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Old 07-10-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
SLSmortal
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Slackware still rocks! -just a cheer for Slackware - and one question :)


Not in some time have I used Slackware but after coming back to Linux and playing with a few distros -Slackware is still the most elegant and stable distro in my opinion. Steam and CS:Source are running great! Super smooth - no different than playing on Windows! *lol* Wireless was pretty easy and Nvidia driver install was a snap. I am really impressed with the improvements in Linux overall and extremely happy to see Slackware still shining.

I decided to use 32 bit Slackware, version 14, as 64 bit is not compatible with Steam or at least not without some extra work so I took the easy path.

What, if anything, am I losing by using 32 bit Linux on a 64 bit (i5) processor with 4 gigs of ram?

Thanks,
 
Old 07-10-2013, 08:26 PM   #2
perbh
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Quote:
What, if anything, am I losing by using 32 bit Linux on a 64 bit (i5) processor with 4 gigs of ram?
I'll probably be scalded for this - but in my opinion - nought!!
Thanks to the PAE-enabled kernel (well, I could roll it myself but easier when its there) - I even use it (32-bit that is) on a quad-core (i7) w/8 gigs of memory. Unless you do some serious number-crunching and/or use apps/programs that require a lot of memory - I don't really see much difference (PAE has _some_ overhead).
The big advantage of 32-bits (IMHO) are that some stuff is still stuck in 32-bit land and it just makes it easier all-over to stick to that. Obviously, one could go the multi-lib path, but personally I don't think its worth the effort.

Just my 2c-worth ...

Last edited by perbh; 07-10-2013 at 08:28 PM.
 
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
frankbell
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I have 32-bit Mageia on a 64-bit Lenovo ThinkCentre with 4 GB ram, and it seems to be running just fine.
 
Old 07-10-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
Richard Cranium
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4 gigs of RAM? You aren't losing much.
 
Old 07-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #5
frankbell
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It is a gorgeous piece of iron and best of all, it was a gift!
 
Old 07-11-2013, 12:34 AM   #6
Richard Cranium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
It is a gorgeous piece of iron and best of all, it was a gift!
Sorry, I was responding to the OP. (Nobody else had posted when I wrote my reply.) My poorly written response was meant to say that if you've got 4G of RAM, then you won't be losing much by running 32 bit Slackware instead of 64 bit.
 
Old 07-11-2013, 05:57 AM   #7
tronayne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLSmortal View Post
What, if anything, am I losing by using 32 bit Linux on a 64 bit (i5) processor with 4 gigs of ram?
Not much -- my working systems are all 64-bit (with 8G or better RAM) and I have two 32-bit Dell Dimension 8400's (from 2004) that are headless data base servers -- one MySQL, the other Informxi and PostgreSQL). Both are 4G RAM (you can extend that but there's overhead involved and it just ain't worth it to me). There's getting long in the tooth and the hardware is old and clunky but the dang things work and just sit in a closet mumbling to themselves and doing what they're supposed to. They've been Slackware exclusive since 2005 (they came with XP, gag, and that mess is long, long gone).

What you lose is the advantage of new hardware and, pretty much, flat memory; want or need 32G? No problem, plug it in and go. You also lose some software that's 32-bit only (maybe a month ago Google finally got a 64-bit GoogleEarth available, lord know why it took so long), but vendors are, slowly, stepping up to 64-bit so someday, maybe. I've gotten to the point of doing without some 32-bit package (like Adobe Reader) because there's a number of viable alternatives but there are some can't-live-without-packages -- like stuff you get paid for -- so you compromise, like it or not. There is AlienBob's Multilib so you can run 32-bit software on a 64-bit platform which I would think would be a good way to go; take full advantage of the hardware yet be able to run what you need to (and it's not a difficult installation or upkeep), there's no penalty involved so why not?

I'd think about going 64-bit with Multilib and migrate software packages to 64-bit when they become available.

Hope this helps some.

Last edited by tronayne; 07-11-2013 at 05:58 AM.
 
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:10 AM   #8
WhiteWolf1776
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Thanks to alienBob, slack multilib is as simple and elegant as the rest of Slackware, so running 32bit apps on x64 isn't an issue. If you aren't stretching your processor, or needing more ram, you won't lose much. There are some things tho where a x64 system just runs it faster, but again, it's what you are doing with the system that matters.

oh, btw, steam on linux just started supporting x64 games as well... haven't seen any titles switching over to that yet, but can hope
 
Old 07-11-2013, 04:22 PM   #9
SLSmortal
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###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###

"I'll probably be scalded for this - but in my opinion - nought!!
Thanks to the PAE-enabled kernel (well, I could roll it myself but easier when its there) - I even use it (32-bit that is) on a quad-core (i7) w/8 gigs of memory. Unless you do some serious number-crunching and/or use apps/programs that require a lot of memory - I don't really see much difference (PAE has _some_ overhead).
The big advantage of 32-bits (IMHO) are that some stuff is still stuck in 32-bit land and it just makes it easier all-over to stick to that. Obviously, one could go the multi-lib path, but personally I don't think its worth the effort.

