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Do we need a "normal" 32bit release?


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#1 Jeff

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 04:31 PM

As I spend time rolling ISO images over and over again for the upcoming 4.1.0 release - I got to thinking - Do we really need the normal / PAE 32bit release still? Once upon a time 32bit was ideal because most software was built for it, but this is becoming less true and if anything is just wrong at this point in desktop Linux. Most 3rd party software supports 64bit at this point - in fact some like Google Chrome only support 64bit.

Is there a reason to keep spending time and bandwidth on a normal 32bit release? 

Please note I am not talking about cutting 32bit support all together - the Legacy ISO image with a non-PAE kernel is 32bit and will remain part of our releases. I am just wondering if there are still compelling cases for systems that need a PAE kernel, but cannot run a 64bit operating system. Also the 4.1.0 release will have all 5 ISO images just like our last few, just thinking ahead for future releases.

 

Thoughts?





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#2 DeathKitten

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 05:48 PM

I was recently annoyed because a chat program I use regularly kept me waiting and waiting for a linux client, and I'd been stuck using their limited web browser version or my android phone app. When they finally released I found only a 64bit.version available, and a dismissal of 32bit as being a waste of their developer's time.

 

This thought process seems to be more and more common as companies that aren't acclimated to the open source ecosystem dismiss legacy support more and more. They're used to the windows world where you can't have a functional computer for more than a couple years before you need to replace it -- either because you bought low end because cheap, or because you need it for gaming, or heavy graphics and video editing, and will hand the old machine down to family/friends when you upgrade every couple years. So the idea of a computer that's a decade old being used as a daily machine is foreign to them... they see it as a waste of resources to bother to support it, because of course profit drives all.

 

Do you have logs to show how many times the 32bit version has been downloaded on the last release compared to 64bit and legacy? I mean, people may come along with a good argument for you to keep doing it, but in reality it's a question of balancing between demand and what you have time for. The demand may be a little skewed towards legacy support here because you're focused on lightweight and open options, but the reality is these big boys from outside the open source world are coming in and changing the demand by only offering their wares on 64bit.

 

The other thing to consider... is there anything on your to do list that you just feel like you don't have time for, but if you weren't packaging this 32bit version, you might have time for now?



#3 Jeff

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 06:01 PM

We are talking more than a few years though here right? How long have 64bit processors existed now - a decade or more? I know there are still systems out there that work which are bit 64bit, that is why I am going to keep the legacy image for sure. The question is are there systems that specifically need a PAE enabled by default 32bit release?

Our 32bit release sees about 25% less downloads than the 64bit release, but we also currently recommend the 32bit release if users are unsure which disc to download. I think I am going to change the recommendation on our site to 64bit and see how that changes the download numbers moving forward.



#4 oblio2231

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 06:12 PM

It seems like narrowing things down would allow a more focused development and support effort.  Despite the wording to "use 32 bit if unsure..." I have found myself gravitating toward the 64 bit releases figuring, "My system is 64 bit, why not utilize it?"

 

There are still plenty of systems out there that are 32 bit, but the same goes for ARM, etc.  Unfortunately it is hard to support ALL software.  

 

This is a difficult discussion...


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#5 Astroboy

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 06:13 PM

I don't know if the situation is better in other countries, but here the schools that are lucky enough to have computers, most are old and not ideal to run 64 bit systems.

 

Is not only that a processor can support 64 bit architecture. Trouble is that even with 64-bit support via CPU, the computers may have around 512 or 1 GB of RAM. Running a 64-bit version OS with low amounts of RAM is painfully slow, even for Bodhi... 64-bit is ideal for computers with 4 GB or more RAM which, believe it or not, is still a luxury in many places, and we cannot ask in public settings to buy more RAM as they are financially strained.

 

Google Chrome discontinued 32-bit support, but Chromium didn't drop that support.

 

The number of downloads may be some indicator, but is not a mirror of reality. I download a Bodhi 32-bit version just one time, and that 32-bit version has been installed in tens of thousands computers via Escuelas Linux.



#6 Jeff

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 06:29 PM

I guess the other question would be Astroboy - are these computers really needing a bleeding edge / current Linux kernel or do they have more than 4gigs of RAM? Otherwise the Legacy image is exactly the same as the 32bit release - just a different kernel.



#7 Astroboy

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 06:48 PM

I think the kernel version may be the same for the 32 and the 64 bit editions. We hadn't notice slowdowns for using newer kernel versions included in Bodhi 32-bit. It's just that 64-bit architecture is way more resource hungry than their 32-bit cousin, even in the same kernel version.

 

How time flew! I remember a thread here in which you were asking if producing a 64-bit version of Bodhi was worth it. A lot of people thought it wasn't necessary, as 64-bit was a resource hog and not compatible with the frugal Bodhi mindset; that 64-bit was slower to run everyday apps, and was only needed for very specialized tasks, like rendering videos. In time we saw it was a good decision to include 64 bit support, as it was a requirement to be able to support UEFI computers later.



#8 oblio2231

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 07:41 PM

The number of downloads may be some indicator, but is not a mirror of reality. I download a Bodhi 32-bit version just one time, and that 32-bit version has been installed in tens of thousands computers via Escuelas Linux.

If only schools and governments **cough, cough - US** would more openly accept open source.  I have been pushing at work to promote this...I have succeed in getting several Rasp Pis put into use in our production environment, which is nice I suppose, but far from widespread/large scale.

 

It's just crazy reading about how much of the world is adopting open source, governments offices or otherwise and yet here the US is...

 

Do schools in Mexico really openly embrace Linux?  Exciting and awesome news if so!


