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algogeek 06-11-2008 10:46 AM

Can I upgrade to a 64 bit version if I'm currently working on a 32 bit one?
 
Hi all,
I have a 64 bit AMD notebook and I'm currently on Fedora 8, 32 bit. I have 1.5 GB of RAM installed on my system. People have advised me to move to a 64 bit version if I want to unleash the true power of my 64 bit CPU, what they didn't advise me about was how to do that, since they're windows users.

So, I wanted to know that. Suppose if I download Fedora 9, 64 bit, then do I have the option of upgrading my now 32 bit installation to the newer 64 bit version? Or will I need to do a clean install? Kindly reply.

rickh 06-11-2008 10:49 AM

Just out of curiosity, are these Windows users running a 64-bit OS? You do have to reinstall.

algogeek 06-11-2008 11:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rickh (Post 3181629)
Just out of curiosity, are these Windows users running a 64-bit OS? You do have to reinstall.

Yes, one of them uses the 64 bit version of Vista. They tell me that a 64 bit OS usually runs faster and is better at number crunching operations. I'm willing to reinstall after downloading 3.9 GB only if it offers substantial benefits. Most of my work pertains to programming on C++ and I'm not very sure whether moving onto a 64 bit OS is going to prove that beneficial. Plus, it would involve going through all the bugs that I had happened to have sorted on this installation, which will not be a pleasant experience, as you might have guessed.

So, my question would be- how does a 64 bit OS run faster? Does it just run faster during number crunching intensive operations, or does it speed up in terms of booting and running programs as well? I'd really like to know all this before taking the plunge.

Right now, I'm more than happy with my installation. I've sorted out all of the bugs, got the hardware working as it should, kept my system up to date. The only thing is that I've lived with the guilt of not having tried a real 64 bit OS on a processor that is capable of that.

What should I do?

salasi 06-11-2008 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by algogeek (Post 3181684)
I'm willing to reinstall after downloading 3.9 GB only if it offers substantial benefits.

In which case, don't do it. 64 bit offers benefits in large memory support, which you don't need (and you can get more simply with a special 32 bit kernel even if you do).

Theoretically, the instruction set was cleaned up slightly in the change to 64 bits and that offers a slight speed up. On the other hand, every pointer that you fetch will be 64 bits rather than 32 and that offers a slight slow down. Overall, you would probably see a very slight increase in performance, but not one that you'd notice without benchmarking and a stopwatch.

On the other hand, bear in mind that there are proprietary apps (stuff like flash) that you can't just re-compile and get as 64 bit, so that could be a big drawback for 64 bit, depending.

And the no execute bit is, I think, only available under 64 bit and that might be a big advantage if it was an internet-facing machine, like a firewall, dns server, etc (which yours isn't).

Quote:

So, my question would be- how does a 64 bit OS run faster?
In general, it doesn't. With windows, they also bundled up miscellaneous patches at the same time, so maybe it does (depending on which SPs you are comparing). If you were installing a whole new processor with twice the bus memory width, that would be a different matter, but you aren't. If it was the only way of getting big memory support (and you needed it), that would be another matter, too.

paulpc 06-11-2008 01:17 PM

depending on how much you want to mess with your computer, it might prove like a fun challenge. everything is going to be harder to find in x86_64 and as salasi said, the proprietary apps do not come in the x86_64 variety, forcing you to figure out a way to hack them, which despite being available online, will prove frustrating and problematic. Currently I am running X86_64 versions of opensuse 10.3 on both my compies, and honestly, you'd be better off with your x686 version of FC, especially since you've got it running and debugged.
If you want a challenge, install the 64 one and enjoy learning about all the cool tweaks around the issues.

mike10 06-11-2008 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by algogeek (Post 3181626)
Hi all,
Suppose if I download Fedora 9, 64 bit, then do I have the option of upgrading my now 32 bit installation to the newer 64 bit version? Or will I need to do a clean install? Kindly reply.

look what I found http://www.linux.com/feature/123800
I would make sure you have all important info backed up though

remember this is Linux of cores it can be done just how much hacking do you want to do

let us know what you decide

algogeek 06-12-2008 12:25 AM

Thank you all of you for the tremendous response. Things are surely getting clearer now.

However, I'm more scared about the compatibility issues:

I happen to love the visual effects using compiz on linux. While I'm assuming that they must also be present on the 64 bit platform, I'm concerned about my graphics card working correctly on it. I installed the kmod-nvidia on this installation to get the graphics working correctly. Will be just as smooth on the 64 bit platform, or will there be issues?

I absolutely need g++, netbeans, eclipse, LaTeX, Amarok (and other media players and SOUND!) working correctly on the installation as well. Will that happen? Will I be able to run 32 bit softwares on it or not?

I have a broadcom wireless card working on my system and I'm also not sure about it. Will I be able to configure it the same way as I did in this case, or should I expect complications?

I don't have a lot of interest in hacking the OS in any way. I just want it to work well, and be able to give me something out of my extra 32 bits.

