Upgrading to 64 bit

I finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to upgrade my laptop to 64 bit. Years back when I last looked into making a decision about 32 vs. 64 bit for Linux, the consensus seemed to be that there wasn’t much point in using 64 bit unless you had a specific need for it. I guess what it boiled down to was that there were still some issues that were being seen with some of the 64 bit packages, so it was recommended to go with 32 bit if you could. I could, and I’m not really a power user of Linux, even though I do like to tweak settings and get it running just the way I like. I do some programming, but most of my programming is aimed at embedded systems, or is in Python to do the simulation/calculation work in supporting the embedded programs. The third category that I tend to do is just in general programming of scripts to do the little daily things that I want my computer to automate for me. That also tends to be in Python, and is not at all a high resource job for the computer.

Well, all that has now changed. I wanted to take a stab at learning Ada, but I found out that the most current downloads are only for 64 bit computers. Oops. This required a re-think of my plans. This was all of a sudden a MUCH larger undertaking. My laptop is currently 5 years old, and it wasn’t a high-end current laptop when I bought it. I picked up a cheap one, and since most of my actual programming work has very low power requirements from the computer, it’s always been enough for that. It’s my goofing off online or playing a game that has been slowed down by old technology. But I figure that’s actually a benefit, because I have many other things I want to be doing, so getting encouragement to get off the laptop and go do them can really help sometimes.

But I still wanted to actually get started with Ada, so I went ahead and started to back all of my files up. (Theoretically most of them were already backed up, but when I go through something like this I usually make a total back up of my home directories, just to make sure. Then later at some point I’ll have to check for duplicates.)

I ran into a curious problem with the bootable USB file system. It left me with a message on the screen that I didn’t know what to do with. It turns out that if you just press [Tab] then it will present you with a list of possible selections. On mine ‘live’ was one of them, and it went through the process of booting to a live system. I then had the option of installing to disk, which I did and now have a running, shiny new 64 bit system.

I actually haven’t really noticed much of a difference. I guess that could be seen as a good thing, since it’s all “just working,” but I had hoped to see things run a bit faster. Maybe it is just a little faster, but it’s not enough difference to be sure. Doesn’t really matter a whole lot, as long as I can get it to do the work I need it to.

Just one step after the other… Now I’m ready to work with Ada!

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