[SOLVED] advice needed! Should I choose 32bit or 64bit?
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Yeah, if you're compiling from source, the program will build fine on a 64-bit machine. You could change CFLAGS or some other compile time parameter, but that's up to you. Slackware usually compiles 64-bit packages with the "-O2 fPIC" flag.
Binary-only or libraries that have been built specifically for 32-bit arch will not run on slackware64. But most of the necessary proprietary, closed-source software are available in 64-bit, so you needn't worry too much.
I also favour 64bit pure. Multilib gives vendors an excuse to be lazy and not provide 64bit native versions of their programs. Its use should be discouraged (unless you absolutely can't live without those 32 bit only programs - have to be a little pragmatic I suppose.)
Distribution: slackware 12.2, scientific linux 6.4, knoppix 7.2
32 bit is a safest choice. Make a list of applications you think you will use on your system. With open source code applications there should be no problem if you are not aware to compile it yourself and to decide about installation policy. Playing W$ games on wine server can be difficult or even impossible. Next there may be no 64 bit versions for closed source apps. However running 64 bit is challenging. Greetings.
Location: Northeastern Michigan, where Carhartt is a Designer Label
Distribution: Slackware 32- & 64-bit Stable
In many ways the choice depends upon what you're going to be doing. Anything you build from source (nice to have open source, eh) will build and run just fine in either 32- or 64-bit; however, 32-bit only software that you obtain from providers (such as Adobe Acrobat or, say, GoogleEarth) will not run in 64-bit unless you install Alien Bob's Multilib package (see http://alien.slackbook.org/dokuwiki/...kware:multilib). Too, a 64-bit system can handle more memory if that's important to you.
Essentially, it's a toss-up. If Adobe Acrobat and GoogleEarth matter to you, go with 32-bit (although 64-bit packages may become available for both of those sometime soon). If you're running heavy-duty engineering and mathematical applications, 64-bit is probably a better choice. Either way, all the tools and applications you'll be using on a day-to-day basis are just fine in either 32- or 64-bit (that would include things like OpenOffice.org, all the editors, compilers, utilities, and so on). You really can't tell the difference one way or the other.
Is that mean if I have the source code I can compile a 64 bit by myself and don't have to change the code?
Before you resort to compiling and installing software from source code, you can easily compile and install Slackaware .tgz packages (both 32bit and 64bit) from http://slackbuilds.org/.
You can also use http://sbopkg.org/ to automate the building and updating of Slackware packages from slackbuilds.org.
Bearing in mind that Slackware itself is built bottom-up from source, you'll have appropriate libraries built for the platform.
This is not to say that there may be some problem with some FORTRAN libraries that are not native compiles but, so far, I've had no problems with the GNU libraries provided with Slackware on either platform.