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To be or not to be 64 bit

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  • To be or not to be 64 bit

    Gentlemen,

    I've used 32 bit Linux for some time now with very pleasing results. I've been using the latest released Kubuntus and with the imminent release of 7.10 I am considering making the move to 64 bit.

    I have an AMD 64bit 4600+ processor, but i have stuck to the 32 bit OS because of many reported difficulties with the 64bit version. Namelly firefox plugins, wine, and others i don't recall.

    What i would like if for users experienced with the 64 bit version to report on the stability and usability of workarounds needed to get functionality.

    Dealbreakers would be KDE, openvpn, compiz-fusion, firefox plugins such as flash and mplayer, wine and vmware.

    Any info on other programs or program types prone to difficulties would be appreciated.

    Any info on if quake wars will run on it?

    Thank you very much.

  • #2
    You can usually get mplayer, flash, et al running on 64-bit Linux but it does require more work than a conventional 32-bit quick-and-easy installation. Aside from those initial install/setup routines, the rest of x86_64 Linux should be pretty much smooth sailing.

    Quake Wars will not have a native 64-bit client, but using the 32-bit binary with the 32-bit userland will work, just like it works for Quake 4 and Doom 3.
    Michael Larabel
    http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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    • #3
      You mention the "32-bit userland" for quake. Does that mean sticking to the 32 bit version of the distro, or some sort of libraries or compatibility layer that i should setup?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by cttw View Post
        You mention the "32-bit userland" for quake. Does that mean sticking to the 32 bit version of the distro, or some sort of libraries or compatibility layer that i should setup?
        Primarily just the 32-bit libraries needed for Quake. When you install the NVIDIA and ATI drivers on 64-bit Linux it will ask if you want to install the 32-bit versions as well.

        Also, if you're not aware already, you may want to check out linux32 (man linux32).
        Michael Larabel
        http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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        • #5
          64-bits rock!

          As a general observation after three months daily use of 64 bit Debian unstable, it rocks! I haven't had any problems I could attribute to 64-bits!

          Go Ahead!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sabriah View Post
            As a general observation after three months daily use of 64 bit Debian unstable, it rocks! I haven't had any problems I could attribute to 64-bits!

            Go Ahead!
            No problems - what about advantages that you can feel?

            To be honest, I am trying 64Bit installations for some weeks now, too. So I am interested in your experiences.

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            • #7
              Been running 64-bits Linux since 3 years ago (FC4 through F7) and I can tell you that 64-bits Linux has come a LONG way! It was easy from the start for me to get pretty much everything running, except a few things:
              • mplayer used to cause major head aches due mainly to the 32-bit Windows libraries for some codecs (with the win32codecs package). It is no longer a problem.
              • Flash plugin. It has alwasy been a problem. You can either use 32-bit firefox and get rid of many problems, with the overhead it implies (i.e longer startup times, plus more memory) or use nspluginwrapper to install 32-bit plugins in 64-bit firefox. It has the problem that it uses extra CPU cycles and could leak memory like crazy.
              • Generally, since the data (types) are twice as big, memory utilization is accordingly twice as much, so my personal recommendation for a dual core system in 64-bits is of 4Gb as opposed as 2Gb simply because it would be "the same" as 2GB in 32-bit mode (roughly)

              Some apps do take advantage of the extra precision and registers, many others don't, for general use purposes, I still believe 64-bits are "overrated", for scientific work, visualization, multimedia content creation and the like, you DO benefit from the extra mathematical precision and general faster processing of certain data types (like floats and some times (long) integers). For e-mail, office and general browsing, with limited use of multimedia (i.e, consumption and not creation... The benefits are rather slim, though there are).

              I've considered going back to 32-bits for some time now, but I always end up keeping on 64-bits... Things are getting easier for stuff such as Java with IcedTea and its preliminary support for a 64-bits native Java Plug-in, hopefully Adobe will soon surprise us all with a 64-bit native Flash Plug-in as well (or so say some rumors, take this with the mount-rushmore of salt grains). All in all 64-bit support in Linux is very mature, elegant and fast.

              I tend to keep away from Debian distributions for 64-bits, for the time being, though, as they (for some reason I don't yet have come to fully understand) don't support all that well multilib (coexistence of 32 and 64-bit libraries and binaries, running 32-bit binaries and loading 32-bit dynamic libraries without the need for "jailed" environments [chroots]), and this has lead me to prefer Fedora and SuSE for 64-bit systems, though I tend to prefer Fedora myself. I do believe the problem with Debian and multilib is due to a problem with apt more than anything else, but as I said, I don't fully understand the issue myself.

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              • #8
                That 'IcedTea' sounds interesting, maybe someone should package it for Debian. Also ffmpeg should begin to support latest WMA, so no w32codecs are needed. As heavy Java/Flash user with Firefox/Iceweasl 32 bit is much better suited for me.

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                • #9
                  IcedTea is based off the code Sun released for their JDK, I know what you mean about ffmpeg and WMP formats, that is why I said those were no issues anymore

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                  • #10
                    Well the problem with Debian is, that even on Sid you would only use ffmpeg code from 20070307...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kano View Post
                      Well the problem with Debian is, that even on Sid you would only use ffmpeg code from 20070307...
                      That can be a problem... I see your point.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cttw View Post
                        What i would like if for users experienced with the 64 bit version to report on the stability and usability of workarounds needed to get functionality.
                        Generally speaking the stuff works well. More often than not, it's less of a problem with the workarounds than one would think. As it stands, I was one of the early adopters of 64-bit x86 mode as I was handed an engineering eval Solo 2 board in exchange for attempting to make 64-bit Linux games. It's still got a few "issues" for certain situations, but it should do very nicely for many things.

                        Dealbreakers would be KDE
                        Not a problem. To the best of my knowledge it's been working rather nicely since the earliest days of x86-64.

                        openvpn
                        I believe this works fine. At the time I was using my AMD64 laptop, I didn't need to do anything special, but I believe it works right.

                        compiz-fusion
                        This depends on your GPU choice. NVidia should work stably in 64-bits as well as 32-bits. AMD's previous iteration of drivers had stabilized, but it's still less stable for 64-bit when compared to NVidia on things right at the moment.

                        firefox plugins such as flash
                        Here's one of those edge cases. If you use the wrapper plugin that lets you run Flash 9 for 32 bits via proxy dispatch, it'll work, and largely well- but there are instances where I've seen it lock up Firefox on me, so your mileage may well vary there.

                        mplayer,
                        It seems to work. I was using it at the beginning of this year on my AMD64 laptop...

                        wine
                        It just rocks as does CrossOver. I used Wine to do my taxes this year under 64-bits.

                        vmware.
                        I think it'll work as a 32-bit app just fine. I know VirtualBox works as a 32-bit app with some bludgeoning.

                        Most of the problems lie with things like laptops with Broadcom chips where you end up needing to use NDISwrapper and have to go scrounging for the 64-bit NDIS driver (can't use the 32-bit driver for this, it won't work right...).

                        Any info on if quake wars will run on it?
                        It should. Quake4 and Doom3 ran on my AMD64 desktop just fine- you just need working drivers that will handle 32-bit compatibility mode applications and you're good to go.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kano View Post
                          Well the problem with Debian is, that even on Sid you would only use ffmpeg code from 20070307...
                          Heh... I can see that being an issue, yes...

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