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Mozilla Firefox The Internet

64-bit Firefox is the New Default on 64-bit Windows (mozilla.org) 178

An anonymous reader shares a blog post: Users on 64-bit Windows who download Firefox will now get our 64-bit version by default. That means they'll install a more secure version of Firefox, one that also crashes a whole lot less. How much less? In our tests so far, 64-bit Firefox reduced crashes by 39% on machines with 4GB of RAM or more.
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64-bit Firefox is the New Default on 64-bit Windows

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  • About time! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by FrankOVD ( 4965439 )
    It's been more than 15 years since the first 64bit OSes... What was Mozilla waiting for?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When the first 64bit OSes were released, there was a relatively small number of people using them. Making the 64bit version of Firefox the default back then would have rendered it useless on most people's computers. It would have been a very poor choice.
      • Users on 64-bit Windows who download Firefox will now get our 64-bit version by default. Why couldn't Mozilla make a default 64bit version for the 64bit OSes and keep a 32bit default for the 32bit OSes. And it's been a while since the last 32bit OSes and processors have been sold by default.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          There is more to it than that. Firefox isn't exactly a simple application, and configuration management isn't exactly a simple topic.

          Generally, when you make a major shift, such as supporting new functionality, or a new platform etc, there has to be a good reason. I don't think that the majority of people running a 64bit OS is a good enough reason, when the OS supports the 32bit version of the software.

          Before I invite a whole bunch of flame, think about your typical long standing software. Something that

      • Re:About time! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @02:42PM (#55019797)

        Also when people had 4GB RAM max on their computers there was no advantage of a 64bit OS. The 64-bit applications are larger and they are not faster. If the 32-bit version of Firefox crashes more then it's because they aren't spending as much time maintaining it.

    • It's the Mozilla motto: "Leading the market 100% of the time, 10% of the time."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @10:53AM (#55017651)

      They were concentrating on removing the useful features, randomizing UI and adding new social media and video chat buttons. Having a stable and optimized binary was never a priority on Mozilla's business plan.

      • We are seeing technology companies that are shockingly badly managed. Why is that happening? Are we experiencing a general social breakdown?

        One small but indicative example: On the Mozilla Foundation Download Firefox in your language [mozilla.org] web page the 32-bit and 64-bit versions have the same file name!

        The browser situation is very, very ugly. Firefox is now, basically, owned by Microsoft, who is apparently trying to destroy it. In the past, Google paid Mozilla Foundation $300 million each year [allthingsd.com] (December 22, 2011) to make Google search the default search engine in Firefox. Google apparently didn't cause problems in the design of Firefox, even though it paid a shocking amount.

        Now, I understand, Mozilla Foundation gets most of its money from Microsoft: Microsoft pays Yahoo. Yahoo pays Mozilla Foundation to make "Yahoo search" (actually mostly Microsoft Bing search) [searchengineland.com] (April 16, 2015) the default search engine in Firefox.

        The Thunderbird and SeaMonkey Composer GUIs have been damaged, apparently deliberately. File saves in the newer versions of both ask for a new file name, and don't suggest the last one chosen. The damage was reported several months ago, but has not been fixed.

        Is that another example of Microsoft's Embrace, Extend, Extinguish? People who feel forced away from Thunderbird may choose Microsoft software to replace it. Is that something Microsoft is trying to accomplish?

        In my opinion, dishonest people should not be employed in management. In my opinion, the managers and members of the board of directors of both Microsoft and Mozilla Foundation who approved the dishonesty of sneakily re-configuring Mozilla Foundation products should be immediately fired, and not allowed to have management positions in the future.

        Mozilla Foundation may be desperate now that it has lost the incredible amount of money paid by Google.
        • We are seeing technology companies that are shockingly badly managed.

          So do it better. If you know how to do it better then take the opportunity that's apparently available to you and profit from it. We'll all benefit from, and be dazzled and amazed by, your insight and leadership, won't we?

          Or is it easier to talk and harder to actually do?

        • They have the same file name because they're the same file! They're just installer stubs that download the real code. Earlier versions offered full downloads, but now the stub is all you can easily get - which is a disadvantage if you're planning to install Firefox on a bunch of computers that are on a slow internet connection or aren't connected at all.
    • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @11:05AM (#55017749) Homepage
      > It's been more than 15 years since the first 64bit OSes... What was Mozilla waiting for?

      With 32-bit Firefox, there was a sane upper limit on how much memory the program could use with a 32-bit address space. With a 64-bit Firefox, there is no sane upper limit on memory that Firefox can consume. Think Godzilla or other giant monsters tearing through a modern city meme.

