Mozilla rolls out 64-bit Firefox builds
Mozilla has begun distributing a 64-bit version of the Firefox browser for Windows.
The early builds of the browser are Mozilla’s first attempt to take advantage of the move towards 64-bit hardware and operating systems, which has accelerated with the release of Windows 7.
Although the browser is unlikely to see any significant performance increase by moving to 64-bit, it does allow the browser to address more than 4GB of memory, which is the limit on 32-bit systems. Yet even with Firefox’s memory-hogging reputation, you’d do well to exceed 4GB via the browser.
The 64-bit version of Firefox is currently only being offered to developers, and isn’t ready for public consumption. “The purpose of automating these pre-release builds is to allow developers to do work for this architecture and for testers to use the builds and be able to file bugs,” Mozilla developer Armen Zambrano states on his blog. “Currently, we are producing these builds twice a day and upon request from developers.”
The instability of the pre-beta builds isn’t the only problem facing 64-bit surfers. Adobe has yet to release a 64-bit version of Flash for anything but Linux, meaning anyone deciding to install the new Firefox will have an iPad-like web experience. Many Firefox extensions won’t work with the 64-bit browser either.
Firefox won’t be the first 64-bit browser. Microsoft offers a 64-bit version of Internet Explorer 8, while Apple offers 64-bit Safari on Macs. Google has also developed a 64-bit version of Chrome on Linux.