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Mozilla Brings Back Firefox 64-Bit For Windows Nightly Builds

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the lending-your-closed-source-a-hand dept.

Firefox 209

An anonymous reader writes "Last month, Mozilla Engineering Manager Benjamin Smedberg quietly announced that the 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows would never see the light of day. After what he referred to as 'significant negative feedback,' Smedberg has announced he has reviewed that feedback, consulted with his release engineering team, and has decided on a modification to the original plan: Firefox 64-bit for Windows may still never be released, but nightly builds will live another day."

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64-bit? Bah (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370787)

That means Firefox will still be limited to 4 PiB, which I'm sure it'll be reaching by the release of Firefox 12,458 next year. We need a 128-bit version.

Re:64-bit? Bah (5, Funny)

sedmonds (94908) | about 2 years ago | (#42371317)

And by the year after that, they'll need 128-bit just for the firefox version number.

Re:64-bit? Bah (3, Insightful)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 2 years ago | (#42371987)

That means Firefox will still be limited to 4 PiB, which I'm sure it'll be reaching by the release of Firefox 12,458 next year. We need a 128-bit version.

Naw... it is two things. Cleaner code and the lack of 32bit library cruft in a system. However plugins like flash and even Java32-.vs.-Java64 make me think that well flash is crud and Java not as portable as it should/could be.

Re:64-bit? Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42373079)

the java interpreter is portable, the optimizing byte-code profile/compiler from oracle must be adapted to each architecture. IBM JVM was designed from start with speed and portability in mind. But it is closed source... There is hope that project Zero/Shark will produce a portable byte-code compiler.

Re:64-bit? Bah (0)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 2 years ago | (#42373501)

flash has been full 64bit on Win7 for at least a year. As to Java, Don't need it, don't care, don't use it. It's that simple. I keep trying to tell my idiot nephew that JavaScript is NOT Java but he doesn't listen. The worst of it is, he doesn't even have any java apps that depend on the crap but thinks he needs it for some stinking websites. Oh well, he doesn't give a damn if his sytem gets infected and someone wipes his entire pron collection until it happens. Then he'll listen but that's closing the damn barn door after the critters already escaped.

Re:64-bit? Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42373515)

Then use Waterfox (http://www.waterfoxproject.org/)

64-bit free software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370819)

Twice the bits, twice the bugs
Twice the freedom, twice the price

Re:64-bit free software (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370889)

What I'd like to see Mozilla bring back is an un-bloated browser.

Re:64-bit free software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371393)

I hate the HTML5 standards bloat. Can't we go back to HTML4 or 3 where it was simpler?

Re:64-bit free software (5, Funny)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#42372079)

What I would like to see is the web go back to geocities. Websites never consumed any significant resources, RAM/CPU consumption was most likely due to a bug, than website (like Slashdot) itself consuming it.

Re:64-bit free software (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42371587)

what's your name?
<br><br>
...just so i know never to hire you as a programmer (or a mathematician, engineer, physicist, etc)

Re:64-bit free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42372295)

You say that as if you had the power to hire anyone. And no, I don't mean at some insignificant "small business".

Re:64-bit free software (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42373257)

no actually i say it as if the op is a clueless moron

I was using Waterfrox (4, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 2 years ago | (#42370823)

The 64 bit branch of FireFox and loved it, it was much faster. Some recent update broke compatibility and I have to do a total uninstall and then reinstall while backing up every Firefox thing elsewhere to restore, since it uses the same profile, etc.

Too lazy to work out the issue, in other words.

But if you have a nice fast 64bit machine, try Wtaerfox, you'll probably love it. Unless it sucks now.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370865)

FF sucks to begin with.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370947)

Only that it does not.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42370991)

FF sucks to began with.

Only that it does not.

Perhaps you just don't have that plug-in installed?

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42373183)

Firefox is the worst of the "big name" browsers. I can't believe that they STILL haven't fixed that horrible memory leak and CPU hoarding bug. What a joke, even IE is better now.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (2)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#42370873)

Nonsense, been running WaterFox myself. Works with all the FireFox extensions I can find.

