AMD and Linux: Reaching for the 64-bit Trophyby Kristopher Kubicki on July 12, 2004 12:05 AM EST
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A Quick Bit about the Operating SystemsThe only truly free operating systems that we are running for these benchmarks are the two Fedora Core 2 distributions. Linux savvy readers may criticize our lack of Gentoo or some other non-RPM based distribution. Unfortunately, we had difficulties running our new hardware platform on Gentoo and Debian. Undoubtedly, when we revisit 64-bit operating systems in two or three months, we will have better luck.
Fedora Core 2 has a funny name, but we formerly knew it as RedHat. RedHat used to be the Linux choice of novice and experts alike, but has since faded into more of a server OS than a home user solution. Fedora, Red Hat's "free" attempt to recapture their market from Mandrake, tends to have excellent support, since RedHat is still the goliath in the Linux community as far as driver support is concerned (inventing RPM had something to do with this). For this reason, we have high expectations for Fedora.
SuSE, on the other hand, feels like it has been around forever. The German RPM based distribution was the first to have full blown AMD64 support, although we should be warned that this support does not come free. The Professional version of SuSE 9.1 (which we used in this analysis) carries a $90 price tag. Unfortunately, you can't even try the Personal version of SuSE 9.1 without forking the $90 because the Personal edition does not ship with a x86-64 kernel. Update Apparently, you can find Free ISOs for the x86-64 Pro version, but the Pro version we used direct from the SuSE website retails for $89.95.