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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

64bite my arse

While it wouldn't stop me buying the magazine the DVD would just become even more pointless.

P.S. what the hell happened to the eco friendly DVD? LFX122 seems to have a really thick DVD in it. The DVD that came with mine looks like two glued together.


Netbook guys and there are still lots more 32bit than 64 bit pc. A lot of people use your DVD's and expect them to load on their old pc's to get more life from that pc.The majority of that type of user are using 32bit.

On netbooks

Sure, netbooks are still being made with 32-bit CPUs - I own one myself - but isn't that a bit of a moot point? How many people are actually going to use the LXF cover disc on a netbook? Most of them don't even have DVD drives, internal or external. Thumb drives are the most common way to boot into a live enviroment on the smaller laptop.

Extra power

Quote - Upgrade Treadmill

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?

Try donating your spare time to World Community Grid - - using the BOINC and you can be part of the largest public computing grid benefiting everyone.

It makes sense to do this instead of displaying intricate graphics as screensavers ;-)

To 32bit or not to 32bit, that is the question

Im from South Africa and yes most PC's here are also 64 bit. However Linux is still seen as software you would rather load on and old or antiquated piece of equipment. I myself have no problem in using a 64bit disk, but if you want to cater for the masses for now 32bit may be better.

Old PCs, old connections?

Something occurred to me as I read the other comments: I get a lot of use out of the DVDs because my only home connection is dial-up. That's because I live in a remote part of the UK and the few available broadband options fall into 2 categories: 'expensive and mediocre', and 'very expensive (eg satellite)'. If money was no object I'd get broadband anyway, and I'd probably get a 64-bit PC too. Doubtless I'll get both eventually, but for now I'm happy with neither.

I might just be unusual, but it might be that the LXF readers who most use the DVD are the same ones who use 32-bit processors.

Btw - World Community Grid is a good idea - I used to run folding@home when I had the bandwidth but haven't given it much thought lately.


Changed over to it this summer - I don't know what all the fuss is about - it's slightly faster than 32bit.

As to flash - adobe have a beta 64bit flashplayer plugin - works on every site I use flash for (facebook, youtube etc). You have to search explicitly for it (there's no link that I could see on the main page).

So netbooks owners don't use the dvd?

...what kind of suggestion is that? Many netbook owners, myself included, have an external USB drive at home. As for older laptops, to me the need to upgrade just for the sake of upgrade is pointless. One of my 'old' laptops I just use as my Latex workstation, why does it have to run a 64 bit system even if it possible?

As for the 64 bit Linux being faster than the 32-bit version, I think this is an inaccurate statement. It depends on the memory. I'm no expert, but it seems logical that 64bit apps will consume more memory. Now, if your memory is not large enough, any performance gain will be hindered by using swap, which could actually make your system slower.

Thanks Rich

32 bit Quad core? What on earth am I thinking?


Second sentence, second paragraph.

"All modern Intel chips support 64-bit out of the box - that's all Core 2 chips and all Core i7 chips, plus most Xeons and many Celerons. On AMD's side, all Athlon 64, Turion 64, Phenom and Phenom II chips also support 64-bit"

Thanks Rich, this is good info. I still say dual sided is the best option for now.

Clarifying the nebook point

@Anonymous Penguin (8:32 AM 6/8) - I'm sorry if I was unclear. I didn't say that there were no netbook user's who use external drives. I was merely calling into question how large a percentage them use DVDs to boot into Linux live environments. From my observations on netbook forums, the majority of (Linux) users install distros via Live USBs. This isn't to say no netbook users install/try out distros via DVD, just that they're in a minority. I'm happy to stand corrected - if a lot of you guys use the live-environment function of the LXF cover discs on netbooks please set me straight - but going on current appearances netbooks using 32-bit CPUs seems slightly spurious point in this debate.

@labinnsw - Glad I'm not the only one to do some forehead-slapping! :)

I agree

Most modern computers will support 64-bit, the exception being netbooks which would be better served with an ISO image. I am sure there are many people out there who only have older 32-bit hardware (many of whom may not have access to broadband), but I don't think that it is too much of a chore burn an ISO image (less of a chore than making a bootable USB from a bootable DVD, IMHO).

In the case of larger distros, where space would only permit a single version, I think it would be best to stick with 32-bit.

Stay with 32 bit, please

Please stay with 32 bit as the Live boot version. If you REALLY want to put out a 64 bit Live DVD, either do dual-sided, or include 2 DVDs. If neither of those is possible/practical (read: fiscally sane), then stay with 32 bit boot - if for no other reason than this;
32 bit runs on 64, but 64 bit does not run on 32...