I do not, for the life of me, understand why FireFox is so hell-bent on 32-bit versions.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (4, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42370939)

Probably because flash, java, and other plugin makers are so slow to move to 64 bits. Not to mention many out there feel a browser should not use more than 4 gigs of ram and is a light text and graphics reader. Not a minature operating system running complex ajax applications

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371003)

Java is 64-bit since a long time. Flash also has a 64-bit version on windows for quite some time. As for Java... it's a PITA to install 32 and 64 bit versions at the same time. Amazing how Oracle messed that up. Going 64-bit only however makes this problem disappear: the 64-bit version is all you need and there are no more clashes. And it gives an immediate speed bonus as well, as 64-bit simply is faster.

Oracle is amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371033)

Oracle messing things up is NOT amazing. It's their default, at least when it comes to Java. What IS amazing is how good they are at messing things up.

Re:Oracle is amazing (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42371143)

Too bad many of my clients have Cisco connect which only works with java 1.4.2 and IE 6/7 or some $1,000,0000 ERP abomination-ware tied to Oracle financials that only work on Java 1.4.2, not java 1.4.1, not java 1.4.3, but java 1.4.2.

These machines need to keep being reimaged from infections and as a result can't leave XP or IE 7 behind. Sometimes Firefox works believe it or not in quirks mode with these old java releases. The new ones are not compatible as they follow w3c and not the corporate standards MS/Oracle use.

I swear Oracle loves obsolete software and are doing this on purpose in order to make MS look bad and cost them revenue.

Re:Oracle is amazing (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42371357)

They also write crappy software, but they make it so it only runs on old OSes, so they can blame that vendor for any problems you have.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 years ago | (#42371985)

Yikes, Oracle... had a bad flashback to installing the Oracle client. Cold chills go up my spine whenever I think about it. How could installing that damn client be that painful?????

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#42373133)

Yikes, Oracle... had a bad flashback to installing the Oracle client. Cold chills go up my spine whenever I think about it. How could installing that damn client be that painful?????

Removing Oracle is easy compared to Symantec Antivirus.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#42372313)

64-bit isn't just simply faster. It's sometimes/often/usually faster depending on what you do, but it is ALWAYS larger in memory and disk space usage, and plays less well with other applications (Cache size overruns caused by the larger size).

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#42372733)

sigh..

Look, the pointer size is only of concern if you are using a lot of pointers..

...but using a lot of pointers negates whatever cache argument that you thought that you had had..

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#42372895)

Umm... No, it does not.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42373089)

-XXcompressedRefs [oracle.com] is your solution to the memory usage delta.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42373105)

I'm guessing you aren't a computer scientist. Stick to webdev or sysadmining or whatever you do.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#42371377)

Not to mention many out there feel a browser should not use more than 4 gigs of ram and is a light text and graphics reader.

Having a >4GB footprint is not the only reason to move to a 64-bit address space. As more software becomes 64-bit, those legacy 32-bit apps become more of a problem, both in terms of longer application launch times (because the 32-bit library stack that it uses isn't loaded initially) and in terms of added memory pressure (because of all those unnecessary libraries loaded into RAM).

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 2 years ago | (#42372055)

Not to mention many out there feel a browser should not use more than 4 gigs of ram and is a light text and graphics reader.

Having a >4GB footprint is not the only reason to move to a 64-bit address space. As more software becomes 64-bit, those legacy 32-bit apps become more of a problem, both in terms of longer application launch times (because the 32-bit library stack that it uses isn't loaded initially) and in terms of added memory pressure (because of all those unnecessary libraries loaded into RAM).

Larger than 4GB footprint ... not the issue.

The register use calling conventions in 64 bit mode are richer and faster.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (5, Funny)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#42371513)

Probably because flash, java, and other plugin makers are so slow to move to 64 bits. Not to mention many out there feel a browser should not use more than 4 gigs of ram and is a light text and graphics reader. Not a minature operating system running complex ajax applications

That, after all, is a job for Emacs.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#42372257)

That, after all, is a job for Excel

FTFY

Re:I was using Waterfrox (3, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#42371023)

Pale Moon is also quite good and has a 64bit version although they compile their for newer CPUs (Athlon64, P4 and above) but if you are running 64bits you probably aren't using an ancient CPU anyway.

