How was the transition to 64 bits handled on Linux/Unix? The Windows world still seems to have issues with it and I'm curious how it was handled in the *nix world.
The work required to make the kernel 64-bit was done a looooong time ago using DEC Alpha systems. Programs, however, are a different matter.
The general consensus that I've seen so far seems to be:
Other than that, you're really not going to see a whole lot of "grief" from mixed 32/64 bit builds.
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Windows and *ix used different data models for the transition. This UNIX.org page is a bit old, but it still provides a good overview of the trade-offs (note that
Windows went with what's called the LLP64 data model, which means that only
As Linux distros is mostly OpenSource there is largly transition already done. Unless you use propertary software (such as skype) you can run pure 64-bit system without any disadvantages.
However the real difference IMHO is more propertary vs. open then unix vs. windows as it is usually the open source software that is ported first (some volonteer needs to recompile something - maybe fix some compilation issues) - or in most cases not ported at all but just recompiled ;) - and propertary that is ported last.
Possibly additionally on Linux you have repos so the installation is handled automagically - you don't need to choose 64-bit or 32-bit version (system chooses yours automatically). On Windows programs are downloaded and having separate 64-bit and 32-bit version:
I guess that's the reason why Windows binaries are usually 32-bit - it is one-size-fits-all and not everyone have gone to 64-bit version.