24 Nov 2003 Svartalf   » (Journeyer)

A comment on things Athlon 64-ish...

I've been tinkering around a little further with Mandrake 9.2 AMD64 and it's definitely "okay". The install made it feel a little rougher around the edges than I thought, but there's still some issues that are lingering that I'm not 100% sure they're Mandrake's, but not having any other reference (Gentoo was an interesting failed 1st and 2nd attempt. Maybe three tries is the charm, but I'm not sure about it at this point. Pretty damn complex setup if you ask me...) I can't say either way. Boils down to how they accomplished 32 and 64-bit support all in the same runtime environment. They have seperate /lib and /lib64 directories for all .a's and .so's on the system. What's more obnoxious is that your source builds can't assume where the libraries are- they have to dynamically choose the right one, and at least Mandrake opted to not have all of the development or runtime binaries for some libraries in 32-bit (which is the assumed pathway based on them placing all the 32-bit stuff in /lib, /usr/lib, etc.). A good example of this is Source Navigator. It will not build in the Mandrake AMD64 world without some hacking of the makefiles in the source tree so that the thing will find the available (64-bit only) X11 development stuff.

This has me wondering if supporting 32-bit in this manner is really worth it. Stuff's breaking unpleasantly because of the way they made it all work. While I admit it relegates the AMD64 to the same role as the PPC if you went nothing but 64-bit, it might be better for everyone involved as it would be exactly like everyone expects things to be.

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