But the FF numbers have been dropping and its from nothing but shit like this, being arrogant and not listening to their customers. After all that is EXACTLY what they are, for without them Google wouldn't pay Mozilla for the search rights and the whole company goes down the drain so its time they started actively listening to their customers instead of pissing them off.

This is one thing we have so much better than we did when FF first came out, it no more "use this or get stuck with IE" nonsense, no more having the entire web coded for IE quirks, now we have this great bounty of choice so if any company refuses to listen to us we can just go somewhere else without having to jump through hoops or deal with a crippled web experience. Just off the top of my head I can name Chrome, Chromium and Comodo Dragon in the Chromium based camp, FF, Pale Moon, Waterfox,Kemelon and Comodo IceDragon in the gecko builds, then you got the more "one offs" like Safari and Opera, that's ten browsers that will ALL render the web just fine, so if the numbers for FireFox go down they have nobody to blame but themselves. maybe next time instead of just pulling a boneheaded stunt how about actually asking your customers first, huh?

Re:I was using Waterfrox (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42371153)

In this case they are listening.

I can see where Mozilla is coming from as they have limited resources to double the development efforts for a so called free product. I wish Mozilla would invent Mozilla search to go head to head with Google, but they do not have the revenue for such a risky maneuver.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42371609)

or even better if the Apache Foundation made a search engine.... or maybe a collaborative Mozilla-Apache effort

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 2 years ago | (#42372043)

If they have limited resources they should direct them in a more appropriate way. 64 bit Firefox has significant benefits to performance and less out of memory related crashing.

The OS they're working on, OTOH...

Re:I was using Waterfrox (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 years ago | (#42373171)

If they have limited resources, then why don't they abandon the 32-bit branch?

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42371053)

I do not, for the life of me, understand why FireFox is so hell-bent on 32-bit versions.

I do not for the life of me understand this blind push to 64bit when there is no demonstrable speed improvement.
32bit software on a 64bit platform is not measurably slower for the tasks that a browser needs to do.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371219)

I do not for the life of me understand what demonstratable speed improvement [wikipedia.org] has to do with anything?

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about 2 years ago | (#42371299)

It may be a blind push to 64-bit, but when AMD and Intel debut some 128-bit CPUs for mainstream computing, which may leave some 32-bit support out just as much 16-bit stuff was left out of 64-bit, obviously there will be a need for at least a 64-bit version of the application. Then you'll see a push for a native 128-bit version. Look at what happened with the switch from Windows 9x/ME to XP. Microsoft put many 16-bit applications on life support after XP came to the desktop to replace the 9x/ME versions of Windows. Speed improvement or not, the ability to use the browser without messing with "compatibility settings" and praying it works at all is definitely a plus. Aside from that, at least there isn't a speed degradation in the 64-bit version when compared with the 32-bit version.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42371623)

i'm pretty sure it would be still be possible to thunk a 16 or 32 bit instruction on a 128 bit processor

will Microsoft Windows 128-bit support 16 or 32 bit? probably not

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#42372283)

I don't see why not. Windows XP 64 supported 8 (DOS)/16 (DOS/Win)/32 (DOS/Win)/64 (Win) bit apps. They only recently dropped support for 16-bit Windows Apps.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

Dagger2 (1177377) | about 2 years ago | (#42372359)

XP x64 does not run 16-bit Windows programs. I assume it doesn't run any DOS executables either but I don't have any handy to test with.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#42372573)

I stand corrected, you did need to run 16-bit Windows apps/Dos apps inside Virtual PC to get them to run.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#42372757)

i'm pretty sure it would be still be possible to thunk a 16 or 32 bit instruction on a 128 bit processor

Sure, just like its possible to thunk back to 16-bit once in 64-bit mode on AMD64...

...oh wait, it isnt! You dont know what you are talking about.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42373263)

care to share any sources on that?

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42373425)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86-64#Long_mode

seems to suggest otherwise, but in any case the operating system can always construct a 64-bit instruction from a 16-bit program instruction. thunking isn't a requirement of the processor itself

you obviously can't thunk a 64-bit instruction to run on a 16-bit processor, but surely you knew i wasn't implying that

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

machine321 (458769) | about 2 years ago | (#42371549)

I do not for the life of me understand this blind push to 64bit when there is no demonstrable speed improvement.