Just my 2c-worth ..."

###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###***###

I appreciate all the replies. I think I am just fine with 32 bit, judging from the above response, many thanks.

I did try 64 bit and installed Alien Bob's libs but I did something either when I updated the system or when I had to reinstall the Nvidia driver. Next time I would not update the system (until I am more sure of what I am doing) and install the Nvidia driver last. Either way it looks like I'm just fine with the 32 bit version.

Cheers! Thanks again,
 
Old 07-12-2013, 04:39 PM   #10
jtsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLSmortal View Post
I decided to use 32 bit Slackware, version 14, as 64 bit is not compatible with Steam or at least not without some extra work so I took the easy path.

What, if anything, am I losing by using 32 bit Linux on a 64 bit (i5) processor with 4 gigs of ram?
On Linux you get a performance penalty with more than 1 GB (896 MB) of RAM installed. This is where the kernel address space gets exhausted and all additional memory has to be accessed indirectly (slower). There is no additional penalty for or difference between going up to 4 GB, 8 GB or beyond, PAE is mandatory on modern systems anyway.

If you don't want a multilib system, you can drop a 64 bit kernel into /boot, install the 64 bit modules and boot your 32 bit userland without additional efforts or changes to the system, the issues described above are solved by that.

For Steam, you use the 32 bit nVidia driver, but add an 64 bit nvidia.ko to the mix. The latter has to be built on a native Slackware64 (no multilib needed, pure vanilla) and then transferred over.
 
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:13 PM   #11
Alien Bob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
If you don't want a multilib system, you can drop a 64 bit kernel into /boot, install the 64 bit modules and boot your 32 bit userland without additional efforts or changes to the system, the issues described above are solved by that.

For Steam, you use the 32 bit nVidia driver, but add an 64 bit nvidia.ko to the mix. The latter has to be built on a native Slackware64 (no multilib needed, pure vanilla) and then transferred over.
And you think that that is easier than installing multilib? The scenario you describe, requires two computers :-)

Eric
 
Old 07-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #12
kikinovak
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When using slackpkg+, using Multilib packages on Slackware64 is easier than ever.
  1. Add Multilib repo to slackpkgplus.conf.
  2. Give it higher priority than standard Slackware packages.
  3. Now, 'slackpkg upgrade' replaces all the gcc-* and glibc-* stuff with Multilib packages.
  4. Finally, slackpkg install compat32 fetches all the 32-bit compatibility packages.
  5. From there on, maintaining everything up-to-date is as simple as 'slackpkg update && slackpkg upgrade-all'.

Keep It Simple Stupid
 
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:52 PM   #13
273
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There's a thread on this forum that suggests that 64 bit floating point is slower than 32 bit...
Aside from that -- I don't know about Slackware specifically but most kernels and software when compiled for 64 bit are compiled to take advantage of modern processors wit things like SIMD but the 32 bit builds tend to be more conservative. I guess that this means that things compiled for 32 biut are generally not taking advantage of the more modern processor features that are guaranteed to be there in 64 bit processors. This being a generatinoal thing not a bit-width thing.
 
Old 07-12-2013, 06:54 PM   #14
jtsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alien Bob View Post
And you think that that is easier than installing multilib?
Installing multilib may be easier, because multilib is built and ready-to-run.

My approach is less complex, takes less RAM and less disk space, you just lose the ability to run 64 bit userland applications. There is just no ready-to-use install script or package repo there, which would make it easier to get a 64 bit kernel up and running.

I just described it, because it is a viable option and very easy to setup on Slackware while almost impossible with other distributions. The flexibilty and customization abilities are a very big strength of Slackware.

Quote:
The scenario you describe, requires two computers :-)
I described a corner case (nVidia driver), in most scenarios you just install some additional kernel packages from Slackware64, update LILO and be fine. The nVidia driver itself takes some effort anyway, it doesn't come with Slackware, it has to be installed manually.

Beside that you only need one computer, boot Slackware64 (pure) once (i. e. from a live medium), build the additional non-standard kernel modules and then be ready for years of production use. Further maintenance isn't needed, especially if you need additional 32 bit packages, which are not part of multilib. As long as you're not into rebuilding kernels, it just works.

Last edited by jtsn; 07-12-2013 at 07:04 PM.
 
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:58 PM   #15
jtsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
Aside from that -- I don't know about Slackware specifically but most kernels and software when compiled for 64 bit are compiled to take advantage of modern processors wit things like SIMD but the 32 bit builds tend to be more conservative. I guess that this means that things compiled for 32 biut are generally not taking advantage of the more modern processor features that are guaranteed to be there in 64 bit processors. This being a generatinoal thing not a bit-width thing.
The part that takes most advantage of being 64 bit is the kernel, install it and you are already 90 % there. Userland applications are not a big deal yet (!), most 64 bit PCs in the world run a 64 bit OS kernel with 32 bit applications, which is currently the sensible thing to do.
 
  


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