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Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why itís Important


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#1 NickAu

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 04:21 PM

 

One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (IA-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

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#2 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 06:17 AM

Mm. Yeah. That kind of assumes, of course, that everybody has the spare cash lying around to purchase another machine.....even if it's second-hand.

 

Not everyone is that fortunate.....and the article clearly states that in the developing world, 32-bit hardware is still common, with 64-bit gear being the exception to the rule. (And there's still more folks in the developing world than there are in the 'developed' one.)

 

Of course, there's others (like yours truly) who simply enjoy messing around with older hardware, despite its limitations.....as well as refusing to add to the world's landfill problems. Which is where a lightweight OS like Puppy helps, a great deal.....

 

Must be nuts..!!

 

(At this point, I'm now expecting a long dissertation from Cat on the benefits of 64-bit, why it's so much better, and how we can all afford it if we budget carefully..... :rolleyes: :lol: )

 

(Don't worry; we luv ya really, Cat..! :P)

 

I still say what I've been saying for years, however; older gear (including 32-bit stuff, naturally) was just built so much better.....usually, before this current obsession by the manufacturers with 'built-in obsolescence' surfaced.

 

The old P4-based Dell lappie is 15 yrs old now.....and still going strong. (I don't count stuff like the mishap with the keyboard.....that was my own fault!) The guts of the thing are still running sweetly, and that's the bit that counts. Peripherals can always be replaced.....and if it's a bit on the 'slow & stately' side, what of it? Being semi-retired, I'm in no hurry these days!

 

 

Mike. :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 13 December 2017 - 08:12 AM.

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#3 The-Toolman

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:19 AM

Yeah OK I have to agree that 64 bit does have advantages although 32 bit is still available and will be for awhile longer at least until 2019 and 2021 for Linux.

 

I agree with Mike about older computers being built better as I run several ten year old computers and they are all capable of running 64 bit Linux.

 

Yeah not everyone is fortunate to have the monetary resources to ponder away frivolously on the latest / newest computer or the latest / newest computer hardware the day it is released.

 

For the fortunate ones who do have the monetary resources to do such I'm envious although some of us as myself and as Mike said like to tinker with older computers.

 

Anyone can have a shiny new computer however not everyone can take an old computer and make it perform like a new one.

 

The way I see it if what I have runs modern OSs and they do then why not use what I already have available on hand for only the cost of a little time and a little money.

 

I still drive 1960s and 1970s automobiles just because I don't like the new EPA automobiles.

 

Most of the furniture in my house is from 1930s / 1940s that was inherited and restored to original as most everything else in my 100 year old house I like old things.

 

To each their own. :thumbup2:

 

Enjoy what you have. :thumbup2:

 

 

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#4 mremski

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:28 AM

The bigger bit of the article that most will miss, is "embedded systems".  The embedded world takes a long time to move, took a while to move from 8 bits to 16 bits to 32 bits.  Has a lot to do with cost and space (as in how much space is available in the physical formfactor to do what I want).  Depending on exactly the task the embedded system needs to do, you use only the number of bits needed (8 bits is plenty for a lot of things).  Look at something like the WRT54G:  System On a Chip, don't need too many components to build up a working system.  Digital thermostats (not "Smart" ones) 8 bits is plenty for figuring out current temperature, saving programming, turning on/off heat/AC.

The Internet Of Things (a really bad idea in my opinion) wants low cost, high volume of sales to turn a profit, so they'll stay 32bit for a while.

 

It was good to see mentions of Solaris and the BSDs.


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#5 The-Toolman

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:58 AM

The Internet Of Things (a really bad idea in my opinion) wants low cost, high volume of sales to turn a profit, so they'll stay 32bit for a while.

Exactly.

 

This has and always will be the driving force "low cost, high volume of sales to turn a profit".


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#6 mremski

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 08:58 AM

 

The Internet Of Things (a really bad idea in my opinion) wants low cost, high volume of sales to turn a profit, so they'll stay 32bit for a while.

Exactly.

