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Old 11-02-2008, 03:59 PM   #1
swright007
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Upgraded from 32 bit to 64 bit processor and...


I installed 8.04 Hardy Heron onto an old AMD system with an 80 Gig HD. Later, I bought a new motherboard (biostar), new processor AMD Athalon 5000, and a 1 GIG stick of RAM. I would love to update my Ubuntu operating system to take full advantage of the 64 bit architecture of the new processor. Is there any way to just update my current system or would I need to erase the HD and do a fresh install? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 04:04 PM   #2
Quakeboy02
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Chances are, you'll quickly get frustrated with having to deal with the 32bit apps you must continue to use. My advice is not to upgrade. You would see little to no benefit, and possibly a lot of hassle. I've got a Phenom quad with 4GB ram and much more disk, and I have no intentions of upgrading to 64 bit.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 04:05 PM   #3
AuroraCA
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Changing from 32 bit to 64 bit is not an upgrade. You will need to do a fresh install.

I usually create a separate partition on all my hard disks for the /home directory. You need not reformat a partition to re-mount it and so all information in the /home directory is mounted with the new OS is intact.

The short answer for you now is to be sure you have a good backup of all of your data and information since installing the new 64 bit OS will destroy your current information.

PS. I agree 100 percent with Quakeboy02. Don't upgrade to 64 bit for a better experience or a faster system. You will not notice any change in performance or capabilities with the 64 bit version of Linux at this time. If your 32 bit installation is working then stick with it until it's time to upgrade your hard disk. I have multiple machines in house, some run 32 bit and some 64 bit and there is no compelling reason to perfer one over the other.

Last edited by AuroraCA; 11-02-2008 at 04:08 PM. Reason: I wanted to concur with Quakeboy02 since his post hit a minute before mine.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 04:34 PM   #4
pinniped
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Since you only have 1G memory, if you're a typical user then I don't see you gaining any great advantages by using native 64 mode anyway. If anything, running proprietary software like Adobe Acrobat Reader and such becomes a nuisance in a 64-bit system. If you really want to change, as already pointed out you need to do a complete reinstall - don't forget to back up your data.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 06:26 PM   #5
PTrenholme
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I don't think you actually need to do a fresh install. Just use apt-get (or whatever you want to use) to install the x86_64 kernel (without removing your current 32-bit kernel), make sure that /boot/grub/menu.lst is set so you can boot either kernel, and re-boot.

Note that installing 64bit versions of your application may replace the 32-bit versions, but you may be able to install the apps to "non-standard" locations.

Also note that, for example, Adobe does not produce their applications in 64bit versions. So, for example, the flash-player plugin will not work in a 64bit browser.

Why not get the 64bit Ubuntu LiveCD and see if you find it any improvement over you 32bit installation before you "take the plunge."
 
Old 11-02-2008, 09:07 PM   #6
swright007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTrenholme View Post
I don't think you actually need to do a fresh install. Just use apt-get (or whatever you want to use) to install the x86_64 kernel (without removing your current 32-bit kernel), make sure that /boot/grub/menu.lst is set so you can boot either kernel, and re-boot.
And by making sure /boot/grub/menu.lst is set, I am new so I am not familiar. How, when, and where would I go to "set" it? Thank you for your help so far and thank you in advance for any further help you can render. This site is a blessing for the less Linux informed.

Scott Wright


P.S. Thank you all for all your insight. I will try many of the suggestions over time (some on future systems).
 
Old 11-03-2008, 04:28 AM   #7
pinniped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTrenholme View Post
I don't think you actually need to do a fresh install. Just use apt-get (or whatever you want to use) to install the x86_64 kernel (without removing your current 32-bit kernel), make sure that /boot/grub/menu.lst is set so you can boot either kernel, and re-boot.
I would think this would cause problems for the installation script, since the 64-bit kernel will depend on (not installed) 64-bit tools which in turn depend on 64-bit libraries. Quite a bit has to be manually installed before you will have a working 64-bit kernel, and when you *do* have such a kernel, and install the 64-bit versions of other software, an awful lot of code is duplicated in the 32-bit executables and libraries. In my opinion the *best* thing to do is completely reinstall a 64-bit system *only* and add 32-bit libs for compatibility as necessary. Personally I don't even want the hassle of maintaining a mixed system, so I simply do without the proprietary 32-bit apps.
 
Old 11-03-2008, 06:19 AM   #8
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
I would think this would cause problems for the installation script, since the 64-bit kernel will depend on (not installed) 64-bit tools which in turn depend on 64-bit libraries.
Nope. No kernel depends on user land tools. That would create a paradox since the opposite is true.

