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Re: Help deciding whether to use the amd64 port



Dave Carrigan wrote:
>  - For servers, it is roughly as stable as i386 sid is, lacking some
>    unported applications like Java.
> 
>  - For workstations, some applications have problems - most notably
>    mozilla and its derivatives, and Openoffice.org porting efforts have
>    just begun. However, a growing number of people use this port on
>    their desktop system, and are really happy with it.
> 
> I occasionally use Java, I don't use Openoffice, and I regularly use
> Firefox.

These work fine with the /emul/ia32-linux chroot installed.  I
installed it as a full chroot system there and not as the library
package.  Either should work but I personally prefer the full chroot
since it is easier to get updated binaries in the chroot that way.

> Finally, I use VMWare a lot, primarily to run Windows XP, and
> occasionally other x86 operating systems (Win2K, Debian/Woody, etc.).

I have heard that vmware *might* be functional.  Out of your list of
things that sounds like the one most likely not to work.  If that is
important to you then I would investigate it in more detail.
Personally I don't use it and have no information on it.

> I am an experienced Unix/Linux admin, so things like chroots don't worry
> me.

With the /emul layer I don't need chroots.  Although the chroots are
useful for other purposes.

> I'm fairly certain that I could run VMWare in a chroot if I needed

I would suspect not.  But I don't know.

> to, but it's the Mozilla issues (whatever they are) that really worry
> me; I really don't want to run a core application like that in a chroot.

You might want to run system 64-bit mode but run mozilla in 32-bit
mode from the /emul layer.  Then you have a full choice of binary only
plugins.  The confusing part is that you have to install plugins in
the chroot and you might need symlinks to make things work.

Here is a note I posted some time ago about how I can run openoffice
in 32-bit mode on a 64-bit system.  It is one of the *other* 64-bit
systems but the information still applies.

  http://lists.debian.org/debian-ia64/2003/10/msg00034.html

> Based on that information, is Debian-AMD64 the right choice for me today,
> or should I wait a few more months?

It sounds to me like you are a good candidate to try it anyway.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.  I am sure you don't
need 64-bits on this box of yours but if you did not want to then you
would not be asking so you might as well try it.  I think if you can
get vmware running you will be happy with the system.  Of the things
you mentioned that was the only thing I would be concerned about.  The
worse that happens is that you decide to install the 32-bit
architecture later.  If you install the /emul ia32 system as a symlink
to a bootable partition then you can dual boot the machine right from
the start.

Bob

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