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Canonical planning to drop 32bit support with Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

By - | Views: 75,165

As you might have heard by now, Canonical has made the decision to drop 32bit support from Ubuntu 19.10 onwards.

Writing on the mailing list, as well as this post on Ubuntu's Community Hub, Canonical gave a reminder that the decision isn't coming without warning. It was proposed last year and it was followed up with another post detailing a final decision to be made in the middle of 2019. So here we are, the decision seems to have been made.

The problem isn't hardware, as likely around 99% of people nowadays have a 64bit capable computer. Going by our own statistics, from what 2,254 users told us only 4 are using a 32bit Linux distribution. The issue then, is mainly software and libraries needed to actually run 32bit applications. This is where it sounds like there's going to be plenty of teething issues, with a number of people not too happy about the decision.

Steam, for example, is one such application along with plenty of 32bit games that will likely never get updated, although Canonical did say they're "in discussions" with Valve about it. There's also GOG, Humble Store and itch.io which all provide a number of direct-download 32bit games, which do not supply the required 32bit libraries to run. It doesn't sound like they have been given any thought (at least they haven't been mentioned).

Another of the major problems being Wine, with a discussion now happening on their mailing list. The discussion doesn't seem to be too positive, with developer Henri Verbeet even saying "I think not building packages for Ubuntu 19.10 would be the only practical option.", although Andrew Eikum's idea of using the Steam Runtime could be an interesting way around it.

What are your thoughts?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Distro News, Misc
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164 comments
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Shmerl Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: chancho_zombieif they wanted they could provide a third party repo on opensuse OBS, it's really easy. I'm pretty sure if Ubuntu drops all 32bit libs all together someone will stand up and maintain a 3rd party repo.

It's possible, but in such case why not move to a distro which provides such support directly? I think most distros actually don't plan to drop multiarch. Yet.

Would be interesting to see, what will happen going forward, and if other distros will follow Ubuntu.


Last edited by Shmerl on 21 June 2019 at 12:00 am UTC
VodkaChicken Jun 21, 2019
Great, I guess it's time to finally bail out of Ubuntu. May the distro hopping begin again.

Is there a Debian (stable) repo for more recent kernels and nvidia drivers or would I have to install that sort of stuff manually? Maybe it's finally time to give in to the Arch menace.
sprocket Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: ShmerlStandard Debian stable would feel too outdated, since it has a longer release cycle than Ubuntu itself.
Not really. Debian Stable and Ubuntu LTS have had roughly the same release cadence of 2 years. In fact Debian 10 is only a few weeks away.
Shmerl Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: sprocketNot really. Debian Stable and Ubuntu LTS have had roughly the same release cadence of 2 years. In fact Debian 10 is only a few weeks away.

LTS may be, but not regular Ubuntu which is more commonly used among desktop users. Ubuntu LTS is really more of a server distro, same as Debian stable.


Last edited by Shmerl on 21 June 2019 at 12:07 am UTC
Shmerl Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: VodkaChickenGreat, I guess it's time to finally bail out of Ubuntu. May the distro hopping begin again.

Is there a Debian (stable) repo for more recent kernels and nvidia drivers or would I have to install that sort of stuff manually? Maybe it's finally time to give in to the Arch menace.

Debian stable provides an option to use backports repo, which has newer packages of some components. But I really recommend you to use Debian testing which is rolling (except for freeze periods). It's way better for desktop use case.


Last edited by Shmerl on 21 June 2019 at 12:09 am UTC
Koopacabras Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: sprocketNot really. Debian Stable and Ubuntu LTS have had roughly the same release cadence of 2 years. In fact Debian 10 is only a few weeks away.

LTS may be, but not regular Ubuntu which is more commonly used among desktop users. Ubuntu LTS is really more of a server distro, same as Debian stable.

I think that game devs are aiming more at compatibility with LTS distros than anything else, sometimes even older releases. I use Leap which I think it relates more to LTS, with newer kernel, mesa and latest KDE that's all I need.


Last edited by Koopacabras on 21 June 2019 at 12:12 am UTC
Shmerl Jun 21, 2019
Yeah, I suppose for developers it's less work to target LTS which are updated less frequently. But LTS distros are really not as good for desktop use case. Their main target audience are servers. That's why many gamers use rolling or more frequently than LTS release distros. For the most part, games work OK with them.


Last edited by Shmerl on 21 June 2019 at 12:13 am UTC
Mohandevir Jun 21, 2019
Valve could up their game and offer a Steamos-Desktop Edition. It's already Debian based and includes a Gnome DE... Both hands on the steering wheel.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 21 June 2019 at 12:14 am UTC
Shmerl Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: MohandevirValve could up their game and offer a Steamos-Desktop Edition. It's already Debian based and includes a Gnome DE... Both hands on the steering wheel.

Or they can just open source their UI and add it to Debian proper ;)
sprocket Jun 21, 2019
Quoting: ShmerlBut LTS distros are really not as good for desktop use case. Their main target audience are servers.
That's not entirely accurate, though I can understand your reasoning. The non-LTS releases of Ubuntu are best thought of as development snapshots for the next LTS. If a major change is going to occur in Ubuntu, it will occur on a non-LTS release. The LTS is intended for more conservative users that don't like rapid change

From the Ubuntu Wiki:

QuoteEnterprise Focused: We are targeting server and multiple desktop installations, where the average user is moderately risk averse.

That said...

Quoting: ShmerlThat's why many gamers use rolling or more frequently than LTS release distros. For the most part, games work OK with them.
Indeed, many gamers are accustomed to risk, and want the shiniest and latest and greatest in life. Otherwise why would we game?
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