64 bit computing is still optional at New Jersey Institute of Technology, but it is required for the Newark College of Engineering and the College of Architecture. I have had no problems with either my Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Edition or Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64 bit or Linux Mint 9 LTS 64 bit with legacy hardware and their 32 bit device drivers. Of course, I bought a new ASUS N61JV-X2 notebook PC about a month and a half ago before the start of classes on August 30th.
I have had no problems with Macromedia Flash or the beta version of Flash Player Square on the 64 bit version of Internet Explorer 9 Beta, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera Browser, or Apple Safari. Everything has been running rock solid on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Edition. As for GNU/Linux, I installed the 64 bit Flash Player Square on Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera Browser and tested several websites that deploy Flash technology quite heavily without incident.
Microsoft states that Internet Explorer 9 will only be available for Vista and 7 only. Internet Explorer 8 is the most current version of the web browser that is available for Windows XP Home, Professional, Media Center, and Tablet Editions either in 32 or 64 bit versions.
The most compelling features set that I like the most about Internet Explorer 9 Beta include GPU hardware acceleration, jump lists, Aero Peek, pining tabs to the taskbar, and seperate tab processes that are sandboxed. I also appreciate the seamless integration with Microsoft Bing search within the web browser. Furthermore, the minimalist design is appealing even though it is no more than a me-too concession to Google Chrome. Even though it is still in Beta pre-release phase, it is remarkably stable with few bugs even with my heavy browsing usage patterns. If Microsoft will fix the drop-down menu list bug and improve the startup performance, then Internet Explorer 9 will soar to reclaim a larger share of the crowded web browser market in the near future.
So far, Microsoft has finally engineered their Internet Explorer to be a truly competitive product in the cluttered web browser marketplace. It has easily become my favorite. I eagerly look forward to the final stable release soon.