64-bit Windows Nightlies

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64-bit Windows Nightlies

Ed Morley
64-bit MSVC Windows builds are only tier 2 [1], but yet over half of our Windows Nightly users are using them [2], meaning that they are:

* Not testing the actual bits shipped to aurora, beta or release channel Windows users [3], thereby reducing their use to us. In some cases they are unable to test entire features, for example the Mozilla Maintenance Service [4].

* Subject to significant performance regressions compared to 32-bit builds - which would have resulted in backouts had they occurred on any other platform. In the last 3 weeks alone, V8 regressed by 80% [5] and SunSpider by 20% [6].


Additional problems:

* Mozilla-central is the only tree that runs tests on Win64 - which with the increased usage of mozilla-inbound, means that regression ranges can be as large as a 100 changeset merge [7] and so are time-consuming to investigate (i.e.: often aren't).

* Win64 tests are hidden by default on TBPL (since it is not reasonable to back out an entire merge just because it originated from a tree that doesn't run those tests), so both intermittent and permanent oranges are being ignored.

* Amazingly, there is still the perception by some Windows Nightly users that the 64-bit MSVC builds are faster than their 32-bit counterparts [8], whereas even before the recent regressions that was not the case [5] [6].

* Users of 64-bit versions of Windows may be under the impression that 64-bit builds of Nightly are somehow "more correct" for their platform, especially since http://nightly.mozilla.org displays 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Nightly builds with equal prominence and no indication that the 64-bit builds are experimental/effectively untested.

* Whilst there was a thorough discussion of the Win64 pros/cons [9], a follow-up summary of facts [10], and internally most of us know that Win64 builds aren't something that we'll be focusing on near-term - there doesn't appear to have been any public newsgroup/blog postings communicating the final decision. So it's not surprising that the average Nightly user is not aware that Win64 builds are pretty much unsuited for public consumption.

--

As a result, I am concerned that we're not only shooting ourselves in the foot with respects to 32-bit Nightly testing coverage, but also doing over half of our Windows Nightly users a disservice by shipping effectively untested and likely slower builds - without many of them even being aware of it.

Ok, so what now?

Option A:

* Alter http://nightly.mozilla.org such that 64-bit Windows builds are clearly marked as experimental & link to newsgroup/blog posts with an explanation.
* Make the Win64 decision more widely visible using newsgroups and a Planet blog post (though I imagine this thread will cover the former).
* Consider reaching out to the current Win64 Nightly users using a custom 'What's New' page advising that they are using a tier 2 build and the implications of that.
* Either dedicate the resources so that we can run Win64 tests on all trees (and eventually unhide them), or else switch off Win64 tests on mozilla-central for now, since they are currently hidden and taking up slaves for little benefit.

Option B: (my personal preference)

* Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium term).
* Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're not going to run them on all trees).
* Remove the Win64 links on http://nightly.mozilla.org.
* Transition Win64 Nightly users to 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate 'What's New' page.

Any other ideas/thoughts?

Thank you for reading! :-)


Ed


[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Supported_build_configurations

[2] 33,507 WINNT_x86-msvc vs. 37,460 WINNT_x86_64-msvc mean daily active installations of Firefox 13.0a1 over the last two weeks.

[3] Aurora, beta and release channel Windows builds (both per push and nightlies) are 32-bit only.

[4] The Mozilla Maintenance Service is currently only enabled for x86 builds, pending bug 715876.

[5] V8 MSVC 32bit vs 64bit:
http://graphs-new.mozilla.org/graph.html#tests=[[76,1,19],[76,1,12]]&sel=1328150633518.812,1330185701601.2605&displayrange=90&datatype=running

[6] SunSpider MSVC 32bit vs 64bit:
http://graphs-new.mozilla.org/graph.html#tests=[[75,1,19],[75,1,12]]&sel=1328278981105.6865,1330209574209.1348&displayrange=90&datatype=running

[7] Feb 17th Dromaeo regressions (V8 by 81.1%, CSS by 31.8%, String/Array/Eval/Regex by 20.6%, SunSpider by 10.8%), with an initial 102 changeset regression range:
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/mozilla.dev.tree-management/5VxnjZSzZOw/b7u69Rv0qsEJ

[8] http://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/puaw3/firefox_nightly_is_blazing_fast/ + many examples within: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2239223

[9] https://groups.google.com/d/topic/mozilla.dev.planning/Mrba6hvl5-w/discussion

[10] https://groups.google.com/d/topic/mozilla.dev.planning/aeTXSZ_WFAs/discussion
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Asa Dotzler
On 2/27/2012 5:58 PM, Ed Morley wrote:

> Option B: (my personal preference)
>
> * Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium
> term). * Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we
> don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're
> not going to run them on all trees). * Remove the Win64 links on
> http://nightly.mozilla.org. * Transition Win64 Nightly users to
> 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate
> 'What's New' page.

