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Poll: Should Windows 9/Threshold be X64 only?

Should Windows 9/Threshold be X64 only?  

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PGHammer    1,481

WoW64 has an virtually imperceptible footprint, it costs very very little in terms of performance or overhead.  What incentive is there for developers of apps that work comfortably within the 2+2GB NT-x86 architecture to cut themselves off from all PC devices (and virtual machines) sold or built as 32-bit?

 

Not producing an x86 build is a matter of coercion between MS and OEMs - producing a Windows version with no WoW64, when there's no architectural reason for it would be absurd!  The history of Windows NT is littered with non-binary compatible variants.

Admitted - WoW64 has very little overhead, and the performance hit is negligible to nil; if you have a dual-core or better (even a baby dual-core like the Celeron DC E1200, a cut-down Core 2 Duo), the performance hit IS nil.

And therein lies the conundrum for Microsoft - WoW64 was meant to be a stopgap measure, and has instead become a crutch. (There is a long HISTORY of that happening, and outside of IT - heroin itself was originally planned (medically) to be used to wean patients from morphine and other opiates, and methadone had to be invented to wean the now-heroin-addicted.)

 

Are we - as developers and users - willing to face that addiction to the "WoW64 crutch" head-on?  Or will we wimp out?

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+warwagon    13,027

Now after reading the 1st post and seeing that voting yes actually means wanting 9 to not only be 64bit only but also remove the ability to run 32 bit code....40% of the Neowin voters here worry me... because of this I changed my vote to no.

 

Does everyone realize there is not that much native 64bit software? Most of what people are currently running on their system is 32bit Code in a 64 Bit OS.

 

I challenge every person who voted yes to open up 2 folders on their computer

 

c:\program files - All of your native 64 bit software

c:\program files (x86) - All of the 32bit software are running in 64bit and would no longer be able to run in Windows 9.

 

Which do you have more of?

 

Mine looks like this

 

35 64bit

88 32bit

 

If Windows 9 went 64bit only, it would be Windows RT all over again on a much more MASSIVE scale.

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+Asmodai    637

Windows 9 should be 64bit only but it should absolutely keep WOW64 for running 32bit software on the 64bit OS for x86 compatible hardware.

Windows 9 should also release for ARM however which should likewise be 64bit only (ARMv8) and does not need WOW64.  Windows ARM apps should all be .Net based and so should convert easily to 64bit native when running under the OS provided 64bit Virtual Machine.  ARMv7 (32bit) native code executables should NOT be supported.

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nhjay    18

I'd be in support of a 64bit only flavor of Windows, such as MS has done with the last few versions of their Windows server products. As long as the WOW support for 32bit applications is maintained so that older apps can be run.

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PGHammer    1,481

Windows 9 should be 64bit only but it should absolutely keep WOW64 for running 32bit software on the 64bit OS for x86 compatible hardware.

Windows 9 should also release for ARM however which should likewise be 64bit only (ARMv8) and does not need WOW64.  Windows ARM apps should all be .Net based and so should convert easily to 64bit native when running under the OS provided 64bit Virtual Machine.  ARMv7 (32bit) native code executables should NOT be supported.

I am NOT saying that a migration to pure x64 won't be painful - far from it; I HAVE said that I leverage WoW64 on a daily basis.

 

However the question needs to be asked - of both developers AND users - why have we, by and large, refused to move on the application front?

 

The biggest claim from developers  - and including those on Neowin - is that the userbase for their software has not gone to x64 or, failing that, that recoding would be too hard a task.

 

Steam's monthly userbase OS surveys present a rather interesting conundrum  -x64 flavors of Windows have leads running from medium to extra-large on their x32 counterparts on a global basis - only XP32 still leads over XP64.

 

However, Steam has exactly ZERO x64 games or applications on their service - why?

 

Origin has no monthly (or annual) surveys of the OSes of their users; however, Origin DOES have both dual-bitness and x64-only games in their library.

