Letters - 'ere we go again, 32 vs 64 bit discs

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Letters - 'ere we go again, 32 vs 64 bit discs

Postby Nuke » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:19 pm

I find it incredible that they are still putting 32 bit binaries on the cover discs rather than 64 bit. It is over 3 years since I got my AMD64, second-hand from someone on ebay who thought it was out-of-date even back then.

The excuse they keep giving us is that if they did 64-bit binaries the 32-bit guys would have to download a version off the Net to run it. Well, I am in tears for them.

That however assumes that the 64-bit users are content with the 32-bit version and won't bother to download the 64-bit one; but I am not, and I don't suppose a lot of us are, so the argument cuts both ways. Meanwhile, are there really that many users still on 32-bit hardware? I say this as one who has PCs of both types, but I am just old-fashioned.

What I would most like is to be able to put in a 64-bit live DVD to try a different distro, without having to download and burn one myself just for the trial. I don't want to rely on trying a version of different bittage (if that's the word).
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:29 pm

As someone who never uses the coverdisk, (if I need a distro, I download the latest .iso) I don't understand the problem.
A 32bit version functions every bit as well as a 64bit version, apart from the memory access (in fact 32 bit versions can often run faster than 64 bit ones)
As they are meant as trials anyway, what is the problem?
If you want a trial, surely it makes sense to offer the one that will run on the most hardware?
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Postby nelz » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:02 pm

I'm with Wylie on this one, how often is Linux trumpeted it
as being suitable for older hardware? It is also common for those who have never used Linux before to try it out on an old computer, to avoid any risk of trashing their Windows system - if we want to convert these people, we need to give them a version they can run.

Yes, 32-bit is old tech, I've been using a 64 bit desktop for about seven years (I was producing LXFDVDs on a 64 bit system when Mike was still knee-high to a grasshopper, which he still is of course) but it is still the de facto standard. The reality of the situation is that you can either have two distros on a cover disc or one distro twice - which is better value?

If there were a distro that was either 64-bit only, or where the 64 bit version offered a significant advantage, the situation would be different.
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Postby Nuke » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:14 am

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:... I don't understand the problem.
A 32bit version functions every bit as well as a 64bit version ....
As they are meant as trials anyway, what is the problem?
If you want a trial, surely it makes sense to offer the one that will run on the most hardware?


I am saying let us standardise as much as possible, and standardise on 64-bit as most of us have 64-bit hardware. If someone is hanging onto old 32-bit kit (I have an old laptop myself) then let *them* be the ones to have to go a bit out of their way.

And no, I would not regard a live DVD trial of a 32-bit distro on my hardware as a reliable test for the 64-bit version. I am not just thinking of look-and-feel, but of whether the drivers and other low level stuff works, do I get crashes etc?

nelz wrote:It is also common for those who have never used Linux before to try it out on an old computer ... we need to give them a version they can run


Here's an idea. Typically the LXF DVD has 3-4 distros each month. Have one of these, a newbie friendly (Ubuntu or Mint) in 32-bit, and have the others in 64-bit. What is the sense of offering expert/heavyweight distros, such as CentOS or Debian, in 32-bit?

nelz wrote:you can either have two distros on a cover disc or one distro twice - which is better value?


Answer - two 64-bit distros. I thought it was clear from my post that I am suggesting that the DVD should carry 64-bit stuff (at least the distros if not the apps) and that if someone wanted 32-bit then they should download it from the Net (the above "newbie" distros excepted).
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Postby Dutch_Master » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:48 am

As an occasional user of the disks (Mike to the rescue! Thx Mike ;)) I'm with Nelz here.

Now, I understand that for some the LFX dvd's are their primary source of updates and/or an up-2-date distro as they don't have broadband access (because it isn't there or they don't have the funds for it), so I kinda understand the re-occurrence of this debate. Unfortunately, I notice there's quite a demanding undertone in most of these 'requests' so sorry, no cigar from me! :roll:

However, as an alternative I'd like to propose to the new LXF disk-roller to have alternate versions on subsequent dvd's: 32-bit in the odd and 64 bit in the even months. Or even one each, each month a 32 and a different 64 bit distro, provided the latter is available... (Knoppix is 32 bit only, IIRC?) Then the 13th issue disk each year as a 'distro-bonanza', a double-sided DVD (or even 2!) with the opposite version of that year's distro's, including some updates, provided it'll fit on the disks...
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Postby nelz » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:45 am

Nuke wrote:And no, I would not regard a live DVD trial of a 32-bit distro on my hardware as a reliable test for the 64-bit version. I am not just thinking of look-and-feel, but of whether the drivers and other low level stuff works, do I get crashes etc?


I strongly disagree with this. With the exception of the occasional piece of closed source software (which is going to be exactly the same on every distro for just that reason - I'm looking at you Adobe) there is no reason for 64 bit software to be any more or less stable than 32 bit.

Nuke wrote:Here's an idea. Typically the LXF DVD has 3-4 distros each month. Have one of these, a newbie friendly (Ubuntu or Mint) in 32-bit, and have the others in 64-bit. What is the sense of offering expert/heavyweight distros, such as CentOS or Debian, in 32-bit?


That is a reasonable suggestion, there is no reason why there shouldn't be the occasional 64 bit distro on the disc, but not as the headline distro unless the bittiness of it is made abundantly clear (and then there would still be complaint from people who try to run it in a P-II).

Nuke wrote:Answer - two 64-bit distros. I thought it was clear from my post that I am suggesting that the DVD should carry 64-bit stuff (at least the distros if not the apps) and that if someone wanted 32-bit then they should download it from the Net (the above "newbie" distros excepted).


Oh yes, you were clear - but excluding 32 bit users from the DVD is not an option, whereas using 32 bit distros excludes only a miniscule minority of readers.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:58 pm

As for 32 bit being old tech, some recent Atom processors do not support 64 bit. I would not be surprised if some of the new AMD mini processors do not either.
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Postby systemaddict » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:23 pm

I recently upgraded to Debian Squeeze; as my Linux box has the same hardware as my games machine which runs Win7-64, I knew it was 64-bit capable but as I searched, through a flickery screen, for the Nvidia Linux driver, I found that it won't install on a 64-bit version, so I rolled back and installed the 32-bit version of Squeeze.Makes no difference to me.
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Postby nelz » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:35 pm

I've been using Nvidia drivers on 64 bit Linux for more than seven years - it must be a packaging issue.
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Postby Brian Hunter » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:53 am

As much of a dirty distro-hopper as I am, I think that a few different distro's a month is too much even for me! so I fire them onto VM's if I want to check them out, so I would prefer the 32-bit distro's.
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Postby Nuke » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:32 am

Brian Hunter wrote: I fire [distros] onto VM's if I want to check them out, so I would prefer the 32-bit distro's.


VMs won't support 64-bit?
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Postby nelz » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:49 am

They do, but not on the earlier 64 bit CPUs - the original Athlon64 chips certainly couldn't run 64 bit on VMware. I hadn't considered this, but it does reduce the amount of hardware available to run 64 bit distros in the way the reader wants.
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Postby Rhakios » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:29 pm

This is just the sort of problem that an on-demand DVD editor is fit to consider, so I await the results of your ruminations, nelz, with some degree of optimism.
;)
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Postby nelz » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:46 pm

Oh, I've already made my mind up - I'm just waiting for sufficient responses to the poll to justify my standpoint :)
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Postby Rhakios » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:55 pm

Just as a matter of interest then, does an on-demand DVD editor find that he's much in demand?
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