How about a compromise? Ship

How about a compromise?

Ship a 48-bit version.

Proposed move to 64bit DVDs

Terrible idea - before its time I think.
One of the strengths of Linux is that you can run it on low-end hardware (such as my Athlon 1.7GHz based system). Great that you can also run it on high end 64bit machines, but let's not go down the Wintel upgrade treadmill path, PLEASE!!!!

The paper-thin DVD turned out to be a bad idea (it doesn't work, basically) so please don't add insult to injury.

Switching over?

As you wish.
Go for the majority. As long as you include the ISO for 32bit, then I don't mind.
(Even though I use 32bit)

stick to 32 bit

stick to 32 bit

Not yet

I am an advanced linux user, so I prefer 64bit, since I mainly use that. However for some newbie person, I'd still recomend 32bit OS. Mainly due to the issue of flash plugin in 64bit browsers.
I've made it work on my machine, but I don't expect a newbie to do it.
Perhaps in a year or so.

Linux runs fine on 32 bits

I have 3 PCs, 1 running Linux and 2 Windows. All are 32 bit. I intend to migrate the 2 Win machines to Linux as WinXP gets old and support ends. I do not intend to buy new (64bit) hardware as it would mean buying a copy of Windows. Linux runs fine on the 1GHz AMD chip and probably even better on the 2GHz Semprons currently running Windows. Currently the only reasons for buying new hardware are performance limitations of the hard disk, or a change of format to a laptop or netbook. Why should I let Microsoft charge me for something that is so broken it needs fixing with monthly patches, and has only a lifetime of 3-4 years before being replaced? Keep up the good work Linux Format, but keep the 32 bit support too.


Going over to 64-bit would raise the threshold for newcomers to try Linux. They would use old machines and certainly not their shiny 64-bit systems. Besides, Linux is thé OS to give old kit a new life.
So, I would vote no.

x64 heck yes

I would love having the LXF DVDs in x64 as all my machines run 64bit code.

32/64=2 ==> Dual boot

While people may want to use 64bit I would contend that until the major apps are 64bit then there is little point.
I think that in a year or two we may be in the 64bit world but for now I'd favour either stay with 32bit or a dual boot version.


Yes to 64-bit

Yes it's a good idea. 64-bit has been around for years now. I recently switched over to Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit having previously used a 32-bit version. It wasn't nearly as problematic as I thought it might be, in fact it was very straightforward. 64-bit is the way forward and Linux Format Magazine should encourage its readers to move on (IMHO). If the magazine DVD is also providing a 32-bit version iso, then it's really only a small change to what the magazine is already doing, and more a change of emphasis only.

RE: Stupid is as Stupid Does

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

Never heard of a cyclic redundancy before ?. Don't go casting aspersions . I'm a long time reader of Linux Format and just got sick and tired of paying $20 for a magazine with dud DVD's .

64 bit

I prefer running 64 bit Linux OS'es. Currently running LinuxMint 7 64 bit; kernel problems at all.
Removed MS Vista Home Edition from my Dell Inspiron 530, Core 2 Duo 2.83GHz CPU, 4GB DDR2 RAM

linux admin

We loaded the 64bit on one machine and tried to get it working. It eventually did, but not like the 32bit ones did. Upgrades were problematic; keeping the correct versions was a problem. We eventually reformatted and reinstalled the 32bit version because the one box was taking as much time as all of the others, combined.

For me and mine, 32bit is the answer.

Moving on

Reading through the various posts I note many people getting tied up with spurious agendas. As I read it both 32bit and 64bit will be on the disc, it's just a question of which boots live and which is only an iso.

It's a valid point that most newbies are going to use old hardware to test a radical change in their OS, so unless LF is changing to LF64, surely it makes sense to live boot the version most people can use.

By the way, to the person who suggested we get out of Mom's basement and get a job, I did that 50 years ago, and at this point with half-a-dozen 32bit machines lying around, I see no point in laying out several hundred smackers to keep on the cutting edge, so my vote will obviously go to keeping a 32bit live distro.

Software for 32bits

Hello. Some (proprietary) software is just fully functional in 32bits such Adobe Flash Player.

Very Bad Idea...

Ah'.. Do I detect that LXF is thinking of following in the footsteps of Microshot's upgrade Lock In. Sure hope not.

Like some mentioned already, to make such a move, would set barriers for newcomers. I talk about newcomers, say from, the growing number of unemployed, those who wish to give new life to old hardware and those who are trying to escape the Upgrade Lock In of Microshot and try - then go on to use - the much better Linux.

