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Re: Urgent! Questions/Confirmations concerning *Debian 7.7.0 amd64* before I install it.

On Mon, Dec 08, 2014 at 07:26:41AM +0000, Shio Gai Quek wrote:
>    Dear All
>    My name is Quek from Malaysia. I am now downloading Debian 7.7.0 amd64.
>    Right now my workstation uses w****** 7 ultimate 64bit, with one(1) CPU
>    (Core i7-4770K), and 32GB of RAM.
>    I need your help!
>    Before I decide to install it for my upcoming "compute-server" and
>    possibly even my current workstation,
>    I need to confirm with ALL the following:
>    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>    1. According to: https://www.debian.org/ports/amd64/
>        It appears to me that Debian 7.7.0 amd64 supports up to 64TB of RAM,
>    which is much more than even the 192GB limit for
>        w******. -------- Kindly confirm.

This appears to be the case. At the moment, amd64 processors only have
48-bit address busses. 2^46 is ~256TiB. However, due to the memory
architecture, 64TiB is the limit of physical RAM supported by linux (you
can add to that a further ~64TiB of swap, as the kernel can address
128TiB of virtual memory).

>    2. According to: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ubuntu-spyware.html
>        It appears to me that some GNU OS has this annoying problem, how about
>    Debian 7.7.0 amd64?

Ubuntu (or rather, Canonical) are a commercial entity. It is in their
interests to make money from their users. Debian is a loose organisation
committed to the "Social Contract" and the DFSG (https://www.debian.org/social_contract)
which, among other things, states "Our priorities are our users and free

>    3. According to: https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html
>        It appears to me than some of the features in the firmware/repository
>    are not free. Therefore, during installation of Debian 7.7.0 amd64,
>             a. "the installer in some cases recommends these nonfree firmware
>    files for the peripherals on the machine."
>                  Will I be given the choice not to install those nonfree
>    features?

That's true. There is a screen in the installer where you are asked if
you'd like to include non-free software. Note, however, that Debian is
sometimes viewed as "not free enough" in some quarters; you can install
free software which requires non-free services to operate, you can install
free software which depends on non-free software (for example, there are
"downloader" packages whose sole purpose is to install non-free software
such as Adobe Flash). You are, of course, free to *not* install these
and, in many cases, functional alternatives are available.

>             b.  If I do so,   i.  Will it affect the performance of the OS?

It depends on the hardware. Some graphics cards will not fully
accelerate without proprietary firmware. Some network cards, too, have
issues when running without firmware.

>                                 ii. Will the maximum supporting RAM remains
>    64TB?


>                                iii.  Will I still benefit from ALL advantages
>    amd64 offers, as stated in "A complete 64bit userland" of
>                                     site https://www.debian.org/ports/amd64/?

Yes. All these points are features of the CPU which won't need non-free
firmware to work.

>    4. According to http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/7.7.0/amd64/iso-dvd/ ,
>        There are 5 isos (which I am downloading)
>        "Debian-7.7.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso            2014-10-18 15:39  3.7G  "
>        "Debian-7.7.0-amd64-DVD-2.iso            2014-10-18 15:39  4.4G  "
>        "Debian-7.7.0-amd64-DVD-3.iso            2014-10-18 15:39  4.4G  "
>        "Debian-update-7.7.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso 2014-10-19 02:16  4.2G  "
>        "Debian-update-7.7.0-amd64-DVD-2.iso 2014-10-19 02:19  1.6G  "
>         Which of them is/are mandatory for installation of Debian 7.7.0
>    amd64?
>        (Note: Please do NOT direct me to the net-installer! I need a robust
>    DVD file than enables me to install it offline! Moreover,
>         this compute-server may not be connected to the internet)

DVD-1 will be enough to install a desktop system. The packages on the
DVDs are sorted by popularity, so DVD-1 should give you all you need in
most cases, DVD-2 may well be more useful to you for installing your
compute-server tasks. If in doubt, though, take a look at the list files
(http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/7.7.0/amd64/list-dvd/) for contents
of each disc. The update DVDs should not be needed, as they are for
updating from Debian 7.6 to Debian 7.7.

>    5. Some Server OS (such as w****** server standard), supports only few
>    (e.g. less than 4) CPUs.
>        Some others (such as w****** server datacenter), supports "infinite"
>    CPUs.
>        So how about Debian 7.7.0 amd64?

I believe Debian limits this to 8 with a default kernel. However, you
can recompile the kernel to raise the limit to 4096 (or 8192 with a
newer kernel).

>    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>    Hope to hear from you soon.
>    Regards
>    Quek

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