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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.
Tags: Distro News, Misc
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185 comments
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barotto 21 June 2019 at 11:29 am UTC
mirvWindows 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.

I guess I'll wait to see how the situation evolves, switching OS is not a fun experience!
I'm on LTS, always have been, so I'm safe for now, but the next LTS could be broken beyond repair...

adamhmAnd the timing is just perfect as well

Yep, definitely good timing Canonical, good job! A disruptive change just before the next LTS and the Windows 7 death.
Hori 21 June 2019 at 11:29 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.

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.

Or you could just switch back to Windows and have all your games on a single OS. Much better than playing some on Linux 32bit, some on Linux 64bit, and some on Windows. Just remove the two Linux OSes and you make your life a lot easier.
I like my Linux a lot but if it becomes too much trouble I'm gonna switch to a more useful tool. Because that's what software is, in the end, just a tool. If it's causing more trouble than it's worth, it's useless, and it's time to get another one.

In any case, I'm lucky I'm not on the Ubuntu boat (#archLinuxMasterRace)

And regarding the change itself. It's just too soon. And it will continue to be too soon for as long as lots of people need that functionality. What they're doing (and what Apple also did) is just artifically rushing a process that would happen naturally anyway. It may be unfortunate for them that this process takes a lot of time, but forcing it like that and so suddenly, will have a lot of side-effects and consequences.
If the time would have been right, there wouldn't be so many people complaining. But apparently, this tool is still useful or even required by many people. Taking it away is a bad idea.

__

This is the equivalent of going back in time and changing everyone's screwdriver to a philips head while there's a huge amount of screws in all kinds of appliances and other stuff, that require a flathead.


Last edited by Hori on 21 June 2019 at 11:32 am UTC
Kiba 21 June 2019 at 11:31 am UTC
serge
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
EndeavourOS will be it's sucessor. Release date: 15th of July
https://forum.antergos.com/category/7/announcements
sprocket 21 June 2019 at 12:11 pm UTC
mirvWindows 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.
I have no doubt that Windows uses container technology. That container might as well be a colander though, for all the good it does to protect the core OS from nasty software.
Mohandevir 21 June 2019 at 12:13 pm UTC
ShmerlDidn't Valve select Debian for SteamOS? So Valve would simply swap Ubuntu with Debian as most recommended target. Quite natural to expect that.

Exactly why I said that they could offer their own desktop edition. For newbies it would be a good start since all drivers are included by default. It would have to be a little more mainlined than SteamOS proper though and stripped of all SteamOS-Compositor stuff too.

Edit1: If they could up their game, Valve could even advertise it in the Steam client (an OS for gamers, by gamers). Personnally, I'm probably going to switch to Debian with backports or Debian testing, if things get sour with Canonical, but my toughts are all about new gamers coming from Windows. They need an easy Linux solution. I think Valve is in a good position to provide that.

Edit2: I still think and hope that Canonical is just testing the waters and that it probably won't make it to 20.04. It wouldn't be the first time that they backtrack. I always stick to LTS versions with gpu driver ppa, because of this king of stuff. Never had problems this way.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 21 June 2019 at 1:20 pm UTC
Nanobang 21 June 2019 at 12:20 pm UTC
slaapliedje.... This is going to end up like Mir, Unity, Upstart, etc. Where they'll bend to the popular vote after a release or two. After they lose all their users to other distributions.


I've been a pretty steady Ubuntu user and admirer since 8.04, and I find it necessary to abandon distro every few years or so because of some policy change like this. I went to Linux Mint when Ubuntu shoehorned a half-baked grub 2 into 9.04 (or 9.10, whichever) because it broke my install. I came back with 12.04 when Steam became a thing, and left again at 16.04 cause I got tired of broken Mir/Unity promises---especially Unity, which had begun to feel like a straightjacket. Jumped around to OpenSuse and KDE Neon and Solus and a couple others before settling on Manjaro briefly.

I came back with Xubuntu 16.10 and looks like it'll be time to do the distro jitterbug again.
Dedale 21 June 2019 at 12:21 pm UTC
Eike
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?

Elementary is based on Ubuntu. I have heard kind things of Manjaro. Hatnix, one of our game streamers uses it.
Vishar 21 June 2019 at 12:31 pm UTC
Some people forgot that we are Linux User not Windows
when some distro going to change the way we don't like we simply going look for new distro and we can select from ~100 or more modern distros
mirv 21 June 2019 at 12:31 pm UTC
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sprocket
mirvWindows 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.
I have no doubt that Windows uses container technology. That container might as well be a colander though, for all the good it does to protect the core OS from nasty software.

I don't think that was the intention. The intention was for 32bit executable compatibility. Regardless of your thoughts on Microsoft as a corporate entity, trying to hate on their 32bit compatibility support is counter-productive. It works, and works well. From a technology and user experience perspective, it's effective, and I would hope that Canonical consider that with whichever approach they take (if any).
Nanobang 21 June 2019 at 12:33 pm UTC
Alm888This is a gaming site, so… what does it mean for games?
No more legacy 32bit WINE games (almost all of my WINE collection and 95% pre-2010 Windows™ games)?
Lots of native closed-source Linux games, like "Aquaria" (which developers went defunct) rendered unusable? Who will make Snaps for those?

Dropping 32bit support is foolish, IMO. My condolences to "*buntu" users.

Thank you for your condolences. You make a good point about a limitation of snaps. For me, another one is that almost every snap I ever tried was unable to access my data partition---where I keep all my music, videos, pix, and games.
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