      Mozilla was protecting us all!

      Firefox could now consume as much memory as . . .

      . . . as . . . as . . . Java 64-bit with -Xms=64000m -Xmx=128000m
    • No Java support in 64bit.
    • A benefit. The 32-bit version may perform better.

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      Way more, there were 64bit OS's in the mid 90s...

    • by Meski ( 774546 )
      All the corporates who won't shift from x86 to x64 Office. Which trickles thru to other apps that do calls into Office, and the shitty stuff that happens when you do calls between the two models.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    61% of the time, Firefox 64-bit works every time!

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      The "39% less" is telling in itself. You can't get to a "39% less" without multiple and quite a few crashes. If it had been a number like 50%, it could be attributed to a small sample size, but 0.39 isn't close to any small divisor.
      So they're telling us that it still crashes quite a bit.

      • The "39% less" is telling in itself. You can't get to a "39% less" without multiple and quite a few crashes. If it had been a number like 50%, it could be attributed to a small sample size, but 0.39 isn't close to any small divisor.
        So they're telling us that it still crashes quite a bit.

        Additionally, I find it odd they would make a statement like that and specify it with a classifier, "... with 4GB of RAM or more." So, what is it? Is it that it's 64-bit, or it is that it can address more memory than the 32-bit max of 4GB of memory.... or is it how the memory is paged in the 64-bit win kernel vs how it's handled in the 32-bit ones.... or....?

        Adding an "and" to a statement like that pretty much tears it apart because there are multiple paths to data points for the statement after an "and".

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @10:48AM (#55017593) Homepage

      What's really needed is a version of Firefox that doesn't use so much fucking memory that we need a 64-bit version.

      With two slashdot tabs open my Firefox is current using 700Mb of memory.

      Yes, I just restarted it. Before the restart it was 1.5Gb for those same two pages.

      I installed the 64-bit version a few months ago when the 32-bit version finally became completely unusable for basic web browsing.

      PS: Google Chrome is better, but not much - 500Mb. IE can do it in a "mere" 200Mb. WTF happened to 'coding'?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        IE can do it in a "mere" 200Mb.

        No, it can't. It can't even do it in 200MB. The numbers you're seeing are lies. A significant part of "IE" gets baked into "Windows", as to hide it's real numbers. So, in reality, Windows doesn't use as much RAM as you're told, and you get tricked into thinking IE is way more efficient than it is in reality compared to its competition.

        There used to be tools to strip out all of IE out of Windows which would render it quite a bit lighter. However, I have to admit I haven't kept up to date on those, so I can't

      • What's really needed is a version of Firefox that doesn't use so much fucking memory that we need a 64-bit version.

        x86-64 is about much more than the address space.

        PS: Google Chrome is better, but not much - 500Mb. IE can do it in a "mere" 200Mb. WTF happened to 'coding'?

        Being only for Windows, I imagine IE makes more use of the OS libraries. Firefox and Chrome are available on multiple OSes, so they need to include a lot of cross-platform libraries.

        • What's really needed is a version of Firefox that doesn't use so much fucking memory that we need a 64-bit version.

          x86-64 is about much more than the address space.

          Please enlighten us. Ignorant mortals might think they're compiling the exact same code.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TeknoHog ( 164938 )

            x86-64 is about much more than the address space.

            Please enlighten us. Ignorant mortals might think they're compiling the exact same code.

            More and larger registers. SSE1/2 instructions guaranteed, these are optional in x86. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            There's even a Linux project called x32 to make use of these features, while limiting the address space to 32 bits per process for potential speedups. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • I have two Firefox tabs open to Slashdot and the total memory consumed by the three Firefox processes I see is about 250MB (private working set). How many extensions do you have installed? Any ad blocking? Script blocking? I tend to block as much stuff as possible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What's really needed is a version of Firefox that doesn't use so much fucking memory that we need a 64-bit version.

        It's not their fault. It's mine.

        I take efficient streamlined console applications and rewrite them into bloated quirky slow web applications with 100% Javascript front ends.

        I crush your tiny browser.

        Actually, it's not my fault. That's just what my clients ask for.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Who cares? I have 16GB of RAM, even running 2 games and my web browser I don't start paging. As long as it makes things faster please for the love of god use my RAM.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        What add-ons do you have installed? Insane memory usage like that is usually due to broke add-ons.

        For comparison I fired up an instance with only uBlock and 14 Slashdot tabs and it's using 330MB.

