About a month ago, Mozilla announced, that the development of a 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows was being shut down. But just before Christmas it became clear that the foundation has changed its plans.

In a statement, Benjamin Smedberg, engineering manager at Mozilla, explains that there was a significant amounts of negative feedback from users that have led to that decision now being reversed.

“Most importantly, it seems that there are users who regularly run into the 4GB memory limits of 32-bit builds. These users often have hundreds or even thousands of tabs. These users are using the 64-bit nightlies not primarily to be part of our testing community, but because those builds are the best product available.”

According to Smedberg, Mozilla currently doesn’t have the resources to provide active support to these users, but the release of the nightly test versions is not a significant burden on their Release Engineering group.

Therefore hes has modified the original plan in the following way:

  • Migrate all existing users of win64 nightly channel builds to the win32 nightly channel builds via automatic update.
  • Continue to build win64 Nightly builds and updates on the nightly channel. Users who need the 64-bit builds will have to download it after the migration point (date TBD).
  • Change the default first-run and update page for win64 builds to explain to users that they are not supported.
  • Disable the crash reporter for win64 builds
  • Enable click-to-play plugins by default in the win64 builds.
  • Discontinue the win64 tests and on-checkin builds to reduce release engineering load. By default, do not generate win64 builds on try.
  • Win64 builds will be considered a �tier 3� build configuration.

The 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows have yet to have an official version, but is currently only available in very early test versions.

(via Google Groups)