Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

All suggestions about TPFC should be posted here. Discussions about changes to TPFC will also be carried out here.
Post Reply
Message
Author
lwc
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:40 pm
Contact:

Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#1 Post by lwc »

I think the 32-bit/64-bit distinction, especially as 32-bit always comes first (see this), is probably a leftover from the era of Windows XP.
It seems to me all Windows afterwards are mostly 64-bit, with 32-bit variants harder to find. Windows 11 even removed 32-bit support altogether, so the 32-bit era is over anyway for Windows OS.

Since it's hard enough to get volunteers to update the database, is it time to just have 1 download field (and if linking directly to an EXE, and there 2 EXE files, then choose the 64-bit one)?
If not, then at the very least change the order and always highlight 64-bit download first (including when users manually write in the instructions "download 32-bit or 64-bit" when it should be the other way around).

User avatar
Midas
Posts: 6790
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Sol3

Re: Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#2 Post by Midas »

While I think your suggestion has merit and I agree overall -- back then I was even on the forefront of promoting 64-bit software adoption here -- I totally disagree with sun-setting any 32-bit entries...

I mean first and foremost 64-bit versions should be the default by now but the existence of any 32-bit version should also be noted and highlighted. The updating overhead should be minimal as most entries point to the same URL anyways. :|

In my experience, TPFC is one of the scarce resources catering to legacy enthusiasts (i.e., people running 32-bit architectures) and that is by itself quite a distinctive feature of our site nowadays.

User avatar
Erdeslawe
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:49 am

Re: Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#3 Post by Erdeslawe »

"Windows 11 even removed 32-bit support altogether, so the 32-bit era is over anyway for Windows OS."

That's a bit miss-leading! Whilst Windows 11 is the first Windows release to be only available as a 64-bit OS it still provides full support for installing and running 32-bit software. In fact many 'core' Microsoft apps and utilities which are built in to the Windows 11 OS are still 32-bit.

AFAIK, macOS is, so far, the only 'commonly used' OS to have entirely removed support for 32-bit software, but Apple is also now heading rapidly towards the elimination of support for running any x86 software. Linux distributions, like Microsoft, are increasingly providing only 64-bit OS installers, but it still remains possible to activate the support architecture for running 32-bit applications.

lwc
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#4 Post by lwc »

Erdeslawe wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 9:10 am "Windows 11 even removed 32-bit support altogether, so the 32-bit era is over anyway for Windows OS."

That's a bit miss-leading! Whilst Windows 11 is the first Windows release to be only available as a 64-bit OS it still provides full support for installing and running 32-bit software. In fact many 'core' Microsoft apps and utilities which are built in to the Windows 11 OS are still 32-bit.
I've just meant it seems illogical to run a 32-bit program as a legacy feature on a 64-bit OS if you can run the 64-bit version of the program.
In other words, if a program has just 1 version, you'll use it without caring if it's 32 or 64 bit. If it has 2 versions, you're supposed to prefer the 64-bit version because why would you want to rely on Windows legacy features (which will be removed eventually like in MacOS).

In any case, I think we all agree to at least put 64-bit first in the listings (and in their edits).

User avatar
Andrew Lee
Posts: 3095
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:19 am
Contact:

Re: Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#5 Post by Andrew Lee »

lwc wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 3:31 pm In other words, if a program has just 1 version, you'll use it without caring if it's 32 or 64 bit. If it has 2 versions, you're supposed to prefer the 64-bit version because why would you want to rely on Windows legacy features (which will be removed eventually like in MacOS).
I agree that would be true for the majority of Windows users, except for a few with very specific requirements in mind.

User avatar
Erdeslawe
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:49 am

Re: Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#6 Post by Erdeslawe »

Whilst I also agree that it would probably be reasonable to reverse the display of available downloads to make available 32-bit versions show as a secondary option for those that still need/want that option (if available), but it should be born in mind that pure 64-bit software versions may lack the ability to accept data/files produced using a 32-bit software application, e.g. where the 64-bit app is unable to access some necessary 32-bit operating system libraries.

Incidentally, the last Mac OS to be available as 32-bit was MacOS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), released in August 2009 and the first to cease support entirely for 32-bit software was macOS 10.15 (Catalina), released in October 2019, so there was a 10 year lead-in to 64-bit only, for the relatively small range of hardware they support and the 'control' they exert over software development for the platform. I'm, personally, convinced that it is likely take far longer for Microsoft to implement a complete transition.

lwc
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Is it time to stop highlighting 32-bit over 64-bit and possibly stop the distinction at all?

#7 Post by lwc »

Just wanted to show an example of the future of 32-bit with Slack quietly retiring its 32-bit version without even so much as a blink in any news sites.
Now granted it's a business app so geared at people who just want it to work, but still an indication of the future.

Post Reply