      • The 64-bit version also easily uses 1.5 times as much memory for the same set of pages as the 32-bit version. Frankly, I'd rather just stick with 32-bit: I'm running other applications as well that I like to see remain responsive, and not have all of my RAM gobbled up by a browser.

        Maybe it will crash much less. I wouldn't be able to tell; Firefox hasn't crashed for me in years and years.

        • Keep in mind that 64-bit applications are more resistant to brute force memory attacks since address space layout randomization (ASLR) techniques have a significantly larger address space to work with. It may utilize more memory, but it'll be less prone to stack and heap attacks.

          • Security is not always the highest priority. The system must also remain useful for normal use, and I'll happily trade off some theoretical improved security against very measurable lost performance. I'd rather use that extra 400MB or so for disk cache; I certainly need it while compiling, something I do a lot over the day.

            And given the number of problems I've had over the years (zero, as reported by both my permanent virusscanner and the occasional run with things like Hitman Pro), I'd say that security is

      • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @07:19PM (#55022131)

        Hate to be the "it works for me guy" but Firefox's memory footprint has dropped continuously and is widely recognised as being much smaller than Chrome's to the point where Google started removing the tools needed to analyse memory use as it was constantly being used against them.

        If Firefox is using more memory than Chrome you are doing something very wrong with your plugins or profile. If Firefox is using 700MB for 2 slashdot tabs, you're doing something very wrong with your plugins or profile.

        Maybe you should nuke the entire thing and install fresh.

        • Firefox does some stupid stuff at the code level, such as reserving 10% of your physical memory whether it needs it or not. If you have a lot of RAM installed in your system, Firefox will allocate more memory. Hence, it's not unusual to see instances of Firefox using almost 4GB of memory (regardless of what it's doing) if you're running on a high-end machine.

          I've been trying to track down why PaleMoon v26 releases memory while PaleMoon v27 (and every version of Firefox I've used for the last decade) alway

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        It's a tradeoff and they decided to go with using shitloads of memory for fast tab switching.
        There's still Opera who have not gone that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    >How much less? In our tests so far, 64-bit Firefox reduced crashes by 39% on machines with 4GB of RAM or more.

    What was it crashing from? OOM?

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      What was it crashing from? OOM?

      If so, I would recommend sticking with 32-bit Firefox. Then the browser may crash, but at least it won't eat up more than the 32-bit address space and cause problems for other tasks running on your system.

      • I think your phrasing is off.. it can't quite eat up more than the 32 bit address space.

        • I think your phrasing is off.. it can't quite eat up more than the 32 bit address space.

          PAE with swappin' or non-PAE with a lower defined mathematical limit? The statement is vague (not yours, the parent).

  • by toonces33 ( 841696 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @10:39AM (#55017503)
    Usually the problem is address space exhaustion. So by going to a 64-bit executable, the memory leaks are probably still there, but instead of crashing Firefox, it will just thrash the machine. That doesn't sound like progress to me.
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @10:43AM (#55017547) Homepage

    Great news for the 5% of us that still use Firefox. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    (Am a Firefox user, but am thinking about moving over to Chrome in the next few weeks).

    • Wait for Firefox 57 to be released in November. Try the nightly builds if you can't wait. It's worth it.
  • Maybe also Google will follow!

  • Did they finally -after YEARS- fix the famous Black Screen caused by GPU HW acceleration? Just today, with the latest nVidia drivers, and a fully patched Windows 10 box, still have this problem. It occurs maybe twice a week. But talk about shit code in Firefox! I've never had any other problems with HW acceleration in other applications.

    • I haven't encountered that since I finally decided to upgrade to the 64-bit build; that bug was so annoying I decided the older plugins didn't matter. :)

  • Is it because WOW32 & 32-bit graphics drivers can be unstable on Windows 64-bit? Or because antivirus software doesn't have the means to insert hooks into it in ways that destabilize it? Or because it has more memory to leak before allocs start causing it to become unstable?

    Would be nice to know. Probably a combination of all of the above but I assume Mozilla has metrics to say where the added stability comes from.

  • After many years of Netscape, Mozilla and Firefox, this year was the last nail in the coffin for me. At some update Firefox simply would run for some time (maybe a couple of minutes, mas a few hours) and silently drop any network access. I was already disappointed with many and frequent crashes, lot of websites that didn't work and so on... but really it got to an all-time low on quality and usability.
    And it's on my work machine, where I don't go to anywhere "strange"...

