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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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Distro News, Misc
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abelthorne 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: GuestJust 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
F.Ultra 24 Jun, 2019
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Quoting: TobiSGD
Quoting: GuestI 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.
Shmerl 24 Jun, 2019
I'd classify it as too little, too late. Trust is pretty much gone. And I doubt anyone would recommend Ubuntu for gaming after this.
F.Ultra 24 Jun, 2019
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Quoting: dannielloGood that Canonical changed their bad decision, but anyway - it means that "Linux desktop" situation is much worse than I thought:(

Sad, very sad situation. It is well known that Canonical is not serious company, but such absurd situation also harmed Valve reputation (at least from Linux enthusiasts perspective).

It is oblivious that Canonical took this decision without consultation with Valve. It means - there is no agreement between Canonical-Valve. No agreement at all!!! Valve set Ubuntu as "recommended distribution" for game developers and Linux users WITHOUT any serious agreement with Canonical to protect their investment!

And you think that there are an agreement between Valve and Apple? Or between Valve and Microsoft?

This whole fiasco is a fiasco of the Linux fanbase, nothing more.

Close to two years ago they announced that they planned to drop 32-bit (IA-32) support and since no one back then voiced any concern they moved forward to the decision they now made for 19.10.

However they didn't silently drop the packages, instead they announced yet again that it would be done. Then they again waited for comments which this time came in droves and after that they changed their mind.

This is how things are done and decided in the real world all the time, the only difference now is that the immature Linux fanbase for some reason decided to run around in circles screaming that the world was ending.
Liam Dawe 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: liamdawe
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.

A few hours ago, i struggled to connect to GoL. Maybe this was the reason ? :)
Nah, that was cloudflare having a huge outage.

Frankly, I'm surprised my terrible code held up all weekend with the extra traffic :D
Shmerl 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: GuestThat's fine, you can be out. Just how many 32 bit apps do you run on your machine? I run one, steam.

I guess you are not a gamer and not in this topic then. A lot of older games are 32-bit, especially Wine use case. I'd say any game older than from 2015 - is very likely 32-bit. That's a lot of games! So Steam client itself is pretty much irrelevant in comparison with sheer amount of 32-bit games.


Last edited by Shmerl on 24 June 2019 at 6:29 pm UTC
Eike 24 Jun, 2019
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Quoting: F.UltraThey get the base source code of each package from Debian, then they have to build the IA-32 version themselves

If only someone would invent automatic building after source changes...

Quoting: F.Ultraand provide support themselves.

A 64 bit WINE not being able to install most Windows applications and Steam not running would have created "some" support needs as well...

Quoting: F.UltraConsidering 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.

How many packages are we talking about (at the moment)?
Eike 24 Jun, 2019
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Quoting: F.UltraThis is how things are done and decided in the real world all the time, the only difference now is that the immature Linux fanbase for some reason decided to run around in circles screaming that the world was ending.

You mean like Microsoft gave up 32 bit support? And enforced UWP only? Oops...
eldaking 24 Jun, 2019
Well, this was announced faster than I thought, but is exactly what I expected: 19.10 will make the change, but for 20.04 they will revert to the "consolidated" system.

They have already suffered some hard to revert damage to trust in Ubuntu; people aware of the entire situation are not likely to be as eager to recommend Ubuntu to newbies or developers. But this is the best they could do after the announcement - it looks like a rushed and careless decision, but at least not rushed, careless, stubborn and out of touch. I think the worst part was how sudden it was; if they had announced this several years in advance, it might not be a good choice but 1) people could transition in various ways 2) we would not be afraid of what else might change overnight.

As for deprecating 32 bit "in the future"... mainstream Linux distros should at least wait until Windows does the same and developers stop developing 32-bit code for good. Then we could think about alternatives that were transparent enough for users.
x_wing 24 Jun, 2019
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: TobiSGD
Quoting: GuestI 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.

The only real cost is QA. Building is normally cheap.
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