 From the Product standpoing, I recommend with this option. We will not
be shipping official Win64 builds any time soon (if ever) and so
dividing our testing is only cost with no reward.

- A
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Asa Dotzler
On 2/27/2012 6:11 PM, Asa Dotzler wrote:

> On 2/27/2012 5:58 PM, Ed Morley wrote:
>
>> Option B: (my personal preference)
>>
>> * Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium
>> term). * Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we
>> don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're
>> not going to run them on all trees). * Remove the Win64 links on
>> http://nightly.mozilla.org. * Transition Win64 Nightly users to
>> 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate
>> 'What's New' page.
>
>  From the Product standpoing, I recommend with this option. We will not
> be shipping official Win64 builds any time soon (if ever) and so
> dividing our testing is only cost with no reward.
>
> - A


That didn't come out well :) From the Product *standpoint* I recommend
*going* with this option.

-A
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

KWierso
In reply to this post by Ed Morley
> * Amazingly, there is still the perception by some Windows Nightly users that the 64-bit MSVC builds are faster than their 32-bit counterparts [8], whereas even before the recent regressions that was not the case [5] [6].

Could it be the case that the perceived performance increase is from not having as many worthless/leaking/performance-destroying addons/plugins available for 64-bit builds to be damaged by? (If all the junk out there only targets 32-bit Firefox, x64 builds would seem better.)
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Anthony Hughes-3
In reply to this post by Ed Morley
I don't believe we (QA) have done any real amount of testing using the Win64 Nightlies (unless a situation arose that specifically called for it). So in terms of QA, proceeding down either path is no net loss, no net gain.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ed Morley" <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 5:58:56 PM
Subject: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

64-bit MSVC Windows builds are only tier 2 [1], but yet over half of our Windows Nightly users are using them [2], meaning that they are:

* Not testing the actual bits shipped to aurora, beta or release channel Windows users [3], thereby reducing their use to us. In some cases they are unable to test entire features, for example the Mozilla Maintenance Service [4].

* Subject to significant performance regressions compared to 32-bit builds - which would have resulted in backouts had they occurred on any other platform. In the last 3 weeks alone, V8 regressed by 80% [5] and SunSpider by 20% [6].


Additional problems:

* Mozilla-central is the only tree that runs tests on Win64 - which with the increased usage of mozilla-inbound, means that regression ranges can be as large as a 100 changeset merge [7] and so are time-consuming to investigate (i.e.: often aren't).

* Win64 tests are hidden by default on TBPL (since it is not reasonable to back out an entire merge just because it originated from a tree that doesn't run those tests), so both intermittent and permanent oranges are being ignored.

* Amazingly, there is still the perception by some Windows Nightly users that the 64-bit MSVC builds are faster than their 32-bit counterparts [8], whereas even before the recent regressions that was not the case [5] [6].

* Users of 64-bit versions of Windows may be under the impression that 64-bit builds of Nightly are somehow "more correct" for their platform, especially since http://nightly.mozilla.org displays 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Nightly builds with equal prominence and no indication that the 64-bit builds are experimental/effectively untested.

* Whilst there was a thorough discussion of the Win64 pros/cons [9], a follow-up summary of facts [10], and internally most of us know that Win64 builds aren't something that we'll be focusing on near-term - there doesn't appear to have been any public newsgroup/blog postings communicating the final decision. So it's not surprising that the average Nightly user is not aware that Win64 builds are pretty much unsuited for public consumption.

--

As a result, I am concerned that we're not only shooting ourselves in the foot with respects to 32-bit Nightly testing coverage, but also doing over half of our Windows Nightly users a disservice by shipping effectively untested and likely slower builds - without many of them even being aware of it.

Ok, so what now?

Option A:

* Alter http://nightly.mozilla.org such that 64-bit Windows builds are clearly marked as experimental & link to newsgroup/blog posts with an explanation.
* Make the Win64 decision more widely visible using newsgroups and a Planet blog post (though I imagine this thread will cover the former).
* Consider reaching out to the current Win64 Nightly users using a custom 'What's New' page advising that they are using a tier 2 build and the implications of that.
* Either dedicate the resources so that we can run Win64 tests on all trees (and eventually unhide them), or else switch off Win64 tests on mozilla-central for now, since they are currently hidden and taking up slaves for little benefit.