  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @11:20AM (#55017921)
    All my windows machines have 64-bit Windows installed, but I have already installed the 32-bit version of Firefox on them (because that was the default at the time). How about automatically UPGRADING my 32-bit Firefox to 64-bit on machines that can handle it?
    • by Shimbo ( 100005 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @11:30AM (#55018049)

      All my windows machines have 64-bit Windows installed, but I have already installed the 32-bit version of Firefox on them (because that was the default at the time). How about automatically UPGRADING my 32-bit Firefox to 64-bit on machines that can handle it?

      This is scheduled for the next release, Firefox 56.

  • We get a shiny new and slim browser we love it, we ask for more features, these features get added, the browser gets bloated, We get an other shiny and slim browser...

    Netscape by 4.5 became Netscape Communicator with email newsgroups and a bunch of other stuff, took minutes to load up.
    Internet Explorer was seen as a better options. Integrated into the OS, means it took a lot less time to boot up, and followed the standards a bit better so pages rendered better. Then by Version 6. It hasn't kept up with th

    • If the users asked for all the privacy-invading anti-features of Firefox, then why do the Firefox users always ask how to disable them? I can't imagine anyone asking for the AwfulBar, disappearing of menues, lots of code for site subscriptions you'll never want anyway, and so on.
  • So they didn't fixed the crashing - they postponed it by throwing hardware into the problem.

    Kudos, moz://a . On the Microsoft way. If at least you had the money to buy your way out, uh?

  • Seriously, that's your motto, "crashes 39% less!"?
  • by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @12:02PM (#55018447) Homepage

    I've been using the 64-bit version of Firefox on my desktop PC for about a month.

    The memory use of the application is regularly blowing up. Last week after leaving the PC and Firefox open for the day while I was at work, I came back home only to find out my computer crawling and Firefox process taking 10GB of memory. That's up from about 800MB at startup.

    The memory reports aren't working either, so I can't figure out what's going on easily.

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      I recognize that this post will be unpopular, but:

      Both of those numbers are stupidly-large.

    • That's up from about 800MB at startup. The memory reports aren't working either,

      Hate to say it, but something is very screwed on your install. Maybe it's time to start fresh. If you're using around 500MB with 30+ tabs open, then you're back in business.

  • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @01:22PM (#55019147)

    Since FF 57 will be the death of Firefox in about three months due to the disabling of all "legacy" extensions (which is 100% of the extensions I use - some very useful ones that haven't been updated in quite some time and that I can't find WebExtensions equivalents for), Mozilla needs to get done whatever they expect to be adopted before then -- and defaulting to 64-bit seems to fall in this category. (FF 55 already broke two of my favorite extensions -- I can run either one of them without the other, but not both at the same time because attempts to close new windows/popups or even FF itself are completely ignored so I may go back to 54).

    Some users will, without realizing it, upgrade to 57 and discover that the primary reason they use FF has vaporized and then move on to Chrome. Some, like myself, will probably stick around on 54...56 for a while but will begin to switch to alternatives because they want security related browser updates.

    It's amazing to me that if one goes to the FF addon's page and types in some search terms like "video" or "mouse" or "screen" or "download" or "tab" and sorts by 'most users', perhaps 10% of the extensions are tagged as compatible with 57+. I wonder who Mozilla expects to use FF after November -- do they have some big marketing initiative planned to attract a bunch of new users -- perhaps there is an untapped market of extra-terrestrials that are just discovering the World Wide Web I'm not aware of?

    (Although, I must admit, upgrading to 64bit FF was a good thing for me -- instead of having to restart FF once or twice a day, now I can just restart it once or twice a week -- when it gets to about 13 GB of virtual memory, it gets pretty slow even though I've got lots of free memory on my 32GB desktop).

    FF - R.I.P. - I'll miss you, it was fun back when FF was fresh and innovative but, sorry, now it's an old toothless 97 year old hag which is about to break both hips in a dementia and alcohol induced suicide attempt jumping off a third floor balcony at the retirement home. It will be deadly, but it will be an unnecessarily painful and slow death. Come on, why not just announce that 56 is the last full release and that a few dedicated volunteers are going to try to issue patch releases on 56 for the most serious of security issues for a while?

  • by hackel ( 10452 )

    How can this seriously still be a thing in 2017? I don't get it. What the hell is wrong with Windows users that they have accepted anything less for SO LONG? If your OS can't keep up with technology from 14 BLOODY YEARS AGO, get a better OS!

    There is absolutely no excuse for this. It just makes me despise Windows users that much more for being complete idiots—at least the technically-minded ones who know better.

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