Ubuntu Developers Once Again Debate Dropping i386 Images, Then Discontinuing i386 Port

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 10 May 2018 at 08:29 AM EDT. 48 Comments
While the Ubuntu desktop official images are no longer 32-bit/i386 and more Ubuntu derivatives are dropping their 32-bit x86 installers, not all 32-bit images/installers have been discontinued and the i386 package archive / port remains. That matter though is back to being debated.

As has been common to see every once in a while over the past few years, Ubuntu developers are back to debating the i386 status following the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS cycle. Canonical's Bryan Quigley is proposing that i386 be dropped -- initially for images/installers but with an end goal of dropping the i386 port.

Adding to the reasons that the i386 support should be discontinued is that the Meltdown CPU vulnerability isn't properly mitigated for i386 packages. That's in addition to the declining i386 install numbers, most hardware of the past decade being x86_64 capable, etc.

In regards to dropping i386 packages entirely, the reasons for Ubuntu x86_64 users needing to install i386 packages are on the decline. To major users of the 32-bit Ubuntu packages remain Steam and Wine. For Steam, Bryan Quigley is proposing to make use of of the Solus Linux's Snap package for Steam that is self-contained and better than the Steam Debian packaging anyhow.

This latest i386 killing proposal for Ubuntu is now being debated on ubuntu-devel.
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