Upgrading Desktop to 64 bits

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Don’t want to get left way behind!

I was worried about this hardware/software upgrade. But at the end of about two days, I was up and running on Dell Precision T3400 workstation (upgraded from Dell Dimension 4600). One thing about Dell computers is that they are designed well for maintenance, but you have to remember that their power supplies are not standard, so don’t put a Dell power supply on a standard PC. It will destroy the motherboard.

Why upgrade to 64 bits from 32 bits? For one thing, it is getting harder to find application packages for 32 bits. Most packages are released in 64 bit versions nowadays, and optionally in 32 bits. You have to remember that 64 bit machines will run 32 bit software in compatibility mode, but the opposite is not true.

The other thing to consider is the memory size and speed. My previous computer used DDR memory, the new one uses DDR2. Although the theoretical memory limit for 32 bit computer is 4 GB (Giga Bytes), in most cases the operating system can access only about 3 GB (because part of the memory space is lost to graphics cards, etc). There may be other memory limits imposed by the BIOS settings, CPU packaging, the supporting chip set, etc. With 64 bits, the theoretical memory limit goes up to 16 EB (Exa Bytes).

When I had only 1 GB in the new computer, it was painfully slow (barely usable). I think that you would need at least 3 GB for normal operation, the more memory the better.

I use Fuduntu release of Linux as my operating system. After installing the 64 bit version of Fuduntu, I went through the list that I had made in this post .

There are several things to add to that list. When I installed eclipse, it was giving me an error. To fix that problem I installed the following packages:

yum -y install glibc.i686 zlib.i686 libstdc++.i686 ncurses-libs.i686

Android bundle that comes with eclipse does not work. When I ran it, I could see from the system monitor that the memory usage went up and up until the whole system locked up. You have to install the eclipse and the ADT separately.

While installing the ADT on eclipse, you will get a dependency error. To fix that problem you have to add helios to the list of available sites (Helios – http://download.eclipse.org/releases/helios).

There are also all those other packages that I had installed over a period of time, but did not keep track. My thought was to get a package list from the 32 bit version and compare it to the 64 bit version package list. The difference would give me the list of packages to install.

To get a package list and sort, in the 32 bit computer I did

rpm -qa | sort > pkglist32.txt

and the same thing with the new computer and stored the list in pkglist64.txt.

If we compare the first few lines of these two files, we see that the old one looks like


and the new computer package list looks like


To be able to compare these two lists properly, we have to strip off the architecture and the release components of the package names from each line (at the end of the line).

Use the sed stream editor to accomplish this task as follows. For the 32 bit system:

more pkglist32.txt | sed -e 's/.fc...i686//' | sed -e 's/.fu201..i686//' | sed -e 's/.fu14.i686//' > newpkglist32.txt

For the 64 bit system

more pkglist64.txt | sed -e 's/.fc...x86_64//' | sed -e 's/.fu201..x86_64//' | sed -e 's/.fu14.x86_64//' > newpkglist64.txt

The first few lines of the newpkglist.txt file look like this.


Now it is easy to compare the two lists with diff newpkglist32.txt newpkglist64.txt and install the missing packages on the new computer. Here is the first several lines of the diff output.

< anaconda-16.25-9
> anaconda-16.25-10
< ant-commons-logging-1.8.3-1.fu2013.noarch
< arts-1.5.10-12
> arts-1.5.10-17

The left arrow points to the 32 bit version and the right arrow points to the 64 bit version. As you can see the 64 bit version have newer versions of some of the packages.

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