 

This has and always will be the driving force "low cost, high volume of sales to turn a profit".

 

To be fair, that is the driving force of almost all industry.  The details of "low cost" and "high volume"  are unique to the manufacturer.  Take Ferrari:  to the average person they aren't low cost, but to Ferrari they are (or they couldn't sell them).

 

I'll agree with Mike above that older computers did feel better built, espeicially for consumer grade items.  The main problem I see with them is parts availability (RAM for the older stuff costs more than it should);  newer stuff (mobos mostly) have the advatage of greater integration (anyone else remember worrying about what interrupts cards were jumpered for or adding a new video card and drawing too much current on the +12V rail?).  That "feel better built" is true for a lot of consumer items, cars, furniture, etc.


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#7 cat1092

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 06:58 AM

Mm. Yeah. That kind of assumes, of course, that everybody has the spare cash lying around to purchase another machine.....even if it's second-hand.

 

(At this point, I'm now expecting a long dissertation from Cat on the benefits of 64-bit, why it's so much better, and how we can all afford it if we budget carefully..... :rolleyes: :lol: )

 

Mike. :wink:

 

 

The dissertation has arrived! :)

 

I won't get into a long 32 vs 64 bit rant, this were well covered way back within many Topics on forums all over the Internet in 2009 when Windows 7 was released, 8 years & 2 months ago. Tens of thousands asked the question, back when one could install & run Ubuntu or most any Linux distro on most any running computer found stashed under the bed, in the closet or attic, wherever. Still, until the now retired Ubuntu 12.04 & Linux Mint 13 LTS arrived in 2012 (also the beginning of the mostly unheard of NVMe support for Linux), most were recommended to run the 32 bit version, as driver & software support wasn't quite there yet. 

 

However when Ubuntu 12.04 LTS was released (& Mint 13), users who had 64 bit computers were recommended to run that OS version, I did & except for one computer rarely booted any longer, haven't looked back. :)

 

That out of the way, let's discuss pricing for legacy PC's, to include many 64 bit models. On eBay, pricing for 64 bit business style models (such as the Dell Optiplex line up to the 780) are low & plentiful, with some searching, may nail a good one for $79-99 shipped. Some later 775 chipsets has support for DDR3 RAM, which has been stated in this Topic, are lower in cost over DDR2 & DDR RAM found in 32 bit computers. Also, looking around, there's little price difference (especially when shipping is extra) between these and many older 32 bit models, and unlike the business models just mentioned, there's not a lot of 'power sellers' pushing these, they're looking to move more powerful computers with more features, to include of course, 64 bit. This wasn't the case in 2009, rather the opposite, most of these same power sellers were pushing 32 bit models at higher pricing than the ones they sell today. 

 

So basically, it's a case of 'tune of the times', and come another 4-5 years, we'll be seeing some models with Windows 8/8.1 for around the same pricing, although I must repeat, one has to look for the best deals & seller ratings. Many of these buys in lots of 1,000 or more, therefore they can resell at lower pricing than those who has a couple found stashed, plus being power sellers, gets free shipping from PayPal (provided so many items are sold per month). This makes it hard for those with a few to compete, as well as justifies the purchase of a more modern (64 bit) model that often includes enterprise features (Toolman can tell us more about the Optiplex line than myself :)). 

 

What the 32 bit computer (or OS installed on a 64 bit model) does though, is lower security on the hardware level. I'm assuming this applies more so to Mac & Windows over Linux as an OS, however the browsers are much the same. Most requires a 64 bit OS on the same hardware for security & an up to date browser, as mentioned, Google Chrome (& others) has dropped 32 bit, it's a matter of time before Firefox follows suit. That is, going by Mozilla's stance that the new Firefox is more secure, to be running the browser on a 32 bit OS makes it less so by default. Plus slower, as many 32 bit machines has DDR RAM (max 2 to 4GB). Some later ones has DDR2, which is 2x faster, although 2x slower than DDR3. 

