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LXF DVDs: time for 64-bit?

As regular readers know, we run 32-bit incarnations of distros on the LXF DVD, including 64-bit versions (where available) as extras in ISO image format. Given that most machines made in the last few years are 64-bit, we're thinking of switching over.

For instance, when Ubuntu 9.10 arrives, we can make the DVD boot into the 64-bit version and have the 32-bit edition as an ISO image. In other words, the reverse of before. What do you think?

Your comments

bad idea...

most people uses 32-bit still "/

bad idea

Most of the people I know are still using 32-bit hardware and I'm not sure when I'll be able to afford a new machine

Nice idea

But perhaps you could offer a dual-boot with both 32 and 64 bit?

Not a fan

I use 64bit Fedora 10 at work and 32bit Fedora 10 at home. I've found 64bit to be buggy if I'm honest, obviously not just because its 64bit but Adobe flash 64bit crashes for me on the website when you actually get to playing it and more often then not you end up installing a load of 32bit libraries and applications anyway so you increase your install size.

At Last :P

I hate using only 32 of my 64 bits, seems like such a waste and i find 64 bit in linux to be great.


64 -bit processors are ment for 64-bit OS's (in my opinion although you do run into issues however if you designed a guide to help with the issues then this is a good idea


I think that it is time to switch over to 64-bit distros on the DVD. I hate having to waste resources by downloading a 64-bit version of Fedora 11 and burning that when I have my DVD of Fedora 11 that came with LXF 122.

Time to move on

Whilst not all hardware out there supports 64bit software I think in order to aid in the uptake of said software the switch should be made. 64bit software has been around for a good few years now and has failed to become mainstream, even though all new hardware (and hardware for the past 5 years or so) is capable of running it. Still give people the option however by including 32-bit iso's where appropriate. Alienating people due to older hardware is not a good thing!

I think most of the people

I think most of the people who pickup the magazine to dabble with Linux do it on the old 32-bit hardware from the storeroom. If your trying to win them over, making the task more challenging by having to burn the 32-bit image to boot from, won't win converts. Once they tried and learned about switching to Linux then the burning of an 64-bit ISO image would be a breeze.

dual boot would be great

I also think that it would be best to offer a dual boot solution because it wouldnt take up much more space than the iso images for 64 bit that are already on there.

i never run linux on a 64 bit b4, i am a 5 yrs old Penguin

This is what you can to do, send me a 64 bit system, then you can make the switch, i love to try new distro, i look forward to your DVD in every issue to test drive, i only have 32 bit hardware, i use to download ISO but i run out of Hard drive space, i hate to download stuff then Delete afterwards, therefore keep the same old way for a little while longer until we Penguin find the MONEY to go the 64 bit way.

Stick with 32 bit

I can't afford to fork out money on a new computer. If it wasn't for old computers i don't think i would have ever had made the switch to Linux. I think most converts will do so on 32 bit machines and making it harder for them will throw them off and maybe they mightn't try it out

Sounds like an excellent idea

While I note the comments in support of continuing to make 32 bit distros the default for the cover disk, I would like to urge you to make the switch. Most of the CPUs sold in the last few years have been 64bit capable and with the very low costs of DRAM (DDR2 that is) more and more folks are running into the 4GB barrier inherent in the 32bit versions of distros. Not to mention that more and more tools and applications are now 64bit

Just a suggestion...

Dual-sided DVDs, anyone?

Then no-one would have to lose out, would they?

But if that's not possible, please do make the switch.

I've got a 64-bit capable

I've got a 64-bit capable Intel processor but still use 32-bit.

too many bits for my pieces

Going 64 bits kinda defeats the point of reusing old computers for Linux.

Regular Discs Please

EcoDiscs, 64 bit discs what ever next?
What's wrong with the "normal" ones?

You can't Please all of the people all of the time

1.Consider: x86 will install on either but _64 will only install on _64

2.Most of probably download the distro before you even get it to us in the magazine. (OK I know there are still some out there on crappy bandwidth or crappy adsl package). Take this with point (1.) and wouldn't it be better to leave it as it is. Unless you can do option 3.

3. Use a double sided DVD.

N.B. FYI: Personally I never install from a Live CD. My main box is _64 hardware running x86

We're not there yet...

While it's true that most modern PCs support 64bits, many of the readers (including
myself) have not or can't afford a new machine.

So the short answer is no...
Please leave things as is until the year 2100, when we will most likely live
in cloned-cybernetic bodies, running full fledge 64bit Linux power.


Damned if you do, damned if you don't

I've been running 64-bit on my "main" PC for 2 years, sure there a few brain puzzles with Flash and Java each upgrade but they are easier and easier. My laptop runs 64-bit and again the hassles are with Flash and Java. The w64codecs work fine for sound and other multimedia. So, really it is two of the biggest software companies that haven't really helped with 64-bit computing. However, they are in the process of catching up ;-)

I do this mostly because I have 4GB RAM in both and I can always run a 32-bit version in a VirtualBox VM. I can't run a 64-bit version in a 32-bit VirtualBox VM.

