12.04 LTS: 64-bit desktop by default?

Clint Byrum clint at ubuntu.com
Wed Apr 18 16:05:58 UTC 2012

Excerpts from Stuart Langridge's message of Wed Apr 18 07:07:19 -0700 2012:
> On 18/04/12 14:58, Martin Pitt wrote:
> > Stuart Langridge [2012-04-18 13:17 +0100]:
> >> instead of primarily thinking of the DVD move as being about "add
> >> more packages" (and thus losing the discipline that the restricted
> >> CD size brings), think of it as being about "support more machines",
> >> so there is One True Ubuntu DVD regardless of which architecture
> >> you're on and there's not a choice between i386 and amd64, between
> >> different languages, and so on?
> > I can't say I like this much. Instead of penalizing some 20% of users
> > who downloaded the wrong image, this would penalize 100% of users by
> > always having to download both effectively, knowing that 50% of it is
> > a definitive waste.
> I think you're under-weighting the cost of the confusion that there is 
> in being presented with a choice of images and having no idea how to 
> make that choice. Speaking purely for myself here, I was mildly confused 
> about whether I should get the amd64 or i386 image, and finding out 
> which to get was a little hard; I can only imagine what it's like for 
> people who have no idea what "amd64" or "i386" even means, but I suspect 
> that they'd feel more disoriented than I did. That feeling of 
> disorientation is something that I think it'd be good to avoid, because 
> it's a hurdle to jump over before you've even installed Ubuntu which is 
> likely to make at least some people decide to not do it because they're 
> confused and are asked a question that they have no idea how to answer. 
> (Historically, we've been able to say "if you have no idea what this 
> question even means, pick i386", but one of the purposes of this 
> conversation is to decide whether that general guideline ought to be 
> changed, I think?)

That feeling of disorientation is, IMO, exactly what turns many people off
to most technology. I'm sure in the 50's there were people who weren't
sure whether or not to buy one of these new expensive color TV's or
to just buy the nicest black and white, because it wasn't clear what
to choose. Choices make people uncomfortable, and the less we present
choices, and just have conversations with users, the better they will
feel about using Ubuntu.

I had a thought. If we have this Ubuntu Friendly data available to us,
why don't we integrate that with the download page. Rather than a giant
biarch disc, couldn't we just present the user with a link. "Not sure what
to choose?..."  and then take them to a page which asks them a few simple
questions about their PC, and then makes an informed recommendation. Just
asking for the make/model will likely yield a good recommendation every
time. If we have ever had anybody submit Ubuntu Friendly data. If not,
we can excite the user with a chance to be the first one. :)

Its clear to me that we aren't sure what to tell people who have the
borderline machines that are 64-bit capable but not necessarily better
on 64-bits. That seems like something we should build into our hardware
recommendations documentation.

If you ask me, I'd favor battery life over CPU, as any of these machines
are likely just web surfing email reading machines that will be fine
playing youtube videos with a small CPU hit, but whose owners will cry
if we drop the battery life from 4 -> 3 hours.

Anyway, I think this would be more interesting work than trying to push
all users to one or the other image. Its clear that we're going to have
i386 for a little while longer (one more LTS at least), so lets try and
make sure we make those users lifelong Ubuntu fans. :)

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