32-bit future?

Discussion in 'Pyra OS (Debian GNU/Linux)' started by Confuzzled, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. Confuzzled

    Confuzzled Still Fresh

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    Excuse me if this has been asked before, but I haven't found a clear view regarding the 32-bit future. I _have_ looked, but perhaps in the wrong places.

    AFAIK the Pyra, as currently designed and being implemented, uses a 32-bit cpu. In the Intel/AMD world, 32-bit 'x86' cpus are pretty much dead - so much so that many Linux distributions no longer 32-bit ISOs. This also means (I think) that many applications no longer offer 32-bit versions.

    Part of my interest in the Pyra is using it as an 'extremely portable' general purpose computing device, which means I would like it to run standard desktop applications like the Firefox web-browser, the Thunderbird email client, and the LibreOffice Office suite. This is not because I want to use it as my only computing device, but so that I can produce documents on my desktop or notepad format computers and share to read-and-modify them on the Pyra when travelling.

    So, what does the future hold. Does anyone know whether Firefox/Thunderbird/LibreOffice will retainf 32-bit compatibility? What about a Linux distribution for the Pyra - any issue with future availability there? And in the very long term, is it possible or likely that an upgraded cpu module/board for the Pyra would be a 64-bit cpu, neatly sidestepping any issue above?

    I'm admitting my ignorance here, and if anyone can point to an already existing clear and concise reply to the above, I'd be grateful, and apologetic for not finding it. If I have some errors in understanding, please point them out gently. If you have read this far, thank you, and if you reply, thank you in advance.

    Confuzzled
     
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  2. Binky

    Binky Death's Steed Staff Member

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    Do you mean that they don't offer precompiled binaries for 32bit x86, or that the software actually can't be compiled for 32bit systems?

    The latter would be a problem, but sounds unlikely, to my mind!

    32bit x86 binaries will be of no use to us anyway, since the Pyra isn't using an x86 CPU.
    Some distributions offer repos of 32bit ARM binaries, and if not, we can build our own. We have the source!

    I trust you've seen the beautiful collection of 32bit ARM packages at repo.openpandora.org?
     
  3. Elw3

    Elw3 ƐʍlƎ

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    On an ARM device. Obvious flaw in the logic.

    Unless you do number crunching like rendering 3D scenes or exporting RAW photos you should not put a single thought on that topic.
     
  4. NetBLOKS

    NetBLOKS Finally on-board

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    There should be no problems in your wish for standard applications and linux distros for 2-3 years I think. Firefox ESR is available in 32 Bit and Thunderbird also.
    Libreoffice is still 32 Bit on Windows platforms and also available for ARM.
    So you should be good until the 64 bit cpu-boards arrives.
    I will be using these programs too and really looking forward to them in this form factor.
     
  5. Confuzzled

    Confuzzled Still Fresh

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    Well, on the one hand, knowing the Pyra cpu is contains 2x ARM Cortex-A15 @ 1.5Ghz with NEON SIMD allows me to work out that that is an architecture supported by Debian as the 'armhf' port, and the debian armhf 'stable' package repository contains packages labelled 'libreoffice', 'thunderbird', and 'firefox-esr', so I'm slightly reassured - but on the other hand, I read a thread like https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/threads/pyra-without-decent-web-browser.79784/ , and get all confuzzled again.

    It's not a huge deal: the only thing I really need the Pyra to be able to do is run a Windows emulator well enough to run a particular bit of software which currently runs happily on/in Wine on an x86 AMD64 laptop. I think QEMU+Wine should work - it is not graphics intensive (framerate is about zero frames per second), and doesn't need any special hardware (no networking or USB access needed).

    Being able to read my email with an IMAP client would be helpful.

    A good web-browser, good Open Document Format document compatibility, and the ability to read PDF documents would be icing on the cake.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  6. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    I'm an observer and sometime mod at the archlinux 32 project which is working to restore i686 builds of archlinux and their repos, as well as i486 projects and others. The main problem they've had with getting 32-bit versions of things like firefox built is the RAM for linking RAM which sometimes exhausts the address space available to a 32-bit address bus.
     
  7. ptitSeb

    ptitSeb Serial Porter

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    On ARM, 32bits is still most wide spread architecture, 64 bits is the future, sure, but it's not there yet like in x86 world. Most emu (with a few notable exception) don't have JIT yet on arm64 for example.
    X86 32bits is not much present now, but still, x86 is much more easier to emulate than x86_64, so it's still handy to have 32bits builds :p
     
  8. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Hardcore Member

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    The only software I can think of at the moment that can't run on 32 bit (ARM or otherwise) is the Dolphin Gamecube/Wii emulator. Which kinda sucks because I'm pretty sure the gamecube portion would work on the Pyra otherwise.
     
  9. elvissteinjr

    elvissteinjr Very Active Member

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    If you ignore OpenGLES 3 or Vulkan requirements, sure. If my phone is any indicator, whose GPU is supposedly a few times faster, it also wouldn't run at playable speeds.
     
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  10. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Hardcore Member

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    Oh dagnabit I forgot about those.
     
  11. Hồng Thất Công

    Hồng Thất Công Đả Cẩu Bổng Pháp

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    No worries! Pyra SoC is upgradable so there will be 64bit ARM SoC in the future :)
     
  12. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

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    Debian is not going to drop support, and 32bit ARM is much more prevalent than 32bit X86 desktop is.
     

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