back to article 64-bit Chrome takes centre stage in Linux land

Google engineers have been beavering away at a 64-bit version of the company’s Chrome browser for the Linux platform. According to Chrome developer Dean McNamee, Mountain View’s V8 team has been tinkering with a Chromium Linux 64-bit for several weeks now. V8, in case you were wondering, is the web kingpin’s JavaScript engine. …

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Stop

Time to give Adobe a kick up the arris?

We've got 64 bit browsers already but the lack of 64 bit plugins from Adobe mean they're impractical for general day to day web surfing, maybe a good kick up their arses will cajole them into doing something about it?

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Pint

Not surprising

I think it is natural business move for Google to shove aside Windows now. It was only a matter of time considering their ChromeOS tablet will be Linux plus Chromium.

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Linux

no one uses 64bit windows...

its because not many windows users use 64bit yet - but plenty of linux users are already using 64 bit distros...

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Gates Horns

Abode's arris

If Adobe's plugins aren't 64-bit then that's yet another reason for dropping them altogether, and making the web less dependent on proprietary binary code. Flash is just an irritant at best.

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Linux

@AC 11:34

You shouldn't have to wait too much longer. Linux has had 64-bit Flash for a little while now.

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No Adobe Plugins For 64 Bit?

I have a 64 bit flash plugin from Adobe sitting in my Mozilla plugins folder.

It does a pretty good job. So long as you don't desire full screen video.

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Go

Re: Time to give Adobe a kick up the arris?

You should check out this: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10.html

Ok, I know it's alpha, but I'm using it every day, and although it could be a bit faster, it's pretty stable.

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Paris Hilton

Windows x64 Plugins MIA (looking at you, Adobe)

I have used Minefield, the Windows x64 compilation of Firefox, and rather like it. Well, not that there's much NOT to like, it is Firefox, after all. With Java x64 installed, many and most sites work very well. With the exception of anything which requires Flash.

Really, Adobe needs to get off its ass and put forth. It is difficult to push towards 64-bit computing if software will not work, and Lord knows everyone needs Flash.

This should be a battle field for Adobe against Microsoft. Back in February, Microsoft said, stupidly, "Right now our plan is to run SL in 32-bit mode (and not have a 64-bit native version). This is mostly because other browser plug-ins (and most browsers) don't support 64-bit yet. We are looking at adding native 64-bit support in the future though." (Credit to NeoWin.)

Most browsers? Really, since when is Microsoft concerned with most browsers? Has Microsoft lost its teeth? Push x64 Windows, put in an x64 version of Silverlight, make IE x64 the default, thereby forcing the other plug-in makers to follow suit -- that is the Microsoft we all know and love. Not this whiny, pussy "no one else is doing it" rubbish. Time for an Adobe sucker-punch.

Or at the very least, how about a 64-bit wrapper for the 32-bit plug-in?

I have been using XP x64 now for a couple of years, been pushing Vista x64 when I have to push Vista, and will most likely push for 7 x64. Overall my experience has been great. I have had little to no problem with driver or software support, with the exception of really odd programs (or cheap ones, or the Cisco VPN Client) here and there. VirtualPC assists with overcoming that limitation, and while a cumbersome solution in XP and Vista, Windows 7 has the virtualization natively. What more could you want?

Paris, what more could you want?

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Paris Hilton

no 64 bit flash?

Linux hoverwiddicombe 2.6.28-13-generic #44-Ubuntu SMP Tue Jun 2 07:55:09 UTC 2009 x86_64 GNU/Linux

..came out of the box able to handle flash, full screen video is fine (using the NVidia drivers doubtless helps a lot).

I couldn't tell you if I used a 64 bit plugin or compat libs, as I can't be arsed to go digging. However, I gets me full screen video- and it's all quite smooth and pretty. I wasn't aware that there was even a problem. (You can't see me shrugging, but shrugging I am, in a proper Friday afternoon style)

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Big Brother

Chrome = spyware

Google Chrome? No thanks, I really don't need another "unique identifier" on my machine to spy on my surfing habits. And what's with that built-in RLZ-Tracking? What exactly is the information it sends to Google and why does it have to be encoded? I don't trust it.

Better install Iron, a new free browser that is based on Google's Chromium-source and offers the same features as Chrome, but without the privacy breaches.

http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php

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Is there a need for a 64 bit browser?

Apart from bragging rights, what does it really give you?

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Paris Hilton

what does a 64 bit browser give you?

..a browser that runs on your 64 bit OS, maybe? :)

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RE: Is there a need for a 64 bit browser?

