Sunday, February 5, 2017

[When] are you moving to 64-bit?

This is a conversation I always wanted to respond to but I sort of missed my window.  As such, I decided to post here:

But that was about 3 years ago IIRC, so I'm curious about the reason(s) that make you stay in the 32-bit land as it's obvious that you'll have to struggle more and more against the flow? (source)

In fairness, there are still millions of perfectly good, plenty fast machines still in the 32-bit instruction set.

That said, I'm a bit of an outlier.  I'm running a 64-bit Mac with Windows in a 32-bit VM and I could conceivably switch or run a 64bit system right alongside the 32-bit (although that would be a bit of a pain).  The reason I'm keeping it at 32-bit in order to maintain compatibility with the many great programs we host here on the site that may or may not agree with a 64 bit API/handles and whatever compatibility layer Microsoft and Intel have tried to include.  I lost a few good programs when I bumped up from WinXP so I'm just dragging my heels.

With Linux, Google, and Apple, it's easy to recompile popular programs with minor modification because either the source code is open or owned by them.  However freeware projects that have been abandoned are out of luck.  I constantly see this happen in the Apple space, which is why I barely use my Mac.

Inevitably I'm going to have to move to 64-bit, especially as more and more development work is done to embrace available speed optimizations.  If that sounds silly, there are very few programs I've seen that embrace hyper-threading / SMP and those systems have been around for at least 20 years.


Update: on a related note, a privacy-based Linux distro is dropping 32-bit support.  When small projects move to 64-bit when their charter is around ease and accessibility, that's a good indicator.

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