Firefox may be one of the most popular browsers out there but lately it has seen increased competition and in some cases has been outpaced by Chrome, Safari and even Internet Explorer. Firefox 3.5 does bring some innovations but for the most part it had a pretty quiet release. However, there are people working on pushing the browser forward and one of them has been building a native 64-bit release, which Mozilla doesn't officially
An independent developer going by the screen name of Makoto has been building 64-bit binaries for Windows since last year and plans to submit the code before the next Firefox release, which may be 3.6 but is tentatively named Firefox.next to avoid the issues with the current release, which was initially put forward as Firefox 3.1. Makoto has so far released source code patches and binaries for the 64-bit version of Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.5 and now aims to work with Mozilla to have an official 64-bit Firefox build ahead of the next launch.
Having a native 64-bit build has some advantages the biggest of which is the performance boost in certain areas, for example, on pages using SSL, but also for some internal components. Other benefits, like the possibility to use a memory block bigger than 4 GB, aren't likely to affect most people but, as web apps become more powerful, we may see more users hitting the limit in the future.
While there are no official plans yet, the move would make sense for Mozilla, especially considering that, while the recently launched
3.5 version does bring some improvements