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I am just in the process of setting up a new laptop which came with Windows 7 64 bit installed. I am going to set it up to dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu. When I went to get the Ubuntu download I noticed that the 64 bit version is labelled with

Not recomended for daily desktop usageNot recomended for daily desktop usage

Why would this be? Why is 64 bit Ubuntu not recommended for daily desktop usage?

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6 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

A big problem with 64bit on Linux is the Flash Player. There's a beta plugin for 64bit, but it does not get security updates, so you either needs to use a 32bit-plugin (+32bit-plugin-wrapper) or you have to use the unsecure version.

However, I'm using 64bit Linux and have no problems. (My distro is Gentoo, but I think Ubuntu should also run quite stable.)

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3  
You can use 32-bit Firefox to get around this. –  Hello71 Aug 12 '10 at 18:56
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I'm using 64-bit Ubuntu and the 32-bit flash player works fine with 64-bit firefox via nspluginwrapper. It's all setup automatically when you install it. –  janneb Aug 12 '10 at 19:13
    
This answer was correct in the past but is no longer true arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/07/… –  gagarine Apr 29 '12 at 15:06
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Main reasons:

  • Giving the choice is disorienting for a lot of user
  • 32 Bit works on all machine.
  • 64 bit use more RAM and more power.
  • A very few programs use more than 4Gb

So 64bit is bit faster but the big majority of user surf and check their email and don't care about CPU hit but are going to cry if the batteries life is cut by 30min.

In the past, Flash was kind of buggy on 64bit but this is no longer true. Adobe finnaly release a 64 bit version of their plugin http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/07/first-flash-11-beta-brings-64-bit-support-to-linux-finally.ars.

For more information you can read the thread on https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2012-April/035054.html

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I've got 4GB RAM, and I used to run 64-bit Ubuntu (which picked up all 4GB). I moved to 32-bit Ubuntu, and with PAE it picks up 3.9GB RAM (not the 3.5GB that 32-bit Windows 7 picks up). I'm prepared to sacrifice .1GB RAM for increased compatibility.

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increased? isn't 64-bit Ubuntu able to use 32-bit software? –  Svish Aug 15 '10 at 19:11
    
I'm almost sure than ubuntu 32bit can use more than 4Gb, but not more than 4Gb by process. I think the program than check how much memory you have show only 3.9Gb because it can not see all your memory (it's one process) but the system can use more than 3.9Gb. –  gagarine Apr 29 '12 at 15:30
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Using 64-bit Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. No problems here.

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There's also the simple fact that if you ask a normal user whether they have a 32bit or 64bit CPU, they will look at you like you sprouted Zaphod Beeblebrox's second head. This way, only users advanced enough to know whether they have a 64bit-capable machine will download it. Otherwise, normal users might go "oooh 64, it must be better!" regardless whether they have the hardware.

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I had to double check since I don't recall seeing that warning before. I've been using the 64 bit desktop Ubuntu for a couple years now and have not had problems other than the above mentioned Flash Player warning (Flash works for me but YMMV). I'm on 10.4 LTS with several machines and they're all stable.

Lack of drivers for your latest gadget might be a problem with 64 bit, but with 32 bit version of ANY OS you give up any use of memory beyond about 3 GB. That was the decider for me since I need the extra RAM to run VirtualBox and other programs.

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32-bit OS can access 64 GB of memory using PAE. Windows does not do that, but in Linux this is easy to turn on. The only problem is that a single program cannot use more than 4GB of address space (2/3GB when considering non-kernel address space). –  liori Aug 12 '10 at 19:15
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