What is the distribution 32 or 64 Bit being offered?

(Barry Schofield) #1

What is the distribution 32 or 64 Bit being offered?

(Barry Schofield) #2

And what is the latest version number please?

(Marcus Baw) #3

We are mainly offering a 64-bit distro although I believe @robdykedotcom did spin up a 32-bit, and if there is demand we’ll continue to produce it.

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘version’ as we are still in what one might call a ‘pre-alpha’ stage of experimentation and testing with NHSbuntu, and we haven’t settled on an update cycle or versioning methodology yet - but I guess the most fundamental version issue is our Ubuntu base, and we are basing NHSbuntu on Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 at present.


(Barry Schofield) #4

Ok thanks version is I believe Beta 1



(Rob Dyke) #5

There are 32bit & 64bit releases.
There are no version numbers.
The base is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
ISOs have a datestamp in the filename.

Linked from homepage:

See also: https://www.nhsbuntu.org/ISO/

Moving towards: https://repo.nhsbuntu.org

There is no beta 1. I should know. I make the ISOs.


Hi Marcus,
I would suggest focusing on 32 bit. Many trusts have 32 bit machines and although there are users with 64 bit machines, 32 bit distro would work on all machines (within spec) whereas there may be uptake issues on 64bit. Also remember many trusts are tied into ongoing supply agreements with manufacturers, and with current financial climate in the NHS money is sparse, and 32 bit machines are cheaper from a hardware perspective. If anybody knows different please let me know, as I’m sure there are large differences between trusts. :slight_smile:

(Adrian Wilkins) #7

It’s worth noting that the last 32-bit only desktop x86 compatible CPU manufactured was the Pentium 4E in 2004 ; one suspects the issues of trying to run anything approaching a modern application load on such an old beast would be far worse. I’m betting even getting enough RAM into the motherboard to run Firefox is going to be hard.

A lot of trusts are, AFAIK, still running 32-bit versions of Windows, for a number of reasons, including (but possibly not limited to) the following ; this does not require the CPU of the machine to be a 32-bit model because they’re backward compatible.

Still running 16-bit software

The 32-bit version of Windows has a thunking layer for running 16-bit software. The 64-bit version has a thunking layer for 32-bit software, but not the second one for running 16-bit software. For example, software written in VB3.

No 64-bit device drivers for hardware

While I’ve not encountered this personally, I heard rumours to the effect that e.g. smart card readers were a reason to stay on 32-bit versions of Windows because they had no 64-bit version. Also heard vague rumours it was down to anti-virus software (???).

The 64-bit version of XP was also a bit of an experiment to get running, or so I hear.

IT Support

One suspects that a lot of the cases where 32-bit OSs are still in use is just because it cuts down on the number of possible configurations required - a few edge cases mean they have to support a 32-bit OS somewhere so they ONLY support 32-bit because it still works.

Reasons to go 64-bit


Until you’ve tried to fit the whole of SNOMED CT into RAM on a 32-bit OS, you’ve not lived. It’s not hard on a 64-bit OS, it’s virtually impossible on 32-bit Windows specifically because it has a huge reserved area in the middle of it’s address space which means even if have a full 3.4GB complement of the RAM available to the 32-bit OS, Java can only see about 1.3GB of it.


64-bit CPUs have more registers etc but they can only use them in 64-bit mode. Running many programs in 64-bit mode is noticeably faster even without changing the code specifically to exploit the features.


OS running CPUs in 64-bit mode can take advantage of various security features that are not available in the older instruction sets.

(Rob Dyke) #8

The automagical Ubuntu seeds germinate multiple architectures with no
additional effort on our part.

32/64 & ARM all in the pipeline!

(Aaron Donnelly) #9

The Download link on the homepage doesn’t seem to link to the latest ISO. It’s unclear that there are 32 bit and 64 bit options available unless you visit the “ISO” link highlighted by Rob.

I origionally downloaded “nhsbuntu-gnome-201703270219.iso” and am currently downloading “nhsbuntu-16.04-64bit-2017-05-18.iso” for evaluation purposes.

(Rob Dyke) #10

Hi Aaron

Fixing those download links this evening.


(Aaron Donnelly) #11

Cheers Rob,

Not a big deal really, but you’ll always get such questions about arch from seasoned Linux advocates…

(Rob Dyke) #12

Hopefully you spotted that the download links have been fixed up.

(Aaron Donnelly) #13

Hi Rob,

I certainly have. Having choices is always a good thing :slightly_smiling_face:

As Adrian points out, there are good reasons for it. I will pretty much always seek 64 bit but there are some occasions where, even today, 32 bit can be useful.

(Andrew Anderson) #14

Is this now using Mint with Cinnamon desktop?

(Barry Schofield) #15

Me to Linux Mint 18.2 Sofia is much better than Ubuntu are you doing it?
Is it called NHSmint?

(Rob Dyke) #16

Mint is Ubuntu.
Cinnamon is the Windows Manager.
Yes we are moving to Cinnamon.
It won’t be called NHSinnamon.
Nor NHSmint.


(Andrew Anderson) #17

So the download ISO’s are currently Ubuntu/Gnome, changing to Ubuntu based Mint/Cinnamon in the near future? Do you use a script to modify the standard image that could be made available?

(Rob Dyke) #18

I wrote a short post on Making NHSbuntu recently.

We can use this thread to talk about the tooling and packages.

(Barry Schofield) #19

No there not fixed just tried them

(Rob Dyke) #20

@bscho - This thread is three months old.