I thought LXF and others, were here to promote a wonderful OS, the world of Opensource and so on.

I'm staying 32-bit for a while yet..

I built a 64-bit machine with a view to running Fedora 64-bit as a platform for Arduino-development. After reading the following advice on Linux Planet, I switched to 32-bit Fedora before installing the Arduino software.
One possible source of problems with recompiling programs to run in 64 bits is explained by the wikipedia article.
I'll stay 32-bit for a while yet.


I recommend that you start out downloading the Arduino software package to a 32-bit Linux machine. I originally tried to get it working on 64-bit SuSE. It needed a lot of tweaking and seemed to be pretty flaky. Regular old 32-bit Kubuntu works great on my HP Pavilion zv5000 laptop and configuring the Arduino environment was straightforward.......I don't mean to discourage all of you 64-bit gurus. It's just that most people might get frustrated trying to optimize the Arduino software on a 64-bit machine. The situation is getting better and at some point I'm certain that all the issues will be worked out. Go for it if you have the time and curiosity.

Converting application software written in a high-level language from a 32-bit architecture to a 64-bit architecture varies in difficulty. One common recurring problem is that some programmers assume that pointers have the same length as some other data type. These programmers assume they can transfer quantities between these data types without losing information. Those assumptions happen to be true on some 32-bit machines (and even some 16-bit machines), but they are no longer true on 64-bit machines. The C programming language and its descendant C++ make it particularly easy to make this sort of mistake.

You should have been on

You should have been on 64bit 2 years ago, i've been in the IT industry for 30 years and the 64 bit industry has been slow due to people believing in Microsoft, stuff MS the benifits of 64 bit is just so good!!

64-bit is available

Quote Trace (not verified) - August 9, 2009 @ 11:16am

Hello. Some (proprietary) software is just fully functional in 32bits such Adobe Flash Player.

Try - works fine on the 64-bit systems I'm running - Quad Core Q6600 and Centrino Core 2 Duo T7500 both running Ubuntu 9.04.

64 all the way

I believe it is time to move on to 64, no show stopper, as 32 bits is still available, and media is so cheap to record them...

Yes Please

It's time to do it.

I'm not changing my hardware

I'm not changing my hardware just because LXF doesn't support it anymore. Might as well cancel my subscription.

Damage limitation

32-bit, less chance of alienating many current and potential are a business after all.

I've tried many 64-bit distro's over the years, in my experience they have been buggier than their 32-bit counterparts, there is no killer software that demands 64-bit, and the speed improvements are minimal, if at all noticeable at all. Most 32-bit distro's (at least the mainstream ones you feature) have a PAE enabled kernel, therefore access to RAM is a non-issue.

64-bit. It's about time!!

I've been using 64-bit Linux for almost 5 years. Why use 32-bit when you have a 64-bit system. It's a good idea to make the main bootable distro 64-bit and the 32-bit available as an ISO. 64-bit Linux is very stable and mature, go ahead and take the plunge.

I run Ubuntu on refurb

I run Ubuntu on refurb machines. I set them up using 32 bit machines for myself and my grand children . Why complicate life?

Will it work on my Amiga still?

Hey Saunders! Give us what we want, not silly ideas from your micro brain. Maybe you should learn how to switch your computer on in the morning first before deciding to make such a significnt change to our beloved disc. Please cancel my subscriction, I'm going to buy PC Format instead.

Don't do it :(

It's a bad idea. I still use 32bit (Both PCs) and I don't have the money to buy new hardware anytime soon.


I now use linux almost exclusively on and old Dell laptop only switching to Windows for one or two things which are a little easier to use that way (e.g. using the software that came with some of my gadgets. I made this jump because I got curious one day and bought the mag and stuck the CD in the drive to see what happened. I know several people who have got to the same point and if they stick the CD in the drive and nothing happens, they will forget about linux and carry on with Windows. I see the mag and CD as a way to try things out. Switching to 64 will no doubt make a lot of people happy but will undoubtedly stop a lot of people from trying out and eventually converting to linux. The dual-boot or dual side option sounds good but if this can't be done, stick to 32 and come back and ask us again in 2 or 3 years.


I have a 64 bit laptop and desktop, and a netbook. Many of my friends PCs are the late 32 bit Celerons.

64 bit is most definitely the future if you have one. Running 32 bit is a waste of processor resource (more so if you do anything involving number crunching or video/audio encoding) and the people above screaming about flash: maybe I'm spoilt by Ubuntu (Kubuntu) but it's been around a year since I found 64 bit to just work for anything like Flash.

