Mozilla’s crash-prone Firefox 64-bit development stopped

Mozilla has asked developers to stop nightly builds of Firefox versions optimised to operate on 64-bit versions of Windows, as they crash regularly.

Mozilla engineering manager Benjamin Smedberg claims the 64-bit Firefox is a “constant source of misunderstanding and frustration”.

He says the builds crash regularly, many plugins are not available in 64-bit versions and hangs are more common due to a lack of coding which causes plugins to function incorrectly.

Smedberg explains that this causes users to feel “second class”, and crash reports between 32-bit and 64-bit versions are difficult to distinguish between for the stability team. Users can however still run 32-bit Firefox on 64-bit Windows.

Mozilla’s Firefox is the most used browser in Africa, unlike in other continents where Google Chrome and Internet Explorer have proved popular. As of April this year, it had 39 percent in Africa and Chrome had 29 percent. Internet Explorer took 25 percent. In August 2011, Firefox overtook Internet Explorer as the preferred browser in Africa.  

In July, Mozilla announced Firefox Operating System for smartphones, which experts viewed as a strategy by the company to leverage on Africa’s fast paced mobile Internet penetration.

According to Gary Kovacs, Mozilla CEO, the OS will deliver simpler user smartphone experience to help billions of first time Internet users.

Firms are also battling for control of the African smartphone market by producing affordable phones. A recent report shows that China has more than 513 million Internet users with 356 million accessing the Internet via their mobile phones. Currently, around 36 percent of the world’s 7 billion people have access to the Internet.  

As mobile phone manufacturers come up with affordable smartphones, the possibility of “Internet for everyone in Africa” slowly becomes a reality.

Firefox being among the top three global Web browsers is expected to have a high uptake as a smartphone OS given its already 23.1 market share on the Web. Mozilla says the new Firefox OS for smartphones will target low-end smartphones and not top notch iOS, Windows Phone or Android smartphones.

In Africa however, Android has already a range of affordable smartphones and the two mobile operating systems will have to share the low-end smartphone market.

The smartphone OS is already gaining support. Kovacs said: “Several mobile operators and manufacturers are supporting this move and even coming on board with additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

The mobile networks supporting the development including Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor have all announced support for the software.

The OS will be first featured on ZTE and TCL Communication Technology phones.

Firefox expects to launch its Firefox OS powered smartphones in Brazil early next year.

Posted in: Internet

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