Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Ditching Ubuntu 64-bit

Since upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit my PC became unstable. Most of the time it was just innconveinent minor things. The clock on the top panel wouldn't display properly. However occasionally the whole PC would freeze. Especially when under a heavy work load. Couple this with the fact that Adobe Flash and Adobe Air have never worked to satisfactory degree. I decided it was time to go back to a 32-bit world.

What I had to consider was what I was losing and what I was gaining. My PC has 8GB of RAM. Normally on a 32-bit system 3.75GB is as much as you get. So I'd potentially be losing half of my RAM. But that was it. None of the software I use is exclusively 64-bit. Some of it is however exclusively 32-bit and there are ways around the 4GB memory cap in 32-bit operating systems.

What I stood to gain was a simpler installation procedure for my 32-bit only software and a more stable operating system. I use the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 10.04 on my laptop with no problems. So I already knew it was more stable.

To get past the 4GB memory cap, I intended to install the server kernel which has PAE technology enabled by default. However I found this was totally unnecessary. The desktop kernel in Ubuntu 10.04 comes with PAE support.

In the end up I now have a more stable PC. A simpler installation procedure for my 32-bit software. I still get to use 7.9GB of the total 8GB of RAM in my PC. Which is actually an improvement over the 64-bit version of Ubuntu. The PC does however feel a little sluggish at times. Particularly when launching applications. But that's a small price to pay for simplicity and stability.