My article on Minefield, a 64-bit browser based off of Firefox, is 3.5 years old and still manages to get a decent amount of traffic. From that, I gather that people are rather interested in 64-bit software to take advantage of the underlying hardware. So, on that topic, I introduce you to Waterfox. It’s a 64-bit variant of Firefox that is compiled for speed. What makes Waterfox fast:
Waterfox was compiled with Intel’s C++ Compiler with the following optimisations: Intel’s Math Library, SSE3, AVX for supported Intel processors, jemalloc, Profile-Guided Optimisation and the /O3 switch.
Waterfox is available from www.waterfoxproject.org as either an installer or a portable version. The download for the installer is 25 MB and 30MB for the portable version. Since Waterfox is recompiled and follows after Firefox, it tends to be a version behind. I tested out version 16.0.1 and had good experience with it. I didn’t do any actual benchmarking but it was certainly snappy when browsing a variety of intensive sites with numerous tabs.
All Firefox add-ons are compatible with Firefox but like Minefield you will need 64-bit versions of Adobe Flash Player, Java, and other plugins.
What motivates Waterfox to offer a 64-bit version of the Firefox browser?
64-Bit computing is the future! Any 64-Bit user will notice an instant increase in performance, but that is not the only advantage such as multi-tasking and improved stress handling.