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It's about reducing complexity (Gaming)

by Beorn @, <End of Failed Timeline>, Thursday, October 17, 2019, 12:02 (263 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I see. I'll definitely read up because this is quite fascinating. At least 64 bit is so big we'll never have to move beyond it and transition again… right? :-p

It's easy to get pretty far into the weeds while looking this stuff up – there are a lot of interconnected parts and delicate nuance in how they interact with one another. As others have pointed out, though, running 32-bit code on a 64-bit architecture essentially requires a translation layer for proper operation. That translation layer requires a lot of care and maintenance.

What it all boils down to is that, ages ago, Apple decided that they want to simplify their platforms. Dropping 32-bit support allows Apple to reduce complexity in their systems, which in turn means that their OSes and software can be more secure and more performant. For exactly these reasons, iOS has required 64-bit applications since 2015 and has been unable to run 32-bit code since iOS 11. The Mac is a much bigger ship and requires more time to steer, but the writing has been on the wall about this change for the last decade.

Anyone who is part of the Apple ecosystem shouldn't be surprised by this change. Apple tends to push forward with the new and cull the old, unwanted cruft with (sometimes frustrating) regularity. Microsoft, on the other hand, has a dilemma on their hands in this regard. The success of Windows is in large part due to the fact that Microsoft almost never drops backwards compatibility, so ancient applications continue to run on new hardware. This is attractive to many of the large Enterprise customers who spend lots of money on the Microsoft ecosystem. But this comes at a cost. I don't know if you have used Windows recently, but large parts of it are not aging well. I run my 2018 MacBook Pro in Boot Camp for work and the performance difference between macOS Mojave and Windows 10 is astonishing. The most recent version of Windows feels clunky, slow, and old, even on a workstation-class computer. Mojave, on the other hand, is a much more cohesive and smooth user experience. This is because Apple pushes forward and leaves the old behind. Sometimes that hurts. But, as with any ecosystem, that's the cost of progress.

If Microsoft tried to drop 32-bit support like Apple just did, there would be riots.


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