Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

To 64 or Not to 64, That Was the Question

Filed under
Reviews

With my nice new motherboard & cpu, I've been quite anxious to test some of my new-found powers. My first thought after the hardware installation was: Gentoo 64-bit! By way of testing, I installed the 64-bit version of SuSE 10.1 rc1 yesterday and had planned on writing this wonderfully informative comparison article of it and the 32-bit version. I was expecting the 64-bit to smoke 32 and had even made preliminary reads into installing the 64-bit version of Gentoo. Since this was my first foray into the world of 64-bit, I expected to be lost and confused. Well, the former may not have come to fruition, but the latter certainly did.

The install went fine. No errors or problems were had. It went as smoothly as the 32-bit the day before. I chose all the same options, packages, etc as the other system and again, I was expecting the install to be quite faster.

Now here's my first mistake for the planned article: I didn't time the 32-bit install, so saying the 64-bit seemed faster is about as precise as I can be. In total from soup to nuts it took right at an hour. The best I can estimate for the 32-bit is little over an hour just for the packages. As much as I love all my readers, I just couldn't talk myself into a reinstall of the 32-bit system just to time it. So, no legitimate points in this category can be given to either system.

        

Ask any expert in the technology field and they'll tell you boot times and application open times are not an accurate means of testing the speed of an operating system. But you know, to the average Joe, this is exactly was speed means to us. So, I had big plans of putting this great comparison chart together that we could all ooo and aah over. I thought another great test would be compile times of a notoriously long build. As you can see from the chart below, our "notoriously long build" failed on the 64-bit and as a result I just skipped it on the 32-bit. But quite frankly, the other speed increases of the 64-bit applications are quite unimpressive. With the failed compile taking the wind outta my sails, this article idea almost withered on the vine. In fact, I'd not even be publishing this at all, even as a blog, if not for the really slow news day and my needing something to post. Big Grin

For the boot test, this was timed with a stopwatch from the moment of depressing the enter key on their entries in lilo 'til the KDE desktop was fully up and ready. Autologin was enabled for the default user. Fully up and ready meant all informative "pop-ups" had disappeared and "busy cursors" had stopped. I used the same X driver and the same options enabled for it as well as kde, and the only app to 'restore' was a two-tabbed konsole on each of the same approximate size. Suse 64 had been booted a few times prior to the test to allow for all of its pre-configuring and such to complete and the tested applications had been started and closed a few times. For the test, the opening of apps were the first for them after a fresh reboot.



32-bit     64-bit
Boot 85 secs 80 secs
Firefox blank 3 secs 3 secs
Firefox TM home 8 6
Firefox Compile failed skipped
OOowriter 6 5
Shutdown 30 27



There are two sides for every argument and there are masses of supporters for each side. But basically the 64-bit experience was a let down for me here. As I read the documentation for installing 64-bit Gentoo systems and saw references to about 20 other docs for special instructions in order to get common tools and basic apps to work, and considering the lackluster performance increase of the same binary distro and setup over it's 32-bit counterpart, I for one am not impressed with the progress of the 64-bit computing systems at this point.

In my Gentoo install I've changed my cflags for athlon64 optimizations with some supported use flags (and emerge'd -e world), am using a k8 kernel, and am rebuilding KDE --with-cflags=march=athlon64. But that's about all I'm interested in as far as Gentoo is concerned for now.

As far as other binary 64-distros? You betcha I'll be checking them out regularly.

Is the failing of one infamously stubborn package to compile enough to say the compiler don't work? Of course not. But no problems were had compiling Firefox 1.5.0.2 on my Gentoo system or my best friend's PCLOS system. As far as stability was concerned with SuSE 10.1 rc1 x86_64, there were no issues. It was as rock solid as any other SuSE install I've had over the passed year. It seemed as functional as it's counterpart with no application failure as far as I tested (which I admit was limited). If you want a binary based 64-bit distro and use only pre-compiled software for that distro, then why not. Go for it.

But am I going to build a new Gentoo 64-bit system? Nope. Maybe later.

More in Tux Machines

Munich Switching to Windows from Linux Is Proof That Microsoft Is Still an Evil Company

Reports about the city of Munich authorities that are considering the replacement of Linux with Microsoft products mostly comes from one man, the Deputy Mayor of Munich, who is also a long-term self-declared Windows fan. Munich is the poster child for the adoption of a Linux distribution and the replacement of the old Windows OS. It provided a powerful incentive for other cities to do the same, and it's been a thorn in Microsoft's side for a very long time. The adoption of open source software in Munich started back in 2004 and it took the local authorities over 10 years to finish the process. It's a big infrastructure, but in the end they managed to do it. As you can imagine, Microsoft was not happy about it. Even the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, tried to stop the switch to Linux, but he was too late to the party. Read more

Dangling the Linux Carrot

Sometimes the direct sell method isn’t the best way to close the deal. How do you think the whole “play hard to get” thing got traction throughout the years? That method is successful in any number of applications. And really, I wasn’t wearing my Linux Advocacy hat that evening…I was just a guy relaxing after a day’s work. Read more

Red Hat Sets New 12-Month High at $61.97 (RHT)

They now have a $70.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $57.00. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Red Hat has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $63.50. Read more

Systemd 216 Piles On More Features, Aims For New User-Space VT

Lennart Poettering announced the systemd 216 release on Tuesday and among its changes is a more complete systemd-resolved that has nearly complete caching DNS and LLMNR stub resolver, a new systemd terminal library, and a number of new commands. The systemd 216 release also has improvements to various systemd sub-commands, an nss-mymachines NSS module was added, a new networkctl client tool, KDBUS updates against Linux 3.17's memfd, networkd improvements, a new systemd-terminal library for implementing full TTY stream parsing and rendering, a new systemd-journal-upload utility, an LZ4 compressor for journald, a new systemd-escape tool, a new systemd-firstboot component, and much more. Read more