hippy
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:21 am

MisterEd wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:43 pm
Once a 64-bit version of Raspbian is developed both a 32-bit and 64-bit versions will have to be maintained for period of time. The same for software and drivers. The question is can the Raspberry Pi Foundation handle this burden?
I can't see why not. "Raspberry Pi" is a multi-million dollar business which should easily cope with such a burden.

What happens, and what happens beyond that, would come down to what RPT/RPF chooses to do.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:39 am

hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:21 am
MisterEd wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:43 pm
Once a 64-bit version of Raspbian is developed both a 32-bit and 64-bit versions will have to be maintained for period of time. The same for software and drivers. The question is can the Raspberry Pi Foundation handle this burden?
I can't see why not. "Raspberry Pi" is a multi-million dollar business which should easily cope with such a burden.
Do you know how many people there are in the RPT software team ?
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:56 am

jamesh wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:44 pm
although we are learning by osmosis.
*cough* diffusion is the closer analogy, unless you've a semi-permeable membrane in the office for the information to pass through *cough*

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bomblord
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:16 pm

I'de love to see Raspbian move to 64 bit just so I can get a few pieces of software that are 64 bit Arm only to compile/install on my pi. Openmw and Dolphin are probably the 2 biggest. As it stands I'm waiting for someone to finish setting up a full 64 bit image and userspace instead.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:22 pm

piglet wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:56 am
jamesh wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:44 pm
although we are learning by osmosis.
*cough* diffusion is the closer analogy, unless you've a semi-permeable membrane in the office for the information to pass through *cough*
a bead curtain ?
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CypherOz
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:46 pm

Generally speaking 64bit only is of value with larger memory 4GB+ and memory hungry applications, eg. photo and video editing and so forth.

Back in the day the move from 16 to 32 bit (Digital PDP-11 to VAXen) was really nice (16bit is REALLY constrained), but 32 to 64 was not on face value as compelling.

Another use of large physical memory is virtualisation where many VPS may be running.

But the general use of SBC and dedicated applications (Pi Zero esp.) 64bit has no great advantage.

So it is simply a question of am I memory constrained by a 32bit system? If not then you don't need 64bits
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:19 pm

CypherOz wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:46 pm
So it is simply a question of am I memory constrained by a 32bit system? If not then you don't need 64bits
Why do people think that memory addressing is the only benefit of 64-bits?

For a start ...
1) a modern instruction set that's designed for the newer high performance OOO cpu's like the Cortex-A72 in the Pi4.
2) a new version of NEON with a sensible register layout and fully IEEE compliant FP arithmetic.
3) double the number of integer and floating-point registers
4) hardware 64-bit arithmetic (integer overflow is unlikely)
.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:23 pm

dickon wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:52 am
I had a 64b Alpha workstation in 1998-1999, after leaving university with its fleet of 64b Irix desktops. So yes, at least 20 years.
Around 1996 we installed our first non-Novell server at work and it was a DEC Alpha based system. We ran NT 4.0 and were looking forward to the soon to be released 64 bit version of NT that was to be part of the Windows 2000 series OS's. Then around 2000 Microsoft announced it was cancelling it's plans for a 64 bit edition of Windows 2000 for Alpha based systems.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:32 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:21 am
MisterEd wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:43 pm
Once a 64-bit version of Raspbian is developed both a 32-bit and 64-bit versions will have to be maintained for period of time. The same for software and drivers. The question is can the Raspberry Pi Foundation handle this burden?
I can't see why not. "Raspberry Pi" is a multi-million dollar business which should easily cope with such a burden.

What happens, and what happens beyond that, would come down to what RPT/RPF chooses to do.
That's an interesting point. As I have said earlier, we are a very small team, but with the amount of money the Pi earns, should we have a bigger team? Well, that's down to the bosses, but remember the profits go to fund the charity, and that is where the choice needs to be made. Bigger team = less money to the Foundation and less money for 'other projects'.

And there's always the problem of finding the right people! That's not an advert for recruiters to get in touch - we do not use them, it's all down to word of mouth. And we haven't employed a new SW guy in about two years.
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:43 pm

RaTTuS wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:22 pm
piglet wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:56 am
jamesh wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:44 pm
although we are learning by osmosis.
*cough* diffusion is the closer analogy, unless you've a semi-permeable membrane in the office for the information to pass through *cough*
a bead curtain ?
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:57 pm

PeterO wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:39 am
hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:21 am
MisterEd wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:43 pm
Once a 64-bit version of Raspbian is developed both a 32-bit and 64-bit versions will have to be maintained for period of time. The same for software and drivers. The question is can the Raspberry Pi Foundation handle this burden?
I can't see why not. "Raspberry Pi" is a multi-million dollar business which should easily cope with such a burden.
Do you know how many people there are in the RPT software team ?
PeterO
I recall jamesh said it was 8, in this thread or some other recently. He also says they contract staff to help with some things.

