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

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 18 February 2019 at 06:21 PM EST. 68 Comments
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.

Canonical's Steve Langasek has restarted the discussion about whether to include i386 for next year's Ubuntu 20.04 Long-Term Support release. Langasek commented today, "The real question is whether i386 is still supportable (and justifiable) as a release architecture at all in the 20.04 timeframe. There are significant technical concerns raised about whether we can continue to provide the expected security support for i386 over the lifetime of Ubuntu 20.04."

Ubuntu already stopped automated upgrades to new releases for those running Ubuntu 32-bit currently, so they can stick to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Around the middle of this year, Canonical should decide whether the i386 port for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be discontinued or not. They are concerned about the ongoing maintenance/security support for the port over the long life-span of this next Ubuntu Long Term Support release as well as the declining usage of it.

Of course, there still is some Linux software that is still 32-bit only... Most notably, Steam. Hopefully that will change soon to help allow Ubuntu to discontinue their i386 support in full.
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