Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Its long been the case, the Linux, has offered, a decent round up of 64bit distros, most of the big players offer one, Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu, Debian (I know its essentially the same thing), Gentoo..
Maybe its for personal reasons, as I own a 64bit processor laptop, I feel not enough is being done with these 64bit variants, in what is becoming a very big market.
There are of course many arguments on the subject, does a 64bit distro offer you any better speed, etc.. However, i feel they are missing the point. at a very basic level, if you have 64bit architecture, then you should be using the right OS for the processor.. And lets face it, Microsoft have missed the boat on this one with recent 64bit versions of XP and Vista.. Its a very large potential desktop market area, for the right distro..
I've tried many of them, Suse, a distro i so want to love, who seem to be innovating in so many areas, OpenOffice and gnome especially, but i just cannot get on with the deadly slow package management, having been used to apt-get boom done, in debian. the desktop is great, however the media plugins are just non existent. and what is out there is a a right royal pain in the rear to install.
The same occurs with Fedora, not great, or simple with the media plugins,
I base my installs on some very basic tasks, can i do the following, or get it setup easily with some basic howtos, the following
1. Can i watch the Match of the Day Video clips on the BBC Webpage?
2. Can i watch Click online on the BBC Webpage using Full screen
3. Can i watch a DVD
4. Can i play MP3's
5. Does Compiz Fusion work?
6. Does Wifi work
In both Suse and Fedora, two top end distros, the answer is a firm no for the first 3, and yes for the second. Having scoured the forums for howtos, there are very few around which explain how to do this in 64bit versions of these distros.
Then i turn to Ubuntu, a distro which started its life strong, but i fear will soon, not be the darling of the Linux world, due to the inability too add too much innovation into thier distro, as they have such a huge user base, and are trying to be like M$ and please everyone..
However, their 64bit distro, with the help of Automatix, gives a yes to all of the above, however, it does take a little extra setting up on 7.04 and doesn't do this out of the box.. Im not against having to setup a few things, infact i quite enjoy it, there is nothing better than a spanking new install for speed..
I can however, have all of the above 5 factors working, in 64bit, with no additional effort, with 1 distro, After downloading the DVD, and installing it, with NO extra command line interfearence, having to read no howtos, I have found 1 distro which lets me do all of the above.
It lets me watch the online vide content, it lets me play DVD's, it uses the ecellent KDE menu, it has working wifi, and my windows wobble..
OK, the Gentoo package management system, is a snail compared to apt-get, and the back end, can be a bugger to amaster, however think about what the Sabayon team have done..
They have created a distro, which removed a lot of the desktop linux arguments, as the drivers do seem to work, even my 5.99 webcam, i bought while living in Bangkok, works..
Now if you are a windows user, unsure of Linux, want to give it a go, and want to see what it can do.. this is what you want to see, if you are a 64bit PC user, and you want to see what Linux offers, and load this distro, i bet you don't go back..
Ok, there are some arguments which could be made..
1. It contains proprietory codecs and drivers
2. Its a pain to get some apps working in gentooland
and hundreds more i'm sure.. however the basic point is being missed, as a long term linux user, I know i can do most of the stuff i want with free drivers, and software, ogg is better than mp3, however, as a convert, ho didn't have the motivation, or it ability, i had 8 years ago when i switched, i want something, which at the very least does what i was using, when i first install it.. Once you have em hooked, then you reel em in..
Now i ask, why one of the DEB/RPM based distros, can't put together a polished distro such as this, for the 64bit market, a distro with a brand name.. from install, with no buggering about with Repos, 3rd pary installers, a distro which loads, and works..
That distro would clean up.. don't belive me? Well take a look at distrowatch, despit all its Emerge, and gentoo back end, which could cause newbies a problem. Its been number 5 in thier chart for over 6 weeks.. with an active and helpful forum...