I was interested to hear in your comments that 32 and 64 bit is simultaneously supported in GRUB 2? It seems to me like we're finally catching up with Apple, whose DVDs could decide what you were using and boot respectively. Maybe autodetection should be our future?

64 Bit DVD

32 bit for me pls

about time...

Indeed the 32-bit should be only as an option on iso image. You have waited too long for this.

Go for it!

I think there has been a slow uptake to 64bit but just because the majority go for the familiar doesnt mean the rest should be regarded as niche or elitist. Go on give 64 bit OS's priority on discs, do your bit to force the the change.

I bought my first 64bit AMD after reading the first article in LXf years ago to review the 'New' technology. About, i think, late 2004 early 2005

At the time i thought it was no more expensive than 32bit machines and was future proof! *is that possible with PCs?* I admit the machine came with *cough* XP home, ROFL!!!! I quickly changed this to XP 64. What a surprise XP 64 was quicker than XP home at most tasks i asked of it, from video editing to simply opening and running an office app. Not all my software at that time was 64 bit but enough was to notice 64 bit was faster. Eventually a good method came about to test this difference between 32/64, Halflife 2.The 32bit version was standard but there was a 64bit runtime and it would switch to 64 bit whenever it detected a 64bit chip. In short it looked better and was faster. My only gripe was to get to the 64 bit runtime took longer than just going 32 bit, can't have everything i guess.

ON the upside, someone earlier mentioned the cost of 64 bit XP, well yes it cost around £95 but, and this is a big BUT, in three years it was never hit by Virus trojan or such junk as requires a reinstall to be safe. Indeed to this day I reckon XP 64 is better than Vista, I cant commment on windows 7 as i don't want it and cant be bothered thus, I say it's a bloody shame Xp 64 has been dropped by MS as it was safer than it's succesor.

On the linux side of things, 64bit OS's are ten a penny, but perhaps the most commendable vendor is Mandriva. It's 64bit version of powerpack just keeps on getting better. It is an absoultely viable replacement for Vista and pretty much any other distro out there. Mandriva in my experience havent just rebuilt packages as 64 bit but the whole system is gradually becoming more and more native 64 bit, I mean they ARE 64bit as opposed to hacked to support 64 bit. I hope that makes sense.

IF cost is your bug bear, well new MB, ram *at least 2GIG*, CPU *at least dual core* can be had for as little as £119. This is the lowest price i could get at my local retailer for good hardware. I cite it here as an example, not gospel!


To bit or not to bit

I think the best idea is to make the dvd dual boot, so one can select to start the 64 or 32 bit version.

I use the 32 bit version on a 64 bit machine for the simple reason that not all software that I need to use is available on 64 bit. Although slowly more and more software becomes available for 64 bit.

Second, the power of Linux (well, one of it's many powers), is that it doesn't need as much re$ource$ as window$. So while vi$ta or window$ 7 won't run on older machines, the latest Fedora or Ubuntu still might run there. So the indirect benefit of using Linux is that you don't have to get a new machine as often as if you were running under Window$. So why make is harder on these people?

So really, dual boot is definitely the best option and everybody will be happy, because it's a matter of simply selecting if you want to boot the 32 or 64 bit version.

Two options in boot menu ?

I see needs for both 32-bit and 64-bit. Why not create a liveCD with two options in boot menu, and let user to choose which one to boot ?

Bad idea

From my point of view(South African / African) there is still a lot of people using 32 bit machines. Using 64 bit is still a privelege and I think creating work to burn the ISO into a CD should be left to the privileged once.

+1 on 64 bit

I use mostly 64 bit machines and applications so I am in favor of making 64 bit versions of OSs available whenever possible.

What could be more Linux than choice?

People who want to use 32 bit, regardless of their reasons, should be given the same rights, privileges and advantages of those who want to use 64 bit.

People who want to use 64 bit, regardless of their reasons, should be given the same rights, privileges and advantages of those who want to use 32 bit.

Double sided is emphatically is the only way to go, and it does not matter that I don't like double sided discs. (unless you would consider supplying 2 discs of course.)

Tried 8.04 64bit

I tried 8.04LTS 64bit and soon discovered that I was not happy with it. Don't get me wrong, it ran fine on my hardware. But, one example of one issue is, I am into building my music collection and Amazon does not create a download program for 64-bit Ubuntu. Their program allows downloading of the entire albums. (They do make a 32-bit version but, I was not interested in figuring out how to get it to work with 64-bit.)

Then, second, if a user surfs the web much, there were issues with flashplayer not working. (Yes, I know that that might be better now.)

Now, to close, things might be better with these newer versions but, I don't think I would be interested in trying (64-bit) again until the next LTS version is released.

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