64-bit ... Saturday, 30 April 2005  
The 64-bit market is a bit confusing at the moment. Intel should have introduced 64-bit cpu's over 10 years ago, but at least they are following in AMD's footsteps now and slowly percolating the market (well... sort of!)

The problem is the OS's. Excluding Win32 apps, many software packages are 64-bit ready. CRiSP has been for around 10+ years starting with the DEC Alpha and SGI Irix.

But now that platforms are more prolific, its difficult to support these platforms.


Well consider Linux. We have linux/32 and linux/64. CRiSP runs fine on an 8MB machine and a 4GB/32-bit address space is oodles. So why would one want to run a 64-bit version of CRiSP?

Well for a start, it will be faster (more cpu registers, internal 64-bit arithmetic etc). But it may not be noticably faster (maybe 10-40% faster), so there is little merit in offering 64-bit CRiSP across every combination of platforms - at the moment.

As Windows 64 takes off and puts 32-bit cpus out for the trash, then we can live in a more pure 64-bit world. At the same time Linux/64 would be the preferred OS to multiboot or use inside a virtual machine (eg. VMWare, Xen, Virtual PC).

But as of this writing, Win64 is vapor-ware: you can get it, almost for free, but it voids the customers warranty. Who wants that?

If/when I buy PC's I buy them with the extremely horrible Microsoft $$$ license, and then install Linux on the box. The Windows comes in useful when the machine is eventually given away. I wouldn't want to buy a machine with Win/32 XP at this time because proper Win/64 is imminent, e.g. from suppliers like DELL.

Its a confusing time...

Posted at 22:43:18 by Paul Fox | Permalink