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It's Still Undecided Whether Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Will Support 32-bit x86 (i386)

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  • It's Still Undecided Whether Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Will Support 32-bit x86 (i386)

    Phoronix: It's Still Undecided Whether Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Will Support 32-bit x86 (i386)

    Ubuntu 17.10 dropped its i386 / 32-bit x86 installer image while the i386 port has remained part of the package archive. Other Ubuntu derivatives over the past year have also moved to drop their 32-bit installer images and with Lubuntu/Xubuntu now ending their ISOs for that port, it's hitting the end of the road. Now for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, there might not even be the i386 port...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...i386-Undecided

  • #2
    Well, the vast majority of those x86 CPUs are over 15 years old now. Have 512 MB of RAM (or less) and pre OpenGL 2.0 era fixed function pipeline GPUs. Probably fun platforms to run desktop Linux on.

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    • #3
      Of course, there still is some Linux software that is still 32-bit only... Most notably, Steam.
      Proprietary software can go disappear )

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      • #4
        Originally posted by caligula View Post
        Probably fun platforms to run desktop Linux on.
        Yep, and if people know how to use a computer correctly (i.e not using a kiddie Linux distro like Ubuntu), they still provide more than enough power.

        Weak hardware still works great with FreeBSD or OpenBSD. Strange how I thought those projects were much smaller than Canonical and yet could maintain i386 builds? Very odd, perhaps it is due to having a cleaner codebase and more correct decisions on technology over the years.

        Though I suspect it has more to do with the fact that Linux is so fragmented that no single Linux distribution has nearly as many developers as FreeBSD in general. I actually don't know. Would be interesting to see some stats on this.
        Last edited by kpedersen; 02-18-2019, 07:41 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by caligula View Post
          Well, the vast majority of those x86 CPUs are over 15 years old now. Have 512 MB of RAM (or less) and pre OpenGL 2.0 era fixed function pipeline GPUs. Probably fun platforms to run desktop Linux on.
          Linux support of those CPUs should remain. But Ubuntu? I think they're better off dropping support. A default Ubuntu desktop install is a little bloated for such old systems. Ubuntu is very "mainstream", which those CPUs are not [anymore]. Anyone with such a CPU might as well use a distro like Debian or Fedora.

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          • #6
            Can't wait for Debian to drop 32-bit distro, so they'll finally put more effort into supporting multiarch and cross compilation to 32-bit from 64-bit. Building 32-bit Mesa on 64-bit Debian is a major mess now.

            Once 32-bit distro will be gone, they'll have no choice but to support the above better.

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            • #7
              C'mon, get rid of it finally. 32 bit x86 systems are a small niche. It is fine to use specialized distributions for those, or older LTS releases.

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              • #8
                32bit only x86 hardware may indeed be a niche, but multiarch support is another story entirely. If dropping 32bit in full also implies dropping multiarch support then this is going too far. And Steam is a small concern, there are plenty legacy projects around, as much as we surely would rather they moved on to open source alternatives, unfortunately things are not so simple and surely forcing their hands by dropping OS support to their applications is not the way to do it. If there is one thing the open source community can pride itself of is in not forcing people to do things, particularly so by holding their assets hostage like some closed source vendors do with their coward vendor lock in strategies.

                There is however the argument that other distributions will still continue supporting multiarch. What are the chances a group could be formed to track legacy support, helping the distributions still supporting i386? The interested parties should have been looking for something like this already.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SofS View Post
                  32bit only x86 hardware may indeed be a niche, but multiarch support is another story entirely. If dropping 32bit in full also implies dropping multiarch support then this is going too far.
                  This discussion about dropping official Ubuntu 32 bit x86 support has never ever been about dropping 32 bit multiarch. I don't know where people are getting that from. It's getting silly to explain it in every thread again.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post

                    Yep, and if people know how to use a computer correctly (i.e not using a kiddie Linux distro like Ubuntu), they still provide more than enough power.
                    Not enough power for a desktop OS though. Unless you don't think people need a modern browser. The reality is that nowadays people expect to be able to open up a google doc link and actually edit things. I wouldn't be able to do my job on an ancient machine like you're describing. Just running Slack uses about 1G of ram on my machine at work. Yes I agree that's terrible, but that's where we are and ancient hardware isn't going to cut it.

                    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
                    Though I suspect it has more to do with the fact that Linux is so fragmented that no single Linux distribution has nearly as many developers as FreeBSD in general. I actually don't know. Would be interesting to see some stats on this.
                    I think on FreeBSD you're going to need to run the same software as anyone on Linux if you're talking about a desktop.

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