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Ubuntu 12.04 Still Trying For 64-bit By Default

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  • Ubuntu 12.04 Still Trying For 64-bit By Default

    Phoronix: Ubuntu 12.04 Still Trying For 64-bit By Default

    Back at the last UDS Orlando summit I mentioned that Canonical was looking at finally recomending the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Linux by default for new installs rather than 32-bit. This issue is again being discussed at the last minute for the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" release due out next week...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTA4ODU

  • #2
    Imo x32 is welcome even if released in 2 years.

    For the last 5-7 years apps don't use significantly more RAM. In fact win7 is more lightweight than vista, and C11 & C++11 make for a solid guarantee for native (non-interpreted, hence lower memory) solutions to stay common for a long time. Even today's AAA games are fine with 2GB (they care a lot more about GPU ram). So X32 is likely to be a good fit for like 15 years until/if a new hw paradigm comes about. I've never used any desktop 32 bit (or even 64 bit) app that would require over 4GB, not even close, those which did did so because of memory leaks and/or bad programmers.
    Last edited by cl333r; 04-17-2012, 06:08 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cl333r View Post
      Imo x32 is welcome even if released in 2 years.

      For the last 5-7 years apps don't use significantly more RAM. In fact win7 is more lightweight than vista, and C11 & C++11 make for a solid guarantee for native (non-interpreted, hence lower memory) solutions to stay common for a long time. Even today's AAA games are fine with 2GB (they care a lot more about GPU ram). So X32 is likely to be a good fit for like 15 years until/if a new hw paradigm comes about. I've never used any desktop 32 bit (or even 64 bit) app that would require over 4GB, not even close, those which did did so because of memory leaks and/or bad programmers.
      Indeed. Smaller footprint is always going to make a difference: the code is able to fit inside the cpu cache, and leaves a lot more cache space that can be used for data.

      But I would say that in my experience 64-bit Ubuntu/Kubuntu with 2gb ram is a bit painful. If you have an SSD for swap, it works great, but with an hard disk, especially a slow laptop one, you do notice the swapping and general unresponsiveness.
      For 32-bit even 1gb is more than enough for most tasks and works great.

      (Edit: 2gb sucks especially if you have shared memory with the GPU, which is true on a lot of low-end systems)

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      • #4
        Also afaik X32 apps can access 4GB each, which for a 32 bit app is plenty.
        64 bit Ubuntu does come close to exceeding 2GB when heavyweight apps are running but it's largely because of Java, bugs and leaks, e.g. right now compiz uses 151MB on my computer cause it's a known issue with some known setups using the nvidia blob, otherwise compiz uses like 30-50MB (big difference). Firefox - same issue, when watching too much youtube it goes beyond 2GB (or even 5GB) cause of memory leaks in the flash plugin. Java is abnormaly memory hungry on 64 bit.

        Also, solutions like KDE/Gnome try to be everything for anyone, and as multi-threading, unicode etc is adopted upstream (in C/C++) they can cut the fat from their libs. The KDE lighthouse project is a start, more to come.

        Also, gcc 4.7 has been optimized (read "fixed") to use like 250% less ram when doing LTO (FF reported to require now 3GB instead of 8 to do the LTO), which is one more example of bad design/code being fixed lately.
        Last edited by cl333r; 04-17-2012, 06:55 AM.

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        • #5
          I would not do it for an LTS release; that is not the release to introduce new things (like the pulseaudio disaster in Hardy/8.04). I'm not saying 64-bit isn't well-used/tested (I've been running 64-bit for 6 years now), but rather that I expect some level of fallout from the new multiarch scheme and also from people who don't know the difference between 32/64-bit until they go to run a legacy app and it doesn't work.

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          • #6
            There are still distros which use 32 bits by default? When was the last 32-bit only x86 chip released?

            It's true that non-demanding desktop users can get by with 32-bits, especially with tricks allowing access to more than 4GB in 32-bit mode, but this still seems strange to me. For me, 32-bits is a no-no, but then again, I'm not Ubuntu's target audience.

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            • #7
              Let me use this occasion to ask a question - I have a PC with 2gb of RAM and 64-bit AMD processor. Should I stick to 32-bit or 64 bit system? when running from a live cd I have an impression that 64 bit seems to be faster, but I'm worried about the RAM size...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                When was the last 32-bit only x86 chip released?
                Two years ago (and I'm sure they're still in current products): http://ark.intel.com/products/49656/...he-1_20-GHz%29

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by borsook View Post
                  Let me use this occasion to ask a question - I have a PC with 2gb of RAM and 64-bit AMD processor. Should I stick to 32-bit or 64 bit system? when running from a live cd I have an impression that 64 bit seems to be faster, but I'm worried about the RAM size...
                  I think the whole 64-bit RAM thing is overblown. Unless you're already maxing out RAM or near it, I wouldn't worry about it. Running 64-bit Kubuntu (not an efficient distro or DE) with Kwin effects, Firefox, Tbird, and Synaptic open, I'm only using 800MB. It's much less on my main install (Debian sid/xfce). That said, I don't think I'd reinstall just to move to 64-bit unless I was doing something that really benefitted from it (running VM's, lots of encoding, big GIMP images, etc.).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DanL View Post
                    I think the whole 64-bit RAM thing is overblown. Unless you're already maxing out RAM or near it, I wouldn't worry about it. Running 64-bit Kubuntu (not an efficient distro or DE) with Kwin effects, Firefox, Tbird, and Synaptic open, I'm only using 800MB. It's much less on my main install (Debian sid/xfce). That said, I don't think I'd reinstall just to move to 64-bit unless I was doing something that really benefitted from it (running VM's, lots of encoding, big GIMP images, etc.).
                    Thanks for your answer. With LTS I'm doing a clean install anyway, so it's not a problem, but later I'll be upgrading until the next LTS so I need to choose wisely...

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