The dual DVD sounds great until you think about the amount of time involved with putting together a multi-boot, multi-distro in both 32-bit and 64-bit.

What is the make up of web browsers visiting This provides an indication of how many 64-bit systems are currently deployed and access the web site?

Personally I think 64-bit will be mainstream in 12-24 months and only netbooks will be running 32-bit.

PS - why won't my usual login name work in the name field. Definitely logged into the forums!

Grub 2.0

Use Grub 2.0 and boot from either 32-bit or 64-bit ISO on the DVD.

Ideas has its merits but...

One of the advantages of Linux is using older hardware, Whilst 64 bit machines have been around a while I wouldn't call them older hardware.

You are more likely to encourage use if you provide 'universal' boot options - 64bit boot disks will fail in 32bit machines, obviously? - not always to a new starter.

I call for sticking as you are, encourage new users, those that are more confident will know and figure out what to do to acquire 64bit distros.



Not all software comes in both: 62 and 32 bit :-/. Plus the problem with buggy flash...

You can include 64 bit if that does not damage the 32 bit users :) (such as much less content). Also, your Q/A section might just get little cluttered over not just regular problems, but 64 bit OS problems ^_^.

Just my 2 cents...

Stick with the lowest common denominator

The only machine I have that supports 64-bit is the work notebook, which is loaded with 32-bit software and runs fine. I would be sticking with the lowest common denominator which is still 32-bit software.

64-bit just hasn't taken off as much as it probably should have. Maybe in another 1-2 years when the 'old PC in the corner' is actually a 64-bit CPU then you can start to do this.

As mentioned in a previous post, there are still a lot of dabblers out there. Making life difficult doesn't help them any. I guess it depends on where you see your market being placed? Hard core geeks or Entry level novices?

Move on

While I have computers that are 32 and capable of 64 bit, I think that its time to move on. By bringing more out that is 64 bit, it will encourage programers and others to write more 64 bit programs. If the need is there then it gives incentive to do more.

Computers are mainly a hobby for me, so I dabble a lot with programs. If problems occur then, a report should be sent so repairs can be made. Move up and on I say.

Best of both

Why not the opposite of Mike's suggestion, DVD boots into 32 bit version with 64 bit as an iso. Everyone can then try out new distro without any problems then can install which version they want.
I currently run Fedora 11 64 bit and personally find this to be very stable, even Flash works ok. (hardware about 3 years old)

Why have 64 bit if it is not going to be used?

64bit Stinks.

I have a very modern PC that is very capable of running a 64bit OS,
But the truth is i only use 32bit. Moving to linux was challenge enogth for me. Trying to get everything working in 64bit is not something i think is worth it. Maybe for some but not for me.

Half the dvd's don't work

Half the dvd's don't work anyway so wont bother me what happens with them :( .

Half-way house?

I have just upgraded my PC and am currently deciding which 64-bit distro to install. I hadn't realised there were 64-bit iso images on the some of the cover discs, I will have a trawl through old discs and have a look. I like the idea of not burning a disc to be able to install my (eventual) distro of choice but realise that the majority of readers may not have hardware capable of running 64-bit, or the desire to do so.

Something I would find useful though would be a round-up covering 64-bit distros, covering the major pitfalls associated with them, and which distros deal with them best (i.e. with minimal input from me).

OS's may be 64-bit, and

OS's may be 64-bit, and newer hardware also, but I don't know where you get the idea that MOST users are using 64-bit hardware. After all, I and many like me, use linux for the very purpose of keeping life in our older machines. When the general population has switched to newer machinery en masse, then you can make 64-bit the preeminent choice. So, would you like to contribute to my "Get me a 64-bit machine fund"?
Didn't think so ...

Still 32-bit here

While 64-bit hardware has been available for a while I still find a lot of the software is behind the curve. Especially plugins like Flash, etc. which can be almost painful to deal with on 64-bit systems. And it can be hit-or-miss with items like wireless drivers as well.
I've found 64-bit to be the most beneficial in server environments, i.e. web servers and DB servers, where I have enough resources to really use the power of 64 bits.

yes go for it!

I am using 64bit since Ubunut 8.04 and it works fine. As you point more and more people have a 64 bit machine. Why not use it!

Also by having you "endorsing" 64bit in a way will wake up people that 64 bit is here and ready.


I am in favour of going the 64 bit route. I tried out the 64 bit Ubunto on your recent DVD, and i am currently using 64 bit Debian Lenny without any problems. Admittedly, I don't use Flash so this is not an issue for me.

In spite of the number of responces that suggest putting this decision of until later, I suspect that you would get exactly the same response if you asked this question again one, two five or ten years from now. There will always be users who want to keep things as they are. I like to think that Linux is the progressive OS, and that it will lead the way into 64 bit computing, instead of waiting for Microsoft to claim this position.

64 bit OSs are definitely being used more commonly. I suspect that we are approaching the critical mass that is necessary for developers to feel that it is worth their effort to fix some of the 64 bit issues that annoy users. LF has the opportunity to contribute towards that event.

