In other news, the announcement below was inevitable after Mozilla dropped support for 10.6 through 10.8, but for the record (from BDS):
As of Firefox 53, we are intending to switch Firefox on mac from a universal x86/x86-64 build to a single-architecture x86-64 build.
To simplify the build system and enable other optimizations, we are planning on removing support for universal mac build from the Mozilla build system.
The Mozilla build and test infrastructure will only be testing the x86-64 codepaths on mac. However, we are willing to keep the x86 build configuration supported as a community-supported (tier 3) build configuration, if there is somebody willing to step forward and volunteer as the maintainer for the port. The maintainer's responsibility is to periodically build the tree and make sure it continues to run.
Please contact me directly (not on the list) if you are interested in volunteering. If I do not hear from a volunteer by 23-December, the Mozilla project will consider the Mac-x86 build officially unmaintained.
The precipitating event for this is the end of NPAPI plugin support (see? TenFourFox was ahead of the curve!), except, annoyingly, Flash, with Firefox 52. The only major reason 32-bit Mac Firefox builds weren't ended with the removal of 10.6 support (10.6 being the last version of Mac OS X that could run on a 32-bit Intel Mac) was for those 64-bit Macs that had to run a 32-bit plugin. Since no plugins but Flash are supported anymore, and Flash has been 64-bit for some time, that's the end of that.
Currently we, as OS X/ppc, are a Tier-3 configuration also, at least for as long as we maintain source parity with 45ESR. Mozilla has generally been deferential to not intentionally breaking TenFourFox and the situation with 32-bit x86 would probably be easier than our situation. That said, candidly I can only think of two non-exclusive circumstances where maintaining the 32-bit Intel Mac build would be advantageous, and they're both bigger tasks than simply building the browser for 32 bits:
- You still have to run a 32-bit plugin like Silverlight. In that case, you'd also need to undo the NPAPI plugin block (see bug 1269807) and everything underlying it.
- You have to run Firefox on a 32-bit Mac. As a practical matter this would essentially mean maintaining support for 10.6 as well, roughly option 4 when we discussed this in a prior blog post with the added complexity of having to pull the legacy Snow Leopard support forward over a complete ESR cycle. This is non-trivial, but hey, we've done just that over six ESR cycles, although we had the advantage of being able to do so incrementally.
I'm happy to advise anyone who wants to take this on but it's not something you'll see coming from me. If you decide you'd like to try, contact Benjamin directly (his first name, smedbergs, us).