On Thursday 23 February 2006 11:24, daniel <danstemporaryaccount@...>
wrote about 'Re: [gentoo-user] amd64/x86':
> On Thursday 23 February 2006 07:54, Boris Fersing wrote:
> > 2006/2/23, jarry@... <jarry@...>:
> > > I'm going to install Gentoo on Athlon64-based workstation,
> > > but I'm a little confused about hardware profiles and their
> > > compatibility:
> > just use the amd64 default profile (the mutilib one), then you'll be
> > able to run 32bits softwares too !
E.g. Doom3, a 32-bit binary, works fine on my ~amd64 system.
> Not entirely true. When I first got my amd64 box, I did just that and
> was horribly disappointed. While most things worked, there were a
> number of "show stoppers" so to speak: Konqueror couldn't play flash
> movies because while Konqueror compiled just fine as 64-bit, flash is
> only available in 32bit. If I wanted to see Flash, I had to use a
> binary version of Firefox. Worse though was the fact that none of the
> win32codecs were available so I couldn't watch any wmv, wma or other
> binary-only formats.
Of course, none of these cases is (simply) running a 32-bit binary. All
these cases cover having a 64-bit binary load a 32-bit library. While I
believe this is technically possible with very disciplined developers and
some kernel help, it's not supported (or even allowed) currently. Loading
a 32-bit library (using dlopen etc.) will fail if you are currently
running in 64-bit mode.
The solution at the user end is to run 32-bit versions of the software that
needs to load 32-bit libraries, unfortunately gentoo doesn't make this as
easy as I'd like , but does provide a few methods. There's
firefox-bin, which is the offically branded 32-bit version of firefox,
capable of loading your 32-bit flash player, as well as some flash players
with source available (and at differing levels of usability). Mplayer
also has a relatively new bindist USE flag, which I believe installs the
32-bit binary for use with w32codecs.
Beyond this, you can also setup a chroot (there's a guide in the gentoo
wiki), and I believe the gentoo forums has a nsplugin32 ebuild which is
supposed to allow 64-bit konq to load 32-bit plugins. You could, of
course run an entirely 32-bit userland, and gcc will still optimize your
processor in 32-bit mode (but, some processor features just are not
available in 32-bit mode).
The solution at the developer end is, when running on a system that
supports both multiple modes of execution, have separate processes running
(one in each mode) that communicate via IPC (pipes, shared memory, etc.)
and are each responsible for loading libraries with a matching mode. This
hasn't been traditionally done because the number of installations that
support multiple execution modes running side-by-side is low.
> Sadly, if you want to be able to use stuff typically used for the
> Windows world, you have to conform to that world's handicapps, which
> means making do with 32bits for now.
I am reminded of an RMS quote:
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master--and if you use the program, he
is your master."
-- Richard Stallman, in an interview for Federico Binacuzzi
For me, I just don't use flash that isn't supported by my 64-bit flash
player. I just don't watch wmv movies (h264 data in the maktroska wrapper
is better anyway). I just don't use the scanning feature of my
multi-function printer (supported in sane using a proprietary 32-bit
library). It's a cost that I'm willing to bear.
It's also getting me closer to living in the free world. ;)
Boyd Stephen Smith Jr.
ICQ: 514984 YM/AIM: DaTwinkDaddy
 I'd like be be able to 'ARCH="x86" emerge firefox' (or similar) and get
a 32-bit version (compiled with my CFLAGS etc.) installed in parallel with
my 64-bit version, without undue hardship.
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