Hardware diversity

Please bear in mind the diversity of hardware your readers run linux on. Much of it is old, therefore limited to 32bit, but also think about netbooks and similar - new hardware that's still limited to 32 bit.
It's not a big deal for me as I have sufficient bandwidth to download whatever version I want, but the live LXF DVDs do make useful rescue disks!

cut price dvdless mag

How about no DVD and a cheaper mag. £6.50 is a lot for a 100 page magazine, I can get the latest Jilly Cooper for less money and download the distros for free.

latest Jilly Cooper???

And you expect us to take you seriously :P

64 bit for me please

As a relative newcomer to Linux I have tended to use 64 bit versions when available. Well, like 32 bit was the future to 16 bit then 64 bit must be the future too. (And I presume 128, 256, 512..... as time goes by.) If the 64 bit distribution is a bit buggy compared to 32 then, perhaps, it is about time we put more effort into 64 bit. Just as long as workable code is still available for 32 bit computers.

By the way, if we pride ourselves in backward compatibility, do we still support the 16 bit, 8 bit and 4 bit chips I remember of old? How about a Linux distribution for my Dragon 32, now there's a challenge!


I have yet to even dable w/ 64 bit. Only some of my computers will handle it, but my peripherals all still have old drivers. I run Ubuntu 32 and WinXP 32 at home, only WinXP 32 at work. A mission-critical ap we have only exists as a 32 bit version.

So I vote NO on the proposition to change the DVD arrangement.

However, double sided DVDs do work, and other linux mag's (Linux Mag Pro, I think) are using them to allow booting into either. This is a good compromise if possible

not a good choice

I would say not a good choice to make 64 default. I still use 32 everywhere. Why not make it dual boot ?

Good Idea

I talk with 200 - 300 people a week. Not a single one of them has any antiquated 32 bit machines. The move to 64 bit as default should've happened long ago. For people who say they can't afford to upgrade, ........ GET OUT OF YOUR MOM'S BASEMENT AND GET A JOB!

Stupid is as stupid does

For the guy who says that half the DVDs don't work:

It is fairly obvious that computers may not be your thing. You might want to think about a different hobby to consume your time.

Grow some stones you worthless piles of .....

Can you guys cut the magazine price in half? Can you guys donate to my new computer fund? After reading responses from all the twits here I can understand where the "let the Government do everything for me" attitude in America is coming from.

LinuxFormat is a great magazine and worth every penny!

There are actually other countries?

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Everyone's getting a "bit" uptight, relax.

Windows Vista - The 64-bit wannabe with a 32-bit graphics interface for 16-bit extensions to a 8-bit patch on a 4-bit operating system designed to run on a 2-bit processor by a company that can't stand 1-bit of competition.


when most machines dont pick up the iso to burn i have run into this before nd believe me thats when i mostly avoid such issues

Maybe Dual Sided?

Maybe You Could Have 32bit on one side And 64 on the other like in linux magazine

One or Other bad, both good

I don't like dual sided discs but it is the best option under the circumstances. Eventually 64 bit machines will become the norm. At the moment I am still finding them to be the exception and I am still using a 32 bit machine that was upgraded to quad core less than a year ago. I would not be comfortable switching to 64 bit at this time as there a too many, software and peripheral incompatibilities at this time. Not to mention the recent outlay to upgrade to 32 bit quad core. 200-300/week?!!! I am finding the exact opposite!(I don't talk to that many though).

Upgrade treadmill

I vote to keep favouring 32-bit because that's what I use, but I think it's worth keeping both versions on the DVD wherever possible and I won't complain if I have to mount an iso to get at the software.

If we all take Twenty-First Century's advice and upgrade to 64 bits, what are we supposed to do with all the extra power? Buy some more monitors and run a multi-seat gaming room? Or fork out for some Microsoft software and see if it's really as resource-hungry as they say? :o)

Feeling foolish

When I first saw this I was ready to get well and truely annoyed. "Hey!" I thought. "This means I won't be able to use the cover discs anymore!" It was only when I got a curious about the merits of x86-64 that I realised my Pentium 4 CPU actually supports it. Doh! After reading an excellent post from April (, I've decided to give 64-bit distros a shot. I was half-way through downloading a Fedora 11 iso at the time. Time to head back to the download page, methinks.

I guess this ignorance of my hardware's potential comes from when I used to use Windows XP and to try the 64-bit version would have meant shelling out a rather silly amount. And I guess it would make sense that the 64-bit Linux distro would be more stable than any of the current 64-bit Window operating systems.

I'm sure most of people who've issued a "no" vote for the DVD suggestion are a little more informed about their hardware than me. However, for those people like me who have never thought to check, try entering 'cat /proc/cpuinfo' at the terminal. If under flags you have 'lm' then you have a 64-bit capable CPU, my friend.

Thanks for this pleasant revelation, Linux Format team. You rock my proverbial socks!

Are you guys forgetting the

Are you guys forgetting the netbook crowd? Most of the 1st time Linux users are using it on their netbooks.

Not just that, all of the laptops I use (in my possession or at work) have less than 4GB Ram. In my opinion, running 64bit anything on < 4GB Ram is pointless. The only machine I have running 64bit is my desktop w/ 8GB.

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