In case you didn’t infer it from the title of this post, there is some serious geekery ahead. You’ve been warned…
So last night, just before I went to sleep, I fired up the laptop to do whip out a little blog post for Friday, and in the midst of doing that, the system just totally froze up. Like, it came to a screeching halt. And when I tried to reboot later, I had a system that would power on, but not actually boot or do anything useful. I did just a little troubleshooting, and I figured out that that problem lay somewhere besides the hard drive. That was good and bad. Good that I still have that data, bad that I now have no way of accessing it (for the time being).
So, during the day today, I spent a little time shopping around the internets for new laptops. Wanted to get the lay of the land and figure out what could be had at what price. I have recently been thinking about a netbook for later in 2009, but without a reliable, “full-size” laptop to fall back on, I’m just not sure. I looked at the offerings from Dell, Lenovo, and HP, and I decided that if I am getting a new one, I should probably go ahead and get something with a 64-bit processor. I’d like a new machine to last a while.
This got me into researching the advantages and drawbacks of 64-bit Ubuntu. There’s a thread in the forums there where they’ve been discussing it for about 2 years now, but the good news is that at this point, there don’t seem to be any serious shortcomings at all; in the early 64-bit days, there wasn’t enough software that worked on those processors, but this is no longer an issue.
So, blah-blah-blah, reading-reading-reading, and I realize, “hey– I think my desktop machine, although not a dual-core, could run a 64-bit OS…” Kept hunting about on the ‘tubes, and ultimately found that, yes: my P4 HT processor can do it. What with Ubuntu 9.04 hitting the web just a couple days ago, this seems like a reasonable time to give it a try. I had been planning on waiting for the bugs to settle out of the new version, but I figure if I’m going to make a big change like this and do a clean install, I might as well go for broke.
I do continue to keep /home on its own partition, so I never lose my personal data, program settings, etc., but I will need to reinstall all my software. I found an easy way to do that, but with the switchover from 32- to 64-bit, there will probably be plenty of packages in that list that I can’t use anymore. I’m hoping that the ones that won’t work will simply error out in apt. One thing that I imagine will actually work BETTER with a 64-bit OS is the video card support– I am running the server kernel on my desktop machine at present, in order to take advantage of the 5 gigs of RAM I have installed in this 32-bit environment. I had to do a bit of dicking around to get the nVidia drivers to work appropriately with this kernel (the standard one was easy).
Well, my disc image will be done downloading in a few seconds, so I’ll be back to report to myself here on how it went…