A serious lack of overlap with 64

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/08/02 03:31 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/08/02/8805014.aspx

So it started over on the VistaWindows Experience Blog's blog Watch NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics in Windows Media Center.

Some eager folks who downloaded the client were dismayed to see it was 32-bit only. Brandon (the blog's author) mentioned in comments that there may be news on this in the future, so perhaps there is eventual hope.

Garrett McGowan summed up my feelings nicely:

Awesome! Except...after downloading the 10MB client, I'm informed that 'Sorry, 32-bit Windows Vista only.'

Foot, meet bullet.

I'm serious about 64-bit. I've been running 64-bit on my primary home machine since February 2007. I put up with the early, shaky device drivers. I put up with the late availability of Windows Live software and the incredibly late Windows Home Server Client. Actually no, I gave up on that one, along with Creative's X-Fi full-feature drivers (they finally dropped this week). But now this.

When is the 'ecosystem' going to take 64-bit seriously?

I agree 100%.

I had one of my own situations like that recently. I had finally decided to dump the 50gb of space I had set aside for the 32-bit version of Vista on my MacBook Pro and just go full 64-bit and use the space for other purposes.

Soon after, I had installed many language packs, and subsequently made a sad discovery.

Language Interface Packs were not being made available for 64-bit.

"How could that be?" I wondered. I mean, the build process for them is the same as for the Language Packs that are available for 64-bit. The only difference is that they end up building a bit faster since by definition that have fewer language resources in them. I knew they could easily exist, I must be mistaken in my investigation that seemed to indicate they weren't available.

But it was no mistake -- someone had deemed that the overlap of people running on 64-bit hardware and the people who need Language Interface Packs because they need windows in their native language was apparently not high enough to really merit the resources to release the 64-bit LIPs.

So there was no reason for the official build machines to build them since they weren't being released like the 32-bit ones were.

And there was no specific reason to test them since they weren't being released like the 32-bit ones were.


Though I suppose this is a trend that can be easily reversed when/if the determination is made that the overlap of hardware and language makes it more sensible, strategically.

This is hardly isolated, mind you. There are way too many examples where people just don't think 64-bit is needed. At least not yet.

But then like many I wonder how all of the predictions about the end of 32-bit on the horizon can be true when there are so many examples like this happening.

In the meantime, we won't be watching the Olympics on our 64-bit machines while we are in India, which is maybe okay because the Olympics viewing is currently supported in the US only anyway.

But that is a rant for another day....


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anony.muos on 2 Aug 2008 5:03 AM:

Since this blog is related to fonts/typography, I'd like to mention that probably the shell team in Vista forgot to add some special menu items which the Font folder has in Vista's Explorer. I can't locate "Hide variations (Bold, Italic etc)" command in Vista's Font folder which was very useful in counting the actual number of fonts and quickly previewing them. The preview pane is a lot useful for the fonts folder but now in Vista, you have to skip every 2 files (Bold, Italic), when previewing fonts. Also, view fonts by similarity seems to have disappeared by itself. Hopefully, this'll be fixed in Windows 7.

DM on 2 Aug 2008 9:27 AM:


The day before Chris Flores posted "Windows Vista 64-bit Today" because there's a trend showing 64-bit is approaching mainstream



int19h on 2 Aug 2008 9:54 AM:

The 64-bit move will happen during the next RAM increase - with 2Gb average in new machines, and 4Gb in the high-end ones, we're already right at the limit of 32-bit. Also, I don't know about others, but personally I'm rather annoyed that 32-bit Vista can only use 3.1Gb out of those 4 I have in my notebook - and that alone a pretty convincing reason to move to x64.

Michael S. Kaplan on 2 Aug 2008 11:36 AM:

But does that mean they are right since the main markets for LIPs are well behind the folks in the US who buy new machines so often?

Dean Harding on 2 Aug 2008 6:09 PM:

I had a similar experience with the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader. Somebody gave me one, once and I figured I'd give it a go (it seems like a cool idea).

But there's no 64-bit drivers for it. The thing was totally annoyed me is that the device is simply re-branded from an OEM, and the OEM HAD 64-BIT DRIVERS! But not Microsoft! What does that say about Microsoft's platform strategy?

Fair enough it's only one device, and probably not particularly popular -- and thankfully, I got it for free anyway :p -- but it just goes to show, there's some people in Microsoft who are just not serious about 64-bit.

Also, with the thing about memory, it's not that 32-bit Windows does not support > 3.xGB of physical RAM, it's that there will always be a "gap" in the 3-4GB range (due to DMA devices "reserving" some of it. So if you put 8GB in there, Windows would be able to use 7.1GB or something like that.

Igor Levicki on 3 Aug 2008 9:14 PM:

They are right Michael, poor countries and poor people cannot afford 4GB of RAM. They usually go with 1GB or 2GB.

However I would blame Microsoft for poor 64-bit OS adoption:

1. There wasn't enough pressure on hardware vendors to deliver drivers (for example, NVIDIA never released 64-bit WDM drivers for 7800 GT VIVO capable cards and that was a mainstream product!)

2. Releasing 32-bit Vista version was a mistake. You should have released only 64-bit version.

Dean Harding on 3 Aug 2008 11:40 PM:

"Releasing 32-bit Vista version was a mistake. You should have released only 64-bit version."

I agree with this, too. At least in an ideal world... I'm pretty sure I read that there will be a 32-bit version of Windows 7, but I sure wish there wasn't. :-)

Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Aug 2008 2:20 AM:

With most hardware unwilling to provide drivers or unable to support it, and the majority of customers only supporting/OEMs only installing 32-bit versions on 64-bit hardware, I can't see how this is gonna happen any time soon....

Mihai on 4 Aug 2008 3:25 PM:

Same here: my laptop has 4GB, but I can only use 3.

Considered moving to 64 bit, but the main problem is Cisco, with no 64 bit VPN client (and no plans to release one).

And unlike regular applications, 32 bit drivers can't run on Vista :-(

Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Mar 2010 1:02 AM:

The 64-bit story for Windows 7 LIPs is better than Vista's, but...

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