Mozilla to release 64-bit Firefox for Windows on November 3

Published on October 19, 2015

Mozilla to release 64-bit Firefox for Windows on November 3

    And by the end of 2016, NPAPI support will be removed from Firefox


    Firefox 42, the next version of Mozilla’s browser, will be available both as a 32-bit application and as a 64-bit program. The latest version, available only on the FTP server, will take advantage of the x86-64 architecture (AMD64 / Intel 64). For example, it will be able to address more than 4 GB of memory. Currently, under Windows there is only a 32-bit build of Firefox. For users of Linux and Mac OS, 64-bit Firefox has been available for a long time. Firefox 42 is coming out November 3 this year.

    Over the past five years, Mozilla started the process of developing 64-bit Firefox, then dropped it, then started again . Since 2014, after giving priority to the development process of the 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows, the output has been delayed several times. As usual, the first news is best to draw from the bug tracker , since the development process is open.

    On November 3, the next version of Firefox 42 will be released. But no options will be offered for installing the 64-bit version. Moreover, there will be no links even on the download page. Assembly will beGet exclusively on the FTP server as a test. A Mozilla spokesman says some kind of “change from partners” is expected, so there will be no full-fledged announcement. The 64-bit version will not have support for plugins using NPAPI.

    64-bit here refers to systems with the architecture of the central processor x86-64on which 64-bit OSes are installed. x86-64 is a 64-bit extension of 32-bit x86 with backward compatibility. The processors of almost all modern personal computers use the x86-64 architecture. 32-bit OSes do not allow addressing more than 4 GB of RAM. Moreover, this number includes both the RAM itself and the memory of the video accelerator. 64-bit systems have higher restrictions, for example, Windows 10 can use up to 2 TiB of RAM. 64-bit operating systems allow you to run 32-bit applications. 32-bit OSes cannot run 64-bit programs. The advantages of 64-bit code do not end with the addressable amount of RAM: programs can be faster.

    Unlike Google Chrome, which uses a multi-threaded architecture, Firefox uses a single process, although work on the introduction of multithreaded architecture took place . Now the release version of Firefox for Windows is 32-bit and is enclosed in one process, which cannot address more than 3 GiB in a 32-bit system and 4 GiB in 64-bit. There are 64-bit nightly builds for Windows. On November 3, for the first time, a release version of 64-bit Firefox will be released for Windows.

    Firefox rivals have long had 64-bit builds in their arsenal. The voraciousness of Chrome, which allows it to go beyond 32 bits of the address space and easily use all the resources of the computer, is well known to users and has become the subject of jokes, although later it was optimized by Googlework with memory. Even projects based on free Firefox source code overtake the progenitor in this matter: Pale Moon and Waterfox have long been available in 64-bit builds for Windows.

    The Win64 build of Firefox 42, which will be released on November 3, will lack support for NPAPI plugins. Generally, Mozilla will removesupport for NPAPI from Firefox by the end of next year. This means that popular plugins such as Java or the Unity web player will not work. The decision to remove NPAPI support is dictated by the fact that the plug-in functions are already supported natively by the browser itself: in Firefox you can watch videos thanks to HTML5 and the presence of the necessary codecs and play 3D games using WebGL. NPAPI plugins are increasingly showing the age of the technology in the form of performance problems (which affects the battery life on mobile devices), crashes and information security incidents.

    Support for NPAPI plugins has already been removed from Chrome. For Flash, developers at Mozilla will make an exception because it has become an important part of the daily life of Web users. Probably, at a certain period of development, he will also be removed. Oracle understands the rejection of Java and offers its own solutions. Unity abandoned work on Unity Web Player. Instead, it is proposed to use export to WebGL. In the version of Unity 5.4 coming out in March next year, browser plug-in support will be gone.

    After the release (November 3), Firefox 42 64-bit build for Windows will be available at https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/latest/. The Firefox development cycle consists of sequentially changing the status of nightly builds into a version for developers, a beta version, and then a release. A beta version of the 64-bit browser is already available .