Promoting i386 version over x86_64?

Ralf Corsepius rc040203 at
Wed Dec 9 05:51:59 UTC 2009

On 12/08/2009 08:02 PM, Gregory Maxwell wrote:
> 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.
Correct - I didn't say "twice", I only said "more".

On systems with smaller memory (or with soldered memory) this "more" can 
be the "drop" which may be responsible for exceeding memory demands to 
beyond physical memory and be the cause of swapping.

>> * More packages (rpms) to cope with.
> Hmm?  I'm not sure what you're talking about there.

x86_64 means coping with more packages in an installation (ca. 1/3 
more). This has an impact on maintenance complexity (parallel 
installation of i386 packages), on metadata sizes (yum bandwith 
demands), etc.

>> * 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.
No. At the very point a system starts swapping, memory consumption will 
become sensible.

> Fedora has already chosen to make the 32bit builds incompatible with
> pre-686 systems for performance gains
Yes, a decision I consider to be a Fedora managment mistake.

Seems to me, as if some people in Fedora's leadership don't want to 
understand that being able to deploy Linux on "old" or "recycled" 
hardware used to be one big selling point in Linux.

Certainly, Fedora devs tend to be equipped with modern HW, but it's a 
mistake to believe everybody is.

> 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.
Not quite. My position actually is: Most users don't care much about 
1-2% improved performance nor about improved internals (more registers 
etc.), as long as "their system" does what they want it to do.

That said, these users don't actually care about using 64bit or 32bit 
Linux, as long as "their applications" behave "reasonable" and as long 
as the OS is easy to use.

Or differently: I don't need a car with a 250kw engine and 7 seats to 
drive to the supermarket. My 8-years of VW Polo with its 50kW engine 
will also do ;)


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