WebRTC World Feature Article

January 23, 2013

Waterfox Releases Updated Version of 64-bit Windows Tool


Developers of Waterfox, the unofficial 64-bit Windows fork of Firefox, have finally released the latest version of the software. This new version, v. 18.0.1, has now been released after what the company called an “unseemly delay.”

According to reports, the delay in releasing the update was due to a bug that developers found when preparing Waterfox version 17.

Waterfox 18.0.1 has all the enhancements of Firefox 17 and Firefox 18, including the Social API, click-to-play blocklists, the new IonMonkey JavaScript compiler, improved developer tools, W3C events, initial WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) support and several other improvements to the product’s performance.

The WebRTC feature enables the new browser to support a wide variety of cool plugins and functions like voice chat, video chat and file-sharing (even P2P sharing without plugins). Firefox’s embrace of WebRTC will enable its users to do more with the browser, a strategy Mozilla employs to maintain a competitive edge among other browsers and browser functionality. While there are still some challenges when it comes to WebRTC, Mozilla hopes to capitalize on it to increase its browser use among Internet users.

Hoping to maximize performance, Waterfox was created by using Intel’s C++ compiler as well as Intel’s Math library, streaming SIMD extensions 3, vector extensions, Jemalloc and profile-guided optimization. The not-for-profit open-source organization, Mozilla has never released an official 64-bit Windows build of Firefox, according to h-online.com, and the not-for-profit organization stopped experimenting with building 64-bit models in November 2012.

The company instead chose to focus its resources on improving the 32-bit Windows version of the browser, a move that prompted criticisms from developers who were banking on the 64-bit nightly builds.

Benjamin Smedberg, developer of Firefox, said, “If we had infinite resources, we certainly would continue with win64 builds now.”

“We will revisit our priorities and probably will resume win64 builds in the future if we decide that focusing on win64 is an important project priority,” he continued. “But almost certainly not until the middle of 2013."

Following the delayed release, Waterfox is now available in conjunction with the latest Firefox functionality. Waterfox 18.0.1 is available for download here, and is used for 64-bit Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.




Edited by Brooke Neuman




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