You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page!

Canonical planning to drop 32bit support with Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

Posted by , | Views: 19,599

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.
23 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more information here.
186 comments
Page: 1/19»
  Go to:

finaldest 20 June 2019 at 11:30 pm UTC
Here lies Ubuntu

Born 2004
Died 2019
chancho_zombie 20 June 2019 at 11:34 pm UTC
this is going to be a disaster!! on my system I've got hundreds of 32bits libraries. I don't like this move, it sounds as a mac-ish hyped decision (because that's what apple did some years ago). Linux developers need to stop looking at MacOS as something to emulate, there's lots of bad aspects of apple software as well. Since the founding of gnome, (ubuntu is a gnome distro) developers have always praised MacOS, lame.


Last edited by chancho_zombie at 20 June 2019 at 11:41 pm UTC
Shmerl 20 June 2019 at 11:35 pm UTC
My recommendation - move to a distro that doesn't plan to drop x86_32 multiarch, and do it already today, not when Ubuntu will cut you off for good.

On the core issue itself. Some of their justifications for the move are real. I.e. such as burden of support for 32-bit, when it's deteriorating upstream. Though I think first step to reduce the burden could be dropping the distro, while keeping multiarch around. Second is may be reducing actively maintained list of 32-bit packages instead of dropping them all. But Ubuntu went all the way, which is very disruptive for gamers especially.


Last edited by Shmerl at 20 June 2019 at 11:38 pm UTC
poisond 20 June 2019 at 11:35 pm UTC
Dropping the 32bit installer is fine in this day and age, dropping the 32bit compat libraries whilst making 60%+ of your game library unplayable isn't. Those will have to stay around practically forever - and it's not like the disk space occupied by them is going to hurt anyone.
AlbatrosGaming 20 June 2019 at 11:37 pm UTC
Ubuntu does not care about the desktop any more they only care about servers and the cloud looks like I need to change my laptop it is 64bit but I run some 32bit software on it.
ElectricPrism 20 June 2019 at 11:42 pm UTC
I thought Ubuntu had expanded their IoT interest within the last few years and that enough IoT used 32-bit, am I mistaken that 32-bit still has many use cases?

What about Train Stations, Skyscrapers, and Transport where Ubuntu is on that hardware which could be a unrepresented user-base.

WINE and Proton and Steam are obvious Desktop-user problems.

Announcing it 2019.07 that it's going to happen 2019.10 is also a little unprofessional, Google announces service changes / shutdowns 6-12 months in advance -- not 90 days.

If I was a 32-bit user I would see even more reason to run Gentoo and I would start to see Binary distros as a sort of here-today-gonne-tomorrow thing in the same way that open source people avoid proprietary applications and SaaS with forced UI updates and devolutions.

I understand that it would be a "good idea" if users upgraded to 64-bit systems -- but some users simply cannot at this time.

On the flip side -- It is my personal opinion that Canonical does a poor job maintaining 4 versions of the same software per app, library and program vs what they could accomplish with LTS+Rolling instead of LTS+6 Month Point Release.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_version_history#Table_of_versions
ElectricPrism 20 June 2019 at 11:48 pm UTC
AlbatrosGamingUbuntu does not care about the desktop any more they only care about servers and the cloud looks like I need to change my laptop it is 64bit but I run some 32bit software on it.

Well I did deploy a new Ubuntu Server yesterday at work and I have to say the installer was pretty nice and it felt way nicer than CentOS which on the flip side felt great -- like security, so secure you have neither nano or vim.


Last edited by ElectricPrism at 20 June 2019 at 11:49 pm UTC
sprocket 20 June 2019 at 11:51 pm UTC
ElectricPrismI thought Ubuntu had expanded their IoT interest within the last few years and that enough IoT used 32-bit, am I mistaken that 32-bit still has many use cases?
Most IoT devices are ARM based, and not x86/amd64 based. This decision does not affect ARM devices.
ShmerlMy recommendation - move to a distro that doesn't plan to drop x86_32 multiarch, and do it already today, not when Ubuntu will cut you off for good.
For now, Debian seems to be the best choice if you want to stick to a .deb-based OS. After all, Ubuntu is just a downstream derivative of Debian, and fairly similar. Debian will continue to support 32-bit software and installs for the forseeable future. If 32-bit Debian installs do go away, I sincerely doubt they will drop support for 32-bit software overnight.

I wouldn't move to an Ubuntu-based derivative like Mint, though, because the decisions that affect Ubuntu will affect those derivatives.
Shmerl 20 June 2019 at 11:53 pm UTC
sprocketI wouldn't move to an Ubuntu-based derivative like Mint, though, because the decisions that affect Ubuntu will affect those derivatives.

Yes, obviously I don't recommend moving to Ubuntu derivatives in such case, since they'll be impacted the same way. Debian is indeed good. Ubuntu users should probably move to Debian testing, or at the very least stable+backports. Standard Debian stable would feel too outdated, since it has a longer release cycle than Ubuntu itself.


Last edited by Shmerl at 20 June 2019 at 11:55 pm UTC
chancho_zombie 20 June 2019 at 11:58 pm UTC
sprocketI wouldn't move to an Ubuntu-based derivative like Mint, though, because the decisions that affect Ubuntu will affect those derivatives.

I have Mint installed on a netbook

if 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.
  Go to:
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on Patreon, Liberapay or Paypal. We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

Due to spam you need to Register and Login to comment.


Or login with...

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
See more!
Popular this week
View by Category
Contact
Latest Comments
Latest Forum Posts