32bit/64bit ?

James Gray james at grayonline.id.au
Fri Jul 15 03:48:00 UTC 2005

On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 12:38 pm, Bernie Betlach wrote:
>  Will Ubuntu-5.04 Amd64 version run both 32 and 64 bit apps?

Yes.  You can install both 32 and 64 bit apps but it can get tricky when 
mixing them.  For instance, you can't use 32bit plug-ins (such as Flash) 
with a 64bit browser, and visa versa.  However, you could just install a 
32bit version of Firefox on your "otherwise 64bit system", grab all the 
32bit plug-ins you want, and keep that for web browsing.

Now the problems really start to come out of the wood pile: you can't use 
32bit CODEC's in 64bit versions of media players either.  So you'll need to 
run a 32bit media player too...and then it all starts to get too confusing.  
Which apps/libraries/plug-ins are 32, which ones are 64?!

If you want a multimedia workstation, stick with 32bit binaries for 
everything for the time being.  You may miss some of the performance 
benefits in *some* applications (see below) but AMD64[1] machines are so 
darn fast to begin with, you may not notice much of difference at all.  
Depends very much on what you do with your machine and how you use it.

If, like me, you have a server full of OGG/Theora media files and couldn't 
give damn about shockwave/flash, then 64bit is great!  A lot of stuff is 
significantly faster running in 64bits - GPG and other encryption tools 
just love it!  My AMD64 machine is noticeably faster running in fully 64bit 
compared to the other partition which is 32bit (both Kubuntu) but I do a 
lot of memory IO intensive tasks which seem to shine brighter with the 
64bit kernel.

YMMV, and usual disclaimers apply ;)


[1] I assumed by "64bit" you meant "AMD64" - but the same rules apply for 
any 64bit platform.  However, many other "true" 64bit platforms wont 
execute 32bit code (Sparc/Itanium/Alpha/etc) - that's one of the strengths 
of the AMD64 platform; you can execute both 32 and 64 bit code 
simultaneously (assuming it is supported in the kernel).
Yawd [noun, Bostonese]:  the campus of Have Id.
  -- Webster's Unafraid Dictionary
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