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As an update to the situation around Canonical planning to drop 32bit support (and Valve saying bye-bye to Ubuntu 19.10+ support), apparently they're not. Instead, the 32bit libraries will be frozen. Are you confused yet? I sure am.

Canonical's Steve Langasek has attempted to clarify the situation. Here's what they said:

I’m sorry that we’ve given anyone the impression that we are “dropping support for i386 applications”. That’s simply not the case. What we are dropping is updates to the i386 libraries, which will be frozen at the 18.04 LTS versions. But there is every intention to ensure that there is a clear story for how i386 applications (including games) can be run on versions of Ubuntu later than 19.10.

That's at least a little better, isn't it? They also said a little further:

[…] since the vast majority of i386-only software is also legacy (closed-source, will never be rebuilt), it also does not generally benefit from newer libraries […]

There's a pretty big difference from not being "included as an architecture", to having them available but frozen and still possible to use, isn't there? It's confusing, since that's not how it was originally explained. This is something that should have been said very clearly from the start.

Perhaps this might not be the epic disaster many people (myself included) thought it might turn out to be. We still have to wait and see how exactly they implement all this, and how it will affect gaming.

There's still going to be confusion and issues though, like upgrading drivers. Touching on that, Langasek said:

32-bit mesa will be available in the Ubuntu 18.04 repository. Note that mesa already gets updates in 18.04 which track the versions from later Ubuntu releases, as part of hardware enablement. If incompatibilities are introduced beyond 20.04 (which is the cutoff for hardware enablement backports for 18.04), we will need to address them on a case-by-case basis.

So it sounds like you're still going to be stuck in some ways. Seems like the proposal is still no good for Wine either (and so Steam Play too).

Article taken from
Tags: Distro News, Misc
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KijBeta Jun 23, 2019
I feel like proper planning and timelines would have prevented the confusion, complaints, and hundreds of posts about people looking to replace Ubuntu on their desktop, creating a lot of bad press.
IMHO the impression that Ubuntu is nolonger a reliable desktop system standard has been seeded, and I don't think it's going to be the "default desktop" for much longer. I hope the community as a whole can find a better way forward than relying on Canonical/Ubuntu to develop a base for gaming.
whatever Jun 23, 2019
Thanks, but I'd still prefer up-to-date 32-bit libraries.
eldaking Jun 23, 2019
They are backtracking; there is no way this is what they had intended all along. They suggested using containers or snaps for those apps, tested some games without 32 bit libraries, everything they said contradicts this stance.

And this statement is still vague enough that it could mean they will use containers or something as a way of including those "frozen 32 bit libraries".
Beamboom Jun 23, 2019
With the backlash this received it was only a matter of time. Counted in hours.

Quoting: eldakingThey are backtracking; there is no way this is what they had intended all along.


Last edited by Beamboom on 23 June 2019 at 5:16 pm UTC
Cyril Jun 23, 2019
Oh I see Sin and Liam have already dropped Ubuntu for Manjaro. :P
abelthorne Jun 23, 2019
Quoting: EikeWhy did they test games without 32 bit libs if they never intended to remove them?
Because they intended to and with the shitstorm they're facing, they're trying to backtrack by saying there's been a misunderstanding.

Even if they freeze the libs to the version from 18.04, it'll break APT, as it can only install 32 bit libs if they match the 64 bit version. So, they'll probably provide them as snap packages and it'll be a mess.
thelimeydragon Jun 23, 2019
Doesn't sound good to me.
Redface Jun 23, 2019
I just copy what I wrote earlier in one of the other threads:

That is not backing out, it is a clarification of their plans. They never said that 32 bit programs would not be able tun run any more. A lot of us are worried that the new ways will be Inferior to what we have today, especially in regard to how complicated it will be for users. And I still are.

A lot of online publication and posters claimed that it would be impossible, but this is Linux not Mac or Windows so there will always be ways for users to do what they want differently than their distribution providers. Do not believe everything you read.

But distributions are about convenience, after all we could all do a Linux from scratch installation and not use any distribution after all. So if they make it a lot harder for users we should go elsewhere.
belisama Jun 23, 2019
Maaaan, I'm glad I don't run cutting edge. Odds are good that I'll be able to stick with Mint 19 until it hits end-of-life in 2023 and hopefully by then this kerfluffle will be sorted out. :P

This also firmly stomps on the occasional passing thought of "now that Unity's dead, I wonder if it's worthing switchig back to Ubuntu?" That's a big, tall glass of nope.
Shmerl Jun 23, 2019
Yeah, I don't think they are backtracking. They mentioned containers and stale libraries approach a while ago already. But it was never a good proposal.
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