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Re: Alternative to 64/32 hybrid - 32 bit UML

On Wed, Sep 03, 2003 at 10:41:25PM +0930, Dan Shearer wrote:
> UML should be hardly noticeable as an emulation layer if packaged
> correctly. 

Just to qualify a little: I am thinking of servers (where Opterons are
most likely to be used at the time Sarge is released) and of
longer-running processes so that the startup time, which can already be
trimmed right down, is negligible. Nobody normally cares if Apache takes
another 0.25 seconds to start up an instance. If someone is after
performance they'll use a 64-bit binary anyway. If someone wants a
32-bit /bin/ls then they're a corner case.

Incidentally, as to whether or not a 64-bit-only solution would be
useful, I contribute my own experience. I do a lot of my desktop work on
an old Alpha running Sid. Not because I particularly like Alphas, but
because it gives me a very good feeling for what works 64-bit and what
doesn't. And the answer is that despite gloomy comments on this list,
there is very little on the desktop that doesn't work and almost nothing
on the server side.

I really think that this list is greatly overrating the usefulness of 32-bit
compatibility on the server side. Workstations, quite possibly. But servers?  I
doesn't make much sense to me.

When a server administrator gets a chance to wring a few percentage points of
extra performance out of his hardware raid or network card, he usually does by
installing a better driver if one is available. Even if the performance isn't
really required or noticeable! So people are suggesting that owners of
expensive brand-new Operterons are going to want to do dist-upgrade from old
system partitions rather than install from scratch? I don't think so. 64-bit
Opteron works faster and has the memory model. Too good to miss.

I think a pure 64-bit Opteron port for Sarge would be a big hit if the hardware
pricing is aimed at a popular bracket.

Dan Shearer

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