[Haifux] Running 32 bit applications (Firefox?) on 64 bit machines

Tzafrir Cohen tzafrir at cohens.org.il
Sun Aug 21 12:02:45 MSD 2011

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 09:36:59PM +0300, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 07:32:29PM +0300, Eli Billauer wrote:
> > It's not like I expect Firefox to address 1 GB of RAM.
> There's no 1GB of RAM limitation with 32 bit. Perhaps you meant 4GB of
> RAM?
> > So it really makes me wonder: Why are the preinstalled binaries on a
> > 64 bit machine, well, 64 bit executables? I run a 64 bit machine
> > because I want the *overall* RAM to exceed 4 GB, but except for
> > virtual machines, I don't expect any application to have problems
> > with the 32 bit limitation.
> I speculate that the best reason, from the distribution's point of
> view, is that it is simpler to only maintain and support one
> environment (64 bit) rather than maintain and support co-existing 32
> bit and 64 bit environments. Distributions will grudgingly carry both
> 32 bit and 64 bit versions of an application where there 64 bit
> version is deficient in some sense (e.g., firefox with flash) but
> would naturally like to minimize these hassles.

>From a distribution's point a view, on 64bit x86 it is actually safe to
assume that you have some useful optimization and a resonably recent

That said, Debian and Ubuntu are now switching to MultiArch support as
well. It is said to be better designed than the current bi-arch support
in RPM-based releases. But it only just now got to the stage of being
useful enough to actually confuse users. So we'll just have to wait and

Tzafrir Cohen         | tzafrir at jabber.org | VIM is
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