Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

To 64 or Not to 64, That Was the Question

Filed under

With my nice new motherboard & cpu, I've been quite anxious to test some of my new-found powers. My first thought after the hardware installation was: Gentoo 64-bit! By way of testing, I installed the 64-bit version of SuSE 10.1 rc1 yesterday and had planned on writing this wonderfully informative comparison article of it and the 32-bit version. I was expecting the 64-bit to smoke 32 and had even made preliminary reads into installing the 64-bit version of Gentoo. Since this was my first foray into the world of 64-bit, I expected to be lost and confused. Well, the former may not have come to fruition, but the latter certainly did.

The install went fine. No errors or problems were had. It went as smoothly as the 32-bit the day before. I chose all the same options, packages, etc as the other system and again, I was expecting the install to be quite faster.

Now here's my first mistake for the planned article: I didn't time the 32-bit install, so saying the 64-bit seemed faster is about as precise as I can be. In total from soup to nuts it took right at an hour. The best I can estimate for the 32-bit is little over an hour just for the packages. As much as I love all my readers, I just couldn't talk myself into a reinstall of the 32-bit system just to time it. So, no legitimate points in this category can be given to either system.


Ask any expert in the technology field and they'll tell you boot times and application open times are not an accurate means of testing the speed of an operating system. But you know, to the average Joe, this is exactly was speed means to us. So, I had big plans of putting this great comparison chart together that we could all ooo and aah over. I thought another great test would be compile times of a notoriously long build. As you can see from the chart below, our "notoriously long build" failed on the 64-bit and as a result I just skipped it on the 32-bit. But quite frankly, the other speed increases of the 64-bit applications are quite unimpressive. With the failed compile taking the wind outta my sails, this article idea almost withered on the vine. In fact, I'd not even be publishing this at all, even as a blog, if not for the really slow news day and my needing something to post. Big Grin

For the boot test, this was timed with a stopwatch from the moment of depressing the enter key on their entries in lilo 'til the KDE desktop was fully up and ready. Autologin was enabled for the default user. Fully up and ready meant all informative "pop-ups" had disappeared and "busy cursors" had stopped. I used the same X driver and the same options enabled for it as well as kde, and the only app to 'restore' was a two-tabbed konsole on each of the same approximate size. Suse 64 had been booted a few times prior to the test to allow for all of its pre-configuring and such to complete and the tested applications had been started and closed a few times. For the test, the opening of apps were the first for them after a fresh reboot.

32-bit     64-bit
Boot 85 secs 80 secs
Firefox blank 3 secs 3 secs
Firefox TM home 8 6
Firefox Compile failed skipped
OOowriter 6 5
Shutdown 30 27

There are two sides for every argument and there are masses of supporters for each side. But basically the 64-bit experience was a let down for me here. As I read the documentation for installing 64-bit Gentoo systems and saw references to about 20 other docs for special instructions in order to get common tools and basic apps to work, and considering the lackluster performance increase of the same binary distro and setup over it's 32-bit counterpart, I for one am not impressed with the progress of the 64-bit computing systems at this point.

In my Gentoo install I've changed my cflags for athlon64 optimizations with some supported use flags (and emerge'd -e world), am using a k8 kernel, and am rebuilding KDE --with-cflags=march=athlon64. But that's about all I'm interested in as far as Gentoo is concerned for now.

As far as other binary 64-distros? You betcha I'll be checking them out regularly.

Is the failing of one infamously stubborn package to compile enough to say the compiler don't work? Of course not. But no problems were had compiling Firefox on my Gentoo system or my best friend's PCLOS system. As far as stability was concerned with SuSE 10.1 rc1 x86_64, there were no issues. It was as rock solid as any other SuSE install I've had over the passed year. It seemed as functional as it's counterpart with no application failure as far as I tested (which I admit was limited). If you want a binary based 64-bit distro and use only pre-compiled software for that distro, then why not. Go for it.

But am I going to build a new Gentoo 64-bit system? Nope. Maybe later.

More in Tux Machines

Open source licensing: What every technologist should know

If you’re a software developer today, you know how to use open source software, but do you know how and why open source licensing started? A little background will help you understand how and why the licenses work the way they do. Read more

Kali Linux 2017.2 Release

We are happy to announce the release of Kali Linux 2017.2, available now for your downloading pleasure. This release is a roll-up of all updates and fixes since our 2017.1 release in April. In tangible terms, if you were to install Kali from your 2017.1 ISO, after logging in to the desktop and running ‘apt update && apt full-upgrade’, you would be faced with something similiar to this daunting message: Read more Also: Kali Linux 2017.2 Released With New Hacking Tools — Download ISO And Torrent Files Here

Open source-based business lessons from a seasoned CEO

The default now is to build from open and in the open. So that's a positive. The downside is that by open source being the default, we may be getting a little lazy. If you remember back 5-10 years, open sourcing was a big deal, and it forced a level of rigor that may have led, in some cases, to founders and early investors taking better approaches to building their company—for example, shifting towards SaaS wherever possible, in part because of the ability to demonstrate clear value versus their own open source. Read more

Keeping up with advances in open source database administration

The world of open source databases is rapidly evolving. It seems like every day brings a new release of an open source technology that might make a database administrator's life easier, if only he or she knew about it. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay on top of what's going on with open source database technology. One such way is the Percona Live Open Source Database Conference, taking place next week in Dublin, Ireland. We've covered Percona Live before, and invite you to take a look back at some of our previous stories. From IoT to big data to working with the cloud, there's plenty to keep up with. Here are a look at a couple of the sessions you might enjoy, as described by the speakers. Read more