Mozilla Firefox 64-bit hits stable version, available for download from the official FTP servers
Mozilla has quietly released the much awaited 64-bit version, of its popular web browser, Firefox.
There was no official announcement about the release, and neither is there an updated version of the browser.
The 64-bit app is currently on par with its 32-bit version 42.0. It appears that the 64-bit browser is only available for download from Mozilla’s FTP directory, and that it is not yet available at the main download website. The reason behind this, is likely because of instability issues.
But there is one more reason, as to why it has not been released to the main page. Currently, Mozilla Firefox 64-bit, does not support any plugin except for one, Adobe Flash.
The 32-bit version of the browser supports more plugins such as Java and Microsoft Silverlight.
While the latter is almost dead, Java is still ruling the web, although HTML5 looks set to take over in the future. It is not clear why 64-bit plugins are not supported in Firefox 64-bit currently, but Ghacks reports that the browser maker will soon add support for Microsoft Silverlight.
This will happen in the next release, i.e., Mozilla Firefox 43.0 or its successor version 44. And the reason behind this actually makes sense. Popular video streaming services like Amazon and Netflix use Silverlight for streaming their content to subscribers. So if a user upgrades to the latest version and finds that the service doesn’t work, it would come as a huge blow.
This may be why Firefox 64-bit isn’t being offered through the main downloads page as well. Mozilla’s release calendar for Firefox states that version 43 will arrive to the release channel on December 15, 2015, while Firefox 44 will be released on January 26, 2016.
But oddly enough, the decision to integrate support for Microsoft Silverlight, clashes with the browser maker’s plan to remove support for all NPAPI Plugins by the end of 2016, (except for Adobe Flash). Mozilla is following in the footsteps of Google which has removed support for Silverlight, in its Chrome browser, and Microsoft itself which removed support for the legacy plugin in Microsoft Edge.
Download Mozilla Firefox 64-bit from Mozilla’s FTP Directory.
It is worth noting that upgrading to Firefox 64-bit, from the existing version of your 32-bit copy of the browser, uses the same profile, and also installs to the x86 directory. So don’t try to install it if you just want an extra copy to try out, instead opt for the nightly release channel which installs alongside your existing version.