x86_64 build method

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 09:43:56 PDT 2007

Matthew Burgess wrote:
> On Tue, 24 Jul 2007 11:59:39 -0400, Jeremy Huntwork
> <jhuntwork at linuxfromscratch.org> wrote:
>> Matthew Burgess wrote:
>>> On Tue, 24 Jul 2007 11:40:24 -0400, Jeremy Huntwork
>> <jhuntwork at linuxfromscratch.org> wrote:
>>>> The question is, do we want x86_64 to be a separate book, or
>>>> simply
>> roll
>>>> these small changes into a conglomerate book with x86?
>>> I'd certainly prefer them to be in the same book,
>> My biggest problem with this approach is that it gets to be a
>> nightmare to edit. But, it is do-able.
> Hmm, that "nightmare" seems a bit extreme.  Certainly, for native
> x86-64, which is the only additional target we're contemplating at
> the moment, having 2 paragraphs (or small sections at the most) in
> the book surrounded in the relevant profiling syntax, doesn't seem
> too onerous to me.  Once in there, I doubt they'd need amending much
> - probably only if newer GCC versions change relevant portions of the
> specs file.
> Of course, if more targets are desired in the future, our approach
> may well need to change, but for now I think x86 & x86-64 native
> builds capture the largest section of the LFS audience and anyone
> else can continue on to CLFS.

There is one other place we need to address in a x86_64 system:

ii. Audience

Why would you want to build an x86_64 system?

To me there are more drawbacks than advantages.  I'm not saying not to
do it, because one of the reasons to build it is because "It is there."
and one of the major objectives of the book is education.

Other reasons to build it include the need to manipulate very large
(>3G) files, to work with very large databases, to fully take advantage
of physical RAM > 4G, or to run specialized software efficiently
(Computational fluid dynamics anyone?).

The disadvantages are numerous and need to be mentioned.  Issues include
boot loader problems, lack of support for 64-bit closed source binaries
such as flash, and potential problems in building some open source
packages.  Minor issues include slightly larger binaries.

Also the point needs to be made that the speed of execution will
probably not significantly increase for most applications and in some
cases may be slower than a 32-bit systems.

  -- Bruce

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