Option B: (my personal preference)

* Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium term).
* Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're not going to run them on all trees).
* Remove the Win64 links on http://nightly.mozilla.org.
* Transition Win64 Nightly users to 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate 'What's New' page.

Any other ideas/thoughts?

Thank you for reading! :-)


Ed


[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Supported_build_configurations

[2] 33,507 WINNT_x86-msvc vs. 37,460 WINNT_x86_64-msvc mean daily active installations of Firefox 13.0a1 over the last two weeks.

[3] Aurora, beta and release channel Windows builds (both per push and nightlies) are 32-bit only.

[4] The Mozilla Maintenance Service is currently only enabled for x86 builds, pending bug 715876.

[5] V8 MSVC 32bit vs 64bit:
http://graphs-new.mozilla.org/graph.html#tests=[[76,1,19],[76,1,12]]&sel=1328150633518.812,1330185701601.2605&displayrange=90&datatype=running

[6] SunSpider MSVC 32bit vs 64bit:
http://graphs-new.mozilla.org/graph.html#tests=[[75,1,19],[75,1,12]]&sel=1328278981105.6865,1330209574209.1348&displayrange=90&datatype=running

[7] Feb 17th Dromaeo regressions (V8 by 81.1%, CSS by 31.8%, String/Array/Eval/Regex by 20.6%, SunSpider by 10.8%), with an initial 102 changeset regression range:
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/mozilla.dev.tree-management/5VxnjZSzZOw/b7u69Rv0qsEJ

[8] http://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/puaw3/firefox_nightly_is_blazing_fast/ + many examples within: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2239223

[9] https://groups.google.com/d/topic/mozilla.dev.planning/Mrba6hvl5-w/discussion

[10] https://groups.google.com/d/topic/mozilla.dev.planning/aeTXSZ_WFAs/discussion
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Brian R. Bondy
In reply to this post by Asa Dotzler
On Feb 27, 9:11 pm, Asa Dotzler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > ...Option B...
>  From the Product standpoint, I recommend with this option. We will not
> be shipping official Win64 builds any time soon (if ever) and so
> dividing our testing is only cost with no reward.

I support option B up until we decide to put resources towards making
64-bit MSVC Windows builds tier 1.
In addition to giving us extra early testing, there are also several
bugs (such Bug 715876, bug 727873, bug 711210) which can suck precious
development time that could be better spent elsewhere.
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Christopher Blizzard-2
In reply to this post by Asa Dotzler
On 2/27/2012 6:11 PM, Asa Dotzler wrote:

> On 2/27/2012 5:58 PM, Ed Morley wrote:
>
>> Option B: (my personal preference)
>>
>> * Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium
>> term). * Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we
>> don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're
>> not going to run them on all trees). * Remove the Win64 links on
>> http://nightly.mozilla.org. * Transition Win64 Nightly users to
>> 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate
>> 'What's New' page.
>
> From the Product standpoing, I recommend with this option. We will not
> be shipping official Win64 builds any time soon (if ever) and so
> dividing our testing is only cost with no reward.
>

Is this a change?  I thought we were looking to move because major
plugins were largely available as 64 bit?

--Chris
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Asa Dotzler
In reply to this post by Asa Dotzler
On 2/27/2012 7:15 PM, Christopher Blizzard wrote:

> On 2/27/2012 6:11 PM, Asa Dotzler wrote:
>> On 2/27/2012 5:58 PM, Ed Morley wrote:
>>
>>> Option B: (my personal preference)
>>>
>>> * Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium
>>> term). * Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we
>>> don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're
>>> not going to run them on all trees). * Remove the Win64 links on
>>> http://nightly.mozilla.org. * Transition Win64 Nightly users to
>>> 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate
>>> 'What's New' page.
>>
>> From the Product standpoing, I recommend with this option. We will not
>> be shipping official Win64 builds any time soon (if ever) and so
>> dividing our testing is only cost with no reward.
>>
>
> Is this a change? I thought we were looking to move because major
> plugins were largely available as 64 bit?
>
> --Chris

I did conduct a fact gathering exercise to try to better understand the
pros and cons. Right now, I don't believe it's worth making 64-bit
builds official. I've been meaning to come back to this group with my
recommendation in more detail. I'll try to get to that ASAP.

