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Mozilla Dropping 64-Bit Windows Nightly Builds For Now 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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Mozilla Dropping 64-Bit Windows Nightly Builds For Now

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  • Re:64bit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by siride ( 974284 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:14PM (#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.

  • by siride ( 974284 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:23PM (#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.

  • by Bryan Bytehead ( 9631 ) <.moc.ecirplnayrb. .ta. .em.> on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:27PM (#42074479) Homepage

    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?

  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:27PM (#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.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:51PM (#42074629) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:56PM (#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.

  • by Geeky ( 90998 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @01:44PM (#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.

  • by kthreadd ( 1558445 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @01:50PM (#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.

  • by PlusFiveTroll ( 754249 ) on Friday November 23, 2012 @02:36PM (#42075533) Homepage

    I'm not sure why a 32-bit Linux application would need a 32-bit kernel? Unless it's poking deep in the guts of the system, in which it's most likely going to be tied to a particular kernel anyway.

    32-bit linux applications need 32-bit glibc (or whatever libc/library they use) to run. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions can be installed on a 64-bit system just fine. Most of the time you'd run without the 32 bit libraries since you use lots more space with them, and until you get in to specialized programs, most come with 64-bit versions. On an application that doesn't use rpm, or some other packaging to tell you what libraries you need, you can be left guessing on what you need to install, I will give you that.

    But thinking Windows is more friendly then Linux on 64-bit is insane. The whole capture the system call and write it to a different directory thing... verses /lib and /lib64. Yea.

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