Firefox users who run the browser on Windows systems have two options currently when it comes to running it as a 64-bit application. They can either run the 64-bit Nightly channel version of the browser or use a third-party build such as Pale Moon which is offered as a 64-bit version as well.
If you look at Firefox's main competitors you will notice that Internet Explorer is being offered as a 64-bit version and that Google Chrome is already available as a 64-bit version as well.
A recent update to the 64-bit Windows page on the Mozilla Wiki website suggests that the organization plans to release a 64-bit Firefox Stable version for the Windows operating system in the near future.
There you find listed reasons why Mozilla wants to make available a 64-bit build for Windows. According to the page, at least 50% of users who run Firefox on Windows use a 64-bit version of the operating system.
In addition, development is listed as mostly complete and engineering work that needs to be completed resolves to testing, making sure the installer works and plugin compatibility work.
Mozilla plans to roll out the 64-bit in phases:
- Phase 1: A separate 64-bit installer is provided and users are informed about it on the browser's what's new page. 64-bit builds are served from that moment on to users who opted-in. The majority of plugins and binary add-ons won't work in this phase.
- Phase 2: A universal installer that supports both 32-bit and 64-bit. Flash support is provided either via 64-bit Flash or Shumway, and add-on support is improved.
- Phase 3: Auto-update functionality.
The proposed version of Firefox for phase 1 is Firefox 37 Stable. This version will be released on 31. March 2015 to the public.
It is planned furthermore to released Aurora and Beta test builds as part of Mozilla's November 9th campaign (10 years of Firefox). Auto-updates are not provided yet though which means that users who are interested in testing these builds need to download them separately from a page Mozilla creates for that purpose.
This is a preliminary timetable which may change depending on how the testing goes and if major bugs are discovered that may prevent the release in March 2015. (via Sören)
Now You: What are your expections for a 64-bit Firefox version?