I got up this morning and saw this, which led me to a pretty serious WTF moment, all before having my morning coffee.
From the article:
Mozilla’s Director of Firefox, Mike Beltzner confirmed the fact that an x64 flavor of Firefox won’t be added to the existing x86 version, per the 32-bit/64-bit Internet Explorer 8 model.
Firefox users should not despair though. Fact is that Mozilla hasn’t given up on delivering a 64-bit version of Firefox, just not with Firefox 4.0.
This implies that maybe there will be a 64-bit release for Firefox 4.1? Maybe? 4.2? 5.0? Will there be one at all? Ever?
I think that they should probably be a little more open about when there will be, and why there’s a delay.
While we’re on the subject of Firefox supported platforms that don’t make sense, also according to this article, there will be Firefox 4.0 support for Windows going back to Windows 2000… but the minimum version for Mac users is OS 10.5?
Seriously? Do they have any idea how many Mac users are out there running 10.4 or older? OS 10.5 came out in October of 2007. Windows 2000 came out ten years ago.
Linux “minimum version” is listed as “to be determined”. I’m guessing that based on the complete disregard for anyone in the Mac world running a legacy OS, Linux’s minimum version will be 2.6.30?
I know, all vitriol and sarcasm aside, I understand that there’s a lot going into the Firefox 4.0 release. And I suppose if I was feeling particularly masochistic, I could grab the source code of the latest build of the final release and just compile my own 64-bit binary.
But not releasing a 64-bit version of your browser — particularly in a release meant to play “catch up” to other competitors that have been thrashing you when it comes to innovation — is like a car stereo manufacturer only putting a cassette player in their product after the 1990s were over.
Get with the times, people. This is the kind of thing that makes people look at Firefox and think “Well, it was pretty cool back in 2005, but these days…” If there’s any wonder about the direction of things to come, a lack of innovation and keeping up with the direction technology is moving will kill a product — especially a browser — in the blink of an eye.
Some might say the same thing about Adobe’s delay in 64-bit Flash support that fired everybody up this summer.
But Flash is ubiquitous, and despite what Microsoft may think, Adobe doesn’t have any real competitors for Flash at the moment or in the near future. They can delay 64-bit support all they want, and it won’t hurt their marketshare in any significant way, not for the foreseeable future anyway.
But the browser market is still a hotly competitive one. Microsoft has been working overtime on not only making Internet Explorer keep up with the times, but are actually innovating new features and new ways for their browser to create interest among Windows users. Google has been turning heads for the past two years with Chrome. And Firefox has been slipping quietly into obsolescence. They can’t afford any delay in keeping up with the browser crowd.
Firefox might well be one of those “hey, remember this quaint old browser?” subject of discussion among technophiles, brought up in the same breath as the Commdore 64, Netscape Navigator, and OS/2, and sooner than one might think. It doesn’t take long for a browser to turn that particular corner, and there’s almost never any coming back from it.
I don’t want to see it go that way, but unless things change and change pretty quick, Firefox is only going to be slipping farther and farther behind the competition, and that’s one step closer to permanent obscurity.