Where is the 64-bit version of the Firefox web browser for the Windows operating system? That's a question that I have been asking myself for the past couple of years, probably ever since I updated to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional. Mozilla is offering 64-bit versions of the browser for Mac and Linux, but Windows, the operating system that is used by the majority of Internet users? There have been nightly and custom builds of 64-bit versions of Firefox, but that is about it.
64-bit versions have been in development for quite some time, a roadmap released in 2011 for instance lists the Windows 64-bit version of Firefox under Firefox 5. That did not happen but still, most Firefox users probably expected that Mozilla would eventually release Firefox 64-bit for Windows.
That dream may have been shattered now with the announcement that Mozilla decided to stop producing 64-bit builds for the Windows operating system.
Per newsgroup discussion. Please stop building windows 64 builds and tests. This includes the following subtasks, which I'm not filing specific bugs on but you may want to break these out:
* stop building win64 nightlies
* repatriate existing win64 nightly users onto win32 builds using a custom update
* stop doing win64 "hourly" builds on mozilla-central and other branches
* disable the win64 option in try/trychooser
This bug is not the place to argue about this decision, which has already been made. If there is critical data which you think should be heard about this decision, please post it to mozilla.dev.apps.firefox.
What are the reasons given?
- Many plugins are not available in 64-bit versions
- The plugins that are available do not work correctly in Firefox
- 64-bit versions are slower than 32-bit versions of Firefox
- 64-bit users can't test all features of the browser (in regards to Nightly)
- 64-bit crash reports are not high priority
- User frustration because of this
- Stability team frustration because crash stats do not distinguish between 32-bit and 64-bit builds.
About 50% of Nightly users are currently working with a 64-bit version of Firefox. Since there won't be any updates for the versions they are running, they somehow need to receive information about the change.
Mozilla plans to offer an update for those users to "convert" their 64-bit version of Firefox Nightly to a 32-bit version. It is not clear when this is going to happen though but it will happen at around the time the Nightly builds are no longer produced and uploaded to the servers. It is not clear if third party builds of Firefox, for instance the 64-bit Waterfox browser, are affected by the change as well.
This does not mean that there won't be a 64-bit version of Firefox ever, but for the foreseeable future, it is not going to happen.
The only (major) browser makers offering 64-bit browsers right now are Microsoft and Opera. Everyone else is only offering 32-bit versions for Windows.
Some Firefox users will certainly be disappointed by the move even if it does not impact them right away. I for one dislike Mozilla's current trend to move away from development of certain programs, Thunderbird and now 64-bit Windows builds come to mind. It gives the impression that these products are not worth the company's time, and as a result, that users who like those products are not Mozilla's top priority either anymore. (via Sören)