 

Apparently, according to both Steam AND Origin, there is a market for x64 on the game and application front - EA and their partners are at least going after it; what shocks (if not outright galls) me is that Valve and their partners are ignoring it - even on SteamOS, and that is despite Valve's own data.

 

It is why I am asking the question of both developers AND users - why are you stalling?

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Mugwump00    185

Are we - as developers and users - willing to face that addiction to the "WoW64 crutch" head-on?  Or will we wimp out?

 

Sorry chap, I'd rather shoot heroin than be without Picasa, TeamViewer, Spotify, Sharemouse etc. etc.

 

Is that a good or bad thing?  :/

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+warwagon    13,027

I am NOT saying that a migration to pure x64 won't be painful - far from it; I HAVE said that I leverage WoW64 on a daily basis.

 

However the question needs to be asked - of both developers AND users - why have we, by and large, refused to move on the application front?

 

The biggest claim from developers  - and including those on Neowin - is that the userbase for their software has not gone to x64 or, failing that, that recoding would be too hard a task.

 

Steam's monthly userbase OS surveys present a rather interesting conundrum  -x64 flavors of Windows have leads running from medium to extra-large on their x32 counterparts on a global basis - only XP32 still leads over XP64.

 

However, Steam has exactly ZERO x64 games or applications on their service - why?

 

Origin has no monthly (or annual) surveys of the OSes of their users; however, Origin DOES have both dual-bitness and x64-only games in their library.

 

Apparently, according to both Steam AND Origin, there is a market for x64 on the game and application front - EA and their partners are at least going after it; what shocks (if not outright galls) me is that Valve and their partners are ignoring it - even on SteamOS, and that is despite Valve's own data.

 

It is why I am asking the question of both developers AND users - why are you stalling?

 

But what are the true benefits of 64bit over 32bit besides memory allocation from a software standpoint. What would a notepad application gain from being 64bit?

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PGHammer    1,481

But what are the true benefits of 64bit over 32bit besides memory allocation from a software standpoint. What would a notepad application gain from being 64bit?

It depends on what you use software for.

 

You wouldn't think that an e-mail application (Outlook, for example) would benefit from a move to x64 - however, benefit it does.  Rather amusingly, the same applies to Word.

I'm a considerably heavier Outlook user than Word user - and I don't connect to a regular Exchange mail server.  My three e-mail accounts I use with Outlook are two IMAP4 accounts (my ISP and GMail) and one EAS account (Outlook.com).

Word benefits because of a new feature that I leverage - document conversion within Word (specifically, converting Word documents to ODF and PDF) - I can convert in place, as opposed to relying on an add-in/plug-in (reliance on either an add-in OR a plug-in adds at least one extra step, if not more AND uses more RAM).

 

There ARE x64 text-editors (basically, Notepad alternatives) - most of them date back to 7 x64, and some go back even to Vista x64.  The only reason I don't use any of them is because I seldom use even Notepad for anything beyond being a simple text viewer.  So, even though even Notepad CAN be replaced with an x64 text-editor, the reason I haven't done so is lack of use of even the targeted application (Notepad, in this case) enough to make replacing it relevant.

 

The reasons users - and developers - have for staying put as nearly as many as there are users and developers.  Still, the very (and varied) numbers OF those reasons - for users and developers alike, DO need to be debated, and specifically to see how many are real and how many are simply excuses to stay put.

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PGHammer    1,481

Sorry chap, I'd rather shoot heroin than be without Picasa, TeamViewer, Spotify, Sharemouse etc. etc.

 

Is that a good or bad thing?  :/

All are x32 - are there NO x64 alternatives to the above - or even x64 versions of the above?

 

That is why the question is put to both users AND developers, as users have blamed developers, while developers are blaming users.

 

It's not a troll question - I use some x32 applications BECAUSE there is no x64 alternative.

 

What I am asking developers is why ISN'T there.