 

Of course, just because one has a 'legacy' 64 bit computer doesn't mean we can't run a 32 bit OS, in fact the opposite, gives us more choice when there are any 32 bit Linux distros present. :)

 

This also means that one can 'hang onto' any 32 bit models left, there's replacement parts on eBay for many models, to include used CPU's & especially RAM. It's very hard to justify paying $60 for a 2GB kit (1GB x 2 modules) when one can find the same for $10 shipped & guaranteed with both eBay & PayPal protection. No need to overspend in futility as I once did with my Dimension 2400 (covered further below) in upgrades. Not knowing better in or around 2010, I spent a total of over $120 in upgrades for at best, a 15% performance increase, which then doubled as a room heater, when I was on the forums at night, dropped the thermostat, closed the door to this room, was nice & cozy in about 30 minutes :P, that P4 (Northwood) 3.06GHz CPU with H/T crippled only by it's small (0.5MB) L2 cache used (or wasted) more power than the XPS 8700 that replaced it in 2013. :lol:

 

To sum things up, I can possibly see myself taking a 32 bit OS for a spin on some of my collection of early 64 bit builds (Intel Socket 775, AMD AM3/AM3+), at the same time, cannot justify the purchase of a 32 bit PC to horse around on. Not too long back, rebuilt the Dell Dimension 2400 above to a 64 bit PC running an FX-8350 & 24GB RAM with little effort, the replacement MB was a drop in fit once the four Socket 478 CPU standoffs were removed in the case just below where the CPU was secured. There were some 64 bit CPU's at the time of purchase (2004) by my mother-in-law, yet Dell chose to clean house of the leftovers. On the other hand, that may had been good at the time, as that action, selling new PC's for $499 shipped with printer, placed computers shipped with XP (a usershare that topped at over 77% in 2007 yet to be broken) in the hands of tens of millions for the first time ever & caused a 'price war' between themselves & others, notably HP. :)

 

Unfortunately, this also placed some up & coming OEM's out of business, as they couldn't afford to compete. :(

 

As for the Internet of Things, even if powered by 32 bit today, as more & more devices are added to control, will require a 64 bit setup to do the job.......heck, even smartphones has been 64 bit for a few years in the US. In some areas, we're still 'developing' ourselves. Many are working 2-3 jobs to survive & the kids are living at home much longer. That shows in itself that we have our own economic issues to resolve, having a college degree in itself doesn't guarantee instant (or liveable) employment any longer, times have changed, beginning in the early 80's for the worse. So I don't buy too much in this 'developing nations' issue, let it go in one ear & through the other. 

 

We'll see how well (or not) 32 bit fares in the next year or two, there's been at least one Puppy 64 bit distro for years that I've used for testing in FatDog64, am sure that many more Pups that'll grow up to be Dogs. :lol:

 

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#8 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 05:59 PM

 

Mm. Yeah. That kind of assumes, of course, that everybody has the spare cash lying around to purchase another machine.....even if it's second-hand.

 

(At this point, I'm now expecting a long dissertation from Cat on the benefits of 64-bit, why it's so much better, and how we can all afford it if we budget carefully..... :rolleyes: :lol: )

 

Mike. :wink:

 

 

...<snip>...

 

...of course, just because one has a 'legacy' 64 bit computer doesn't mean we can't run a 32 bit OS, in fact the opposite, gives us more choice when there are any 32 bit Linux distros present. :)

 

...<snip>...

 

...we'll see how well (or not) 32 bit fares in the next year or two, there's been at least one Puppy 64 bit distro for years that I've used for testing in FatDog64, am sure that many more Pups that'll grow up to be Dogs. :lol:

 

Cat

 

Curious as to what you mean by 'legacy' 64-bit. I take it my old Compaq desktop, with the Athlon 64 X2 and DDR1 RAM, falls into this category, yes?  :P

 

(And at present, she's still running sweetly...)

 

As for 64-bit Pups, there's several out now. Tahr64; Xenialpup64; Artfulpup64.....even got folks working on BionicPup64 (based on 'Bionic' Beaver,which, as I understand it, is still several months away from release yet!) This will, of course, be the next LTS release.