Part of the problem is all Firefox tabs and windows are part of the same process, unlike IE (and I believe Chrome). So, if a misbehaved AJAX app in one tab uses a gig and a half, every browser window becomes unusable. If FF were 64-bit, then it could use the 8GB or 16GB found in most new machines to mask the problem.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#42372101)

however, that just masks the problem, doesn't solve it.

With the current Firefoxes, you can go to the help menu and see what tabs are using what memory from the 'troubleshooting information' item. then you can see a rogue tab has gobbled all your ram, and close it. That's a solution.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#42373147)

So having a page just work without drama is not a solution, while requiring the user to manually close it (hopefully before FF crashes) and not visit it in the future is?

Re:I was using Waterfrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42372041)

There might be some kind of other improvement. I went through that whole 16-to-32-bit movement, and it wasn't much fun to deal with 16-bit apps dealing with 16-bit limits. It was harder to do certain file operations--especially installs--when the program thinks that the PC has -1GB of disk space. It's funny to have to create large files on purpose, just to get the free space down enough to make 16-bit apps happy.

It looks like this time around, I'll be bit by certain 4GB limits. Already, I see that under certain circumstances, some programs don't do terribly well writing files over 4GB in size on 32-bit, even if there's a so-called "large file support" in place. So I'm looking forward to real 64 bit, if only so I no longer have to weed out real hardware 64-bitness from faked-in-software 64-bitness on a case by case basis. Also, according to the Google folks, I need a 64-bit machine to compile Chrome because the final linker stage crosses 32-bit limits. I'd like to get rid of problems like that early rather than late.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 2 years ago | (#42373305)

> I do not, for the life of me, understand why FireFox is so hell-bent on 32-bit versions.

Same here. I've been running Waterfox for some months now on a low-end 64-bit desktop PC. It's very fast, and I've not had any plugin or extension problems. Given what a pig Firefox is for memory (and to be fair Chrome and the other browsers too) if there is one application that should drive 64-bit technology it should be these damned web browsers!

Same Bugs as Firefox 64-bit (3, Informative)

CritterNYC (190163) | about 2 years ago | (#42370909)

Waterfox is just Firefox built as 64-bit with some compiler switches and a name change (required by trademark guidelines). It's not a fork and there are no additional bug fixes. It has all the bugs that Firefox does when compiled as a 64-bit binary. You're far better off sticking with Firefox 32-bit which works just fine under 64-bit Windows.

Re:Same Bugs as Firefox 64-bit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370977)

It has all the bugs that Firefox does when compiled as a 64-bit binary.

Out of curiosity, which bugs are those? I've seen bugs in FF (such as the well known memory leaks), but they never seemed to be 64 bit specific.

I've been running the 64 bit firefox for, gosh... I don't even know. 8 or 10 years?

$ file /usr/lib/firefox/firefox /usr/lib/firefox/firefox: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.24

Re:Same Bugs as Firefox 64-bit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371123)

It has all the bugs that Firefox does when compiled as a 64-bit binary.

Out of curiosity, which bugs are those? I've seen bugs in FF (such as the well known memory leaks), but they never seemed to be 64 bit specific.

I've been running the 64 bit firefox for, gosh... I don't even know. 8 or 10 years?

$ file /usr/lib/firefox/firefox /usr/lib/firefox/firefox: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.24

I don't know if this link will work but you can also search to see the 64 bit bugs (some of which also affect x86): https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?quicksearch=firefox+64+bit [mozilla.org]

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

core_tripper (749345) | about 2 years ago | (#42370951)

I can recommend Palemoon [palemoon.org] .instead of Waterfox.
Its compiled for new (SSE2) cpu's and some "redundant and optional code" is disabled.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#42371997)

The 64 bit branch of FireFox and loved it, it was much faster.

Not really. Look at their own benchmarks [waterfoxproject.org] - at best performance is roughly 15% faster, some cases slower. They also commit the cardinal sin of using benchmark charts that do not start at zero, #1 on the list of "how to lie with numbers."

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#42372109)

But if you have a nice fast 64bit machine

Let me fix that for you

But

All Intel/AMD CPUs sold in the past 6 years are 64-bit.

