Promoting i386 version over x86_64?

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at
Tue Dec 8 19:02:46 UTC 2009

On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 12:47 PM, Ralf Corsepius <rc040203 at> wrote:
> That's one side, the other side is:
> * Larger demands on RAM (x86_64 is more demanding on memory
>  requirements).

Even if it were a full doubling (which is the absolute worst case
possible), it would only be pushing the effective cost of memory back
roughly 18 months or so. In reality the increase should be much less
than 2x.

> * More packages (rpms) to cope with.

Hmm?  I'm not sure what you're talking about there. It's completely
reasonable to run an exclusively x86_64 system. I don't see why it
implies any more packages.

> * The "faster" is hardly sensible to ordinary users.

You could equally say that the difference in memory consumption is not
relevant to most ordinary users.

Performance matters to everyone at least sometimes, but memory is only
a big issue when you don't have enough. I think very few people
running fedora are all that low on memory.

Fedora has already chosen to make the 32bit builds incompatible with
pre-686 systems for performance gains much smaller than you typically
get from x86_64 vs x86, so it seems that some people think that
performance is pretty important.

Even the most undemanding users care about performance in at least
some areas, for example on any given hardware x86_64 libtheora can
play larger videos than 32-bit. On some hardware x86_64 vs 32bit is
the difference between good and bad 1080p playback.

I think if your position is that most users don't care about
performance and other things (like compatibility) are more important
then you should strongly promote x86_64 Fedora for everyone who can
use it. If x86_64 fedora is widely used by those who can there will be
less pressure to put leading-edge but less compatible features into
the 32bit fedora build.

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