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Date:      Mon, 15 Dec 2003 09:02:39 -0800
From:      Peter Wemm <>
To:        "Joel V." <>, <>
Subject:   Re: 5.2 and amd64 - good enough for a production server?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <000201c3c2a4$07423370$1900a8c0@CHARON>
References:  <000201c3c2a4$07423370$1900a8c0@CHARON>

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On Sunday 14 December 2003 04:40 pm, Joel V. wrote:
> Just making sure I understand everything, before I go to my boss and tell
> him to buy a 4000$ opteron box. =)

If you have the time, what I actually suggest is that you get hold of a 
smaller configuration machine and have a tinker first.  That also gives you a 
place to experiment first before going live with stuff anyway.

> 1) All the ports are working fine? I can go to /usr/ports/x and make
> install clean and I got myself a 64-bit binary working on a 64-bit
> operating system? (I'm mainly interested in Apache, qmail, vpopmail,
> proftpd and samba, which are quite essential to have.)

All the ports?  No.  Not all the ports even work on the i386 version of 5.x.  
It does have a few that are broken because of 64-bit issues, but it isn't all 
that far behind i386.  All the ones that you mentioned above are quite OK for 
example though.

> 2) AMD64 version of 5.2 will support the same amount of hardware than i368
> version? The most important area of support being RAID controllers, for me
> at least. (Adaptec SCSI for booting and system disks, 3ware ATA for
> dedicated backup disks. Oh, and what about RAID management tools?)

The only major chunk of hardware that I know of that has big issues is the 
Promise SX6000.  The driver tries to use a 32 bit field in a hardware data 
structure to store a 64 bit pointer.

Just about everything else works (or can be made to work) though.  What raid 
tools are you looking for?  If you mean things like aaccli, 3dmd, etc, I 
haven't tried them.  The 32 bit binaries might work.

> 3) Last but not least - 32-bit compatibility? I know Linux binary
> compatibility, both 32-bit and 64-bit is NOT DONE, but when will it be?
> Will it take a month, half a year or more? Its not a matter of life and
> death, but it would be good to know. And as far as I understand, at this
> moment I cannot also run 32-bit FreeBSD binaries from earlier 5.x releases?

FreeBSD/i386 binary compatability is a bit green at the moment.  It works for 
a good number of smaller userland applications (I use it for the i386 
perforce client, for example) but it is not likely to work for system level 
binaries.  ie: you can't yet take an amd64 kernel and boot an installed i386 
system with it.  However, being able to do this is a definate goal.  Or at 
least run it inside a chroot/jail/etc.  cvsup still breaks for reasons that I 
do not understand... that one has got me completely stumped.

The 32 bit emulation code does not have the FreeBSD-3.x and earlier 
compatability system calls implemented yet.  It will not run older 3.x 
binaries.  Certainly not a.out binaries either.

I wouldn't like to guestimate a timeline for the linux stuff though.  There 
are a number of things I want to be able to run so it'll happen sometime 
soon.  (eg: acrobat reader)

> Please be not offended by my outrageously newbie-esque questions.

Dont forget that an opteron machine makes a Damn Fine i386 machine.  My 
personal experiences suggest that an opteron gives an equivalent xeon system 
a good run for its money.

If it turns out you're not ready for 5.x yet, you still can run 4.9/i386 on 
it, and it'll work very very well.  It might seem a bit silly to consider 
this, but you do have a viable choice.

Peter Wemm -;;
"All of this is for nothing if we don't go to the stars" - JMS/B5

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