Here are some 64-bit Linux desktop grievances:
- No cutting-edge browser. The following browsers would be acceptable: Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome, or Safari 4. No luck. The best you can do is Firefox 3.0, but at this point it's aging, unstable, and slow. (update: there are unsupported builds for 64-bit linux if you add the right repositories)
- Driver issues. I spent several hours fighting with X and the NVidia drivers to get my multiple monitor support to work correctly. In fact, I'm still fighting with the drivers on my new computer, see this thread.
- Limited 64-bit application support. Currently, this means no Acrobat Reader. There is limited Flash support with the version 10 Alpha. I also can't use my Cisco VPN client, at least not without significant hassle.
- Movie and Game support. Netflix and my other games depend on Windows-only software: DirectX. The people at Crossover/Wine are working on it, but it's still a ways away. I don't expect anything Microsoft to work on Linux properly within my lifetime.
- MS Office. Yes, again you can run Crossover, etc... but there are problems with stability and fonts. Granted, this isn't a 64-bit specific problem; it's inherent in all Linux desktop platforms. Don't get me started on Open Office. It's a good tool, but it has serious compatibility and usability problems.
Why not Windows?
I connect to Linux/Unix environments all day and night for work and other projects. Some of the tools we use only run (well) on Linux. For example, don't even waste your time trying to run Hadoop on Windows. Trust me, it's a time sink.
The reality is that I have to compromise and run both. I live between two worlds at any given time.
One of my solutions is to dual-boot with Windows 7, which works well. However, even a 64-bit Windows platform has it's own compatibility problems. For example, my venerable Cisco VPN client doesn't support it, instead I had to go with a third-party NCP. My other solution is virtualization. My computers are now fast enough where I can run Linux inside VMWare (although not the other way around; there are still Direct3D and DirectX issues).
My punchline: install Windows and run Linux in a VM (or dual-boot as a backup-plan).
A throwback to the old days of 64-bit
I remember back in 2002 at IBM we had problems with 64-bit support on the Itaniums ("Itanics") we were testing. However, with 64-bit being mainstream for several years now I didn't expect as many issues as I ran into. I still love 64-bit for servers, but as a desktop it's annoying. I'm most disappointed with Firefox for their lack of support in 3.5, c'mon, really?