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I have been given a Toshiba Satellite U300 and I want to install Slackware on it. I also wish to run current. I have no issues with this.
My question is whether to install Slackware64 or not. The laptop has 2GB ram and I can't see myself upgrading that in the near future. I am just starting to get my head around the fact that 64-bit is the future and have installed it on my desktop with 4GB ram. Is there any real advantage to having a 64-bit install or not on a 2GB laptop?
A 64-bit system is supposed to be better for some hard tasks (encoding video and sound, compiling, etc). However, other light task could be slower because of the need to allocate more RAM (I have read somewhere this is the case with Open SSH).
I would say that, as of today, running 32 or 64 bits is more or less the same. Impact in memory and efficency is generaly irrelevant.
Thar said, I use 64 bit with support for 32 bits apps installed.
Depends do you intend to extent your memory in the near future to 4 GB then it might be beneficial. Some programs benefit a lot of 64 bit most a little or nothing. And if you want to run 32 bit programs like wine or the android sdk you need to install multilib if you are running slackware64.
I'm using Slackware64 on my Lenovo x100 subnotebook with 2GB of RAM. The reason is that I'm running Slackware64 on my Server and my Laptop as well. So I can use the packages which I've compiled on my Server also on the subnotebook.
I want to run 32bit-programs (Skype) also on my subnotebook an have therefore installed AlienBobs multilib-packages. But this is very inconvenient because one has to be very careful with the updates.
My advice: if you don't want to use your selfcompiled packages on both of your computers, I'd recommend to use Slack 32bit.
Interestingly enough, there's been some discussion in another distro's mailing list (linking to a spec) on whether or not to go 64-bit for their default CD image in their upcoming release. One thread there points out that 64-bit is the better for systems with more than 2GB RAM, so in your case it might be better to stay 32-bit.
I say go Slackware64. 2 GB is plenty of RAM for a 64bit system, and you get the benefits of a 64bit system. If you need to run 32bit applications, just use Eric's multilib packages, and that will work perfectly. I always go by if your system has a 64bit CPU, and you have enough RAM, which 2GB is plenty, why not use it?
For a new install on capable hardware use Slackware64 to have a smooth upgrade path.
Currently Slackware/i486 and Slackware/x86_64 are almost identical feature-wise, but sooner or later there will be applications which only run non-legacy x86-64 systems. ZFS is a good example.
In the future there will be hardware with UEFI which doesn't support 32 Bit anymore. You might later want migrate your installation to such hardware without having to start over completely.
It's not so much about memory (i686 supports up to 64 GB) or speed (some stuff with SSE2 faster, some stuff slower), but about stumbling over bugs later ("What? You're still using i486?"), when the major Linux distributors switch over to x86-64.
BTW: I think Slackware64 should become a non-hassle multilib-System out of the box and contain an own series with compatibility packages. The current "clean 64 bit" approach leads to threads like this.
I think you should stick on x32 yet. You will get rid of a number nasty bugs of 3rd-party software, for instance, not all software x64 ready. Yes, it compatible with x64 CPU, but not compatible x64 system. For instance, one famous GNU/GPL-ed software is dependent on sqlite(strongly) but its configure script cannot detect it installed, because of /usr/lib64 instead of /usr/lib paths.
I think Slackware64 should become a non-hassle multilib-System out of the box and contain an own series with compatibility packages.
Nope, thanks. I don't need 32 bit applications on my 64 bit systems, therefore I don't want 32 bit libraries that bloat the system. It is not that hard to go multilib, anyone who feels the need can do it themselves.
I think you should stick on x32 yet. You will get rid of a number nasty bugs of 3rd-party software, for instance, not all software x64 ready. Yes, it compatible with x64 CPU, but not compatible x64 system. For instance, one famous GNU/DPL-ed software is dependent on sqlite(strongly) but its configure script cannot detect it installed, because of /usr/lib64 instead of /usr/lib paths.
FeyFre, that can always be solved. Every software you can compile from source, can be compiled for x86_64 just as it can for x86. If you have software which can not detect a sqlite library then you just forgot something.
The only issues you would have on a 64-bit system is that you can not run closed-source, binary-only programs like Skype. Also if you want to run 32-bit Windows programs through Wine, this will not work on a pure 64-bit Linux OS.