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When should i386 support for Ubuntu end? Help Canonical decide

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Are you running i386 (32-bit) Ubuntu? We need your help to decide how much longer to build i386 images of Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and all the flavors.

There is a real cost to support i386 and the benefits have fallen as more software goes 64-bit only.

Please fill out the survey ONLY if you currently run i386 on one of your machines. 64-bit users will NOT be affected by this, even if you run 32-bit applications.

You can read the discussion that promoted this here. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Hardware, Ubuntu
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38 comments
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Avehicle7887 29 Jun, 2016
Not an Ubuntu user, but if I had to make an estimate I'd say 32bit should have been dropped after the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. AFAIK every CPU manufactured from 2008 onwards has always been 64bit. Also I have no idea why some Linux games to this day still come only in 32bit.

I repair computers on a daily basis and frankly, I forgot the last the time I installed a PC with a 32bit OS be it Windows or Linux, even if it came with 2GB of ram.
Randall_Linux 29 Jun, 2016
last pc I had with a 32 bit os was a vista laptop, but then again the saying goes "resurrect that old pc with linux"
tuubi 29 Jun, 2016
We'd still have 32-bit Linux without 32-bit install media for new Ubuntu releases. Even current LTS releases of Ubuntu will be supported for a few years, if other distros are not an option.
Zelox 29 Jun, 2016
Quoting: aLnot sure about ubuntu, but steam is i386-only in debian...

There is no problem in running 32bit apps in a 64bit system.
The problem is when you try to run a 64bit app in a 32bit system.
Steam is a 32bit application, but it has no problem to run in a 32bit/64bit system.

I dont know if there is any advantage for a 64bit client over a 32bit client.
I remember when wow got its 64bit client, the game ran alooot better.
But thats a game, steam is just a client.
natewardawg 29 Jun, 2016
It looks like the last LTS to be 32 bit will be 18.04, which makes the end of it's 5 year cycle April of 2023. This will give 7 years from now for any 32 bit users to prepare. I really don't see this change as a big deal for 32 bit users.
aL 29 Jun, 2016
Quoting: Zelox
Quoting: aLnot sure about ubuntu, but steam is i386-only in debian...

There is no problem in running 32bit apps in a 64bit system.
The problem is when you try to run a 64bit app in a 32bit system.
Steam is a 32bit application, but it has no problem to run in a 32bit/64bit system.

I dont know if there is any advantage for a 64bit client over a 32bit client.
I remember when wow got its 64bit client, the game ran alooot better.
But thats a game, steam is just a client.

I know, but how do you get to install a i386 if the i386 arch is gone? :)

The first step to install steam on debian is to dpgk --add-architecture i386 && apt update
hardpenguin 29 Jun, 2016
If they drop 32 bit repos, it will be a disaster. The gaming industry still ships 32 bit-only applications. Wine is 32 bit only for 32 bit Windows software (because it's not an emulator).

If you want to run games on Linux, you cannot drop 32 bit software.

And no, it is not possible to ship the 64 bit version in every possible case.

Not to mention, that Windows and macOS are going to support 32 bit applications for years to come!
14 29 Jun, 2016
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I have one 32-bit Ubuntu server that I recently built, otherwise my servers are Debian. It's due to hardware limitations. The earliest threatening date in the survey was 2019. I'm not too afraid of that. I should have new hardware by then. My desktops are 64-bit.
boltronics 29 Jun, 2016
Quoting: Seegras
Quoting: boltronicsRemind me again why we still have i386? Oh yeah, because of the original EeePC ...

... which I use about once every week ;). But I'm running Debian on it. In fact, I run Debian everywhere except on my cellphone.

I've upgraded through three other laptops since then. And yes I do still use the EeePC - as a Shairport server (running Debian). But that's not the sort of thing I'd use Ubuntu for. I doubt the 800x480 screen is even compatible with a lot of modern software. Any kind of production server that's i386-only is surely out of warranty by now.

Incidentally, I ran a Debian derivative on my phone for years - the N900. Sadly it broke a few times, and it got too slow to load any kind of complex web-page so it had to go. But installing Python apps via apt-get on a phone with a hardware keyboard was so good.
Mountain Man 29 Jun, 2016
Quoting: boltronicsBut who knows... maybe in a few more years I'll be like "What's this old thing? Oh yeah I vaguely remember using that back in the day. Maybe it'll be fun to do a fresh Ubuntu GNU/Linux install on it just for kicks"... and then I'll be oh so sad because I'll discover Ubuntu dropped support for the i386 architecture. That would suck.
What would prevent you from simply using another distro? Canonical is only making a decision for Ubuntu, not for all of Linux.
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