, Mozilla devs. I mean you. You make us programmers look like idiots. Stop it. And stop making excuses to hide your FAIL.

Re:Windows being the laughing stock of the OS worl (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42075037)

... and here I used up all my mod points. I don't know what their problem is, it surely can't take much to keep it compiling for x64 under Windows.

I can almost understand why it took them so long to come out with a 64 bit flash plugin (for either platform) though. Imagine what a fuckstick mess that code base would be. It's proprietary, changed hands so many times, and the result is a 10 megabyte+ monstrosity of a library (my current 64 bit libflashplayer.so is 18 megabytes, lol). It was probably a bitch bastard to get to compile at first.

Firefox has no excuse for not having 64 bit builds available. (Yes, binaries. It's a different environment. More homogeneous, which makes it easier for them, but it's also not so easy for Windows users to set up a build environment to compile their own)

Re:Windows being the laughing stock of the OS worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075163)

Windows drastically changes the behavior of functions when it goes to another architecture. It's not like other development environments where you can just recompile. You have to go to each API call and make sure it still does the same thing.

What am I missing? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074813)

lack of windowproc hooking

What? SetWindowLong[Ptr] hasn't gone anywhere in 64 bit Windows. If they are using SetWindowsHook[Ex], the bitness of the injected code has to be the same as the process, but this would be such a horrible approach anyway, I can't imagine that is what they are doing

No more 64 bit NIghtlies? (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42074885)

What? Fuck off... that's the browser I use to check my forums etc. in Windows (because it's a 64 bit build). Like I'm going to stay with alpha quality code that's no longer updating.

Oh well, if I have to use a 32 bit browser I guess it will be Google Chrome. (I don't use Firefox in Linux anymore, I do Chromium builds once a week or so)

I don't have a build environment in Windows, that's such a pain in the ass. I just have Windows for gaming, so I don't do that stuff.

I'm pretty much all out of uses for Mozilla Firefox. I don't even like it anymore, with the stupid things they've done and the user interface etc. They even keep removing about:config options.

look i hate micro$oft as much as the next guy but, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075119)

what exactly is the difference between the two?

IceWeasel 4 EVER !!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42075269)

luser@HAL:~$ iceweasel -v
Mozilla Iceweasel 10.0.11
luser@HAL:~$ uname --all
Linux HAL 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.32-1 x86_64 GNU/Linux
luser@HAL:~$ ps -ef | grep iceweasel
luser 1037 602 0 20:06 pts/3 00:00:00 grep iceweasel
luser 32247 32160 0 19:45 ? 00:00:00 /bin/sh -c iceweasel
luser 32248 32247 10 19:45 ? 00:02:04 /usr/lib/iceweasel/firefox-bin
luser@HAL:~$ file /usr/lib/iceweasel/firefox-bin /usr/lib/iceweasel/firefox-bin: symbolic link to `../xulrunner-10.0/xulrunner-stub'
luser@HAL:~$ file /usr/lib/iceweasel/../xulrunner-10.0/xulrunner-stub /usr/lib/iceweasel/../xulrunner-10.0/xulrunner-stub: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.26, BuildID[sha1]=0xefc8e0b22b6eb68c983888da80a2264e9a91af52, stripped

In your face bitches !!!

p.s. :D

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