9 years ago
This seems to get a bit hairy in my experience. The 64 bit architecture sometimes seems a bit fragile when 32 bit libraries get involved, though I get the impression that this is being addressed Linux-wide as we speak.
If you add the Canonical repositories, for instance, you may install any of the 32 bit you like.
Just be careful with applications which deal with kernel modules, such as machine virtualization, etc.
@blueXrider: Thanks for the link! I hadn't run into the GTK+ issue they mentioned.
Anyway, I'd just like to have some way of accessing the 32-bit repositories from the 64-bit environment through Software Manager, Synaptic, aptitude, apt, etc. It'd also be good, I suppose, to have the things this post mentions done by default as well. But really, all I need is for the software/package managers to look through both 64- and 32-bit repositories, and if there are both versions of a package available, just use the 64-bit version (unless Force Version or whatever is selected), but when there is just a 32-bit version, make that available by default, and make it depend on the ia32-libs package.
@blueXrider: I guess don't see as much of a need for making 64-bit software compatible with 32-bit Linux, simply because I don't know of any 64-bit software that isn't already available in a 32-bit variety. Could you give me some examples of some 64-bit software that you'd like to run on a 32-bit Linux machine?
There are plenty of examples the other way around. If you compare the number of software packages available when using 32-bit Linux to those available when using 64-bit Linux, there are a fair bit more packages available in the 32-bit repositories than in the 64-bit repositories. I also constantly run into 3rd-party repositories that are only available on 32-bit.
Hardware-wise, it's easier to make 64-bit machines compatible with 32-bit software than the other way around. I'm not even sure that's possible at the moment, at least without a significant performance reduction.
@mikefreeman I can see your point, the difference in performance from 32bit to 64bit on my machine isn't noticeable because the memory is less than 4gb. However that said I can't use the 64bit software either.
What we need is 64bit software that is backward compatible to 32bit machines.
It's easier to make the hardware work with 64bit than than the software compatible I suppose.
@blueXrider: I guess I'm hoping for the best of possible outcomes here. Yes, I could run a pure 32-bit environment on my 64-bit computer. But, that would limit my processing power and memory (yes, on my machine there is a considerable speed increase on most software with 64-bit Linux). I would like to utilize the full processing and memory that my computer offers, without having a more limited software selection.
Yes, I would like to access all of the memory available, and no, I cannot load the 32-bit repositories in the software manager when I'm using a 64-bit environment. The software manager/apt only "sees" repositories labeled to match your environment.
Now, that said, I can load in the 32-bit libraries and install 32-bit debs with some level of compatibility, but it cannot be done completely through the software manager with repositories. And it's not something a new user should be expected to know how to do.
Any new machine the average person buys these days is going to have a 64-bit processor. Soon enough, 32-bit machines aren't going to exist (for the average desktop user) in any usable state. Are we still going to be running 32-bit Linux at that point? I mean, how many of us are still using a 16-bit or 8-bit machine today?
Why not focus more on improving our 64-bit environment to make it at least as complete as the 32-bit? We can start by making it able to *easily* install and run the software that still refuses to release in 64-bit (mostly proprietary, such as Flash, some games, etc.). That will help eliminate most of the users' excuses why not to use the 64-bit version, and it will be more widely adopted. Once that becomes a widely-used environment, then that said software will most likely begin releasing in 64-bit also, and this will all be a moot point.
Even though you run a 64bit machine doesn't mean you can't utilize 32bit programs. IE: I have a Toshiba Laptop with 64bit architecture however I run 32bit applications and a 32bit kernel. So what if I can't run 4GB of memory and blah blah. Point is it works just fine.
Is it not possible to load the 32bit repositories in the software manager?
If you are running a 64bit computer does that restrict you from the rest of the world?
i would bet the kernel settings are limiting the return on the repositories.