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Re: Concerns about AMD64 port

John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> writes:

> Hello,
> I recently decided it was time to retire the Alpha I have been using as
> my desktop workstation since about 1997 and get a new machine.  I
> decided on an Athlon 64 after reading some reports on linuxhardware.org
> that show its 32-bit performance to be excellent and 64-bit performance
> to be just phenomenal.  And of course Linux runs on the thing.
> But after reading about the Debian AMD64 port, I have some serious
> concerns.  As a disclaimer, I'm perfectly willing to accept that I'm
> missing some vital bit of knowledge here, but I can't see it at the
> moment.
> On the AMD64 Ports page[1], it says "a pure 64bit port seems to be
> academical and of little use."  I am totally shocked by that statement.
> The information I've seen suggests that the AMD64 is faster by no small
> margin when running 64-bit apps than 32-bit apps (on Linux).  Debian has
> run on 64-bit-only platforms for years (my Alpha is a prime example) and
> is a solid performer there, with the vast majority of packages working
> on 64-bit platforms unmodified at this point.
> The only reason I can see for even bothering to support 32-bit
> applications at all is for binary-only proprietary software.  And that
> is not such a concern; it takes all of about 10 minutes to set up a
> 32-bit chroot with debootstrap to run those things in.

That implies you have a kernel with 32bit emulation compiled in. So
you are running a biarch system and not pure 64bit.

> So it seems to me that the great benefit to many people of having a
> native 64-bit userland has been sacrificed for the questionable benefit
> of being able to run proprietary software without making a chroot.  I am
> still a little shocked about that.

Our big goal is to support A) pure 32bit i386, B) mixed 32/64 bit
i386/amd64 and C) pure 64bit amd64 userspace.

For some crucial things likes libc6 it doesn't look like we can get
rid of the 32bit flavour though. But apart from a bit of bloat here
and there nothing stands in the way of a pure 64 bit amd64
system (Except your time and willingness to port stuff).

> Can someone explain what is going on here?

Its a transition. Its all a mess untill stuff is cleaned up, things
have been tried and decided upon.


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