Re:I was using Waterfrox (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#42372571)

Only some Atom chips are 64-bit.

It was Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370833)

What should we make them do next?

Is it possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370867)

That a large company with a competing product would pay them money to totally screw their own product up?

Re:Is it possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370901)

probably the same people who paid for all the sucky UIs out there now

64-bit Opera working smoothly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370917)

I'm running the 64-bit version of Opera on Windows. And while it allows for 32-bit plug-ins, I've ditched all 32-bit stuff, and went for 64-bit only. Well, that boils down to 64-bit flash and 64-bit Java (I've plug-ins run on demand only, so security issues are limited). It works very well, and gives a nice 10+% speedbonus. I see very little reason to stick with 32 bit. In fact, they should make 64 bit the default, and treat the 32-bit versions as the outcast instead.

Re:64-bit Opera working smoothly (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#42371101)

Agreed. Opera works just fine with 32-bit plugins, though at this point there's little point to run them anymore. My setup is similar to yours.

Now with extra hyperbole (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370923)

/. Story when turned off: "turned off for now" /. Story now: "...never see the light of day"

Next story on /. : 64-bit Firefox sent to concentration camp.

Cancel 32-bit on 4-21-2014 (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42370967)

This will coincide with XP ending support which is the last holdout.

If Mozilla does not want to double the work then just focus on 64-bit. Besides a few Vista users who went to 7, I do not know anyone who uses the 32-bit version. Usually they tell me some driver or piece of software is not compatible. Most cases running it in XP mode is better nowdays and by 2014 that hardware will very old!

Maybe release the long term version on that day as the last 32 bit version for 1 year? By 2015 no one should be running 32 bit XP software or operating systems anymore. I mean enough is enough!

Re:Cancel 32-bit on 4-21-2014 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371223)

by 2014 that hardware will very old!

the specs and requirements hasn't changed for MOST applications and tasks since late 2006 (coincides with vista oem release). even the next version of desktop windows is expected to have similar requirements... a dual core athlon from 2006-7 with 2-4gb ram is enough for most people (hard core gamers, 3d graphics artists, and engineers are not 'most people').... and is about the same speed as lower-end desktops today (some "new' ones are actually slower). age of hardware, alone, is not an indicator of a computer's usefulness or speed.

and btw.. it's april 8, 2014 for winxp, not april 21.. got your doomsdays mixed up, me thinks.

Re:Cancel 32-bit on 4-21-2014 (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | about 2 years ago | (#42371869)

By 2015 no one should be running 32 bit XP software or operating systems anymore. I mean enough is enough!

MS is way ahead of you on that point. [slashdot.org]

Firefox developers ignores negative feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370981)

See extension breaking, status bar removal, tabs on bottom option removal, bugs unsolved for a decade etc. Pretty soon it will be firefox depicted as eating the glue [tumblr.com] .

Re:Firefox developers ignores negative feedback (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42371441)

See extension breaking, status bar removal, tabs on bottom option removal, bugs unsolved for a decade etc. Pretty soon it will be firefox depicted as eating the glue [tumblr.com] .

I don't think Firefox developers have been eating the glue.

They've been snorting it.

Still using 32-bit in 2012 is *insane*. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371111)

32-bit for desktop systems is outdated since more than a decade ago, and a complete anachronism for everything except backwards Windows. But even Windows caught up five years ago.

Somehow I have the feeling that the hostility of the closed and primitive Windows platform locks Windows developers in some kind of mental box, that causes them to be very limited in their thinking, when it comes to how to approach developing things or moving to 64-bit for example.
I mean, the damn thing doesn't even have a package manager. (No, Windows Installer doesn't even remotely count.)

Re:Still using 32-bit in 2012 is *insane*. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42371189)

32-bit for desktop systems is outdated since more than a decade ago, and a complete anachronism for everything except backwards Windows. But even Windows caught up five years ago.

Somehow I have the feeling that the hostility of the closed and primitive Windows platform locks Windows developers in some kind of mental box, that causes them to be very limited in their thinking, when it comes to how to approach developing things or moving to 64-bit for example.
I mean, the damn thing doesn't even have a package manager. (No, Windows Installer doesn't even remotely count.)

