12.04 LTS: 64-bit desktop by default?

Chase Douglas chase.douglas at canonical.com
Mon Apr 16 14:14:12 UTC 2012

On 04/15/2012 11:03 PM, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Hi folks,
> Back at last UDS in November, we discussed whether it was time to switch to
> presenting 64-bit images as the default image for desktop, like they already
> are for server, now that all new desktop hardware is 64-bit and multiarch is
> a reality.
> There was a rough consensus at UDS that the blockers were solved, but that
> the question should be taken to ubuntu-devel to gather more input.  That
> input-gathering is happening much later than intended, but here we are now.
> The blueprint at
> <https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/foundations-p-64bit-by-default>
> includes links to some data gathered by the inimitable Colin King, showing
> that in terms of performance, there are both pros and cons for switching to
> amd64: memory consumption goes up, and therefore power consumption goes up
> if the system is making more use of swap, but on the other side, most
> CPU-bound operations will be faster on amd64.  So there is no clear
> performance argument for preferring one over the other.

Many netbooks only support up to 2G of memory, let alone the fact that
they often ship with 1G. I currently have a netbook with 2G, and I am
well over 1G of memory used with only one tab open in chromium and no
other apps open. When I start to swap it can get near painfully slow.
Moving to amd64 would only exacerbate the issue, forcing more swapping
on an already slow machine.

I'm not sure that we should hold up progress for netbooks, but it is an
issue we need to be aware of.

-- Chase

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