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I've been trying to install a 32-bit app on my 64-bit Ubuntu Karmic box.

Whilst discussing it with a friend he stated that frankly 64-bit Ubuntu isn't quite ready in his opinion and I'd be better off going back to 32-bit. He cites stability as a prime concern.

Would you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?

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5 Answers 5

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This question has been asked in various forms on serverfault. Many of the issues that have plagued 64 bit linux for years (Especially with respect to Desktop linux) have been solved. Open source and commercial userland applications have been ported. It works relatively well. However, you should ask yourself why you are interested in 64 bit linux. With the exception of a few applications that need the 64bit addressing or are particularly ram intensive you will generally not see a performance increase with 64 bit code. In fact if anything the maturity and optimization of most of the 32 bit code out there is a strong argument for sticking with a 32 bit userland. I think claims about 64 bit instability are largely unfounded at this point (although historically accurate), but in my experience 32 bit is rock solid and the allure of 64 bit is fairly limited at this point in time.

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Fact is, if you don't have more then 4GB of ram, then you don't need 64bit. It's not worth the trouble.

From a stability perspective, I never had any trouble with a Ubuntu-Server 64bit. It ran great and never crashed once. Used the OS on a quad core xeon with 8 GB of ram. The system ran 7.10 and Vmware-server V1. Never had any problem with it! I cannot however, tell you about Ubuntu-Desktop 64bit. Never had it running in a production environment.

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The benefits of Ubuntu 64 vs Ubuntu 32 are marginal - maybe 5% increase in certain workloads and handle better more than 4 gigs of ram as stated before.

Unless You are into "squeeze-every-bit-out-of-machine" business or serious number crunching, always go with 32 bits.

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You didn't state this per se, but I'd like to point out that not getting an app to run is not a stability problem.

I've run 64 bit Ubuntu's for several years now. Stability has NEVER been a problem. The only problems I've had is with Firefox/Java integration and some video/codec issues.

Your 32 bit app will probably run OK once you have enough 32 bit libraries installed. :)

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I'm actually running 64-bit kubuntu and it runs fine. Kubuntu and Ubuntu are pretty much the same under the hood so if there are stabality issues it's going to be around the Gnome desktop... as for Kubuntu it's actually working very well for me at the moment.

As someone has mentioned before, there had been issues with Firefox etc... I agree with that. But, I haven't had any issues with it for some time, it just seems to be working now. I can't recall if I had to tweak some things to get that running smoothly or whether some recent updates have just fixed it.

Oh another issue I did have was with Sound. But again, I did some tweaking at some point and I haven't had issues since. Fresh installs might have cleaned that up too.

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