Difference is the win32 environment is not free. As a result customers tend to hang on to old obsolete systems. As a result older incompatible and backwards operating systems still need to be supported like Windows 98. If you use dos like stuff in your windows 98 that is also compatible with XP, then it probably wont run on 7/8. Unless you run the 32-bit version of course. You couldn't have just made it XP compatible only in 2006 (the version most customers use) as people still had win98.

Linux doesn't have this problem. Or the opposite. It is free so who cares? Just re-invent the wheel every 3 years etc. In the real world where people care about results Windows does the job as it just works, is tested, not to mention people need software to get work done. That is not free my friend. So compatibility like what I described is a clusterfuck. Firefox 32-bit is needed as many use obsolete java plugins to use their expensive and shitty Oracle ERP.

It has nothing to do with developers being retarded and an inferior operating system. It is the economic reality in this new economy that new software must run on old platforms which hinder it, likewise many people want to run old software on newer systems too.

If Gnome 1.x was $120 with all the libraries and apis, and the linux kernel costs $50, you bet your ass Redhat 6.2 (its golden version) would be like XP today and millions would still use it. Why? Software would only work with that or the other and would be a pain to upgrade and expensive! Sorry but commercial software wont be made if it is free. If developers wont get paid they will seek other occupations and users would not be able to get work done.

Re:Still using 32-bit in 2012 is *insane*. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371593)

Difference is the win32 environment is not free. As a result customers tend to hang on to old obsolete systems. As a result older incompatible and backwards operating systems still need to be supported like Windows 98. If you use dos like stuff in your windows 98 that is also compatible with XP, then it probably wont run on 7/8. Unless you run the 32-bit version of course. You couldn't have just made it XP compatible only in 2006 (the version most customers use) as people still had win98.

Linux doesn't have this problem. Or the opposite. It is free so who cares? Just re-invent the wheel every 3 years etc. In the real world where people care about results Windows does the job as it just works, is tested, not to mention people need software to get work done. That is not free my friend. So compatibility like what I described is a clusterfuck. Firefox 32-bit is needed as many use obsolete java plugins to use their expensive and shitty Oracle ERP.

It has nothing to do with developers being retarded and an inferior operating system. It is the economic reality in this new economy that new software must run on old platforms which hinder it, likewise many people want to run old software on newer systems too.

If Gnome 1.x was $120 with all the libraries and apis, and the linux kernel costs $50, you bet your ass Redhat 6.2 (its golden version) would be like XP today and millions would still use it. Why? Software would only work with that or the other and would be a pain to upgrade and expensive! Sorry but commercial software wont be made if it is free. If developers wont get paid they will seek other occupations and users would not be able to get work done.

So Windows "just works" as long as you keep begging Open Source developers to support your legacy crap. Sounds like you need Firefox more than Firefox needs you. If you're not willing to keep paying to upgrade Windows forever you shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Re:Still using 32-bit in 2012 is *insane*. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371615)

Difference is the win32 environment is not free. As a result customers tend to hang on to old obsolete systems. As a result older incompatible and backwards operating systems still need to be supported like Windows 98. If you use dos like stuff in your windows 98 that is also compatible with XP, then it probably wont run on 7/8. Unless you run the 32-bit version of course. You couldn't have just made it XP compatible only in 2006 (the version most customers use) as people still had win98.

Linux doesn't have this problem. Or the opposite. It is free so who cares? Just re-invent the wheel every 3 years etc. In the real world where people care about results Windows does the job as it just works, is tested, not to mention people need software to get work done. That is not free my friend. So compatibility like what I described is a clusterfuck. Firefox 32-bit is needed as many use obsolete java plugins to use their expensive and shitty Oracle ERP.

It has nothing to do with developers being retarded and an inferior operating system. It is the economic reality in this new economy that new software must run on old platforms which hinder it, likewise many people want to run old software on newer systems too.

If Gnome 1.x was $120 with all the libraries and apis, and the linux kernel costs $50, you bet your ass Redhat 6.2 (its golden version) would be like XP today and millions would still use it. Why? Software would only work with that or the other and would be a pain to upgrade and expensive! Sorry but commercial software wont be made if it is free. If developers wont get paid they will seek other occupations and users would not be able to get work done.

