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This decision makes no sense.

I figure that, sometime in the next 10 years, 32-bit OS'es will go the way of 16-bit OS'es. The time to iron out the bugs in the 64-bit version is now, while it's only used by diehard techies who understand the necessity of switching to 64-bit.

If we wait until the unwashed masses are forced to switch by ever-advancing technology, they'll jump ship for browsers that have been preparing for years.

Also, the fact that the link has exactly one post in between the proposal and the switch tells me that nobody noticed it, and more effort should have been made to get community review, buy-in, sign-offs. There should have been lots of commentary and input on such a fundamental feature as 64-bit support in such a high-profile open-source project.

The real discussion is here (~40 messages): https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mozilla.dev.apps.fir...

The poster asked that people follow up in a different newsgroup.

To be fair, as others have mentioned Chrome doesn't even have a pre-Alpha 64-bit version, and a number of plugins don't work with 64-bit browsers. Sometimes you have to pick your battles, it's not like Mozilla has infinite resources.

I'm one of the leads for the 64-bit Chrome on Windows work, and it is very much underway. I can't commit to a timeline, but we are attacking this pretty aggressively right now because it's a nice win on both the security and performance fronts. I'm a bit shocked to see Firefox moving in the opposite direction.

Are the 64-bit challenges on Windows much different than OS X or Linux? Chrome for OS X is also 32-bit, but Firefox is 64-bit.

Well, OS X is easier because much of the work has already been done for Linux 64, as both are posix-ish lp64 architectures. Whereas Windows is llp64 plus its own APIs and ABIs, which means much more unique porting issues.

Beyond that, there's all the infrastructure you need to stand up for development, continuous integration, QA, metrics, and shipping to hundreds of millions of users. The logistics of that part are almost the same as supporting an entirely new OS, and in the case of Windows it's one with an insanely large and diverse population. So yeah, that parts actually a lot worse just because of the sheer numbers.

Some differences include the need for JITs to generate proper unwind tables for SEH to work properly.

As well as a different calling convention.

To be honest, Chrome is multi-process while Firefox is single-process.

To elaborate, each tab in Chrome can use up to 2GB as it runs in its own process, while the entire Firefox window is limited in a 32-bit architecture.

So the need in Chrome to go 64- from 32-bit from a memory perspective is less.

The reason seems to be that they are focusing on uninteresting crap like Metro and FirefoxOS.

I don't think plugins are as compelling an argument today as they were a few years back. Flash is basically gone, and Firefox's PDF viewer is 100% Javascript.

The only plugin i have is the JRE - which has provided a 64-bit version for over 10 years (SPARC64 in Java 1.4). And i can't remember the last time i chanced upon a Java applet in a webpage.

Even the Unity3D Web Player has a 64-bit browser plugin. I can't imagine what's really missing other than outdated versions of RealPlayer.

Flash is still installed on over 99% of desktop browsers. And the pdf viewer is way too slow (at least for me) for real world usage.

If there are not 64-bit browsers, how will there ever be plugins to work with them?

> I figure that, sometime in the next 10 years, 32-bit OS'es will go the way of 16-bit OS'es.

Yep. I'd prefer in Firefox (and others) abandoned 32-bit windows instead.

Windows Server 2012 does not have a 32-bit version, it's 64 bit only.

Related, why is there a 32 bit build of Windows 8? Does some of the target hardware at the low end of the market need it? I guess the server space has has a higher threshold of minimum hardware than tablets.


To be fair, there was some small amount more commentary. See the other post for more links - the submission points simply to the announcement thread.

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