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Re: will x86 binary run in x86_64 ?

On Friday 09 January 2004 17:27, David Wolinski wrote:
> Hello,
> 	I apologize if this is utterly obvious, but here goes:
> I'm considering migrating to AMD64 but am worried that I won't be able to
> use several pieces of software for which I only have x86 binary RPMs (e.g.
> Matlab, VMware).
> Is it possible to run an x86 binary executable using the AMD64 kernel?
> I'm asking because the upcoming version of 64-bit Windows is supposed to
> include a technology called "Windows on Windows 64" that allows you to run
> 32-bit applications on the 64-bit operating system by doing some sort of
> on-the-fly translation.  Is there anything like this in AMD64?

Your answer: yes and no.

1. You can run a 32 bit OS or a 64 bit OS ... both basically work.  Under a 64 
bit OS you can run 32 bit applications.

2. However, you cannot really mix 32 bit and 64 bit within an application.  
Since the kernel will be 64 bit, you cannot have 32 bit drivers so vmware 
will not work.

3.  The ability to run "old" 32 bit applications while the bulk of the system 
is 64 bit depends on the library "needs" of the 32 bit application.

A case in point is my experience with the Fedora Core 1 x86_64 "preview".  The 
64 bit mozilla does not work.  OK, so run the 32 bit mozilla .. it works and 
then you can run the binary-only 32 bit plugins.  But, both galeon and 
epiphany use mozilla libraries ... so use the 32 bit version of galeon and/or 
epiphany ... but these require a lot of other 32 bit libraries (mostly gnome 
stuff) ... it is like pulling on a strand of spaghetti and getting a 
bowl-full in your lap.

If you a buying an "extra" system then go for it.

If you a investing in new hardware which you want to last then buy it but plan 
on running a 32 bit OS for a while (leave yourself enough disk space to 
install and try new 64 bit OS when they become available).

If you need to run 64 bit and want to also run some 32 bit applications then 
be prepared for problems.  I am trying to get the nessus security "tool" 
running on the FC1 x86_64 as a 64 bit application. First it needs a bunch of 
patches to fix 32 bit/64 bit pointer problems (got fixes from SUSE).  
Although it may run fine on the 64 bit version of Linux that SUSE has, it 
still does not run on the FC1 preview ... likely problems with other 
libraries that have bugs.  This is definitely bleeding edge currently.

Good luck.


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