So Windows "just works" as long as you keep begging Open Source developers to support your legacy crap. Sounds like you need Firefox more than Firefox needs you. If you're not willing to keep paying to upgrade Windows forever you shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

With Windows you do not have to beg open source developers. Yep, the corps pay MS so they can whine to keep support going. Yes, they want this right so they can save money by not upgrading every freakin 6 months when Ubuntu has a new release.

That legacy crap makes them money.

Accountability = None (3, Interesting)

Stonefish (210962) | about 2 years ago | (#42371157)

It's good to see that someone is being held accountable here. Benjamin Smedberg creates a shitload of negative publicity, pisses off a proportion of dedicated testers and he:
A. Gets a promotion
B. Is removed from positions of responsibility because he demonstrates poor judgement
C. Nothing happens
D. Gets a pay increase.

Answer = C
Come on guys at least make him wear a T shirt for a month that says, I must not override the recommendations of others in relation to 64 bit builds.
One of the key problems in organisations is that people aren't held accountable for poor judgement, or at least a running sheet is not maintained. Ben will probably continue to be promoted even through he has demonstrated that he has a fundamental lack of connection with what end users want. There is obviously something wrong occurring in the firefox mozilla groupthink and yet nothing is being done.

Re:Accountability = None (3)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#42371687)

There is obviously something wrong occurring in the firefox mozilla groupthink and yet nothing is being done.

That's the feeling I have as well. I don't use 32 bit desktops any longer. Actually haven't consistently used a 32 bit desktop in four years. To somehow not be aware of the behavior of real users is a huge fail.

And lets not indulge anymore '64 bits isn't necessary' tripe. People that don't understand why key software must adopt the native ISA of a system and avoid backward compatibility kludges need to stop talking about this.

Anyhow, I just upgraded my main personal desktop hardware and reinstalled my retail Win 7 OS, in addition to Linux. I installed Firefox out of habit but I haven't bothered to reacquire my usual cohort of extensions... I don't use it anymore. Chrome is superior in every way, with the sole exception that noscript is better than scriptno.

Mozilla is repeating Netscape history. Then as now, leadership is the problem.

Re:Accountability = None (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42372007)

I don't use 32 bit desktops any longer. Actually haven't consistently used a 32 bit desktop in four years. To somehow not be aware of the behavior of real users is a huge fail.

You are aware that Internet Explorer and Opera are the only major browsers that have actually released 64-bit builds for Windows, right?

All Chrome offers is "Neither Chromium nor V8 has a 64-bit version on the Windows platform right now. However, Chrome does run on 64-bit Windows as a 32-bit application. [chromium.org] " At least Mozilla is making builds available, even if they aren't formally supported.

Re:Accountability = None (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 2 years ago | (#42372057)

Mozilla's management has their heads in their asses, and has had them up there for quite a while. They've made a very length list of poor decisions in recent memory.

32-bit is insecure (5, Interesting)

r00t (33219) | about 2 years ago | (#42371213)

Haven't these people heard of ASLR [wikipedia.org] and heap spraying [wikipedia.org] Do they not understand the concepts?

Without 64-bit, you have two huge security problems. The first is that there simply isn't enough address space to randomize well. Attackers can guess things. They guess right often enough that the effort is worthwhile. The second huge security problem is that the address space is easy to fill with code-equivalent data for a ROP [wikipedia.org] attack. Actually, with Firefox you could even use real code [wikipedia.org] !

Using a 32-bit browser in 2012 is kind of insane. It's near-complete security FAIL.

Re:32-bit is insecure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371253)

If it can't run their software that businesses paid millions for and is compliant for what they need it doesn't matter! Why fix what is not broken. IE 9 is 32-bit by default and has all of this ... well no heap spray on 7.

32 bit can be compiled for all of this as well.

Re:32-bit is insecure (1)

r00t (33219) | about 2 years ago | (#42371461)

IE 9 is 32-bit by default and has all of this ... 32 bit can be compiled for all of this as well.

Not really!

Security depends on random numbers. 64-bit systems generally provide enough to be effective, while 32-bit systems do not.

If I ask you to guess a number that I have picked, would you rather the range be 1 to 100 or maybe 1 to 100 million? You can reliably guess one of those if you try for a bit, but the other is kind of hopeless.