- A
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Dao-6
In reply to this post by Ed Morley
I don't think these builds should be available on
http://nightly.mozilla.org/ at all, regardless of whether they're built.
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

sag net
In reply to this post by Ed Morley
On Feb 28, 2:58 am, Ed Morley <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Option B: (my personal preference)
>
> * Transition Win64 Nightly users to 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate 'What's New' page.

Back to 32-bit Nightly?, never! In this case i have only one option,
switching to Opera 12 64bit dev build.
The 64-bit build is for me the last reason using Firefox, why i should
switch to 32-bit Firefox, if i wanted fast 32-bit browser, i would use
Chrome.
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Benjamin Smedberg
On 2/28/2012 9:08 AM, sag net wrote:
> On Feb 28, 2:58 am, Ed Morley<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> Option B: (my personal preference)
>>
>> * Transition Win64 Nightly users to 32-bit Nightly builds, with an unprompted update and an appropriate 'What's New' page.
> Back to 32-bit Nightly?, never! In this case i have only one option,
> switching to Opera 12 64bit dev build.
> The 64-bit build is for me the last reason using Firefox, why i should
> switch to 32-bit Firefox, if i wanted fast 32-bit browser, i would use
> Chrome.
What exactly makes you think that the 64-bit build is better than the
32-bit build? We have initial data which shows that it in general the
64-bit build uses more memory and doesn't run much faster. This isn't
always true on certain testcases where SSE instructions can improve
things, but for the vast majority of browsing tasks there is no difference.

Do you have data which indicates otherwise?

--BDS

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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

sag net
In reply to this post by sag net
On Feb 28, 3:33 pm, Benjamin Smedberg <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What exactly makes you think that the 64-bit build is better than the
> 32-bit build? We have initial data which shows that it in general the
> 64-bit build uses more memory and doesn't run much faster. This isn't
> always true on certain testcases where SSE instructions can improve
> things, but for the vast majority of browsing tasks there is no difference.
>
> Do you have data which indicates otherwise?
>
> --BDS

First, because is a Native program and secondly i think it has better
security.
I don't care if the 64-bit build use more memory, currently i have 8GB
memory on my PC and in near future i will upgrade to 16GB.
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Wayne Mery
In reply to this post by sag net
On 2/28/2012 9:33 AM, Benjamin Smedberg wrote:

> On 2/28/2012 9:08 AM, sag net wrote:
>> On Feb 28, 2:58 am, Ed Morley<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Option B: (my personal preference)
>>>
>>> * Transition Win64 Nightly users to 32-bit Nightly builds, with an
>>> unprompted update and an appropriate 'What's New' page.
>> Back to 32-bit Nightly?, never! In this case i have only one option,
>> switching to Opera 12 64bit dev build.
>> The 64-bit build is for me the last reason using Firefox, why i should
>> switch to 32-bit Firefox, if i wanted fast 32-bit browser, i would use
>> Chrome.
> What exactly makes you think that the 64-bit build is better than the
> 32-bit build? We have initial data which shows that it in general the
> 64-bit build uses more memory and doesn't run much faster. This isn't
> always true on certain testcases where SSE instructions can improve
> things, but for the vast majority of browsing tasks there is no difference.
>
> Do you have data which indicates otherwise?
>
> --BDS
>

For me 64bit on win7 has been more stable with lots of tabs.
(using nightly since ~October 1)
Yes, it does use more memory - doesn't matter to me.

--
contribute ... http://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Testing
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Christopher Blizzard-2
On 2/28/2012 10:07 AM, Wayne Mery wrote:
> For me 64bit on win7 has been more stable with lots of tabs.
> (using nightly since ~October 1)
> Yes, it does use more memory - doesn't matter to me.
>

Do we have crash data that shows that it crashes less/more?  (I'd guess
less because we're less likely to run out of memory!)

--Chris
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

lordkitsuna112
In reply to this post by Ed Morley
I would rather you guys actually put more work into it, users have clearly been asking for a 64bit for a long time and when the nightly came out the users who wanted 64bit used it.

I am aware that 64bit is slightly slower (peacekeeper puts the 64bit build juuuuust behind the 32) but it in my experience has been much more stable when working with lots of tabs or sites with a large amount of content.

At the very least please dont remove the 64bit build or ill be forced to use something like waterfox or one of the many other 64bit variants floating around, and i would rather not since they seem to have issues.

