32-bit Firefox (Re: How long will 64bit Ubuntu users have to wait?)

Matt Zimmerman mdz at ubuntu.com
Sun Sep 10 17:23:17 BST 2006

On Sun, Sep 10, 2006 at 08:25:53AM -0500, Kilz _ wrote:
> >The correct solution to this problem is 64-bit plugins, in which case we
> >need to petition Adobe (almost every issue of this type seems to lead to
> >one of their plugins).  More voices increase the likelihood of this
> >happening.
> >
> Yes and that is something I have done. But waiting on Adobe to produce a
> 64bit plugin or application may take some time. Why then are we hurting
> the 64bit users when its possible to run the existing 32bit version of the
> most needed ones. There are few people switching from Windows that do not
> require flash, or some other plugin that will not run on the 64bit
> browser.

All other major 64-bit distributions that I'm aware of ship 64-bit firefox,
so please don't characterize this as Ubuntu specifically or intentionally
"hurting" any users.  This is simply the status quo, and you are proposing a
new step beyond that.  Furthermore, you are asking for someone (who?) do a
substantial amount of work on your behalf (both now and ongoing) in order to
provide it.  It is important to bear that in mind that when holding this
type of discussion.

> >Multiarch was not on the Edgy roadmap, and there are currently no plans to
> >implement it.
> While I mentioned multiarch, I don't think any 64bit users expects full 
> multiarch from Ubuntu at this time. Most if not all would be happy seeing 
> some progress or a step towards it. Remember both Intel and AMD are now 
> making 64bit chips, even the cheap ones are now 64 bit. Other source and 
> rpm based distro's are mostly multiarch or working on it. The reason its 
> important is because not every application is ready as 64bit. But if the 
> applications that don't work for 64bit users were available as 32bit 
> versions this is a form of multiarch, limited, but better than nothing. As 
> it is we see eye candy being added while things don't work for us. 
> Functionality over eye candy any day for me.

The word "multiarch" refers to a very specific concept and feature of the
packaging system, one which represents a relatively large development
project.  It currently doesn't make sense for Ubuntu to attempt this at the
expense of other development projects.

The current OpenOffice.org build, and the Firefox build we're discussing,
are not multiarch, so it will avoid confusion if you don't use that
terminology in this context.

> >I would not object to having a 32-bit firefox build available.  That spec
> >doesn't describe how to achieve the goal, but here are the basic elements
> >required for a developer to get it done:
> >
> >- Add its build-dependencies to ia32-libs or similar
> >- Duplicate the firefox source package
> >- Keep it up to date and respond to bug reports
> Thank you for at least seeing that 32bit Firefox is needed. But there are 
> really 3 things that are needed. Another one of them is Wine. Wine is open 
> source. But its not in the repositories. Only a dummy package that wont 
> install. It is almost impossible to compile a 64bit version. The 32bit 
> version works when forced in to a 64bit system with only 1 extra library.
> My wine howto has 16, 304 hits 
> http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=185557 . People coming over 
> from Windows expect to at least see wine and at least try to get that one 
> or two application they need it for running.

I don't agree with you that users migrating from Windows expect Wine, or
even that they need it, and Wine (both Wine itself and our implementation of
it) requires a lot of work before we could promote it as an out-of-the-box
solution for Windows application compatibility.

> Next, one, just one 32bit media player, you can pick whatever one you want, 
> but one is needed.

I assume you want this in order to use 32-bit Windows DLLs in your media
player.  Presumably you also understand the reasons why this configuration
is problematic to set up and support.

> If these things were included the experience of people using the 64bit 
> version would at least be more positive and we may see more people 
> recommending it.

I have an alternative recommendation for you: run 32-bit Ubuntu.  Rather
than running half of the desktop 32-bit on an otherwise 64-bit system,
simply install a complete 32-bit system.  All of your complaints vanish.

Note that if you purchase a 64-bit system from a major PC vendor, you
generally get a copy of (32-bit) Windows XP Home on it.  This generally
works quite well, in fact I'm running such a configuration on my home PC
right now (though for different reasons).

> These three things are requested again and again. I'm shocked to see that 
> no developer knows about them. But someone has told me developers do not 
> visit the user forums. I have no idea how someone can develop something 
> without feedback from the people that are using it.

Making this kind of accusatory assumption isn't very constructive.  I
suggest a more positive and collaborative stance if you expect to continue
to receive constructive feedback in return.

Of course the development team realizes that users want to use the official
Flash plugin on 64-bit Ubuntu.  However, as I hope I've explained already,
the issue is not as simple as it might at first appear.

 - mdz

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list