 

What I am asking USERS is, if they are running an x64 OS, why aren't you using those x64 applications that can do what you need that exist?

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taim    89

I am NOT saying that a migration to pure x64 won't be painful - far from it; I HAVE said that I leverage WoW64 on a daily basis.

 

However the question needs to be asked - of both developers AND users - why have we, by and large, refused to move on the application front?

 

The biggest claim from developers  - and including those on Neowin - is that the userbase for their software has not gone to x64 or, failing that, that recoding would be too hard a task.

 

Steam's monthly userbase OS surveys present a rather interesting conundrum  -x64 flavors of Windows have leads running from medium to extra-large on their x32 counterparts on a global basis - only XP32 still leads over XP64.

 

However, Steam has exactly ZERO x64 games or applications on their service - why?

 

Origin has no monthly (or annual) surveys of the OSes of their users; however, Origin DOES have both dual-bitness and x64-only games in their library.

 

Apparently, according to both Steam AND Origin, there is a market for x64 on the game and application front - EA and their partners are at least going after it; what shocks (if not outright galls) me is that Valve and their partners are ignoring it - even on SteamOS, and that is despite Valve's own data.

 

It is why I am asking the question of both developers AND users - why are you stalling?

Dota 2 Workshop Tools currently only supports 64-bit Windows so some switch in focus for Valve is there. And they did have a 64-bit version of the Source Engine but it was pulled.

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+Asmodai    637

I am NOT saying that a migration to pure x64 won't be painful - far from it; I HAVE said that I leverage WoW64 on a daily basis.

If a version of windows doesn't run users existing software, the masses won't upgrade to it, in fact they'll argue if it should even be called Windows at all (See Windows RT). I doubt very many average Joes have a single piece of software that is already 64bit. Dropping WOW64 from Windows 9 would ensure that it would do even worse than Windows 8.

However the question needs to be asked - of both developers AND users - why have we, by and large, refused to move on the application front?

Because we haven't needed to, people don't tend to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. Most apps that average consumers use don't need more than 4GB of Memory. Those that do tend to be server apps and they HAVE gone 64bit. The average consumer just uses pretty simple apps in comparison with the most demanding thing probably being games. Gaming has been held back however because game developers tend to target consoles first and until recently consoles have had less than 1GB of RAM. Now that newer consoles are out with > 4GB RAM you'll start to see games coming out on PC that are 64bit only (these are the true "Next-Gen" games not all these cross-gen games still coming out.) So the migration has started but Windows 9 is too soon to drop 32bit compatibility. MS needs to wait until most of the software that most of it's users have is already 64bit compatible (or VM based where the app runs 32/64bit based on the OS provided virtual machine as in the case of "Metro" apps.) Users aren't going to upgrade to an OS that requires them to repurchase updated versions of the bulk of their existing software library. They'll just stay on whatever they are currently using that is working for them (Windows 7?)

The biggest claim from developers  - and including those on Neowin - is that the userbase for their software has not gone to x64 or, failing that, that recoding would be too hard a task.

As a developer why would I make my app 64bit if I don't need anything new that 64bit provides such as access to > 4GB RAM (not that that is the only thing it provides.) If I keep my app 32bit it runs for both people with 32bit and 64bit systems. If I go 64bit I lose all the 32bit customers and gain nothing, plus if my app uses add-ons/plug-ins I've probably made it incompatible with all the 32bit ones. This is why MS has both 32bit and 64bit versions of IE in 64bit Windows... and even defaults to using the 32bit one. Office, IE, etc. have large 3rd party add-on communities and going 64bit breaks all that. Now even if you get IE or Office for free if you paid for add-ons you have to pay to upgrade all of them (if the developer even makes a 64bit versions).

 

Steam's monthly userbase OS surveys present a rather interesting conundrum  -x64 flavors of Windows have leads running from medium to extra-large on their x32 counterparts on a global basis - only XP32 still leads over XP64.

