A messy world indeed: 64 bit runtimes , 32 bit browsers

I was going to title this post  “64-bit , 32-bit , Java plugin, Java 1.6,  Leopard Tiger , grrrrr”  and even though that title sounded like a bunch of keywords thrown together , that effect was entirely intentional.

I have just spent half an hour trying to troubleshoot why JAVA plugins stopped working on my Mac Pro at work and I am very very confused!

And I absolutely need Java plugin support because a lot of the protein visualization apps like JMOL @ Mole Online use the Java plugin very effectively. And before I launch into my rants , a Disclaimer, everything works great in Safari and I guess I have no right to complain!. But I just like Firefox so much ! ( sometimes I wonder why)

SO here are the issues as I see it

1) The Mac Pro is a through and through 64 bit OS ( Or is it! , there is some 32 bit Carbon lurking in Firefox and other apps I hear )

2) Safari 3.0 on the Mac Pro is probably 64 bit ( Clarifications sought)

3) The default Java plugin and Java runtime on Leopard are  Java 1.6

4) Firefox 3.0 , which I downloaded from the web is probably 32 bit

5) I dont know why Firefox cannot gracefully degrade and use the old 32bit plugin. I still see it installed and available as an option in my “Java Preferences”

All of this probably indicates the confusion behind 64 bit platforms in my mind and the minds of other consumers like me . It also explains why 64 bit adoption continues to be so slow despite many years of talking about it.

Naively I wonder  why everything and everyone cannot just wake up and be 64 bit!.

Even though I am quite annoyed by my mornings experiences, a google tech-talk from Kenneth Russell , and several comments on the Java Posse episodes in AUgust 2008 suggest that a lot of change is coming soon with the new Java plugin which is going to be part of Java 6 update 10.

Well with todays frustrations , I cannot wait!

Hopefully that will allow a 32bit applet to run on a 64bit plugin runtime in a 32 bit browser! Can they make this any more confusing?

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