The argument against 64 used to be plugin support but so far it seems a vast array of plugins support the 64bit build so that argument no longer flies.
It is possible to squeeze performance out of 64bit for a few select tasks (but it boils down to is the %ofincrease = or > time to make happen) but other advantages are there mainly memory being able to go as high as it damn well pleases.

Almost every computer being sold now (exept the lower end budget oc/laptops) are being shipped with 4or more GB of ram and a 64bit OS so i think its more then worth putting more time into the 64bit build and wish you would reconsider, as i would hate for you too loose users over this and i can promise you that you would.
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Dave Mandelin-2
In reply to this post by Dao-6
On Feb 28, 2:34 am, Dao <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I don't think these builds should be available onhttp://nightly.mozilla.org/at all, regardless of whether they're built.

I agree with that.

My personal inclination is to keep supplying 64-bit builds somehow,
because it seems like a lot of enthusiastic users (including a power-
user friend of mine) really like having them. But we consider it an
experimental thing, so it shouldn't be out there in a place that
suggests it is a fully supported product.

I definitely do not like the idea of switching over users from 64-bit
to 32-bit Nightly builds without at least asking nicely and saying why
we would like people to do that (and why we think they would like to
do it).

Dave
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Ben Hearsum-2
In reply to this post by Ed Morley
On 02/27/12 08:58 PM, Ed Morley wrote:
> Option B: (my personal preference)
>
> * Switch off Nightly Win64 builds (at least for the short to medium term).
> * Still do per-push tinderbox Win64 builds to make sure we don't break anything major, but switch off the all tests (if we're not going to run them on all trees).

 From a RelEng standpoint there's almost no difference between this and
the current state of things. If we have _any_ builds at all happening
regularly, we have to maintain a pool of machines to support them.
Obviously that's not the only factor here, but for us, it really sucks
to have to maintain a platform that almost nobody else cares about.
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Asa Dotzler
In reply to this post by Wayne Mery
On 2/28/2012 10:13 AM, Christopher Blizzard wrote:

> On 2/28/2012 10:07 AM, Wayne Mery wrote:
>> For me 64bit on win7 has been more stable with lots of tabs. (using
>> nightly since ~October 1) Yes, it does use more memory - doesn't
>> matter to me.
>>
>
> Do we have crash data that shows that it crashes less/more? (I'd
> guess less because we're less likely to run out of memory!)
>
> --Chris

A lot of this was covered in earlier threads on this topic.  See
"Firefox 64-bit for Windows: data gathering" and "Firefox 64-bit for
Windows: what we know"

I don't think we have crash data that can demonstrate this and I've been
told it's not necessarily a win.

> • With a larger virtual address space, people using a 64-bit Firefox
> on 64-bit Windows could see fewer out of memory crashes (actually,
> out-of-virtual-address-space crashes.)
>
> •• This is not necessarily a clear win because 64-bit builds will use
> more memory overall and we do not have a clear picture of Firefox's
> address space usage in the wild.

- A
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

Boris Zbarsky
In reply to this post by sag net
On 2/28/12 10:41 AM, sag net wrote:
> First, because is a Native program

What does that mean, exactly?

> and secondly i think it has better security.

It doesn't.

The strongest argument for 64-bit builds continues to be their better
handling of situations where we end up using >2GB of address space...

-Boris
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Re: 64-bit Windows Nightlies

James May-3
On 29 February 2012 08:42, Boris Zbarsky <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2/28/12 10:41 AM, sag net wrote:
>
>> First, because is a Native program
>>
>
> What does that mean, exactly?
>
>
But... 64 is twice as many bits as 32!

Bigger numbers are better!


>
>  and secondly i think it has better security.
>>
>
> It doesn't.
>

Isn't there some benefit with more room for ASLR and something about the
calling convention being better?

With the con of course that it gets less testing.



> The strongest argument for 64-bit builds continues to be their better
> handling of situations where we end up using >2GB of address space...


Do we still not have stats on how often this happens?



> -Boris


Two other points I can think of:

* x64 builds are used on many linux distros, increased testing for the
platform independent code couldn't hurt.
* testing out the SSE2 generating code in MSVC might be useful if/when we
become able to use more cpu specific binaries (ie. stub instaler?) , but
switching to a build config ala waterfox would probably be more effective
on this front.

If this were a vote, I'd go for putting up a warning firstrun and marking
the download with stronger language. I'm not familiar with how many releng
resources x64 nightlies take up though.


-- James
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