Do you know how much money RPT makes ? They made enough profit to gift aid £5 million in 2018 to the RPF, £7.5 million in 2017.

The entire staff of 48 in RPT during 2018 cost them £3.7 million in salary. No small sum but even if the software team were all amongst the 12 across the entire organisation who received £130K-£170K, the salaries for the current software team would have been less than £1.2 million.

It seems to me there is plenty of money available to double the team size and find somewhere to house them, or hire contract staff, if they chose to do so.

And does it really cost £1 million to maintain 32-bit alongside 64-bit, require the size of the team to be doubled to do that ? I would doubt it, but if it did it doesn't seem to be a problem to me.

Any money spent takes from profit which impacts on the Foundation but I have faith that the RPT/RPF could and would deliver if they chose to. But perhaps you could explain why they couldn't as you are the one seemingly suggesting it isn't possible.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:14 pm

Employees cost a great deal more than the salaries they receive.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:26 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:57 pm
PeterO wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:39 am
hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:21 am

I can't see why not. "Raspberry Pi" is a multi-million dollar business which should easily cope with such a burden.
Do you know how many people there are in the RPT software team ?
PeterO
I recall jamesh said it was 8, in this thread or some other recently. He also says they contract staff to help with some things.

Do you know how much money RPT makes ? They made enough profit to gift aid £5 million in 2018 to the RPF, £7.5 million in 2017.

The entire staff of 48 in RPT during 2018 cost them £3.7 million in salary. No small sum but even if the software team were all amongst the 12 across the entire organisation who received £130K-£170K, the salaries for the current software team would have been less than £1.2 million.

It seems to me there is plenty of money available to double the team size and find somewhere to house them, or hire contract staff, if they chose to do so.

And does it really cost £1 million to maintain 32-bit alongside 64-bit, require the size of the team to be doubled to do that ? I would doubt it, but if it did it doesn't seem to be a problem to me.

Any money spent takes from profit which impacts on the Foundation but I have faith that the RPT/RPF could and would deliver if they chose to. But perhaps you could explain why they couldn't as you are the one seemingly suggesting it isn't possible.
Blimey, I wish I got £130k a year. Or even £170k. Which is a bigger number.

Not sure who decides on staffing levels, Eben probably, but the amount of money available is specified by the Trustees of the charity, I think, since the charity wholly owns RPF(T). Could be wrong, charity law not my field. Ignoring 64bit, even just looking at the bug list and the work we have to do, we could probably do with more people!
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hippy
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:28 pm

drgeoff wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:14 pm
Employees cost a great deal more than the salaries they receive.
£700K more for RPT in 2018. So perhaps better to say the cost to double the team would be less than £1.5 million, rather than less than £1.2 million. Add another £500K lease in to that and we're on £2 million.

That still seem entirely manageable and feasible to me. And these are worse case calculations. I would guess one can likely halve those.

Besides, if they can't do that, that means they are going to have to stick with 32-bit forever - which seems unlikely to me - or they are going to have to drop support for 32-bit entirely.
Last edited by hippy on Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:38 pm

jamesh wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:26 pm
Blimey, I wish I got £130k a year. Or even £170k. Which is a bigger number.
Same, where do I sign up?

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:39 pm

Or just do what I suspect is likely: a 64b kernel for 64b-capable machines, 32b kernels for those that can't, and a 32b userland. If you want a 64b userland there's nothing stopping you installing Debian or the like yourself. The majority won't need or care about 64b; those that do should be capable of installing it themselves.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm

It's not that it's absolutely impossible to support 64bit, it's just there's absolutely no justification for reallocating resources for it right now. If it was decided tomorrow that 64bit is the number one priority, I think the firmware an kernel guys could get that part sorted and I could roll a 64bit debian based distro using the tools I've built up over the years without any issues. The amount of progress made when we had crunch to get pi 4 software ready for launch shows that when there's a will there's a way. If it means hiring more people or getting contractors involved, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't happen.

The instruction set being newer isn't a reason to switch to it. Fear that we'll be left behind and end up like RISC OS is unfounded. There's nothing stopping people from running and contributing to 64bit distros and kernels already.