I want your answers guys. If they're yes, I'm in. Thanks again.

paulpc 06-12-2008 01:33 AM

<<I absolutely need g++, netbeans, eclipse, LaTeX, Amarok (and other media players and SOUND!) working correctly on the installation as well. Will that happen? Will I be able to run 32 bit softwares on it or not?>>
What we have omitted was that you will be able to install a 32-bit compiler with the 64 bit kernel. that means that all the programs aforementioned will work (they work just fine on my lappy - g++, amarok, mplayer, kaffeine, xine and eclipse have a 64 bit version, you can install netbeans via the 32bit compilers if there is no 64 bit version). you will encounter problems with installing adobe flash (you have to install a 32 bit version of firefox/opera in order for it to work). You will also find libdvdcss2 (for dvds) harder for the 64bit version - you might have to compile it, or somebody from lq could give you a link to a compiled version of it for 64 bits.

<<I have a broadcom wireless card working on my system and I'm also not sure about it. Will I be able to configure it the same way as I did in this case, or should I expect complications?>>
The config here should work just the same - the kernel packages should be compiled for both 32 as well as 64 bit architecture. If not there's always madwifi as a repository and if that fails, you can find a way to use ndiswrapper.

<<I don't have a lot of interest in hacking the OS in any way. I just want it to work well, and be able to give me something out of my extra 32 bits.>>
As previously mentioned by all of us, the advantages will not be visible, it will just be a fuzzy feeling in your heart that you are running the wave of the future (64 bit computing). Honestly it's not worth the hassle for the result, but it is worth it for all the stuff you learn trying to fix all the problems that appear. By hacking I don't necessarily mean doing some illegal voodoo magic involving your computer's nail clippings as much as just recompiling programs, installing libraries that are hard to find, messing with stuff in the terminal, you know, the fun stuff ;)
I apologize for improperly quoting your post, but you'll manage to get my point. Hope this was of some help.

lazlow 06-12-2008 02:28 AM

You will NOT have to install the 32bit version of FireFOX to use flash. Nspluginwrapper(in standard repo) will take care of this for you. DVDs play just fine in 64bit using standard repos (livna). Pre F8 there were some real issues in using 64bit. When F8 rolled out virtually all these issues were eliminated. Starting with FC4 I tried every release of Fedora with 64 bit. Until F8 I always switched back to 32bit due to hassle factor. 64bit has been around long enough now that the vast majority of apps out there are available. Even those few apps that are not available in 64bit (wine is one) you can install the 32bit version (it does drag a lot of 32bit dependencies with it).

What will you gain? With 3 gig of ram or less, probably not much (the PAE kernels for 32bit take a pretty good performance hit for over 3 gig). With over 3 gig of ram you will start to see a difference (more ram, more difference). Day in day out tasks you will see zero difference between the two. When you start to deal with 10 gig images or video editing (serious amounts of data or number crunching) 64bit will shine.

If it were me, I would sit tight with your current F8-32bit install until F10 is released. Install the 64bit version of F10 when it comes out.

garydale 06-12-2008 10:19 AM

I switched to 64bit on Debian over a year ago and never regretted it. The Debian repositories have pretty much everything in 64 bit now. However, you can also use a 32 bit chroot to run 32 bit applications when necessary. For example, Adobe Acrobat Reader is only in 32 bit, so I run it in a chroot and the integration is pretty seamless.

There is also wrapper to let you run 32 bit plugins (like Flash) in Firefox.

AFAIK, you will have to reinstall but you don't need to give up your 32 bit install - just add the 64 bit install in a different partition.

jlinkels 06-12-2008 11:57 AM

Garydale,

I am in the same boat as you, I running Debian Lenny 64 bits. However matters have improved vastly.

Chrooting is hardly ever necessary. For example I installed 32-bits Skype using ia32-libs.

Flash 32 bits is running from withing Opera 9.50B2 64bits.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...jlinkels+flash

Adobe reader is available for 64 bits as well.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...jlinkels+adobe

jlinkels

tur third 06-13-2008 10:58 AM

My system is 64 bit, and I am thinking of moving back to 32 bit. This is really only for convenience. I believe you can get everything working on 64, but sometimes it is more complex and I have come to the conclusion 32 bit has more packaged software that is easier to install.

If it is any faster, I did not notice. I would not want to put anyone off going 64 bit, but if your system is set up and working and you are happy with it I wouldn't bother?

algogeek 06-13-2008 11:34 AM

Well, I seem to have found a solution to this. I happen to be home for my vacations and its time for me to head back. So, this time I'm going to carry with me my old desktop computer which happens to have a 64 bit compatible intel processor. I'm going to give 64 a try on that machine and I'm planning to set it up as a server there. I bet thats going to be fun. I'm going to begin installing the 64 bit OS on it right away. :-)
If I"m too impressed with it, I will consider going for a reinstall on my laptop. My current desktop is a 4 GB RAM machine so I'm expecting sparks, if 64 indeed is capable!

algogeek 06-13-2008 01:03 PM

Ok, so now the installation is complete and Im on the 64 bit install on the desktop computer. Things are smooth until now, lets see. As far as what Ive seen till now, Im impressed. But Im no expert.

garydale 06-16-2008 01:07 PM

to jlinkels: thanks for the tip on acroread. It's still the best reader around, although the open source ones are pretty good. At least they can usually handle transparent graphics now!

There's also gnash for 64 bit flash.

I think that realplayer may be about the only thing I need a chroot for. The last I heard, it was still only available in 32bit. The little bit of Wine stuff I have runs in 64bit, so I don't see a problem.

to tur third: I don't know what you're running, but Debian Lenny is pretty good for 64bit stuff. It may be the testing repository, but it's as stable as most distribution's release version.


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