If you're running a 64bit operating system then you should use 64bit applications -- 32 bit ones may not run as fast or may have problems. Similarly, if you have 64bit hardware you ought to use a 64bit OS or, potentially, you're not running things as fast as you could and you can't address all your memory correctly -- 64bit chips have some virtualisation functions built in too, not sure if these work under 32 bit OSs.

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Silver badge

64 Bit Flash?

Surely with 64Bit JavaScript and HTML5 etc. there will be no need for Flash. Except for legacy systems and companies.

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64 bit browsers/apps - a retort

Firstly, it is possible to run a 32 bit browser on a 64 bit OS. I cannot think (yet) of any situation where I will need >4GB of RAM just for my browser. Of course, in years to come that may be necessary. But for now, no it's not.

@Cameron Colley. Just having 64 bit apps on a 64 bit OS/64 bit hardware does not in itself make the app run faster. In fact, it can run slower. If the system doesn't have a large memory configuration, i.e. greater than 4GB, then your 64 bit system isn't going to use it anyway.

Now, I had the (dubious bragging rights) benefit of running a 64 bit OS on the desktop about 10 years ago - Solaris. But the machine had 2GB of RAM, so there was no actual need for 64 bit mode. But it made me feel like a real He-man.

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Boffin

re: Is there a need for a 64 bit browser

no, 64bit OSs will generally run 32bit binaries without a problem. To pick one example, Linux has been able to do this for a long time. 64bit processes need more memory (pointers are twice as big) and hence tend to be slower than 32bit ones. There are some cases where it's indeed helpful to have 64bit processes, but it's definitely not a case of 64bit = always better.

Cameron Colley: If a 64bit OS is designed to run 32bit processes and has a problem with them, then that's a bug that should be fixed. 32bit processes are fine when you don't need to address more than about 2GB of memory at any one time, and this is true for a surprising number of programs.

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RE: Is there a need for a 64 bit browser?

nope.

32 bit apps run perfectly fine on Vista x64, Win7 x64, Server 2003 x64 and Server 2008 x64.

Not unless your browser is going to need more than 4Gb RAM to run ... which I hope it doesn't.

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Linux

What's 32-bit?

I've been running an all 64-bit OS at home since 2005.

It's about time people caught up with reality. Having to hack crappy 32-bit software to make it work is a royal pain in the arse.

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Linux

RE2: Is there a need for a 64 bit browser?

Myths:

1) 32 bit ones may not runs as fast or may have problems.

Typically 64 bit apps run slower because they use more memory for their data structures as they have to store 64 bit address pointers instead of 32 bit. As for reliability this is down to the individual program, it would be easy to conclude 64 bit applications are more unstable because they are not tested as well (or even at all), and they do not have as many users to find and complain about bugs.

2) If you have 64bit hardware you ought to use a 64bit OS.

Why, it also supports 32 bit. The only real advantage 64 bit gives you is the ability to have more than 4 Gb of address space, which in the real world translates to the need to run processes which use more than 2Gb of memory total for most people (or if you use XP and have more than 4Gb of memory total, because XP does not understand PAE).

Admittedly having both 32 bit libraries and 64 bit libraries can be hard to setup for some users.

3) 64bit chips have some virtualisation functions built in too, not sure if these work under 32 bit OSs.

They do, you can even run a 64 bit guest OS under a 32 bit OS if this floats your boat. Just don't expect to be able to use more than about 2Gb of RAM for your virtual machine (see addressing limits under (1).

So to sum up, the reasons for running a 64 bit browser:

1) Your browser uses more than 2Gb of memory (almost believable with Firefox).

2) You are incapable of configuring 32 bit libraries on a 64 bit system.

3) It was easier to install the 64 bit browser because it came like that.

4) You are an idiot who thinks that higher numbers are always better.

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FAIL

@Cameron Colley

What a pile of shit.

What do browsers have to do with virtualisation support? Why do browsers need to access more than 4GB of contiguous RAM?

The whole raison d'être beind x86_64 and the for it's success over pure 64 bit architectures like Itanium is to allow 64 bit applications which need the memory, such as databases or video editors, to coexist with 32 bit applications and drivers with minimum perfomance impact.

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Where's the 32-bit version?

I guess I haven't cared enough to look very hard, but I still can't find a chromium .deb ...

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Gold badge

64-bit browser?

@AC Friday 21st August 2009 12:43 GMT

May or may not be 64-bit... see below.

