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Waterfox (64-bit version of Firefox)

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#1 Yusuf M.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 14:24

As a longtime user of Firefox, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use a 64-bit version of it. I figured I'd give it a try and it's something I've been thinking of doing since I first used Windows Vista Ultimate x64. I honestly never heard of Waterfox until I read this article on Neowin. I installed it on my main PC (Windows 7 Ultimate x64) and I really like it. It definitely feels speedier than the standard 32-bit version of Firefox and things like Flash also feel faster. Another positive thing is that YouTube videos no longer crash my display driver. I assume that using a 64-bit version of Flash had something to do with it.

Anyway, if you have a 64-bit operating system and are open to the idea of using a 64-bit browser than Waterfox is for you. You can download it here alongside its prerequisites.

FAQ:

What is Waterfox?
Waterfox is a high performance browser based on the Mozilla Firefox source code. Made specifically for 64-Bit systems, Waterfox has one thing in mind: speed.

Why should I use a 64-Bit version of Firefox?
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.

If there are any bugs, where should I report them?
Unfortunately, since this is a 3rd party build you cannot report any bugs and you’ll just have to hope that they get fixed in the next update by Mozilla.

Is my experience limited if I use a 64-Bit version of Firefox?
The major plugins such as Adobe Flash, Sun Java, Microsoft Silverlight all have supported 64-Bit binaries available.

How does it compare to 32-Bit Firefox?
In benchmarks, the 64-Bit variant of Firefox out-performs the 32-Bit variant. Also because this variant is being built specifically for Windows, there might be further performance increases.

Were there any optimisations made?
Yes, Waterfox was compiled with SSE, SSE2, x64 favoring and the following optimisation flags: /Og /Oi /Ot /Oy /Ob2 /Gs /GF /Gy

Do all my Add-Ons work?
Yes! Add-Ons work on any version of Firefox, on any platform.

I get a msvcr100.dll is missing error.
You must have the Visual C++ Redistributable file linked in the download page installed.

How do I fix the blurry font?
Type about:config in the address bar. In the filter at the top type gfx.direct2d.disabled. Change it from false to true.

http://waterfoxproj....ceforge.net/faq

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#2 The_Decryptor

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 14:33

I've always wondered just how they produce these 64bit builds, since for a long time the main codebase wasn't 64bit safe. Currently 64bit builds are still slower at JS than 32bit builds, and no amount of compiler optimisations will fix that.

Mozilla still don't consider the 64bit builds ready for anything but developer usage, they still crash randomly and often crash in such a way that the OS never calls their crash handling code (So the bugs go unreported)

#3 OP Yusuf M.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 18:25

I've always wondered just how they produce these 64bit builds, since for a long time the main codebase wasn't 64bit safe. Currently 64bit builds are still slower at JS than 32bit builds, and no amount of compiler optimisations will fix that.

Mozilla still don't consider the 64bit builds ready for anything but developer usage, they still crash randomly and often crash in such a way that the OS never calls their crash handling code (So the bugs go unreported)

I guess that was the case in the past. I haven't tried the 64-bit Nightly builds so I don't know how stable they are over the 32-bit Nightly builds. So far though, Waterfox hasn't crashed once. Perhaps Mozilla finally got around to making Firefox 64-bit friendly. Here's an interesting article about Firefox 8 (64-bit): http://www.extremete...lly-come-of-age

#4 TheExperiment

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 18:35

It's disappointing to me that the Firefox devs are still waffling over how to do it properly.

Like, we know what we need to do this, and we are making plans to do it, but we don't actually want to do it.

Heh.

#5 Dot Matrix

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 18:38

I've always wondered just how they produce these 64bit builds, since for a long time the main codebase wasn't 64bit safe. Currently 64bit builds are still slower at JS than 32bit builds, and no amount of compiler optimisations will fix that.

Mozilla still don't consider the 64bit builds ready for anything but developer usage, they still crash randomly and often crash in such a way that the OS never calls their crash handling code (So the bugs go unreported)


I still think Mozilla needs to kill the current code and start from scratch.

#6 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 18:43

I tried it and I have not noticed any difference in performance than the standard version.

