[CALUG] 64 bit OS

Dave Dodge dododge at dododge.net
Wed Aug 22 15:14:18 EDT 2007

On Wed, Aug 22, 2007 at 12:48:21PM -0400, Dan Deighton wrote:
> I've had good luck with the 64-bit version of Fedora 6.  The 64-bit
> version of Ubuntu gave me quite a few problems on 2 different machines.
> Things just wouldn't work.  It was strange.  

I've been using 64-bit Ubuntu (actually Xubuntu) for the past year and
a half with reasonable results.  Some hardware can be really finicky
about kernel versions or have other compatibility issues; for example
when I built the system it was a pretty bleeding-edge motherboard and
the Maxtor drive I bought for the machine had firmware bugs that made
it unreliable to use with the motherboard's SATA chipset.

> Regardless of which distro you choose, watch out for Add-ons with 64-bit
> firefox.  Many don't work or require extra effort to get them to work.

Right, with a 64-bit Firefox some binary plugins won't load.  There is
no working Flash plugin, for example.  There is supposedly some sort
of plugin wrapper available which bridges 32-bit plugins into a 64-bit
Firefox, but I've never tried it.

> I ended up using 32-bit firefox on my 64-bit machines.

This is one place where Ubuntu becomes difficult, because they don't
provide 32-bit builds of applications in their 64-bit repositories.
You can always get 32-bit applications elsewhere or compile them
yourself, but another thing to watch out for is that Ubuntu's provided
development tools (such as gcc) only generate 64-bit output.

You'll have similar problems to the above with media players if you
want to use binary Windows codecs.  I used to keep a 32-bit Xine handy
for this reason, but it now natively supports most of the formats I
care about so a 64-bit build has been working for me lately.

                                                  -Dave Dodge

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