 

Then there's Slacko 64 6.9.9.9, which will join the 7-series, once the final round of bug-testing is out of the way. Plus a few 64-bit 'specials' in BarryK's 'Quirky' series. So there's a fair selection to choose from.

 

And don't forget.....every one of these is UEFI-capable now.  :thumbup2: Yet I still find the 32-bit Pups absolutely fly on this thing...

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 14 December 2017 - 07:59 PM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

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#9 rp88

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 06:23 PM

Personally I'm not worried about incompatibilities with 32 bt hardware, I haven't any, but I would like to know how this will affect 32 bit exe files being run under wine, some of those are rather critical to my workflow. Thanks
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#10 pcpunk

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 07:29 PM

What's 32bit? haha 

 

I don't see many anymore, but live in a heavily populated area and work for people that can usually afford new tech.  And also fortunately I was able to get all my personal pc's used, and most for free as 64bit.  Unfortunately, I see lot's of 64bit and 32bit pc's go to the trash, and recycle companies just to go to waste!  The benefit of Reusing a pc Far Outways the Recycle of one.  There are big companies that do this primarily.  They are paid to come and collect all the old computers for businesses, and some home pickup services also.  I'm sure most of you know about this, they will Destroy the HDD's so that no Information can be got off them.  In the wake lies many many good old office machines, some not so good, but I've seen many that are still functional, and would only need a new HDD to replace the one taken and destroyed.  I wonder if some of these companies resell on ebay etc. probably not, what a waste.


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#11 cat1092

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 05:42 AM

Curious as to what you mean by 'legacy' 64-bit. I take it my old Compaq desktop, with the Athlon 64 X2 and DDR1 RAM, falls into this category, yes?  :P

 

 

(And at present, she's still running sweetly...)

 

As for 64-bit Pups, there's several out now. Tahr64; Xenialpup64; Artfulpup64.....even got folks working on BionicPup64 (based on 'Bionic' Beaver,which, as I understand it, is still several months away from release yet!) This will, of course, be the next LTS release.

 

Then there's Slacko 64 6.9.9.9, which will join the 7-series, once the final round of bug-testing is out of the way. Plus a few 64-bit 'specials' in BarryK's 'Quirky' series. So there's a fair selection to choose from.

 

And don't forget.....every one of these is UEFI-capable now.  :thumbup2: Yet I still find the 32-bit Pups absolutely fly on this thing...

 

 

Mike.  :wink:

 

 

By 'legacy' in 2017, am speaking of mid to late Intel Socket 775 (especially those with DDR3 RAM) & AMD equivalents, or much any computer truly designed to run Windows Vista (not to be confused with Vista shipped on XP certified hardware :lol:). Most have which has been recently retired from the corporate IT environment, mid to large sized business, education, etc, as many has purchased new fleets of computers & when new ones are installed, all of the old goes to the highest bidder. Who then in turn cleans these up, tests for defects, using the few broken ones to salvage parts to fix most of the good ones, and that equals a great deal on eBay for a PC that's Bitlocker capable, of which there's also a Linux workaround for. One of my best deals was snagging a Optiplex 780 DT edition (smaller than the MT), with a Intel Core2Quad 9650, Windows 7 Pro preinstalled with matching COA & recovery partition, plus having 2GB of DDR3 RAM (that I'd later upgrade to it's max of 16GB), all for a total of $114 shipped. The CPU alone fetches up to $150 on eBay used ($69-100 average), depending on condition (much higher if rare brand new sealed box), plus having 7 Pro was sweet also, which was an appropriate OS for company usage. 

