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A question about 32 bit programs, due to recent news


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#1 rp88

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 02:17 PM

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/05/linux_letting_go_32bit_builds_on_the_way_out/ I noticed the above headline, saying that ubuntu, and I guess shortly there-after ubuntu based systems, will be abandoning support for 32 bit programs. Does this mean that users of ubuntu based operating systems, for example linux mint, will no longer be able to run 32 bit windows exe file programs in wine, or does this only affect programs for linux running natively in linux? I ask this because I do use wine to run some 32 bit windows software, which works quite well. Will this no longer be possible on future linux mint versions? Thanks
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#2 DeimosChaos

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 02:24 PM

You should still be able to run 32 bit wine programs. As it is now, you can run 32bit in 64bit environments. Not sure if you will need to download anything extra, but I don't see why it won't still work.


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#3 mremski

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 03:21 PM

32bit runs just fine on a 64 bit processor, in a 64 bit environment (most of the time you could actually load up a  32 bit OS on a 64 bit CPU no problem).

 

Worst case is you need to download "32 bit compatibility libraries".  I know, "what the heck does that mean"?

 

A program is a binary image, compiled and linked against libraries, say libc.  If you compile in a 64 bit environment, natively (producing a 64 bit executable), you link against 64 bit libraries.  An image (program/executable)built in a 32 bit environment will link against 32 bit libraries.  So if you run a 32bit image in a 64bit environment, it looks for the 32 bit version of libraries.   If you don't have them, the program won't run.  In RedHat/CentOS/Fedora land, the 32 bit libs are "i686", the 64 bit ones are "x64", so you can simply install the i686 version of the rpms.  Debian/Ubuntu/etc are probably similar.

 

Windows exe files, run against Wine;  Wine is a "system emulator".  The Windows exe puts out a syscall like "open file", Wine traps that and it gets translated to the underlying Linux syscall, so a 32 bit exe is probably already getting translated to a 64 bit Linux syscall.

 

The reason is for support;  search here and you'll find more than a few discussions about 32 bit systems going away (they are except for maybe embedded stuff) and it makes sense to drop the support at some point (think of how long it took to drop Windows XP).

 

I know this is probably more than you wanted to read, but if you understand the underlying stuff, you'll be better off in the long run.  

 

Oh and it makes you think I know what I'm talking about.

 

;)


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#4 MadmanRB

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:57 AM

Just use a distro thatr supports it.

Currently Manjaro is a good option


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#5 cat1092

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 06:15 AM

Canonical should had thought long & hard about the 32 bit situation more seriously before releasing 16.04, just as they did in regards to AMD GPU support & dropped the hammer prior to the Previews. 

 

Hopefully 16.10 & above will address the issue. It costs corporations of all brands of OS's to produce 32 bit software. As far as that goes, most modern smartphones are 64 bit, so we sure shouldn't be releasing new 32 bit OS's for computers. However, this doesn't prevent running supported (or unsupported) 32 bit OS's on any 32 bit computer, as well as many 64 bit ones. It's just that UEFI nor GPT support is available for 32 bit OS's, so it's a waste of time to bother. 

 

It's just time to pull the plug, and it's a matter of time before one side or the other (Android/Linux/Mac/Windows) pulls the plug, and a domino effect will take place. Hail to the leader who first pulls the trigger! :bowdown:

 

It seems that all are standing around & see who is the first to do so. In the meantime, hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted in the upkeep of these, so someone with backbone has to make the call. Probably in time to come, those who upgraded to Windows 10 on 32 bit computers will be among the first 'victims' of the eventual death of 32 bit computing. Many of the same that are crying foul today are the same that also did with 16 bit computing, and to a lesser degree, 8 bit, their cries fell on deaf ears. Though 32 bit computers can still run 16 bit software, just as 64 bit computers can run 32 bit, so it's not like there's no avenues to run 32 bit software if needed. Ubuntu 14.04 & derivatives are supported until April 2019, 12.04 is still supported until April 2017, so really it's no big deal for at least three more years on the Linux end. 

