all packages ? no, most certainly not. That would be an insane waste of disk space & bandwidth.
a distro that provides the most common libraries in 32 & 64bit by default? - might possibly exist. but I don't really know for certain.
This is probably why Windows is such a bigger install size then Linux. But having eveying on the repository has it’s short coming. More on that later.
the thing is, the definition of what constitutes "most of your programs" likely differs greatly between the casual windows and linux user. The majority of linux users will only use programs from the distro's repository. These come readily as 64bit version. So they don't need 32bit support. That's why distributions will usually only provide 64bit libraries in their default installation. 32bit libraries can be easily installed on a "as-needed" basis.
I'm not sure if there is a distro that comes with 32bit&64bit system installed as default.
But in general I think that because of the existence of a central package management on linux which allows the user to easily search/install/remove software and customize the OS to their needs, the discussion about what should be part of the default install isn't really important for most people.
This is very true and a good point. Also I should probably mention that on top of sxs system32 and syswow64 programs will still install their own dll files.
As for Linux users sticking mostly to repositories to install software and this is why a lot of dependence aren't pre installed also makes a lot of seance. However this is very problematic for closed source software. It’s impossible to make money with open source but if you want to make serious dosh and build your company you’re going to have to resort to using it. Every company has trade secrets and source code is the trade secrets of the software industry. So another criticism I have for Linux is that in spite of people complaining that companies don’t support it. A lot of distros don't’ do enough to support closed source development imho With open source the ditsro maintainers and maintain the software along with the repository. Not ideal in my opinion but I can see why they do it. With closed source there’s just no way to future proof it once development has ceased which happens a lot with games.
pretty sure your package manager has some options to mirror/backup the packages locally. people have already used debian back when internet access was not as normal as it is today ;)
Oh yeah there absolutely is with just about every package manager. But there are two main problems with it. Each backup will only work for very specific distributions and it gets even more complicated when you bring it ppas. So for example say you backup all the .deb files from your archives folder for Linux mint 17.3 They won’t work for 18. so those backups aren't future proof. Also while you can back these up you need direct internet access with an identical machine with identical setup to make sure you get all the right deb files. I wrote a script to do this quite a while ago I’ll link if you’d like to see it. Even if you could access the files from your browser without the package manager and index to help you, you’re going to have a tough time grabbing what you need. As for setting up a local mirror, I have tried it and could never get it to work. While I know a bit about Linux and lots about Windows this is one thing I will admit I could never figure out. I also lost interest in doing it since the mirror would take up so much space and maintenance for what was really just about 5 gigs worth of packages that I wanted from the repository.
I also wish to say to you and to anyone else reading this is that while I’ve had a few people call me a troll... to those are willing to respond with constructive criticism and feedback will get much the same. So thank you for so civil about this. I really appreciate it.
can't find certain packages for my retro-gaming machines that Microsoft pulled from their site. (It was pure luck that I found a copy of the last Win9x-compatible version of the Windows Scripting Host on some company's client support FTP.)
What packages do you need and what games are you trying to run?