 

However, Steam has exactly ZERO x64 games or applications on their service - why?

Consoles, this is just now beginning to change. If you're a PC gamer, even if you hate consoles the fact that this new gen has come out with > 4GB of RAM has removed a key bottleneck for PC gaming.

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Doli    545

I think it's pretty sad that it is 2014 and Windows is only 64 bits. I had a 128 bits Sega Dreamcast in 1999. Surely Windows can catch up to an old console. I mean, Nintendo was doing 64 bits in the mid 90s.

 

Dreamcast used a 32 bit cpu. Nintendo may have had a 64 bit cpu but they stuck with 32 bit code.

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taim    89

Dreamcast used a 32 bit cpu

It only had a 128 bit vector graphics engine, it's nothing compared to what we have now.

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Mugwump00    185

All are x32 - are there NO x64 alternatives to the above - or even x64 versions of the above?

 

 

I'm fairly certain there isn't.  With the possible exception of Picasa, they're all resource-light.   That Sharemouse, TeamViewer, Private Internet Access etc. are x86 and do their thing on AMD64 (I'll have to cross-check their complete stack...) is a testament to how good WoW64 is - perhaps too good..?

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scumdogmillionaire    256

Hahaha this is ridiculous. Its not gonna happen. Nothing to see here.

 

Just off the top of my head (as a software developer), things that will stop working... about 99% of scanners as TWAIN doesn't have a whole lot of x64 support.

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taim    89

My most used app and most days only used app is Chrome 64-bit, and the only game I currently play is Titanfall. Origin is the only thing holding me back to go 64-bit only.

 

Of course my uses wouldn't fit in with most users.

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123456789A    4,710

Dreamcast used a 32 bit cpu. Nintendo may have had a 64 bit cpu but they stuck with 32 bit code.

 

The graphics were 128 bits or Sonic wouldn't have been able to move that fast without Blast Processing.

 

Anyway, I think it is time to get more bits. If a dinky little iPhone can have 64 of them, my big mighty PC should have 128 bits or even 256.

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taim    89

Bring back Blast processing that is all.

 

256-bit extensions just combine lower bit extensions, I rather have new innovative extensions than higher bits.

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PGHammer    1,481

If a version of windows doesn't run users existing software, the masses won't upgrade to it, in fact they'll argue if it should even be called Windows at all (See Windows RT). I doubt very many average Joes have a single piece of software that is already 64bit. Dropping WOW64 from Windows 9 would ensure that it would do even worse than Windows 8.

Because we haven't needed to, people don't tend to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. Most apps that average consumers use don't need more than 4GB of Memory. Those that do tend to be server apps and they HAVE gone 64bit. The average consumer just uses pretty simple apps in comparison with the most demanding thing probably being games. Gaming has been held back however because game developers tend to target consoles first and until recently consoles have had less than 1GB of RAM. Now that newer consoles are out with > 4GB RAM you'll start to see games coming out on PC that are 64bit only (these are the true "Next-Gen" games not all these cross-gen games still coming out.) So the migration has started but Windows 9 is too soon to drop 32bit compatibility. MS needs to wait until most of the software that most of it's users have is already 64bit compatible (or VM based where the app runs 32/64bit based on the OS provided virtual machine as in the case of "Metro" apps.) Users aren't going to upgrade to an OS that requires them to repurchase updated versions of the bulk of their existing software library. They'll just stay on whatever they are currently using that is working for them (Windows 7?)

As a developer why would I make my app 64bit if I don't need anything new that 64bit provides such as access to > 4GB RAM (not that that is the only thing it provides.) If I keep my app 32bit it runs for both people with 32bit and 64bit systems. If I go 64bit I lose all the 32bit customers and gain nothing, plus if my app uses add-ons/plug-ins I've probably made it incompatible with all the 32bit ones. This is why MS has both 32bit and 64bit versions of IE in 64bit Windows... and even defaults to using the 32bit one. Office, IE, etc. have large 3rd party add-on communities and going 64bit breaks all that. Now even if you get IE or Office for free if you paid for add-ons you have to pay to upgrade all of them (if the developer even makes a 64bit versions).