 

Eventually even if a particular OEM doesn't pull the trigger...... technology itself will, and make the world a safer place for all. Many older machines cannot even connect to the Internet because the lack of drivers, and possibly the way of design (mainly 'dial-up' days). There are a few select ISP's who offers this service with one catch.......one still has to have a modern browser to get outside, unless the user has the DOS skills needed to browse via cmd, and I'm not certain if this is possible. This presents yet another issue, browser support for 32 bit, it's costly, and as time passes, more will drop out. Some plugins like Java dropped out on the day of EOL of XP, which many others should had done along with them in a joint venture to force XP users to move away. Fortunately, before long, vendors whom distributes software for Windows users will have to do so on .NET Framework 4.6.2 (in Preview), and this will mean no new software for XP users, and some security offerings has already dropped away. 

 

Things will be no different with Linux, though the one advantage is the open source community, many who works at no charge, will try & preserve 32 bit for as long as feasible. 

 

One can also check the various legit stat counters (am not speaking about DistroWatch)......& see first hand that with every passing month, 32 bit computers on the Internet are dropping at alarming rates compared to 2-3 years back. So like it or not, get used to more of the same. 64 bit computing is at least officially 11 years old (considering the release of XP x64), so it's not like there was 'no time' to prepare. There was also the unpopular 64 bit release of Vista 9 years ago, that officially made 64 bit computing available to the masses, and many voluntarily rejected it, 'afraid of change', along with various excuses. Even with the releases of Windows 7 & 8, there were many asking 'should I install 32 or 64 bit?', really if their computer supported 64 bit, this was an outright dumb question that should had been kept to themselves. 

 

The question was akin to having a high performance sports vehicle, a Mustang, Ferrari, any such model & asking 'should I run regular unleaded or premium unleaded', to which the answer was obvious. 

 

Even Ubuntu, with the release of 12.04 LTS over 4 years back, encouraged users with 64 bit hardware to go with the 64 bit version, as did Clement Lefebvre with Linux Mint 13 LTS. The writing was all over the wall & people still was either 'afraid of change', didn't know how to 'get with the times' & other lame excuses. We no longer live in that era, and it's high time to get in tune with the times or get left behind, and that'll be the choice of the user. Then when cut off (which for many, will be required) people will be more than happy to adapt, just as they did with 32 bit when 16 bit was officially declared 'dead'. And then wonder 'why didn't I do this a long time ago?' :P

 

There are even some organizations giving away computers to the needy.......former 64 bit business/corporate computers with real trusted platform modules (TPM) that will encrypt one's drives by hardware encryption, much tougher to crack than software by far. Plus there's many on eBay for $100 or less shipped, with a 64 bit OS installed & COA, or in some cases, a Linux version, usually Ubuntu or Linux Mint, these can often be upgraded with low cost components on eBay.....except RAM, it often costs less new on Newegg than used on eBay. Many will also run a low cost SSD for even greater performance. There are numerous reasons to look ahead..........far many more than living in the past. :)

 

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Edited by cat1092, 11 July 2016 - 06:17 AM.

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#6 rp88

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 02:48 PM

I don't personally mind the end of 32 bit operating systems, I typing from 64 bit live linux mint right now, and I use 64 bit windows 8.1 also. What I am concerned about is making sure that I can still keep using 32 bit programs under 64 bit operating systems, that has gone fine until now, just wanted to try to understand if that headline meant that the end was coming for 32 bit programs or 32 bit operating systems or both.
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#7 DeimosChaos

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 02:58 PM

Yeah you'll still be able to run the 32 bit programs on the 64 bit machine. Though there probably won't be much 32 bit around for too much longer... We already saw Google kill its 32 bit chrome browser. I'm sure other companies will follow as well. Sooner rather than later there won't be anyone making anything 32 bit, it will all be 64.


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#8 rp88

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 03:04 PM

Sorry, further clarification, the 32 bit programs I'm concerned about keeping running are ones I already have. They're not the sort of programs that need updating, they're 3d and graphics programs. I keep the installer exe files safe and to hand so I can install them onto any system I need to at any time I need to, I'm just checking that in future systems should still be compatible for this.
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#9 DeimosChaos

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 03:20 PM

I figured they were programs you already had. Was just expanding a bit. Again, you will be good for a while yet. I don't think they will completely stop letting 64 bit OSes run 32 bit programs, at least for the time being.


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#10 cat1092

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 03:09 AM

Actually, any 'killing' of 32 bit software on 64 bit OS's began long ago with Linux OS's, with a few exceptions (some 64 bit apps still requires 32 bit dependencies). 

