Maybe 64-bit Firefox is on the way?

Mozilla is looking hard at questions regarding a 64-bit Windows build of Firefox. This is progress. This is good.

Adobe finally released a 64-bit Flash player for Linux. A Windows version isn’t here yet, but they promise they’re working on it. I’m perfectly happy without Flash, but the majority of people aren’t. Lack of a 64-bit Flash is probably the biggest thing keeping Web browsers in the 32-bit age.

To me, the biggest issue is the lack of 64-bit plugins. Memory usage is less of a pressing issue, since 64-bit systems have so much more of it available. Speed is a problem that can be solved over the long term. I’m of the opinion that any 64-bit web browser that can give people the capability they have now in 64 bits will make them happy. Optimizations can follow in subsequent releases.

Personally, the lack of a 64-bit non-IE browser and plugins is the reason I’m still running 32-bit Windows. Everyone else in the house needs to be able to do what they’re used to doing, and they don’t want to bother making sure they’re running the right browser. I’ll buy a new AMD64 motherboard and install 64-bit Windows 7 when I have a browser to run on it. I see no point in buying one right now–unless I lose a motherboard suddenly, of course–and just sitting on it. Whether it’s 3 months or 6 months or 12 months from now that 64-bit browsers become available, I’ll get more CPU for my money in the future than right now.

If you do already have a 64-bit system and don’t mind the lack of plugins–a vocal minority see lack of Flash as something desirable, after all–there’s always Pale Moon. And I suppose one could run 32-bit Firefox and 64-bit Pale Moon to avoid some confusion. Firefox for sites that require it, Pale Moon for everything else.

2 thoughts on “Maybe 64-bit Firefox is on the way?

  • July 31, 2011 at 5:17 am
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    Agree. You can’t imagine how huge is the list of programs that work on, but do NOT use 64bit system (they are installed into “Program Files(x86)”. Including new games. So, practicaly, for us average users, 64 bit system shouldn’t been invented yet . Maybe arround year 2020. 🙂

    • July 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm
      Permalink

      Well, let’s see. True 32-bit Windows appeared in 1993 or so, usable 32-bit Windows appeared in 1995, and 32-bit apps went mainstream a year or two later. That was still a long time ago, so there are probably hundreds of thousands of 32-bit programs.

      If we argue that the first truly usable 64-bit Windows was 64-bit Windows 7, then we’re roughly on the same pace as 32-bit Windows was. A 32-bit MS Office appeared right at the same time as Win95, but it took a couple of years for the rest of the software world to catch up and go 32-bit. I got stuck supporting a lot of AOL users in 1996-97, and for a good while AOL users had to make sure they were using 16-bit Netscape because AOL was still 16-bit, and 32-bit browsers wouldn’t talk to AOL’s 16-bit Winsock. Good luck explaining that to the typical AOL user.

      So maybe the transition to 64-bit will be slower because the status quo isn’t as painful. That transition from 16 to 32 bits was a really big mess, so just about everyone was highly motivated to get out of that phase.

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