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Canonical planning to drop 32bit support with Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

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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.
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186 comments
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Beamboom 21 June 2019 at 9:59 am UTC
If y'alls problem with this is old 32bit games, why can't you just keep a partition with current Ubuntu installed, and run the games on that one? I mean, times change. One can't expect an old binary to run forever, that's just not how it works.

I mean, getting rid of old technology is always a pain for some. Look at Adobe Flash, the entire world worked hard for a decade to get rid of that nightmare. It will hurt some to rip it out but sometimes we need to clean out the closet.
bird_or_cage 21 June 2019 at 10:05 am UTC
BeamboomIf y'alls problem with this is old 32bit games, why can't you just keep a partition with current Ubuntu installed, and run the games on that one?
That`s what I am going to do with my non Steam games. But as soon as one of my family members asks for some Windows software to be run via Wine, I fear Ubuntu will be purged. Because, as per Wine developers, 64bit Wine will not be able to install most 64bit Windows apps. And I do not like rebooting into other OS very often.


Last edited by bird_or_cage at 21 June 2019 at 11:20 am UTC
serge 21 June 2019 at 10:14 am UTC
vlademir1Switching from *Buntu to Antergos is a project I've had on the table for a few years anyway

i think you have to choose another distro Antergos is dead:

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Antergos-EOL
barotto 21 June 2019 at 10:30 am UTC
BeamboomIf y'alls problem with this is old 32bit games, why can't you just keep a partition with current Ubuntu installed, and run the games on that one? I mean, times change. One can't expect an old binary to run forever, that's just not how it works.

At that point I might as well switch back to Windows. Old games work fine on that OS and will for the foreseeable future. I frequently play Virtua Tennis (2002), Civilization 4 (2005) and Modern Warfare 2 (2009) and I guess the most convenient way to continue to do so is to just use Windows.

Microsoft is finally fixing its update policy and if you need a unix environment you can install Linux inside Windows 10, which is not a bad OS at all. I'm using Linux (Ubuntu) since the Vista disaster but it's becoming just too incovenient and I'm starting to pondering the possibility of switching back...


Last edited by barotto at 21 June 2019 at 10:32 am UTC
adamhm 21 June 2019 at 10:30 am UTC
This is a *really* dumb move by Canonical. And the timing is just perfect as well: right when there will be a lot of Windows 7 users looking for an alternative to Windows 10 as support ends... what a great first impression this will make for them.
legluondunet 21 June 2019 at 10:40 am UTC
I don't want to boot another OS, even a linux one, to play 32 bits games or launch 32 bits software, I want to launch them on my actual session and the simpler way possible.


Last edited by legluondunet at 21 June 2019 at 10:40 am UTC
mirv 21 June 2019 at 10:53 am UTC
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barotto
BeamboomIf y'alls problem with this is old 32bit games, why can't you just keep a partition with current Ubuntu installed, and run the games on that one? I mean, times change. One can't expect an old binary to run forever, that's just not how it works.

At that point I might as well switch back to Windows. Old games work fine on that OS and will for the foreseeable future. I frequently play Virtua Tennis (2002), Civilization 4 (2005) and Modern Warfare 2 (2009) and I guess the most convenient way to continue to do so is to just use Windows.

Microsoft is finally fixing its update policy and if you need a unix environment you can install Linux inside Windows 10, which is not a bad OS at all. I'm using Linux (Ubuntu) since the Vista disaster but it's becoming just too incovenient and I'm starting to pondering the possibility of switching back...

Windows also uses a sort of virtualisation or container technology for 32bit applications, which is really what Canonical are suggesting here to do as well. I'd wait and see how well that works first, or if perhaps Canonical make it easier to access from within Ubuntu.
ixnari 21 June 2019 at 11:03 am UTC
Okay, so worst case scenario: Ubuntu 19.10 ships and everything is broken. Up to this point, Ubuntu and some of its derivatives were the most newbie-friendly distros out there, but now that's out the window. January 14th 2020 is right around the corner, which is when support ends for Windows 7. We get a large influx of users wanting to switch to Linux. What distro do we recommend for the newcomers?

Arch is out of the question. Fedora's better, but I feel it's still a bit too advanced for beginners. Maybe Debian or something Debian-based like MX Linux?


Last edited by ixnari at 21 June 2019 at 11:04 am UTC
bird_or_cage 21 June 2019 at 11:20 am UTC
ixnariMaybe Debian or something Debian-based like MX Linux?
Did anyone test Linux Mint Debian Edition? I will try to test it on weekend, I hope it is straightforward enough for new users, especially installing up to date Nvidia driver. Maybe Mint Team enables backports by default? Otherwise nvidia-driver-390 would be installed from repos, which is bad for Proton.
Eike 21 June 2019 at 11:25 am UTC
ixnariArch is out of the question. Fedora's better, but I feel it's still a bit too advanced for beginners. Maybe Debian or something Debian-based like MX Linux?

Good question. I like my Debian, but wouldn't recommend it to beginners.

Solus?
Elementary?
Deepin?
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