Processors

64 Bit Linux: the good the bad the flash-less


Recently I assembled a 64 Bit system thrilled to be able to run Fedora Core in 64 bit mode (if for any other reason than to be able to say "I'm running 64 bit Linux".) 

After much sweating (after having to exchange a bad motherboard) the machine was done and ready. I had already downloaded the ISOs and was ready to go.

I put in the first CD and started the install. The installation was flawless! And finally I had 64 bit Linux running and it was running quite well. Graphics were snappy (even though the graphics chip was on board 64 MB nvidia 6100). Sound was good. Applications opened quickly and closed cleanly. It seemed to me Linux on the 64 bit architecture was (as The Cars said) "just what I needed."

But then the bottom dropped out. During the configuration of the desktop (this was a desktop machine) two things happened. First: I couldn't install the Enlightenment Desktop Environment. Second: Flash would not work.

Believe me, I tried to over come these issues. I did everything I could to get Enlightenment to install but the make file wouldn't (no matter what I did) recognize imlib2. And flash - well that's an even bigger nightmare. The closest thing I could find for a solid solution was to attempt to install the 32 bit version of Firefox and then install flash. Did that - but no matter what I did (even removing the 64 bit version and installing the 32 bit version), flash would not work.

I know - most would say these aren't good reasons to drop 64 bit Linux. But they were. Over the years I've tried every desktop environment known to Linux land, and Enlightenment is the tops for me. I really enjoy using this DE. It's fast, it's clean, it's HIGHLY configurable, and it suits me to a "T". I like it so much that I don't enjoy working within KDE or GNOME (or Windows or OS X for that matter).

And flash? Well that causes a bit of a problem. I use and visit a TON of sites that require flash. It's hard to think of using a browser that's not flash compatible.

And it's that last bit that throws me. 64 bit Linux has been around for quite some time. And 64 bit architecture has really come a long way. With the advent of the dual core processors that have sprouted up all over the stores - it amazes me that Macromedia has NOT worked harder to get this running.

Do it. Macromedia - you have an incredible product. But you're keeping a lot of people from taking advantage of the advancements of PC hardware. I don't want to be stuck in i386 land forever! And as soon as flash becomes readily available in 64 bit mode (and I can get enlightenment working in 64 bit), I'll be switching back.

Until then - I'm working in 32/24/7. 

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

9 comments
vicpullen
vicpullen

Flash does not make a 64 bit version to date, to my knowledge. I'm running Window XP X64 and have the same problem.

kvo
kvo

I am using SuSE 10.2 x86_64. Installation was smooth, Firefox 32-bit and Flash 32-bit were selected automatically and everything works! So, it is problems of Fedora. Also, shame on Mozilla and Adobe, for not providing 64-bit versions of the applications. 64-bit version isn't useless for client computer, it gives about 15% increasing in speed of running programs (just recompile application with 64-bit aware compiler, like Intel 9.x for EM64T).

eliwap
eliwap

Try nspluginwrapper from http://gwenole.beauchesne.info/projects/nspluginwrapper/ It works well in getting 32bit flash plugin to work with 64 bit firefox and konqueror.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Flash is used only for advertisements. no REAL content is ever in flash. Firefox, the second worst browser available [ the worst being the one Firefox is a clone of, IE ] but you couldn't install enlightenment? tat is a serious issue. I'll be seeing if I can build enlightenment from sources on my dual core 64 bit system. and I'll edit sources to get it to work if I have to. [ then submit the diffs to the enlightenment dev team. ]

jlwallen
jlwallen

jaqui, were you ever able to get enlightenment installed on the 64 bit FC6?

Jaqui
Jaqui

since I don't use it. I use Linux From Scratch and am still building the system, haven't yet gotten to the point of putting a gui on it.

stress junkie
stress junkie

Your experience reflects many comments that I've heard about 64 bit Linux. It seems to me that 64 bit Linux is good for environments with limited function such as servers. I've been told that there is no speed advantage to using 64 bit Linux compared to the 32 bit version. The one and only advantage of using 64 bit Linux, as far as I know, is that it has a better memory management system. The 32 bit Linux kernel manages memory much like the MS-DOS v3 LIM Extended Memory Management System. The difference being that in MS-DOS the memory boundary was 1 MB while in 32 bit Linux the memory boundary is 1 GB. So, if you have more than 1 GB of RAM then 32 bit Linux acts like MS-DOS v3 regarding memory management. I don't know if this idiotic system is used in 64 bit Linux. I can only hope that it is not. (I know some people will want to correct my description of the MS-DOS LIM EMS system by saying that the memory boundary was 640 KB. Okay. That was how it appeared to the end computer user so let's say that it was 640 KB.)

dawgit
dawgit

You have to go to Adobe now for flash. I was having a little fit also with the 'new' flash plug in. I gues I wasn't the only one because just today they have a new flash for Linux. It comes in two flavors, one of which is a RPM. quick, easy, done. I can't say if the had perfected a 64 bit version yet. (sorry, I wasn't looking.) There will always be a few hic-ups, but if you need, and can use it the 64 bit does out proform all the rest. Try again when you get a chance. -d