Quote:
Quite a bit has to be manually installed before you will have a working 64-bit kernel
Just install the kernel, fix grub.conf/menu.lst and boot it. The point you are missing is that x86_64 can run x86 code natively. As long as all the libs are there. So, basically, just booting an x86_64 kernel will continue running the 32 bits userland without any problem (at least, it should and i've done it many times).

Quote:
In my opinion the *best* thing to do is completely reinstall a 64-bit system *only* and add 32-bit libs for compatibility as necessary.
In that we agree, unless the one doing this is experienced enough and can troubleshoot any eventuality. It's also true that rewriting your system with a new install the brute way can leave leftovers around that could cause some problems at any random time.



Being that said, I really have no problem with amd64. Flash is equally broken in 32 bits, so I don't see that as a valid excuse not to run the native mode of my cpu. There are many alternatives to use flash on amd64: use a 32 bits browser, use nspluginswrapper, use konqueror with a 32 bits version of nsplugins, use gnash (not recomended), use swfdec (not recomended) and probably many more.

Flash segfaults because it segfaults as well on 32 bits. It all depends on the versions of flash and your browser, some combos work, some others do not for odd reasons.

No special benefit on running amd64 either, except for media encoding in my case.

Last edited by i92guboj; 11-03-2008 at 06:21 AM.
 
Old 11-03-2008, 07:41 AM   #9
pinniped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i92guboj View Post
Nope. No kernel depends on user land tools. That would create a paradox since the opposite is true.
Oops - I was confusing some issues in my head (kernel version vs tools needed to get everything running, especially udev). Now that I think about it, as long as the 64-bit kernel has the support for the 32-bit API, most things should work. (I've got some emails telling me about IOCTLs on some (not common) devices not working between 32 and 64 bit due to parameters changing size and also data alignment problems.)

Well, so far there are 3 opinions that say "don't upgrade, there will probably be no significant improvement".
 
Old 11-03-2008, 11:56 AM   #10
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Just install the kernel, fix grub.conf/menu.lst and boot it. The point you are missing is that x86_64 can run x86 code natively. As long as all the libs are there.
Don't you have to install the 64 bit libs before you can boot the thing?
 
Old 11-03-2008, 12:09 PM   #11
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quakeboy02 View Post
Don't you have to install the 64 bit libs before you can boot the thing?
The kernel doesn't depend on glibc if that's what you mean. It doesn't use the standard C lib either. The kernel has its own set of headers.

In any case, the kernel is not a dynamic binary, but an static -and hence standalone- one. It doesn't need anything to boot. Note that when the kernel is being load, you can't even access the hard disk (since there's no driver loaded to provide such kind of access), so, whatever is in the disk (32, 64 or 49 bits) doesn't make a difference at all.

As long as IA32 emulation support is compiled into the kernel, all the 32 bits userland stuff should work without major problems.

However, some userland stuff will depend on external kernel modules, and here is where problem comes. For example, you are not going to be able to keep using your previous nvidia driver, since it's a 32 bits module that will have to interact with a 64 bits kernel (not possible). Any external module which is not shipped with the kernel will need to be updated accordingly before you can continue using it.

Some things like X might need work to work correctly. As I said above, this is doable, but it's not people that get scared easily. The migration will not be seamless and is certainly something that I don't recommend unless you are doing it as a learning exercise or just for the fun of doing it.

For the average Joe, as I said above, if you want to change your architecture, then just reinstall and forget about crazy experiments.

Last edited by i92guboj; 11-03-2008 at 12:10 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2008, 12:41 PM   #12
Quakeboy02
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Thanks for the elaboration!
 
Old 11-03-2008, 12:56 PM   #13
Count Zero
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I haven't used Ubuntu in a while but I ran Feisty (was that 7.04?) in 64-bit. Worked out nicely and my impression was that the 64-bit support was very good, though some stuff needed work-around (mostly proprietary stuff, as was noted earlier in the thread). I hear that the 64-bit version of the current Ubuntu is even better but I haven't tried it myself so I couldn't say for sure. Still, I don't think it's a lot of extra work, you certainly don't need to be a Linux expert or a rocket scientist to work it out. Ubuntuforums have a special section for 64-bit filled with howto's though an increasing number of them are becoming obsolete as the 64-bit version is becoming more mature. The upside for an average user can be found in encoding, ripping and such, which is faster than in 32 bit but other than that there isn't much gain.

/CZ
 
Old 11-03-2008, 03:08 PM   #14
swright007
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That is an awesome thing to hear, in that I intend to update to Mythbuntu when I figure out what vidcard works most easily with it. I want to use my machine as a DVR that can edit videos and make DVDs. That being the case, I have tried the DVD bootable version of Ubuntu 64 and I didn't notice a thing different about it, function-wise. It may have booted a tad slower, but not enough to complain about.
 
  


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