 

Linux based OS's has been pushing 64 bit software (especially browsers which are easily seen), while with Windows, to this day, 32 bit is the standard for browsers, although there are optional 64 bit versions of both Mozilla Firefox & Google Chrome. There is indeed a notable performance difference, especially on Linux, plus the browser itself is more secure, taking advantage of the hardware security that 32 bit CPU's has never offered. 

 

 

 

Sorry, further clarification, the 32 bit programs I'm concerned about keeping running are ones I already have. They're not the sort of programs that need updating, they're 3d and graphics programs. I keep the installer exe files safe and to hand so I can install them onto any system I need to at any time I need to, I'm just checking that in future systems should still be compatible for this. 

 

rp88, I knew that you have a few programs to preserve & should be able to for some time to come. Even if you have to run these within a 32 virtual machine, though I believe that'll be some time away. One thing to keep in mind, as long as 32 bit OS's are released with 5 years of support (on the Linux end), you're good. If these are designed to run on Windows, while they can 'pull the plug' on 32 bit OS's, there's still the WoW layer to work with, this is how 32 bit software runs on 64 bit OS's, how 16 bit software (still used by some) ran on 32 bit OS's, and to a much lesser degree, 8 bit programs running on 16 bit OS's. Though we know for certain the latter hasn't been supported for years (probably longer than a decade). 

 

Either way, you'll have an option to run these for probably quite some time to come. If these are Windows apps, on that OS, type in the Start Menu w/out the quotes 'Turn Windows features on or off' and a small box will appear on the screen, place a check in the .NET Framework 3.5 (including 2.0) box, though not any sub entries. This allows you (for now) to get updates for these. 

 

On WINE is where I'm uncertain, because have found it to be not as reliable as a virtual machine, and opens a gaping security hole of the Linux OS that no Firewall can block. Every one I tried had IE6/IE7 browsers, and we know how secure that is. Am not sure if there's a Windows 7 version of WINE yet, though there needs to be, XP is no longer 'cool' to run & we're way ahead of the year 2001 when it was released. 

 

One thing that you can do, if you have a working Windows computer that's running these apps, is to (legit) create a virtual machine out of the OS, using the updated Disk2vhd app freely available from Microsoft, you'll need a Tutorial on how to do this (as do I) & then run the physical machine as a virtual one with VirtualBox or VMware Workstation Player on Linux. The catch to this though, is that the OS cannot be used anymore on the physical computer (example, I have backups of two long dead computers & want to do the same with one). While I could install the one I want (Windows 7) in a physical machine where the hardware brands are identical (mostly all AMD) & reactivate (when asked how many machines it's been on by the automated assistant, the magical word is 'one'), there's already enough W7 installs around here. My thinking is to preserve the clean reinstall of the OS now for offline use post EOL, the other I'm uncertain with bothering with. 

 

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx

 

Any of the OS's I'm now running can be done so post EOL in a VM on Linux, by staying offline, probably will be safe for a few months afterwards. While any OEM machines will have to be converted with the Disk2vhd app, Full version licenses can be clean installed to a VM running in Linux & since the VM client supplies the drivers, all we need to do is update the machines. At or after EOL, someone will post an unofficial rollup of all of the updates similar to a SP & it's executed by either slipstreaming into the media (best option) or by an .exe file, slower yet all will be there. This is the way it's been with every EOL OS I've ran since W2K, and expect the trend to continue. 

 

So you'll likely be able to run the apps that's important to you until you either find a replacement, or become tired of running these. My suspicion is the latter, there'll be an option for as long as you desire to run these, and though there's been talk about 128 bit computing (which surely would drive the final nail in the coffin for 32 bit anything), the fact is, unless very young, like less than 20 years old, chances are one will never see a 128 bit CPU on the Home level, because many developers are just catching up with writing 64 bit software after being on the market for over a decade. Plus the chance of running out of digital fingerprints for 64 bit CPU's in the next 100 years are slim, some says 200 years, so there's no rush to issue an upgrade for what's not needed. 

 

Servers can run multiple CPU's (some boards I've seen on eBay has room for 4 Xeons), though this doesn't equate a 256 bit CPU. Just four powerful 64 bit CPU's humming along together. :thumbsup:

 

Chances are, if you should have any (now or in the future), your grandchildren will be able to run the software choices you're speaking of w/out issue. :)

 

Cat


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