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If you download iso file with ubuntu you will get something like this:

ubuntu-10.04.3-server-amd64.iso
ubuntu-11.10-desktop-amd64.iso

Every part in the file name is pretty clean to me, except 'amd'. So I have the following questions.

Why is there the 'amd' string in the filename?

What other kind of strings in the filename can be found instead of 'amd'?

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5 Answers

up vote 33 down vote accepted

It's merely a convention due to the fact that AMD created the 64-bit extensions to the x86 (Intel 386/486/Pentium) instruction set. At that time, Intel was pushing Itanium as the only 64-bit solution, and Intel didn't copy AMD's extensions until it was clear that AMD had created something that was being used widely. The #define AMD64 was used to distingish this 64-bit instruction set from Intel's Itanium instruction set.

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Yes, that makes sense. For 32 bit version the filename is ubuntu-10.04.3-server-i386.iso –  bessarabov Dec 3 '11 at 8:00
    
x64 usage is also common –  sterz Dec 7 '11 at 17:06
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AMD beat Intel to adding 64 bit capability to it's X86 line chips, at a time when Intel was pushing the Itanium chip as the future for 64 bit computing in conjunction with HP.

Intel later licensed and implemented the AMD extensions in it's own line of chips.

The amd64 version will work on both AMD's and Intel's current generation chips (other than Itanium, which is largely dead except for some HP servers/workstations). That is if you wish to use 64 bits. It just gives credit to AMD for getting there first.

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Sometimes these are referred to as x86_64 as well, which has a slight Intel bias. The x86 name has its roots in the Intel 8086 processor line.

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I find x86-64 to be much more vendor-neutral than AMD64. It is instruction set extensions to the x86 architecture used by Intel, AMD and VIA. –  Anonymous Dec 3 '11 at 16:57
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@Anonymous: but "x86" was created and named by Intel (as was i386). Intel was simply to slow to react to the markets desire for an x86-compatible 64bit processor so AMD got to choose the architecture (and initial name) this time around. –  Joachim Sauer Dec 4 '11 at 14:28
    
@JoachimSauer Yes, x86 was created by Intel and they picked a vendor-neutral name for it. x86 does not say who made it, it is just a name. As an extension to the x86 architecture, the extension should have been named in a vendor-neutral manner too. –  Anonymous Dec 7 '11 at 20:47
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AMD64 is the marketing name AMD chose for its implementation of x86-64 (Intel uses the name "Intel 64"). Both are equivalent and just different names for the same ISA.

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Yes, there was talk before (on the mailing list, I believe) that the name should be more generic and it was agreed that x86_64 was the right way to go (this is what Arch Linux uses I know). At the time, they said that that change was going to be made but didn't know when (this was about a year ago I heard this).

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