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Re: amd64 and dpkg and so

On Sat, 2003-08-30 at 02:29, Ron Johnson wrote:
> On Fri, 2003-08-29 at 17:49, Martin Jungowski wrote:
> > Are you really sure you'd be fine with an 64-bit only Debian? That'd
> > mean you'd have to recompile every single application you want to run.
> > Including every single driver/module, they'd all have to be
> > recompiled... there's actually a lot of 32-bit software that'd be
> Think about that again.  For years now, Debian has been providing 
> binary packages for Alpha.

Think about it, if you'd be a user who has to choose between a 64-bit 
Debian that is not capable of running 32-bit applications and would
require for you to recompile every single piece of software you want to
run or a 64-bit SuSE/RedHat/Mandrake/InsertDistributionHere that is
capable of running 32-bit applications just fine - what would YOU do?

I know that some people might not give a tiny rat's ass about 32-bit
support and it's not my job to convince them they're wrong or whatever,
in this issue there is no right or wrong anyway. But even if we'd have a
64-bit only Debian, 32-bit support is crucial for it to be used by
people out there.
And even if this 32-bit support was added later on, and the 64-bit
Debian would be available ASAP, I'm not really sure that there'd be a
lot of users. Let's face it, not being able to run most of todays
applications is a major drawback, even if it would be only temporarily
for a couple of months. And let's not forget that users out there also
tend to use commercial software that can not be recompiled due to the
fact that the source is not available for public.

However I do realize that not having a 64-bit Debian at all isn't really
the best way to go. Now that the Athlon64 is about to be launched, home
users will want a 64-bit OS to go with their brand-new 64-bit CPU. Let's
face it, most home users don't know SQUAT about computers and may fall
for AMD's 64-bit campaign, telling people that 64-bit is a lot faster
than 32-bit. Which, even though it's true, is not due to the additional
32-bit but again, it's easier to tell people it IS because of those
64-bit GPRs than telling them it's because of an enhanced branch
prediction, the onChip low-latency memory controller, the bigger TLBs,
Home users with 64-bit CPUs are going to look for an 64-bit OS, and
that's where I can see Linux still has the upper hand. I wouldn't expect
a 64-bit Windows for another year, which gives us a one year time frame
to push 64-bit Linux - however in order to achieve that, the user has to
be capable of running 32-bit applications as well.


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