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Firefox takes walk down 64-bit Windows street

Strictly developer-only playground for now

Mozilla has created a pre-release 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows for hardcore coders to test-drive.

The open source browser maker confirmed on Friday that it had begun pushing out automated pre-release builds of a 64-bit flavoured Firefox for developers to download and play with.

“The purpose of automating these pre-release builds is to allow developers to do work for this architecture and for testers to use the builds and be able to file bugs,” noted Mozilla’s release engineer Armen Zambrano Gasparnian in a blog post yesterday.

“Currently, we are producing these builds twice a day and upon request from developers.”

However the release isn’t for general consumption yet. That probably won’t come until sometime later this year, when the 64-bit version for both Windows and Mac OS X will likely be slotted into Firefox 4.0 - which Mozilla plans to make available in November.

A Firefox 4.0 beta is expected to rock up this month, however Mozilla hasn’t confirmed a definitive date for that particular test build yet.

It’s unsurprising to see Mozilla developing its browser to work with 64-bit micro-processing technology, given that Microsoft has moved into that space with its Windows 7 operating system. But it’s also playing catch-up with its rivals in the web surfing game.

Internet Explorer is available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours on 64-bit versions of Windows, and Apple’s Safari moved to 64-bit when the Jobsian outfit released Mac OS X 10.6 last year. Google wonks are beavering away at a 64-bit version of Chrome. ®

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