There was a time when I was constantly on top of these things. But that was from the 8086 days up until Pentium II. Then I lost much interest in hardware and started concentrating on not upgrading my computer every 8 months.
However the 64-bit "revolution" seems to bring with it some quirks that I must watch out for. I need your help, folks, to understand a few points.
You don't need to answer everything, of course. Just do it at your own pace and volition. But, lets discuss 64-bit; what it is, what it is not, what you expect it to be, and in the meantime help me put some order on everything I read or hear about it and that for the most part is contradicting.
What's at stake considering programming in C++
- These compiler toolchains, what are they?
- What type of code compiled on a 32-bit machine will not run on a 64-bit one?
- What type of code compile on a 64-bit machine will run on a 32-bit one?
- Have variable types increased in size (capacity)?
- Is there an effort between the major players to agree on a common size?
- What side effects are expected from 64-bit compiled applications in terms of size and speed?
- What's the expected ratio of memory requirements increase? And disk?
The 64-bit hype
- Considering 32-bit systems accompanied much of the software development during some of its most productive years, do you expect 32-bit machines to finally disappear in 5 years? 10? Maybe later? Much sooner?
- What's in your general opinion the current state in terms of compilers, debuggers, profilers and overall industry support for 64-bit machines?
- Should I consider an upgrade today? In 1 year? 2? 5?
- Do you expect 32-bit machines to enjoy a longer period as legacy systems than 16-bits enjoyed (and still enjoy to some extent)?
- Do you expect it to be more prolific then 16-bit solution were once they became old-fashioned?
- Generally what are the advantages of 64-bit systems?
- Any disadvantages?
- Keeping with current materials, but expecting better and more refined tools, do you think 64-bit is not the end of it?