 

Many of the rest of the same model shipped with the Core2Duo E8400 instead for $79-119, so after digging through several pages & finding the one I did & seen only 3 out of 1,000 were left, acted fast by clicking the 'Buy it Now' tab & have never regretted purchase. :)

 

By W10 standards, even some of these 10-12 old computers doesn't support the OS (nor W8.1) w/out a hardware upgrade, often a low cost CPU or GPU one. To get the best out of mainstream distros such as Ubuntu, or any distro that's graphic heavy, one needs more than some ATI 3xxx/4xxx series card. That's why I splurged a whopping $20 on a GPU that shipped with the XPS 8700 in 2013 in the 1GB GDDR5 Dell OEM Radeon 7570 for my latest project in another Topic, a GPU which I now own four of, needs no extra power & many ships with a low profile bracket, perfect for upgrading decade old business desktops with a PCIe slot, even 1st gen standard (PCIe version 1). Today's standard is PCIe 3.0, with 4.0 coming. Most of these legacy desktops I own has PCIe 2.0 (or 2.1). 

 

As far as 'affordability' goes, there was once a time when I felt the same way. Rather than resigning to the idea that I'd always be outpowered on these Tech forums & for my personal needs, I created a savings plan that made it easy to save a minimum of $50/month. I stopped looking for excuses to go out just to stop at the local bakery 3-4 times weekly to have a couple of donuts & coffee that would be pooped out anyway and as an added benefit, lost weight also. Plus stopped paying $1 for a soda everywhere, instead stocking up when on a deal like 3-4 12 packs for $10-12 & started carrying a cooler when on the go with a few inside. also cut dining out to just one time per month (rather than 2-3), all of that equates a lot of saved cash. In my first month, had nearly $80 in my stash that I would had otherwise blown & while I haven't been able to match that every month, it was a beginning, one that would first in 2013 make my XPS 8700 my best (& last :P) OEM PC. Later would go on to performing my first build with all new components in this very section of the Forum, then another upon another (both AMD & Intel builds), plus picking up a few decent 'legacy PC's', of which I termed above, not to be confused with ancient. :lol:

 

While it may not be possible for everyone to have the same success I've had, on the other hand others has done even better, yet most anyone can commit to a decent $150 computer. There's some organizations that gives these away to those in need, or sometimes a friend or relative will do the same. I cannot begin to count the number of computers, both desktops & notebooks that I've given to friends & neighbors in need, most were given to me for work performed. Notably, a barely two year old Dell Inspiron to a 11 year old girl who later wanted Peppermint Linux to have along with her two friends the same OS, plus gave her mother a still overall great shape Optiplex 740 for ner need, to look for employment & in no time, found gainful employment. So if one cannot afford, there's no harm in swallowing some of that pride & ask around. Note that neither the mother nor daughter asked me of anything, they're my neighbors & seen them walking regular, looking down & out and I asked if they needed food or any help that I could provide or lead to resources. 

 

I allowed both in, as it was cold & they explained the situation (the husband/father abandoned both), fortunately the home was paid off shortly afterwards, so the first priority was a job. Which via my donation, she found two jobs, accepted the first, then later declined & accepted a better one. Then I hooked the family up with resources to help with home repairs for those who qualified, which would have cost more than $10K out of pocket. Point being, both came out to the good, plus the young girl, now around 13-14 years old, is a far better Linux user than myself. :thumbsup:

 

So if one cannot truly afford a computer (& by that, I mean 'truly'), there's resources available, many times just by asking relatives, friends, neighbors or as last resort, an organization that 're-homes' otherwise unwanted computers that's donated. Offer to do some work if needed, or better yet, if someone outright gives one a computer, example in the fall, go rake their leaves while they're away to express thanks. Or in the season, mow their yard or shovel their driveway of snow, any meaningful gesture of thanks is better than none if able to perform work. More often than not, many 'have nots' are those that 'want not'. :)

 

As to the older 32 bit computers that's still running, as long as the owner(s) desires & distros are available, it's OK to run any 32 bit distro that it's capable of. In fact, I met a person just a 5-6 weeks back who was still using one of my first notebooks owned, a Dell Latitude C640 (a true legacy computer) & running the non-PAE version of Ubuntu 12.04, a distro that wasn't openly advertised, nor am I certain that it was official. Yet it was in plain sight if one looked around, Ubuntu's answer to Linux Mint 13 LTS that ran on non-PAE computers. My first thought was how he remained secure, oddly, even though Ubuntu was no longer updating the OS, the browser (Firefox ESR) was up to date, along with needed plugins, plus he added a few PPA's to get extra updates. This man was still performing transactions on the computer, needless to say, I gave him an Optiplex 760 that was given to me & I had cleaned up. When I seen him a couple of weeks back & asked him was it still running good, he had installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (64 bit) on there, totally replacing Windows 7 Pro. 