If/when time comes for us to move to 64bit, it will happen. It's just not today given that it would move us off what we're working on right now or burn through revenue. Would more users appreciate something like pi 4 release or official 64bit support? Also, aside from donations to the foundation, having a cash reserve give us options to do things which would not have been possible just a few years ago. It just opens up a ton of options. Is 64bit the best possible use or our time and/or money right now? Not based on the reasons I've seen so far.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:09 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm
It's not that it's absolutely impossible to support 64bit, it's just there's absolutely no justification for reallocating resources for it right now. If it was decided tomorrow that 64bit is the number one priority, I think the firmware an kernel guys could get that part sorted and I could roll a 64bit debian based distro using the tools I've built up over the years without any issues. The amount of progress made when we had crunch to get pi 4 software ready for launch shows that when there's a will there's a way. If it means hiring more people or getting contractors involved, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't happen.

The instruction set being newer isn't a reason to switch to it. Fear that we'll be left behind and end up like RISC OS is unfounded. There's nothing stopping people from running and contributing to 64bit distros and kernels already.

If/when time comes for us to move to 64bit, it will happen. It's just not today given that it would move us off what we're working on right now or burn through revenue. Would more users appreciate something like pi 4 release or official 64bit support? Also, aside from donations to the foundation, having a cash reserve give us options to do things which would not have been possible just a few years ago. It just opens up a ton of options. Is 64bit the best possible use or our time and/or money right now? Not based on the reasons I've seen so far.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:13 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm
Is 64bit the best possible use or our time and/or money right now? Not based on the reasons I've seen so far.
You'll get sacked for saying things like that when Hippy takes over the company :lol:
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:31 pm

PeterO wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:13 pm
ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm
Is 64bit the best possible use or our time and/or money right now? Not based on the reasons I've seen so far.
You'll get sacked for saying things like that when Hippy takes over the company :lol:
PeterO
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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:59 pm

PeterO wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:13 pm
ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm
Is 64bit the best possible use or our time and/or money right now? Not based on the reasons I've seen so far.
You'll get sacked for saying things like that when Hippy takes over the company :lol:
PeterO
If he's paying £170k per year, I'd like to apologise for and retract my misguided and out of line statements. 64bit is the only way forward.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:18 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm
when there's a will there's a way. If it means hiring more people or getting contractors involved, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't happen.
Which is what I was saying but it seems some are rather more pessimistic.
PeterO wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:13 pm
ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm
Is 64bit the best possible use or our time and/or money right now? Not based on the reasons I've seen so far.
You'll get sacked for saying things like that when Hippy takes over the company :lol:
PeterO
Unlikely, if that happened; seeing as I agree with that perspective.

I have no personal desire to see 64-bit on a Pi. I believe the benefits of 64-bit are over-stated and over-rated for the majority of Pi users.

I couldn't give any justification for RPT jumping on the 64-bit bandwagon beyond "they will have to" through being forced into that.

I do believe it will become necessary to go 64-bit as software applications move towards being 64-bit only. That time may not have arrived yet, but it will, and I suspect sooner rather than later. I would be entirely happy to stick with 32-bit only if it were not for that.

What I am actually against is the "64-bit only" brigade, particularly the software application developers who are forcing people on to 64-bit when they don't have to. It of course therefore follows that I would be against Raspbian also becoming 64-bit only.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:26 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:18 pm
I have no personal desire to see 64-bit on a Pi. I believe the benefits of 64-bit are over-stated and over-rated for the majority of Pi users.
While I'm not against 64-bit on the Pi, I do agree with your reasons.

I think a lot of it is "PCs are now running 64-bit, therefore it is a standard and Raspbian should follow", which is a non-sequiteur.

Actually, thinking about what work would be involved in running 64-bit on a suitable Pi, Raspbian itself would be mostly redundant. The 64-bit Pi can run Debian - but there are things like the kernel and certain customised and enhanced packages that would need to be rebuilt. Also the huge amount of work with the GPU/video drivers.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:43 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:18 pm
What I am actually against is the "64-bit only" brigade, particularly the software application developers who are forcing people on to 64-bit when they don't have to.
I presume the software developers don't want to support two platforms.
Therefore they have to choose one, and 64-bit is the future, so it makes sense.

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Re: Why moving to 64bit?

Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:49 pm

piglet wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:56 am
jamesh wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:44 pm
although we are learning by osmosis.
*cough* diffusion is the closer analogy, unless you've a semi-permeable membrane in the office for the information to pass through *cough*
The skull is semi-permeable to information. At least, some are.

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