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It seems Canonical have done a bit of a U-turn on dropping 32bit support for Ubuntu, as many expected they would do. Their official statement is now out for those interested.

The most important part to be aware of is their new plan:

Thanks to the huge amount of feedback this weekend from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community, we will change our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

We will put in place a community process to determine which 32-bit packages are needed to support legacy software, and can add to that list post-release if we miss something that is needed.

That's not the end of it though of course, eventually 32bit will be dropped which is inevitable really. Just not fully this time. Touching on this, they said in the post about using "container technology" to address "the ultimate end of life of 32-bit libraries" so hopefully by that time everything they need will be in place to make it super easy for users.

I'm glad Canonical have seen some sense on this, they clearly didn't communicate it well enough to begin with but they at least understand when they've made a big mistake like this and owning up to failures is part of what builds trust, so I'm happier now. Next time this happens, I just hope they give a very clear roadmap giving everyone proper time to prepare, which they didn't this time.

Their full statement is here. It will be interesting to see how Valve react, after announcing an end of Ubuntu support for Steam for Ubuntu 19.10 onwards.

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Tags: Distro News, Misc
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Eike 24 Jun, 2019
@Liam I wonder if the last days brought you an all-time high in traffic. :-D
x_wing 24 Jun, 2019
I think that we all should keep away any bias or hate that may have with Canonical when giving an opinion.

They definitely had a stupid idea, but they're finally backtracking. Ubuntu is still by far the most popular Linux distro and the base of many distros created for common users that just want to "replace their Windows", so desire their destruction won't help at all to the Linux community.

Keep calm and keep gaming, folks.
kaiman 24 Jun, 2019
Glad I did not spend the weekend installing another distro and did something productive ... uh, I mean, played some games, instead :-).

In the long run, I guess a way has to be found to keep old 32bit software running, be it through emulation, VMs, containers or what have you. The way the software world evolves, I fear it will likely be in a browser :-(.
TobiSGD 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: EikeBTW, what would have been the problem with Ubuntu Studio?
Many VST-plugins for use with DAWs are only usable running on Wine.
Eike 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: TobiSGDMany VST-plugins for use with DAWs are only usable running on Wine.

Oops! I thought from the name it would be an IDE (like Visual Studio). Thanks!
Patola 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: jasonmThat's fine, you can be out. Just how many 32 bit apps do you run on your machine? I run one, steam.

That's an absurd statement. Steam is not only an application. It's a platform. How many games do you have? Do a "file" on their executable, see which ones are 64-bits and 32-bits. You'll be surprised.
There are also a ton of compatibility libraries under steam directories that do the work for you, but they also in turn use system libraries. Valve also spends a lot of time and effort keeping this under control. Why do you think they acted so quickly and definitely by announcing their end of support to Ubuntu from that decision? Because it's simple NOT POSSIBLE to abandon 32-bits without completely capping the application ecosystem.

I dare you to try and to the same test Alan Pope did, remove all your 32-bit packages, repositories, and libraries, and try to run stuff. You probably have much more 32-bit content than you thought, possibly even plugins and drivers.

Quoting: jasonmI don't think I've run a 32 bit app other than steam for years. I can see why they want to remove support, I can also see why they still need support for their user base. They are doing damage control. Why can't doing damage control and trying to rectify the problem be the same? You act like they are over there rubbing their hands together while laughing evilly because they want to reduce the amount of work on their package team. Anyway, you can't please everyone, especially when those people are not in any way forgiving of a mistake.
They are arrogant in thinking they can enforce whatever they want to their users. Abandoning 32-bit is one such act. I don't need caricatures to describe reality. Again: they do not control the application ecosystem.

Nevertheless, you might think you will not abandon it, but as soon as other distributions prove capable to running much more than the capped 32bitless Ubuntu, you'll switch like everyone else.
Liam Dawe 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: Eike@Liam I wonder if the last days brought you an all-time high in traffic. :-D
Yup, highest in a month. 50K unique hits that day.
abelthorne 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: jasonmJust how many 32 bit apps do you run on your machine? I run one, steam. I don't think I've run a 32 bit app other than steam for years.
Personally, I use Steam, I use Wine, I have old native non-Steam games that are 32 bit only and I have a Brother printer that requires a 32 bit driver. And, of course, I need the 32 bit version of Mesa to play 32 bit games.

Last edited by abelthorne on 24 June 2019 at 6:03 pm UTC
Dedale 24 Jun, 2019
I care very little. I have read the full statement and it is clear to me that damage control continues.

They still tell me to my face i shouldn't use the 32 bit software i am currently using. Either i am a miscreant or simply an insignificant edge case. And long live to snaps. They are right, we are wrong. They did not fuck up, they are being magnanimous with us. Whether one finds this satisfying or not, it is not a U-turn.

So, i have one year and half to work out a solution with another distro which is plenty enough.

Me too, i am curious about what valve will say. Whether Canonical's compromise will work out well enough or not for steam games, i doubt Valve will accept to depend on Canonical whims.

I would be surprised we get a final answer soon after having read one of their comments about the lack of real desktop distro. My guess is they have already been looking for a while.
F.Ultra 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: TobiSGD
Quoting: jasonmI can see why they want to remove 32 bit libs because it's a ton of work.
But a ton of work for whom? They still get the majority of their packages directly from Debian, throwing a patch on one or the other package and just compile. If Debian still supports newer versions of 32 bit libraries, how much work is there really to be done for canonical?

They get the base source code of each package from Debian, then they have to build the IA-32 version themselves, and provide support themselves. Considering the amount of packages in the repo it will take quite some time to build the packages for IA-32 and that is time taken from building for other archs and so on. If there where no cost for providing IA-32 builds then they clearly wouldn't have planned to throw them out to begin with.
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