 

Giving back to my local community is important to me, not only re-homing computers when possible, also donating to the local food bank by donating both non-perishables & cash, as well as an occasional repair of one's computer when asked to. Although all of these folks are truly needy, are getting some type of assistance. As for freeloaders (those working & simply wants a free ride), I ran them off long ago & flagged their phone numbers to show as scammers (on my phone only), as I don't have the time nor desire to deal with those whom thinks the World owes them a living. :thumbdown:

 

However, I won't openly give a 32 bit computer to anyone, if one comes my way, is donated to the local Hospice store after installing Linux Mint Xfce (am not playing a part of spreading XP Malware around), where those looking for those types can find a wide variety at low cost, in the $25-50 range, as well as finding components from scrap computers for repair. That way, I can get rid of these w/out adding to landfill waste nor liability & hopefully most will use the Mint install performed after nuking the drive with DBAN (7 pass NSA wipe). :)

 

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Edited by cat1092, 15 December 2017 - 05:51 AM.

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#12 mremski

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 07:27 AM

@rp88: "... but I would like to know how this will affect 32 bit exe files being run under wine, ..." Wine: Windows Emulator. This is mostly a set of libraries that trap syscalls from Windows executables and translates them to the corresponding Linux syscalls. That how emulation works. Nothing should change. Folks need to keep in mind: Use the source. Just because Canonical/RedHat/whomever is not build 32 bit distributions, you grab the source, you build things yourself. The only time you will need to worry is when (if) the kernel proper drops all support for 32 bit architectures and GCC or the compiler suite does the same. That is not likely to happen for a long time because it's simply easier to configure out that support. Don't overthink things, don't make assumptions without evidence, don't be afraid of building things yourself. Even if you don't want to become a "computer programmer", building a simple "hello, world" program in C or C++ and stepping through it with a debugger gives you greater understanding of what you've got and a better appreciation for the folks that do it for a living and donate their time and effort into giving you alternatives.

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#13 The-Toolman

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:16 AM

The benefit of Reusing a pc Far Outways the Recycle of one.  There are big companies that do this primarily.  They are paid to come and collect all the old computers for businesses, and some home pickup services also.  I'm sure most of you know about this, they will Destroy the HDD's so that no Information can be got off them. 

I bought a pallet of Dell Optiplex 360 and Dell Optiplex 380 desktop computers and paid $25.00 for 25 desktop computers without HDD.

 

All of them came with 4.0 GB DDR2 memory or 4.0 GB DDR3 memory and all of them came with either a Intel Core 2 Quad processor or a Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

 

I found on ebay a slew of unopened brand new old stock 160 GB HDD for $10.00 each so bought a stash of them.

 

I installed Windows 7 Professional on 20 of these and sold them at the flea market for $100.00 each and still have a few left to use.

 

So yeah pcpunk you are right about reusing a computer far outweighs recycling them:thumbup2:


Edited by The-Toolman, 15 December 2017 - 04:16 PM.

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#14 pcpunk

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 11:55 AM

@The-Toolman, Wow! that is impressive Toolman, I love that you put all those back to use and made a little cash for yourself.  I wish I had the resources and space to do that.  I did grab a few of those cheap HDD's and put them to use on a few Dumpster Towers, haha good stuff, NOS Parts!  Actually one was a throw away of one of our customers, I fixed it and put one of those older SATAII Drives in it as it was SATAII anyway.


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