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Re: Fedora 9 32 or 64 Bit - Which One?

On 10/29/2008 07:50 PM, Bill Davidsen wrote:

I think I see the reason this 32 vs 64 doesn't get resolved, the people who say "what hassles" or "it just works" are all either genuine experts such as you, people who do system administration "as a job" rather than "so they can do their job," and a few people who present themselves as experts and expect others to take opinion as gospel, actual expertise unknown. Based on notes about having to hand install both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of libraries and a few other minor diddles, which are not worth noticing to the experts, but confusing and worrisome for the users who are either just running applications or developing desktop applications.

I think those of us using a mix of 32 bit and 64 bit CPUs would have to see an easily measured performance gain to go 64 bit on the machines which can do so, because the hassle factor of supporting multiple versions of the rest of the system is measurable.

I think the answer is that many more people are running 32 bit systems, and unless you have some need to run very large applications, or a large server, or large memory, you will be using more widely tested compilations of the software, and will have a larger group of experienced users to answer questions. That's the best reason to stay 32 bit now, lacking a benefit from 64 bit.

The reason for some of the hassles is that some developers are just too lazy to fix their applications, or that some 32-bit applications are very poorly written, It's just that simple. From a developer standpoint, developing a portable application, eg. one that can be compiled for 32-bit or 64-bit and work out of the box is relatively simple if you follow some rules. The newer C and C++ language standards also have specific 32-bit and 64-bit integers, so you don't have to use "long" which can be 32-bits or 64-bits. I remember the same issue with 16-bit and 32-bit. In the past, I worked on a reasonably complex application that had to work on Linux (debian 32-bit, Solaris x86 32-bit, and Solaris SPARC. And, my development system at home was a Digital Alpha running Linux 64-bit. The only problem we had was that the data base code used an algorithm where pointers would be stored with the keys, and could be on a non-natural boundary causing an exception on the SPARC. There were zero 32-bit to 64-bit issues. I've seen other code that it will take several man-years to get it to run properly on 64-bits.

The bottom line is that nearly every new laptop and desktop system being produced today uses 64-bit hardware, and Vista is very memory hungry to where you probably won't be able to get a 32-bit Windows platform. <note - I am bias toward 64-bits since I have been working in 64-bit land since at least 1994, and with 64-bit Linux roughly in the same time frame. I forget exactly when Linus actually had a 64-bit kernel for the Alpha, but it was 94 or 95.

Jerry Feldman <gaf blu org>
Boston Linux and Unix
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