 

Consoles, this is just now beginning to change. If you're a PC gamer, even if you hate consoles the fact that this new gen has come out with > 4GB of RAM has removed a key bottleneck for PC gaming.

I'm not saying there isn't a large "comfort factor" involved - if anything, I have mostly stipulated that being the biggest criticism of Windows 8 and later - it's too different from 7 for the critics to be comfortable with.  (However, that didn't stop my being basically whacked for it.)  However, the reason FOR that comfort factor needs to be dealt with.

 

The "4 GB of RAM or more" canard - again, that rubric hangs on!  I whacked that canard when it came out with the retail availability of Vista x64 - yet it hangs around like Solomon Grundy.  It wasn't true with so much as ONE x64 desktop flavor of Windows - in fact, it is untrue with even any x64 SERVER flavor of Windows - those have been x64-only (but including WoW64) since Server 2008.

 

Okay - does your application use a 16-bit installer OR target Windows XP or older?  If the latter, I can see why moving to x64 would be a chore - you risk cutting off your nose to spite your face.  If the former, why would you?  16-bit installers aren't supported by any x64 version of Windows at all. You are basically erring on the side of conservatism and casting the *wide net*.  However, you CAN offer an x64-only version of the same software alongside the x32 version, can't you?  (It's not implausible - VLC does this today.)

 

Addins and plug-ins - Office, browsers, etc.  That is whom I have unloaded my greatest ire upon since the issue originally came to my attention on Neowin - especially since it is not only not JUST a Windows issue anymore, but an all-OSes issue.  (The biggest TARGET of said ire until recently - Adobe - have finally gotten off the schneid and offer a fully x64 version of Flash Player for all x64 browsers for Windows; yes, including Waterfox and other x64 versions of Firefox, and Chrome x64. Ii still have a great amount of ire remaining for all the other laggards, however.)

 

As much as some folks are trying to avoid debating the issue, the debate needs to happen.

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PGHammer    1,481

My most used app and most days only used app is Chrome 64-bit, and the only game I currently play is Titanfall. Origin is the only thing holding me back to go 64-bit only.

 

Of course my uses wouldn't fit in with most users.

Origin is an odd duck - an x32 container that can launch x32 and x64 games (in addition to Titanfall, PvZ: Garden Warfare  - the current Game Time title - is also x64-only).  Still, it's a very big "in-your-face" compared to Valve (and especially to SteamOS) because they have done what Valve has not.  (The other reason for the IYF is that SteamOS is itself x64-only.)

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+Ryster    762

PGHammer and others, there is one simple reason why many developers, small ones in particular, do not release 64-bit versions of their apps. They don't want to be stuck having to develop, compile and maintain two separate versions of their apps, especially when there is little to no tangible benefit in doing so (apps like Photoshop DO have tangible benefits in native 64-bit, that's why they exist).. They can't for example simply switch to releasing a 64-bit version only, as that would alienate many of their 32-bit needing customers.  So, they choose the best possible path, and release a single product in a format they know will work for both sets of customers.

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PGHammer    1,481

PGHammer and others, there is one simple reason why many developers, small ones in particular, do not release 64-bit versions of their apps. They don't want to be stuck having to develop, compile and maintain two separate versions of their apps, especially when there is little to no tangible benefit in doing so (apps like Photoshop DO have tangible benefits in native 64-bit, that's why they exist).. They can't for example simply switch to releasing a 64-bit version only, as that would alienate many of their 32-bit needing customers.  So, they choose the best possible path, and release a single product in a format they know will work for both sets of customers.

I was talking more about larger developers - however, if a small developer has THAT many customers, then an survey (if nothing more than simply a poll) of their existing users may be needed.

