64bit or not to 64bit - that is the question?

I’m going to be installing openSUSE on my dad’s PC. He was talking about upgrading from XP to Win7 but I think I’ve talked him out of that :slight_smile:

He is running 64bit Intel hardware so I’m wondering what’s best to install. The 64bit or 32bit version?. From what I’ve read, the 64bit seems more troublesome and many apps are buggy on 64bit. Is that a correct assumption? I seem to recall problems with Firefox.

He basically uses the PC for web browsing, e-mail, watching video, listening to music, talking on skype, the odd cd / dvd ripping and some office tasks, word processing, spreadsheets etc.

He also subscribes to some crossword puzzle thing which I think is java based but it may be windows not sure yet. He also has a webcam for use with skype. The web cam is not listed in the HCL so not sure it’ll work with Linux.

My strategy is to install oS and then run XP in a VM for the windows only stuff he requires. I think this would be better than a dual boot set up as it will allow him to easily get in and out of windows rather having to reboot to it.

The OSE version of Virtualbox doesn’t support usb so are there any other open source VMs that support usb? This would be necessary to get his webcam working within the VM.

Any comments appreciated.

I would say give him the 32bit version, but you may want him to wait for a bit till 11.2 comes out or give him the RC of 11.2 as 11.2 is right around the corner.
Either that or you can try him out on Ubuntu Karmic that comes out tomorrow.
But if he is not very techno inclined, you may want to consider something simplistic like Linux Mint or something as that way he wont have to worry about setting up codecs and junk.
For adults at a certain age in my experience its best for you to look at the options, my mom was surprisingly good at adapting to linux however my stepfather not as much.
My mom works with Ubuntu Jaunty and is eager for Karmic, I still have my stepfather working on Linux Mint 5 Elyssa and hes afraid of stepping up to Karmic despite me teaching him everything he needs to know.

64bit from me. Go ahead with 11.2 RC2, which is around the corner and can be considered as final because there will be just bug fixes.
OR you can try Mandriva 2010 RC, which is more easy than Ububu and mint IMHO.
There are no issues with Firefox and any other software on 64bit OS, i am using 64 bit for a long time and i didn’t face any issue with softwares. And one thing i note which is speed, i found 64bit faster than 32bit.

Thanks for the comments. I was planning on installing the RC2 when it’s released and then doing the live update to the final release. My dad dabbled with Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 for a bit but for some reason struggled and could never getting software to install an ended up in a mess. He was trying to go about things the windows way which I guess is understandable. I found trying to sort his problems out difficult as I’m not familiar with Ubuntu and the Gnome UI so always struggled to find things.

I thought openSUSE would be best as I am familiar with it and would be able help a lot more effectively. I’m hoping that once I’ve set everything up, codecs etc. then it wouldn’t need touching except for the occasional security patch. I can do the other updates monthly.

Also, I can set up the four main repos and that should be enough for him to keep things ticking.

I’ve not looked at Mint but will try have a play with the Live CD.

Yeh play with Mint on its live or use it in a virtual machine, Mint is based on Ubuntu but comes with codecs and some helpful tools for new users.
It even has a one click install function.
It uses Gnome but it has a very windows like setup, things are easy enough to find on it.

Back to the topic of the post 64 bit or not, personally I’ve been using 64 bit for many years on different distros. Generally there is no real difference unless you intend to do certain things that require the extra speed it gives eg for video encoding. Generally for the average user either 32 or 64 bit works fine. I have found that suse makes installing 32 bit apps in the 64 bit os somewhat easier than say in Ubuntu (unless your familiar with the terminal commands)
Overall migrating a windows user to a KDE desktop will make them more comfortable due to it’s similar look and feel.
Also in case your Dad still wants to goto windows 7, you can’t use the upgrade as M$ decided you can only upgrade from vista not xp to win7. (“legally” anyway)

Thanks for the replies. I think we#'ll just go with the 64bit if there aren’t any problems. May as well use the hardware as it is there.

Hopefully his webcam will work out of the box to simplify things. If not then we’ll just run it in a VM in XP until he gets a Linux compatible camera.