Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Firefox and Windows 64-bit builds (testing version; not a release version)

We now have a small set of Windows 2008 64-bit slaves ready to be put in our production systems that can generate the 64-bit version of Mozilla Firefox.

NOTE: This is not a released version but a testing version.

I will leave out any talking about when this could be released to our users and just focus on explaining where the project has been and where we are now from a Release Engineering point of view. Releasing depends on evaluating what the problems are on the product side before we would release it.
If you have done any comparison of the pros/cons of the 32-bit and 64-bit version of Firefox running on a 64-bit machine please let me know as I am interested to know.

Try it out
We have been producing Firefox 64-bit nightly builds since last week but we now have a small pool of machines and we are upstreaming the process to production levels.

You can give it a try by downloading the installer.

Help needed
Right now I have several bugs that I need help from developers to get them fixed.

  • bug 671000 - make buildsymbols takes 45 mins rather than 5 mins
  • bug 669384 - make buildsymbols fails for leak test builds
  • bug 670915 - make package fails for leak test builds
  • bug 670697 - sporadic make check failures 
There are many more bugs but the ones I mentioned are the ones that affect releng infrastructure.
We are using a tracking bug for product problems and another one for releng problems.

I started working on this project last year on Q2 and by May 2010 I had some proof of concept going on. To my surprise the media picked up on this and brought a lot of attention to it.
By Q3 we started having problems with OPSI (a system to deploy changes to our machines) and all efforts started little by little shifting towards supporting developers to ship Firefox 4. On Q2 of this year all focus was to adapt to the new fast release cadence.

Nevertheless, by the end of March I had set up a machine to be cloned unto other machines.
Unfortunately the tools that we had in IT were not being able to clone the machine.
IT at that point started to look for a solution and in June we hired digipengi who has Windows experience (for real!).
We worked together and we had to recreate the Windows 64-bit machine from scratch with only one partition rather than three.
We are now at the point that we have 5 production slaves, another 4 to be added soon and we will be cloning the remaining ones in the near future.

If you want to know more CC yourself to the tracking bug.

Creative Commons License
This work by Zambrano Gasparnian, Armen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Do you know which build configurations are planned to be supported? (Locally I have VC10 and VC9 builds, but bug 635617 broke VC8.)

  2. Thanks Rail!

    Hi Neil, we are currently building with VS2008 but we will be switching to VS2010 since we are moving the Windows 32-bit builds to VS2010.
    I hope it helps.

  3. Purty please make it official for the 64 bit version. I use 64bit on Windows 7 and it smokes. I use no script and that works fine with it and I got 64 bit flash beta. Thanks for all the great work to you and the entire organization.

  4. Hi Prescient,
    Thanks for your on-going support. We truly could not do it without our community.

    In the next few months we will see how our efforts are shaping as we knock walls down. We will be for sure giving more concrete details on the on-going progress.