A Proposal To Go 64-bit Only With Fedora 23

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 19 January 2015 at 03:05 PM EST. 170 Comments
An ambitious proposal is seeking to make Fedora 23 -- the Linux distribution release due out around October -- 64-bit-only for both x86 and ARM architectures.

While some distributions have played around with the idea of retiring 32-bit x86 support, it's a bit surprising to see ARMv7 also being considered in this new proposal by Stephen John Smoogen. Nearly all ARM hardware out there today is still 32-bit ARMv7 (or in Raspberry Pi's case, ARMv6) with AArch64 hardware only starting to materialize and the 64-bit ARM Linux support beginning to catch up.

Ubuntu is beginning to demphasize 32-bit builds and there's some hope they'll stop spinning 32-bit Ubuntu ISOs in 2016, while this Fedora 23 proposal is attempting to kill off 32-bit support quite quickly.

Smoogen wrote, "I am going to make the uncomfortable and ugly proposal to drop 32 bit in Fedora 23 and only look at 64 bit architectures as primary architectures. All 32 bit architectures (arm7hl, i386) would be moved to being secondary architectures that would require their own build teams and 'koji' to maintain builds in future releases. At the moment that would make the only 64 bit primary architecture x86_64 with arm64 and ppc64 possible candidates for mainstream support in F24 (if they aren't ready by Fedora 23)."

The reasons for this proposal are i386 yum usage falling slightly over the past two years, more development focus on 64-bit, and developers have already been focusing on 64-bit software with 32-bit often times just coming as an after thought.

"Some people running 32 bit currently may feel that they are not capable of running a build system. The job at this point would be to look for the people capable and willing to do so. Maybe a patreon or some similar program will be needed. I think it will be better to start an active community towards 32 bit Linux versus alternatives where Fedora X is 64 bit only and no avenues for 32 bit are left." Read more on Smoogen's blog although no official proposal has yet to be submitted and likely wouldn't be approved by FESCo for Fedora 23.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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