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#9 Astroboy

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 08:25 PM


Do schools in Mexico really openly embrace Linux?  Exciting and awesome news if so!

 

Nah, only one state (Zacatecas) has a Free Software Law, and has our "Escuelas Linux" (translated Linux schools) distribution at the ministry of education. We have installed it in hundreds of schools in our state (and has been downloaded from 93 countries!), but in our local schools is not by force of law, all the schools in our state that use Escuelas Linux is for their own will. Of course, there are a lot of schools using Linux in other states, but as isolated efforts, not as a government or system-wide policy yet.



#10 BeGo

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 06:13 AM

For this question,

 

I vote for, no, it is redundant with legacy system, essentially targeting the same installations.

 

Just [64 bit] and [32 bit - legacy] is enough. ;)



#11 gohlip

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 06:36 AM

Just 64 bits is good enough. Don't know any people using 32 bits nowadays. The old computer I'm using is 64 bits.

People throwing out old computers are 64 bits (that's how I got mine (I've 3 other newer systems)).


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#12 BALLOON a.k.a. Fu-sen.

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 09:12 AM

I have seen a distribution that separates the non-pae and pae kernels with boot menu.

Does it lead to mitigation of the build process?


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#13 DaveL60

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:01 PM

32-bit non-PAE is fine for me, but I'd hate to see a complete absence of a 32-bit version (64-bit OS with only 2GB RAM yields poor performance). 



#14 bob rashkin

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 12:35 PM

Just out of curiosity, how does one tell if his platform will support a 64-bit system. That is, my desktop is a refurbished Dell Optiplex that I bought from Walmart. I have only Bodhi 32-bit on it. Is there a command, or some page in the BIOS that will tell me if I can install the 64-bit version?


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#15 gohlip

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 02:28 PM

http://askubuntu.com...or-64-or-32-bit


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#16 bob rashkin

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 03:25 PM

Thanks, @gohlip. I ran lscpu and got 

...

CPU op-mode(s):        32-bit, 64-bit

...

So I assume that means I can run either.
 
Who knew!

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#17 ghostler

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 06:58 PM

Hello Jeff,

 

I am new to Bodhi. I've been using Linux since the late 1990's, starting out with Red Hat 6.0, SuSE 5.3 and Corel Linux 1.0. When Loki Games was still active, found the stability in Linux unsurpassed when compared with Microsoft Windows 95, 98. My son would play Heroes of Might and Magic 3.0 for hours without crashing. We also had the Windows version, the system would mysteriously crash after 40 minutes of play. Because Linux ran so well, my son could get in before others and host games. We tired from lack of sleep rather than frustration from system instability. :D All my computers are dual boot except for ASUS 701SD, Windows only used for specific websites that require it for example, updating my GPS and Windows specific plug-ins (which is becoming rarer day by day) and a few speciality apps that there are no Linux counterparts.

 

How I found your distro is through an ixquick search. (I rarely use Google and others due to privacy concerns. <_< ) A little about myself, I'm a long term musician and use my legacy ASUS 701SD netbook as an MP3 player for backing tracks as my band through a portable powered 15" PA speaker for my jazz sax playing. The ASUS has an excellent A to D converter, but is limited on resources with 512 MB RAM, Intel Celeron M353 900 MHz CPU and a 4 GB SSD. With Audacious it does a decent job as an MP3 player front end. I use a 16 GB thumb drive to contain the backing tracks. The SSD makes it ideal as it can take travel and stage knocks without problems.

 

I was using various lightweight versions of Ubuntu, latest Lubuntu 16.04 LTS. It worked, because it has the alternate version, which allows me to install through a text interface. The 701SD has a limited 800x480 pixel screen, graphic version does not allow me to select 640x480, so I can't see the bottom of the screen. However, with limited 4 GB SSD, growth of the kernel and basic bundled apps in the latest downloads no longer allow me to update without creatively deleting files I supposedly do not need without Synaptic wanting to delete the XFCE desktop. I've run out of space. (The 701SD, the earlier version I have has a hardware / firmware bug that does not allow me to use a partition (not even Linux formatted! :ph34r: on a thumb drive or SD card to expand the physical system hard disk space.)

 

Thus, I plan to give your legacy version a shot with my 701SD, will let you know how it goes. As far as retaining a 32 bit PAE version, as long as you continue to support the non-PAE legacy will help out people like myself with older systems.



#18 Jeff

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 07:22 PM

Yes, as I mentioned the Legacy disc will remain as long as Ubuntu compiles 32bit packages.

#19 JollyRoger

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 07:27 PM

I have two old laptops running Bodhi 4.0, both with 1 gb of RAM. I have installed the 32-bit version on one and the 64-bit version on the other. Both have the same processor speed. The 32-bit version runs fantastically well, but the 64-bit version is so sluggish that today I decided to ditch the 64-bit version and install on it the latest Bodhi 4.1 32-bit version. It now runs much better with 32-bits.

 

So old computers with limited RAM run much better with the 32-bit version, even if they support 64-bit - as Astroboy pointed out in a previous post. So thanks, Jeff, for promising to keep the Legacy version for as long as possible.

 

By the way, Bodhi 4.1 32-bit is running well - brilliant work, many thanks. There's just one small issue, which I'll cover in a Feedback post.



#20 The waiter

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 07:58 PM

Although I use only 64 bit version of Bodhi Linux, I think the 32 bit should be present in the future. Mainly because of declaration, the Bodhi Linux is lightweight and suitable for old computers. I can see some distributions are only in 64 bit version (LXLE). Having 32b Bodhi can be a nice advantage and good feature for people who want the resurrection of their old PC. 






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