12.04 LTS: 64-bit desktop by default? - how about 13.04?

Alan Bell alanbell at ubuntu.com
Tue Jan 15 11:06:45 UTC 2013

1 year on is it time to reevaluate the thinking around bug 585940?

we now have the added situation that the 32 bit installer does not work 
on EFI computers

Personally I think it is now very hard to find computers that won't do 
64bit and is getting a lot easier to find computers that won't install 
the 32 bit image. It would probably be a good idea to get a 64 bit by 
default release out prior to the 14.04 LTS.


On 16/04/12 07:03, 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.
> Where multiarch is concerned, we've made good progress on library coverage;
> over 400 library packages are multiarch coinstallable in 12.04, including
> most of the usual suspects in the desktop stack, and indeed there are two
> packages in the partner repository now that are available only as i386
> packages installable using multiarch, instead of using ia32-libs which is
> now just a compatibility wrapper package.  So from what I've seen
> compatibility with 32-bit binary software is in pretty good shape as well.
> Are there problems that we've overlooked with regards to shipping 64-bit by
> default on the desktop, or is it reasonable to make this switch for 12.04
> LTS?  Is there 32-bit binary software that you know about which is not yet
> supported on amd64 via multiarch, and ought to be before we consider making
> 64-bit the default?
> Note that we're talking about three changes here:
>   - Changing the default download link on ubuntu.com to point to 64-bit
>     desktop images
>   - Changing the pressed CDs distributed by Canonical to be 64-bit instead of
>     32-bit
>   - Changing the architecture used for preformatted USB disks sold in the
>     Canonical shop
> In general, if people can think of reasons not to switch to 64-bit for one
> of these, those arguments would apply to the other; so if we think we're
> ready for a switch, that switch should be applied across the board.
> And regardless of which we decide to use as the default, both of amd64 and
> i386 will continue to be supported architectures for the length of 12.04 LTS
> and will remain available for download.
> Feedback welcome!

I work at http://libertus.co.uk

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