[SOLVED] What's the difference between i586 vs. x86_64 version of linux software?
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i586 refers to classic pentium, the one that came after 486dx. Any x86 cpu that is equal or superior to the original pentium can run i586 code. So, it's certainly possible to run code compiled for 586 on your cpu. The pentium was a 32 bits processor, so the software compiled for 586 runs in 32 bits mode.
x86_64 is a superset of x86, which extends the word size to 64 bits. x86_64 cpus can still run x86 code without a problem, but they can run 64 bits code as well.
So, your cpu can run in 64 bits mode or 32 bits mode, whatever suits you.
I am setting up a single user workstation. Suse Linux Enterprise is the generic name of the software.
I've only used Suse (on a system someone else installed). I never tried to download or install it.
So I have no clue what versions of Suse are available, nor how much of my negative experience with Suse is a result of errors made by the individual who installed it.
So just one partial and anecdotal data point. You asked whether it was a good choice (for a beginner single user workstation) and I gave my opinion that it is not.
For an experienced Linux user, a lot of the differences between distributions don't matter. I'm sure someone who knows Linux just a little better than I do could install a good single user workstation from Centos or any other Enterprise distribution and/or install a good server from Mepis.
But I think a beginner is better off selecting a more targeted distribution. Mepis is very well targeted to typical Linux beginners who tend to have Windows experience and who want to do ordinary home computer things (web browsing, video editing, communicating with a Windows based home network, and many other things). All those things can be done with any other linux distribution as well. But in most cases you need to first learn more about being a Linux system administrator than an ordinary home user wants to learn.