Mozilla Backtracks on Decision to Cease Development of 64-bit Firefox

Paul Lilly

Don't look now, but 64-bit Firefox nightlies are set to return.

Mozilla in November made the decision to pull the plug on 64-bit Firefox for Windows, disabling 64-bit nightlies because of a lack of resources required to make it worthwhile. What Mozilla didn't anticipate was that there would be "significant negative feedback" from the online community, and because of that, the open source browser maker said it's willing to make a compromise .

Developer Benjamin Smedberg, the one who first proposed ceasing 64-bit Firefox development, said Mozilla still doesn't have the resources to reverse course, but the Release Engineering team does.

"After reviewing that feedback, and consulting with Release Engineering, I believe that we can keep a set of users happy by making a modification to the original plan," Smedberg said in a blog post.

Smedberg's revised plan represents a scaled back effort in 64-bit Firefox development, but it's better than nothing, especially for power surfers who need to have open lots of tabs. The advantage of running a 64-bit browser in a 64-bit operating system is that it can address more than 4GB of memory, allowing hundreds of tabs to be open.

While the 64-bit nightlies are back in action, don't expect a polished 64-bit Firefox browser to debut any time soon. Mozilla's primary focus right now is testing 32-bit builds to work properly on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, and specifically Windows 8.

If you're not into using nightlies, there's always Waterfox , a popular 64-bit variant of Firefox.

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