From: Johnny B Good on 23 Nov 2009 08:30
The message <87tywld2r1.fsf(a)rudin.co.uk>
from Paul Rudin <paul.nospam(a)rudin.co.uk> contains these words:
> Martin Gregorie <martin(a)address-in-sig.invalid> writes:
> > I notice, over on the WINE users list, that a lot of newbies go straight
> > for the 64 bit version of Ubuntu and stick with it despite the fact that
> > WINE-64 doesn't work yet and installing the 32 bit libraries to run 32
> > bit WINE is hassle that could be avoided by running a 32 bit Ubuntu. 64
> > is a bigger number than 32, so is this simply a lemming-like bigger is
> > better knee-jerk?
> > Is there any good reason for running a 64 environment if the box is just
> > running OpenOffice/email/Firefox, playing games under WINE and maybe
> > listening to music or watching DVDs?
> > Do the likes of Audacity or video editors ever want enough RAM to run
> > better in a 64 bit environment? I can't think of anything else that a
> > home user might want to run that might processes occupying more than
> > 500MB RAM.
> This is all rather from the perspective of people wanting to run wine,
> which I wouldn't imagine is high on the list of priorities for most
With the advent of Vista, I'd have thought this would have been a high
priority for most newbies. ;-)
Quite honestly, I couldn't believe that the take up of Linux didn't
enjoy a massive boost when that other festering PoS, winXP, made its
first appearance some 8 years back. However, on reflection, I realised
that most winXP users had been denied the joys of using win2k so didn't
have that benchmark to highlight the festering PoSiness of winXP to
motivate them (unlike almost 3 years ago when most victims of Vista
were, for a change, _not_ total windows newbies this time around).
One would hope that wine _has_ become a priority simply to reflect a
growing number of windows users who have finally decided that "Enough is
> In general the reason to use 64 bit over 32 is that you'll get better
And, possibly, some unexpected bugs. I know FreeNAS is openBSD based
but there was definitley a bug in the 64 bit versions (versions 6 and 7)
that caused disk errors on the third of a 4 disk drive setup (not RAID -
just seperate disk volumes), which was totally absent in the 32 bit
It's quite possibly a bug that only appears when you run a 4 disk setup
rather than the more common 1 or 2 disk configuration (and, perhaps,
only with an Nvidia chipset). Since there didn't seem to be any
performance benefit in this application, I decided to take a pragmatic
approach and bypass the issue altogether by sticking with the 32 bit
However, that was an openBSD issue, not a Linux one specifically (I
don't know how much *nix code is shared between Linux and openBSD so I
could be wrong on it being only exclusive to the 64 bit version of
I'm not arguing against the benefits of 64 bit, just pointing out that
it might be better to forego 64 bit if your pattern of usage doesn't see
much, if any, performance gain. This can be especially true if
reliability is the overriding issue at hand.
Please remove the "ohggcyht" before replying.
The address has been munged to reject Spam-bots.
From: C. on 23 Nov 2009 08:45
On Nov 21, 8:18 pm, Martin Gregorie <mar...(a)address-in-sig.invalid>
> Is there any good reason for running a 64 environment if the box is just
> running OpenOffice/email/Firefox, playing games under WINE and maybe
> listening to music or watching DVDs?
It means I don't have to upgrade before 2038 :)
From: Martin Gregorie on 23 Nov 2009 09:16
On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 13:30:54 +0000, Johnny B Good wrote:
> The message <87tywld2r1.fsf(a)rudin.co.uk> from Paul Rudin
> <paul.nospam(a)rudin.co.uk> contains these words:
>> This is all rather from the perspective of people wanting to run wine,
>> which I wouldn't imagine is high on the list of priorities for most
> With the advent of Vista, I'd have thought this would have been a high
> priority for most newbies. ;-)
Indeed - the WINE user forum is full of very newbies ditching XP and
Vista in favour of Ubuntu. They all install Ubuntu 64, often on very
average PCs. The problem is that WINE-64 is barely alpha, but that is the
version Ubuntu-64 installs by default and I gather that its a major
hassle to get WINE-32 up and running instead.
Me? I run Fedora 10 on a P3 and use WINE to run the few specialised Win
95 programs I have that are never likely to get a Linux port.
As I said at the top, many of these newbies have no need to 64 bit
systems, so I was wondering what might make them all flock to it. This
thread makes it pretty clear there's no advantage unless you're running
programs with huge memory requirements, so the majority of these newbs
must be lemmings.
martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
From: Nix on 23 Nov 2009 19:20
On 23 Nov 2009, spike1(a)freenet.co.uk said:
> And verily, didst Tony Houghton <h(a)realh.co.uk> hastily babble thusly:
>> But what's the disadvantage of using 64-bit Linux nowadays? 32-bit WINE
>> works for me on Debian amd64. Certain browser plugins used to be
>> problematic, but there are decent (well, not really any worse than the
>> 32-bit versions) 64-bit versions now.
> One disadvantage is that programs compiled for 64bit require more memory due
> to the extra instructions,
ITYM 'increased alignment requirements'?
> this means more fetches, which means slower
> programs. Whether the extra registers and extra instructions offset this is
> questionable. It depends how much RAM you've got to start with.
Actually it depends much more on your L2/L3 cache sizes and topology. Most
systems these days have enough RAM that swapping due to alignment changes is
unlikely to be a concern.
> If you've got less than about 3.5gig of RAM, there doesn't really seem to be much of
> a benefit in going 64bit. If you have more, of course, then that's where
> 64bit comes into its own, with the ability to address all your RAM.
Note that there's little point having between 3.5 and 4.5Gb of RAM,
because you'll almost certainly need a software bounce buffer to handle
PCI cards that can't address 64 bits, and that eats several hundred Mb
of physical RAM. More than that and the cost of a swiotlb is worth it.
> (a large powerful graphics card can also push addressable RAM past the 4gig
I dunno about that: they can't use more than 256Mb (the maximum size of
a PCI BAR). If you have several cards, perhaps (or if the card allows
for multiple PCI BARs, but I don't know if any do).
From: Nix on 23 Nov 2009 19:25
On 23 Nov 2009, Dave Farrance told this:
> Done that. I've tried running glxgears, and gzip'd a 100Mb file a few
> times, and there's no difference in the average speeds between the i586
> and x86_64 distros with those tests. Ho hum.
glxgears is bus-to-your-graphics-card-bound, not CPU- or cache-bound.
I'd not expect any differences.
gzip is cache-bound, but it operated on a tightly-packed lump of data
with nothing aligned in it. So, there too, your speed will be determined
by your cache topology, not bitness / alignment constraints.