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[K12OSN] Are You Ready for a 64-Bit PC?



There is an article at PCWORLD, "Are You Ready for a 64-Bit PC?" at 
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,111508,00.asp

Let me share some of my own thoughts on 64-bit computing in a school environment...

	What does 64-bit computing mean to schools?  Not really much on the desktop if your using Windows.  There will be no significant need for desktop 64-bit computing in a school environment because there is nothing imaginable in the forseeable future, in terms of teachers' and students' computer needs, that will require 64-bit CPUs and applications.  Graphics and video editing?  Not unless the school has a need to become a professional graphics house or a Hollywood-style special effects/animation facility.  No, these tasks can be be taken care of with today's plain vanilla 32-bit chips just fine.

	The 64-bit CPU may find its way into school database servers, where the level of processing power and large memory capabilities would be an advantage, but only in the largest school districts or at the state level.  The data processing needs of schools can just as well be done on less expensive 32-bit hardware and software.

	As I see it the only area where 64-bit computing could justify its existance on school servers would be in the area of terminal services.  64-bit terminal servers would be able to handle more client terminals per server.  Possibly more than enough to justify the extra expense.  This is assuming that software manufacturers bring out 64-bit versions of their terminal server operating systems and 64-bit versions of the major applications that would run on these OSes.  The terminal server environment would not require the upgrading of the desktop computer clients to the larger CPU, but they would benefit by the additional processing speed to handle terminal server requests and to allow more clients per server.

	If this commes to pass I  would think Microsoft would come out will this product if they saw enough market demand, or felt they could cultivate a rising demand.  On the other hand Linux is already well-placed for this eventuality.  Many productivity applications can be easily ported to a AMD-64 architecture.  Linux aleady supports both AMD and Intel 64-bit chips and I would imagine that it would not be difficult to port the LTSP package over to 64-bits.  Linux could be in the uniquie position of being able to have diskless low-end computers with minimal RAM or thin client terminal be able to run the latest 64-bit software via a Linux terminal server!  And because this software is open source there is no need to wait for a large software vendor like Microsoft to “get around” to creating the necessary software.  A small group of commited programmers who see the need can modify and create code as needed, without having  a project manager to wait for upper management's approval
 to  get her team working on the software.

Jim Anderson

"There is no such thing as perfection... only varying levels of pain."

Registered Linux user #269312
http://counter.li.org




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