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Old 09-30-2019, 02:28 PM   #1
jeffneedle
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Newbie question about 32-bit vs. 64-bit


Hi. Sorry for the naive question.

I understand 4MLinux is a 32-bit distro. With so many applications abandoning 32-bit support, what does that mean for users like myself who use applications like Chromium and Thunderbird? I understand Chromium/Chrome is stopping support for 32-bit versions. Not sure what Thunderbird is planning.

Thanks for any help here.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 03:06 PM   #2
Ser Olmy
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Object code (a binary file that you can run) is compiled for a specific architecture, source code is not. Free Software is by definition "Open Source", which means the source code is available for anyone to compile into an executable program. Usually, there's nothing stopping someone from compiling source code into a 32-bit program[*].

It's the job of the distribution maintainers to turn source code into programs (typically delivered as "packages") that can be installed and run on their Linux distribution. As long as the maintainers of 4MLinux compile versions of these applications, they'll be available. 3rd party (binary) application support for 32-bit architectures is bound to dwindle over time, though. Chrome is but one example; lately, an increasing number of (non-free) applications and games have been shipping with 64-bit executables only.

[*] It is possible to write source code that can only be made to work on a specific platform or type of platform, and in the latter case that includes 64-bit architectures. A 64-bit system offers functionality that's not present in (and cannot be added to) 32-bit architectures.

For the x86-64 (AMD64) platform this includes larger CPU registers that can manipulate huge numbers in a single operation, but the main issue is support for huge amounts of memory: 32-bit userspace (where a program would run) is limited to somewhere between 2 and 3 Gb of memory (depending on a kernel setting) per process, regardless of how much total memory the system itself may have. 64-bit userspace is only limited by the amount of physical RAM available.
 
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:30 PM   #3
zk1234
4MLinux Maintainer
 
Registered: Oct 2010
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4MLinux will also drop 32-bit support next year (it will become a fully 64-bit distro).

.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 07:42 PM   #4
jeffneedle
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Great info -- thanks! Looking forward to the 64-bit 4MLinux.
 
Old 10-08-2019, 08:14 AM   #5
Andrew1971
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Keep up the good work ZK. Dose that mean virtualbox will be on the 64bit 4MLinux.
Andrew
 
Old 10-08-2019, 04:35 PM   #6
zk1234
4MLinux Maintainer
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew1971 View Post
Keep up the good work ZK. Dose that mean virtualbox will be on the 64bit 4MLinux.
Andrew
Thanks :-)
Yes. Everything will be 64-bit.

.
 
  


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