 

And there are surprising benefits even for smaller applications (I mentioned Word, Outlook and Waterfox as examples - IE and Chrome have been mentioned by other posters).

 

However, the biggest reason for resistance - from developers of any size - is the learning curve for writing (or rewriting) x64-based code.  That depends on what you use to write the code more than anything else.

 

At this point, I'm simply asking for a debate - regardless if whether things move or not regarding Threshold, the debate is not merely due, but overdue.

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+Asmodai    637

I'm not saying there isn't a large "comfort factor" involved - if anything, I have mostly stipulated that being the biggest criticism of Windows 8 and later - it's too different from 7 for the critics to be comfortable with.  (However, that didn't stop my being basically whacked for it.)  However, the reason FOR that comfort factor needs to be dealt with.

It doesn't have anything to do with comfort. A consumer should not be forced to upgrade to a new version of something just because someone else decides it's a "better" version. A consumer who has a whole library of software, none of which is currently 64bit has no incentive at all to buy a 64bit only OS. A person who is running a 32bit software application that does everything they want has no reason to upgrade to a 64bit version just because 64bit makes it better. As long as application developers can't show consumers compelling capabilities that can ONLY be done on a 64bit systems there is no reason for things go 64bit. The vast majority of consumer software has no need for ANYTHING (not just memory capacity) that 64bit provides. Consumers do simple things like read email, message friends, browse the web, etc. these things aren't intensive enough to need 64bit. Video/Photo editing is but most consumers don't do that, look at what Photoshop costs. Servers software needs it but again, it's been 64bit for years already. Games are just beginning to need it and that's only because consoles are now REQUIRING it.

 

Okay - does your application use a 16-bit installer OR target Windows XP or older?  If the latter, I can see why moving to x64 would be a chore - you risk cutting off your nose to spite your face.  If the former, why would you?  16-bit installers aren't supported by any x64 version of Windows at all. You are basically erring on the side of conservatism and casting the *wide net*.  However, you CAN offer an x64-only version of the same software alongside the x32 version, can't you?  (It's not implausible - VLC does this today.)

I'm not sure what brought up the 16bit. As I said to go fully 64bit MS needs most (not all) of it's customers to have most (not all) of their existing software 64bit. That's already happened with 16bit, the vast majority of consumer software is currently 32bit. There are always going to be some stragglers and at some point you do have to leave them behind. The vast majority of average Windows users likely don't have a single 64bit application already though, so it's WAY too soon to drop 32bit compatibility (It's not too soon to stop offering 32bit versions of the OS though, they just need to keep WOW64 for a few more cycles). If you offer 64bit software alongside 32bit you split your community. It's two different products you have to maintain, possibly with incompatible plug-ins/add-ons and again if your app has no real need for anything 64bit provides over 32bit why would you even bother?

Even if you develop a 64bit version too then you need people to pay for it to support your development which again forces users to upgrade if their new computer won't run the old 32bit version anymore. People want to be able to run the software they already have, sure if it's ancient and 16bit that may not be possible but since apps are still mostly 32bit now if you buy a program today you're going to be pretty upset if at the start of next year when Windows 9 comes out it won't run it and you need to pay again for a 64bit version.

Also a lot of consumers runs software that works just fine for them that the developers no longer support. Maybe the developer isn't even in business anymore. The software works fine though and does what they need but isn't 64bit so by forcing 64bit only then you leave them with nowhere to go since no one is there to update the app. Again this is a necessary evil if the thing is ancient like in the case of 16bit software but again 32bit software is still the vast majority of what is released even today so dropping support for it is VERY premature.

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taim    89

What would happen to malware if WoW was dropped?

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Max Norris    2,253

What would happen to malware if WoW was dropped?

Probably not a thing.. update their project to use the x64 compiler and move on, assuming they're not using something agnostic like dotNET or Java, browser extensions, etc to begin with.

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