64-Bit Upgrade by Way of Open Source Isn't Bump-Free
My fellow Labs analyst Andrew Garcia has chronicled his Windows 7 64-bit migration woes—a tale that led me to consider the bumps I've encountered on my own road to 64-bit on the Ubuntu Linux machines I run at home and work.
The issues that bedeviled Andrew—missing drivers and a 32-bit-only Cisco VPN client—weren't a problem for me, due largely to the fact that Linux-based operating systems tend to insulate users from a lot of the OS, driver and application integration work required to run a Windows machine.
All of the drivers I need for my machines either come bundled with the Ubuntu install disk or sit waiting to be fetched and installed from Ubuntu's networked software repositories. Most of these drivers are maintained within the Linux kernel project—an organizational structure that's helped to smooth the 64-bit migration path.
What's more, Linux has a rather long history with the x86-64 architecture. The first x86-64 OS that I reviewed was SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, which hit the streets in the first half of 2003, some two years before Microsoft took up the platform.