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Re: 64-bit transition deadline (Re: Etch in the hands of the Stable Release Managers)

On Mon, Apr 09, 2007 at 01:34:37PM -0400, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> > <quote from previous mail in debian-release>
> >   - Use win32 + PAE.  This allows your program to run in the vast majority
> >   of computers, and provides the biggest profit in the short term.  I hope
> >   this approach will be the most common, and expect it'll sustained for long.
> Limited to 2 or 3GB ram per application, even though the system itself can
> have more than 4GB ram.  Hardly a solution for a lot of applications.

You forgot the "+PAE" part.

> >   - Use a 64-bit platform.  Which one?
> >     - win64 is so utterly broken that none of the former win32 users wanted
> >     to migrate.  As a consequence, there's practicaly no userbase.
> Actually I wouldn't say win64 is broken, it just has a serious lack of
> drivers, which of course will continue as long as nobody is using it.
> If microsoft wanted to solve this they should mandate 64bit drivers
> along with 32bit drivers in order to certify a driver for vista.

They do that already, but it doesn't work for a lot of hardware:

  - old hardware that was already sold, and for which the vendor may not even
  exist anymore.
  - hardware from small vendors that can't afford the cost of certification.

The truth is, that there's a huge mass of unsupported hardware out there, and
nobody in the win* userbase is pushing for 64-bit drivers since they all use
win32.  Vendors just don't care unless MS forces them.  And even if they're
forced, they have no genuine interest in high-quality drivers, which may
result in unstability, etc.

The fact that Microsoft has chosen to remove win64 completely from the retail
boxes for Vista is very significative.

> > Those who go the PAE way are totaly irrelevant.  Someone (including microsoft)
> > is going to make a lot of profit exploiting the decadent 32-bit + pae market,
> > but sooner or later it'll collapse.
> > 
> > Those who go the "clean" 64-bit way will have to make a choice to determine
> > which will be the dominant OS on this new platform.  Their main concern will
> > be (as always has been) userbase.  If our userbase is bigger than win64's
> > (and that's not too hard), x86_64-linux-gnu will be stablished as the standard
> > system and the gradual replacement of 32-bit hardware will render microsoft
> > obsolete.
> > </quote>
> Well just because hardware is 64bit capable doesn't make it not 32bit
> capable, so obsolete may be too strong a word.

It doesn't really matter.  If we win the 64bit battle, when microsoft wants to
migrate to 64-bit, they'll find that this niche is already occupied, and that
the reference API is another one.  Then they can clone us if they want to try
something :-)

> > This date is easily predictable.  There won't be a "big" migration at that
> > time, but the decision of which will be the reference 64-bit platform will
> > be taken and set in stone.  After that, it doesn't matter how long it takes
> > this new platform to replace win32, if this platform is ours, we've already
> > won.
> Except the win64 platform does run win32 software, and backwards
> compatiblity has always won for some stupid reason.

Yes.  And we're backwards compatible (wine can run win32 binaries) too.  The
real problem is, can they be compatible with x86_64-linux-gnu api ?

> I just want a flash plugin that doesn't crash firefox all the time (so
> that pretty much means it can't be written by adobe obviously).

We'll surely have that for lenny. :-)

Robert Millan

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