Re:32-bit is insecure (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#42371469)

IE 9 defaults to 32 bit due to compatibility concerns with third party plugins.

Re:32-bit is insecure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371697)

IE10 does not.

Re:32-bit is insecure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371557)

Agreed, which is why I use Chrome, or Internet Explorer 9 64 bit (and I.E. 10 on personal machines).

Re:32-bit is insecure (1)

detain (687995) | about 2 years ago | (#42371827)

isnt chrome 32bit only ?

Re:32-bit is insecure (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42373871)

Maybe he meant chromium?

Re:32-bit is just as secure (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42371585)

IE 10 32-bit has ASLR and heap spraying protection sandboxing right in. I think Chrome does as well but someone can correct me on this if I am wrong. Infact, the only thing Windows 7 64-bit has that the 32-bit does not is signed bootloaders and drivers to prevent rootkits.

ASLR has been part of 32-bit operating systems for years since Vista.

If someone knows the ram address of a particular dll they can target it anyway with a poke regardless of the bitness. You can still spray on a 64 bit system as well. It just will take longer but can gradually compromise it. THe best defense is a patched OS with a sandboxed browser to prevent the attack from evening happening. Thankfully with ASLR this can of attack is useless except on those with XP as ram addresses constantly change.

Re:32-bit is just as secure (1)

r00t (33219) | about 2 years ago | (#42371967)

IE 10 32-bit has ASLR and heap spraying protection sandboxing right in.

It barely works. There simply isn't enough address space to make it effective. This is like having a door using a 1-pin lock instead of a 7-pin lock. Picking a 1-pin lock is trivial.

You can still spray on a 64 bit system as well.

You can't usefully spray on a 64-bit system. To be useful, your spraying needs to cover a significant portion of the address space. (else you are unlikely to hit it when you trigger the bug) It also can't require more memory than the system has, and it can't need to run for months.

Re:32-bit is insecure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42372239)

I wouldn't even have bothered with this article were it not for your comment on the RSS Feed.
ASLR is the very definition of Security via Obscurity

Never happened (5, Informative)

gfody (514448) | about 2 years ago | (#42371365)

I've been using 64bit nightly since the idea of dropping the builds was mentioned in bz. There was a big debate and a bunch of tech news sites picked up the story and now the latest is that they're being "restored". But the 64bit nightly builds never stopped! I'm sure this story is just to get everyone to STFU about it already.

Why did they cancel it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371407)

Don't most Windows computers (and I'd imagine all mainstream) support 64-bit now?

(Disclaimer: Mac user here - I haven't purchased a Windows machine in a long time)

Call me when it's mainstream (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#42371411)

As long as it's not the default version, it's not worth mentioning.

waterfox (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | about 2 years ago | (#42371889)

Have been using Waterfox for some time now, has been great. Features less bloat and fewer annoyances then has been making it's way into the 32 bit releases of firefox.

Waterfox (1)

binarybum (468664) | about 2 years ago | (#42372137)

Good news. Even if it doesn't result in 64 bit final products soon it should provide more material for the Waterfox project to develop upon. As long is there is developer support from Firefox for the 64bit the onus is on the developer advocats of 64bit computing to prove that it can show a significant enough performance enhancement to be taken seriously and pushed to mainstream.

I've never seen a 32 bit Vista, 7, or 8 installed (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#42372705)

While I realize that there are theoretically 32 bit versions of Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 available, I have never seen one installed on a system. For the Mozilla team to say there will "never" be a 64-bit build for Windows is an asinine and bass-ackwards approach to maintaining compatibility with the OS.

If it's the plugin-providers causing the problem, then they deserve as much "Boo Hiss" as Mozilla does.

Let's try to keep up with the times. 64-bit Windows has been stable and standard for years!

Re:I've never seen a 32 bit Vista, 7, or 8 install (1)

BZ (40346) | about 2 years ago | (#42373585)

> For the Mozilla team to say there will "never" be a
> 64-bit build for Windows

Which is something no one at Mozilla ever said. But don't bother reading what they actually said, just read the lies lazy reporters spouted instead.

What Benjamin said is that there are no plans to ship a final 64-bit product in the next several months.

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