@Michael Fremlins and AC Friday 21st August 2009 15:10 GMT

What does it give you? That's an excellent question. I mean, the ability to support >4GB -- but you'd need a hell of a lot of tabs and flash to hit 4GB. Distros typically have a 32-bit compatibility package that installs 32-bit versions of common libraries, no fuss, no muss.. so you'd install "firefox" (if it's not already) and the package manager would install "ia32-compat" or whatever automatically (and keep it up to date). I think the speed argument is technically valid.. but it's a browser, so it shouldn't be THAT intensive. Since 32-bit apps run just fine on 64-bit Linux, I think it's a matter of aesthetics than anything (having to run just 1 or 2 32-bit apps on an otherwise pure 64-bit system is ugly.)

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Megaphone

@Cameron Colley

What are you on about ? My 32bit Intel CPU does VT *fine*. 64bit is *not* automatically faster, and if you have less that 4g of memory (i.e. all normal people) then the memory limit isn't a problem *either*. 64bit chips, are, however, more expensive.

So, err, what ?

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Linux

Re: Windows x64 Plugins MIA (looking at you, Adobe)

Um... well I have Vista x64 on my notebook and I found the codec support to be pretty much lacking compared to the 32-Bit codecs available. Sods law the 32-Bit codecs won't work either (or at least the ones I've tried don't).

Just as well I don't use Vista much (used it maybe once in 6 months). My main desktop is 32-bit Ubuntu. Due to the fact I have 4GB Ram in my notebook, I have installed the 32-Bit Server kernel on Ubuntu which gives me access to the full 4GB although each process can only access 4GB of memory (but hey, I only have 4GB so it doesn't matter so much). I think the only thing that really uses the memory is any virtualisation stuff I do with Virtual Box (I don't have Intel VT on my notebook CPU but it runs virtualised stuff just as well, as does my P4 2.8GHz server which at the moment runs VMWare on Ubuntu Server with 4 VM's).

Anyway, it's still good I guess to have native 64-bit support. It looks to me like things are moving forward much more quickly on Linux than they are on Windows. I mean how long are Microsoft going to keep releasing 32-bit versions of the OS? I'd have thought by Windows 7 they would have ditched 32-Bit support. Guess it'll wait until at least Windows 8 then.

Rob

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Gold badge

Bad coding?

Anyone programming now should be writing portable code. Chrome should have compiled on 64-bit with no changes required at all.

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32 bit vs 64 bit

well, shared libraries.... why load a bunch of 32 bit libraries that might well *already* be resident in their 64 bit forms and waste that RAM/disk IO/etc/etc

also there are cpu register 'issues' around 32 bit mode IIRC.

sure, my mother in law wouldn't notice either way, but it doesn't mean there's no difference. even if it's mostly theory at this point, people think about this the wrong way. The question should be "what's the advantage of running 32 bit <whatever> on this x86_64 box?" - if there's a valid answer then fine. (either way I'd like the option of a native 64, even if just to pre-empt future requirements)

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@Antony Riley

> Typically 64 bit apps run slower because they use more memory for their data structures as they

> have to store 64 bit address pointers instead of 32 bit.

Bullshit.

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Alert

@ AC 11:34

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but you do not actually need to use Adobe's nasty closed-source POS just to read PDF files. Try any of xpdf, evince, kpdf or okular. For watching YouTube vids, there is a "youtube-dl" script which downloads them; and they can be played back using ffmpeg. There is also a "get-iplayer" script which downloads BBC iPlayer vids.

Also, once you have put a 64-bit processor into 64-bit mode, some 32-bit instructions are no longer available. If anyone used those instructions in a closed-source program, you're shafted.

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Tis good

to have something specifically for linux.

Now work on a proper version of Google earth....pleeeeeeeeeeease

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@Tom Chiverton

That's not what I meant. I was asking whether the 64bit virtualisation features worked if you used a 32bit operating system on a 64bit system. I thought I read in the documentation for VirtualBox or some such that a 64bit OS was required to take advantage of them -- but I suppose that may be just the one product.

As for the memory support -- having chosen 64bit hardware in case I ever need the memory it then follows that I will run a 64bit OS. Yes I could run 32bit, but why? What if I want the machine to see all my RAM?

Then to 64bit apps. Yes, I have 32bit libs installed but, occasionally, things stop working or have problems -- usually not much drama but just having the one set of libs would make things easier.

Why buy 64bit hardware, at more expense, without using an OS that can take advantage of it's memory and, following on from that? If I'm using a 64bit OS, why would I want 32bit libs installed?

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64bit not always related to RAM

A lot of people saying "64 bit OSs only useful for more RAM" but thats not the only benefit

With a 64 bit OS you can also map large files into virtual memory

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