"Trivial Question" - 32bit vs. 64bit vs. 32/64bit
I currently have a fully functional (and I'd like to keep it that way) SMP x86
box (Abit BP6); it's been running Debian testing for several years. Come the
beginning of next week, I'm going to swap out the motherboard, CPU & RAM for
a single proc Opteron based system (Asus SK8V).
I have read/skimmed the AMD64 Debian HOWTO, but still don't know the answer to
the general question: Do I want a "pure" 64 bit system, or not? It seems
like there's a 32 bit "compatibility" mode (that had a root exploit), but I
don't know how that works (generally speaking). Do I have to keep around a
whole separate /lib32 directory (as opposed to a /lib64 one)? How would I go
about running GL games, like Quake, Critical Mass and Return to Castle
Wolfenstein? Does ALSA work in 64 bits? Do nVidia's video drivers?
Applications aside, I thought the Opteron could run either 32bit stuff or
64bit stuff natively. If this is so, then why does there need to be a
software compatibility mode?
Can someone please help me out with some of the basics of migrating to 64bits?
I promise I'll try to generate some sort of document to help out others
(suitable for addition to the HOWTO).
Thanks in advance.