Thursday, September 17, 2009

64 bit Delphi. Who needs it?

I'm watching not only the InterBase and Firebird newsgrops and forums, but the Delphi also.
And I know that at least lot of russian Delphi programmers complaining about still non-existing support of 64 bit Windows in Delphi.

Today at I saw the post "64 bit tommorow – Wh/if you’ll have more than 4GB “today”?", and want to share my opinion on this. Also I wish you to vote at that post, as I did.
That post has a lot of technical replies, but I want to look at "business" point of supporting 64 bit Windows.

Yes, 64-bit operating systems are used now, but mostly for servers. But Delphi programmers write programs mostly not for the servers, but for the usual customers, working on desktop computers.

Let us look at very good Steam report:

Right now ~18% of gaming computers uses 64-bit OS. But, gamers are not enterprise customers. 32-bit programs still works well at 64-bit operating systems, but 64-bit programs can't run on 32-bit OS.

Moreover, I'm sure that most of Delphi developers who wants 64-bit support really wants only to use things they have, without the details how it can be done. Maybe I will look a bit rude for someone, but I think the Joker quote can be used here:
"You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it."

Of course, some Delphi developers really needs 64-bit Delphi. But for what tasks?
  • middleware application servers
  • scientific software
  • compatibility/dll software
And that's it. 95% of software written in Delphi, or even more, designed for the end-users, who doesn't care about 32 or 64bits, and by the specific of this applications 64bit support will give nothing to them. Currenly, the more fun stuff is with multi-core processors. What stock or accounting software can utilise more than 1 core of processor? And what for? And the main question - do you know how hard to upgrade operating system for the enterprise, where lot of compatibility things need to be in count?

Interesting, that using GPU for computation gave much more capabilities and performance for the scientific applications than 64-bit systems. You may, if any, have not more than 20-30% increase of the application performance if it goes from 32 to 64bits, and only if it is optimised for that, but using GPU allows to speedup computations up to 100 times.

But, don't consider me as an orthodox person, I'm just a bit sceptic, and trying to look at things realistic. I believe in mult-cores - games can utilize up to 3 cores now! -, and I believe in 64-bit.


Alexei said...

I missed one more reason to have 64-bit support - integration with Windows Explorer (not the same as Internet Explorer), context menu handlers, filters, etc. This is number one missing feature for 32-bit desktop applications on a 64-bit system.

Antoine said...

Interesting analysis, but I believe Дмитры is missing something: the time factor.

Typical users might not need x64Delphi in 2009; but that is not important for the developpers of 2009: it was important to the developpers of 2006 or 2007, when they were working on today's applications; and at that moment (2006), business developpers were not (much) concerned about x64, because they anticipated that users of 2009 won't use them.

Right now, developpers are concerned with the typical users and uses of 2012. When the "real" WinNT 7.0 will be released (Seven is NT6.1). When the typical desktop will have, according to Moore's law, 8GB of main memory (and 2TB of disk, which means no more MBR disks, which is MUCH more a nightmare for IT department support that x64 operating systems.)

And right now, those developpers says, well, in 2012 there is a good chance I need to ship 64-bit version of my software. And how could I build it? Can I use the wonderful Delphi I have my habbits with, and have fulfill every expectatives I was having in the past?

Dmitry Kuzmenko said...

as I said, I believe in 64-bits :-)
and, I also believe that 64-bit Delphi will be available in 2010, or maybe even at the end of 2009.

Also I can give a hint - open Steam hvsurvey link and try to save it or copy or remember numbers of 64-bit OSes. Then, next month, come again and check it. Do it for 3-4 month and you will get the trend.

Dmitry Kuzmenko said...

Guys from so-called "Delphi- Development". Please stop posting spam messages here. You will always be deleted, but if you will finally piss me off, I will do all I can to ban your accounts and compromise your "project"

Tenor Dan said...

64-bit Delphi: Who needs it?

-- anyone who is creating software for businesses who run 64-bit servers. As of this afternoon, that is us, and we're having major problems because WOW64 isn't working for the activeds.dll library.