#7 TheExperiment

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 18:54

It's hard to notice the difference in casual usage. Encryption, cache handling, data heavy pages, if you've got lots of tabs open, you might well notice then.

Honestly, base speed isn't the reason to go 64 bit. Having a more secure and capable browser is.

#8 +patseguin

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 19:03

I still think Mozilla needs to kill the current code and start from scratch.


Agreed, especially with Google having such a nice clean product as Chrome.

#9 TheExperiment

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 19:34

Agreed, especially with Google having such a nice clean product as Chrome.

Considering it's withstood the competition quite well, I'm guessing a lot of people would disagree with you.

I'd prefer it if Firefox was optimized for SSE2 like Chrome is, but it's not really a concern if the performance is there. (The 64 bit version will be, of course, since all x64 procs have SSE2.)

#10 +Phouchg

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 20:49

Quite a lot of snakeoil and even a surprisingly outright lie, in fact. It is designed in hardware so that x86 code takes zero performance hit when run on an x64 machine. None, period.
As for optimization, setting compiler flags can do little magic if the code is not applicable for it. I would guess that forcing the matter can even make it slower as the dedicated instructions become efficient only when used properly.
As for compatibility improvements that are at least evident, I've, for one, settled for Nightly (and temporarily the latest Tracemonkey if it decides to crash).
I've had Waterfox, Palemoon and Aya... whatwasit for some time, run lenghty benches, too. Results were inconclusive but not something to make an impression that either was better than the other. It is no question that both Chrome and Oprah is faster in most cases. Even IE9 holds up in certain test cases.
All in all, if it works for you, good. If it doesn't, however, better be sure that those loud promises of these custom compiles being the fastest and whatnot are full of very big holes.

#11 OP Yusuf M.

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 23:46

It's disappointing to me that the Firefox devs are still waffling over how to do it properly.

Like, we know what we need to do this, and we are making plans to do it, but we don't actually want to do it.

Heh.

They're working on it (see here). Unfortunately, it isn't a high-priority feature.

#12 TheExperiment

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:17

They're working on it (see here). Unfortunately, it isn't a high-priority feature.

I know. I'm sure it'll happen soon enough, at which point I won't actually ever care about Waterfox or Pale Moon again.

#13 The_Decryptor

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:07

I guess that was the case in the past. I haven't tried the 64-bit Nightly builds so I don't know how stable they are over the 32-bit Nightly builds. So far though, Waterfox hasn't crashed once. Perhaps Mozilla finally got around to making Firefox 64-bit friendly. Here's an interesting article about Firefox 8 (64-bit): http://www.extremete...lly-come-of-age


Even up to the mid point of 2011 they still had random chunks of code that assumed 32bit OSs (Converting pointers to 32bit integer, etc.). As for the article, that's entirely made up, what I think happened is that somebody noticed Mozilla was running 64bit regression tests, and assumed that meant an official release was coming (Which it isn't for a while until they sort all the problems out)

I still think Mozilla needs to kill the current code and start from scratch.


There's no reason to do that, the incremental upgrades they're doing now are much better (Stopping the project for a year to rewrite vs. rewriting a component incrementally over a couple of releases)

...
I'd prefer it if Firefox was optimized for SSE2 like Chrome is, but it's not really a concern if the performance is there. (The 64 bit version will be, of course, since all x64 procs have SSE2.)


It already is.

#14 +Nexus18

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 16:55

Have been using waterfox for the last few weeks so far and absolutely no problems whatsoever (same with firefox), constantly kept open for about 10 hours a day and memory usage always around 450MB (high res image threads, about 1GB then).

It is a wee bit more snappier and smooth than firefox 10 I find.

#15 BetaAddict

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 18:45

I guess that was the case in the past. I haven't tried the 64-bit Nightly builds so I don't know how stable they are over the 32-bit Nightly builds. So far though, Waterfox hasn't crashed once. Perhaps Mozilla finally got around to making Firefox 64-bit friendly. Here's an interesting article about Firefox 8 (64-bit): http://www.extremete...lly-come-of-age

Been using x64 nightly for months now and has been as stable as the x32 builds sharing almost all the same bugs. No reason not to use it especially now that flash has an x64 plugin.