To 64bit or not 64bit

Good point, though Linux-er’s use 64bit almost as much as 32bit, because well written programs port with few problems, with a recompile.

So my reasons for installing 10.3 32bit were :

  1. Some doubts still evident on compatability (flash etc)
  2. Reduction in download size, I have i686 boxes to.
  3. An x86_64 live CD (Kubuntu?) failed to install, and I had 32bit openSUSE handy.
  4. With a 128 MiB graphics card, little memory wasted, if used PAE or not.

A year on, and having a 512 MiB graphics card, 4) became less true. 3) no longer relevant. 1) is sorted. 2) still true, however Novell used a cache-ing service to distribute after the release, and were trying to break 20 TB, so encouraged downloads.

Apart from speeding somethings up thanks to the registers, the main difference I notice is finger grained high resolution timers.

64bit support and development isn’t going to pick up speed if people who have 64bit machines insist on staying with 32bit systems.

But still the development of 64bit Linux platforms is moving in to a good direction… and, what’s more important, it’s moving faster, then Windows or Mac (as far as I know, the newest version of Mac OS will fully support 64bit systems). Mainly because typical Linux users are more aware and more in to computer systems, then others. Thanks to that (and thanks to the open code) the driver and applications development on Linux platforms outlines Windows and Mac.

Look at the statistics of distro versions download. With every new release the percentage of 64bit users grows (60/34 in case of openSUSE 11.1 i think… Zonker covers it on his weblog site).

Yeah, the general GNU/Linux user tends to be less risk-averse when it comes to surfing the tech edge.

64 bit wasn’t much risk, GNU and major FOSS applications have run on 64 bit real UNIX for years. Linux has run on Alpha & 64 bit SPARC, and even Itanic, so AMD 64 wasn’t much of a big deal.

The main niggles would be in the 32 bit support, for proprietary applictions like Flash and skype.

It turned out, that for 64 bits to go mainstream, we needed 64bit Windows and Macs to go public (I mean popular public).

With does OS’s getting more and more attention from a end-users, companies like Adobe, or Sun had to begin 64bit platform development.

And, with time, more and more vendors will have to step up, because as we all know, in majority the hardware development goes a lot faster then software.

It’s not that 64bit architecture isn’t faster, more powerful or better. It’s the software that runs it.

How can You see a difference, if You compare 32 with 64bit using 32bit benchmarks (same situation with single and dual core CPU-s… remember;)), sure You won’t get astonishing differences. Run it with 64bit benchmarks… then speed rise is worth mentioning.

As it was with dual (now quad) core CPU’s, software vendors sooner or latter will have to manage (in witch Linux is far beyond Windows and Mac;)).

Some numbers on the 32 bit v 64 bit issues (and yes ext3 v ext4, and comparison to certain other OSes)

Tux Radar Benchmarks Ubuntu 32 & 64 bit and other OSes

The numbers look plausible to me, and are in line with my experiences ie without driver issues causing performance problems. This probably explains why 64 bit is recommended by many even on 2 GiB systems.

Anyone doing number crunching and video or audio encoding should consider using a 64bit Linux. For example, the x264 encoder runs ~15% faster on 64bit vs 32bit. Similar thing for Xvid. BOINC number crunching is also faster

I run 64bit SUSE for a few years now and never had any problems with it. If something doesn’t support 64bit, I just install 32bit version of it. SUSE has one of the best 64bit support out there, IMO :slight_smile:

The only issue I have is with gaming on 64bit oS. Using Wine is also more problematic (although that might be my lack of knowledge).

Windows games with Wine have problems detecting hardware on some configurations (sound and video card in my example… I still can’t find a solution to that issue).

Although I’m learning right now, how to build and compile video drivers with mesa and Intel Linux graphics package on my one… we’ll see what comes out of that.

But if You don’t play (or have a dual boot… I don’t because then there would be nothing but games;P… my beloved GTA San Andreas;)), then 64bit OS for today should cause You no problems at all (maybe some dependencies).

But in the end of course it all depends on the developer support behind 64bit release (SUSE guys do one of the best jobs out there).

Problems under switching to 64 bit - None
64 bit → Definitely works better. Everything is much slighter (personal experience)
You can run WinXP 32 and Suse 64 at the same time. If you’re connected wirelessly You might encounter some issues, but you should be fine.

Good Luck