Mozilla keeps churning out a new Firefox stable build every six weeks, having switched to a rapid release schedule earlier this year. But amid the constant changes, there is one thing that still remains untouched by its current release schedule. There is still no official 64-bit build of the browser.
With Firefox being a free and open-source browser, third-party 64-bit builds based on the Firefox source code aren't all that hard to find.
Waterfox is one such 64-bit Firefox derivative
. In fact, it claims to be the “fastest 64-bit variant of Firefox.” As you’d expect, each new Firefox release leads to a corresponding Waterfox release. So when Firefox 9 became available last week, it was also time for Waterfox to move past version 8. You can download the latest version of Waterfox
If you plan to give it a try, make sure you have the Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (x64) installed. Also, if you intend to use popular plugins like Adobe Flash, Sun Java and Microsoft Silverlight with Waterfox, you will have to download their 64-bit versions.
“In benchmarks, the 64-Bit variant of Firefox out-performs the 32-Bit variant,” claims the browser’s website. “Also because this variant is being built specifically for Windows, there might be further performance increases.”
“For some people with older systems, the 64-Bit version loads quicker and is much more responsive than the 32-Bit build. For people with newer systems, it allows them to use the full potential of their systems.”