Wine Developers Appear Quite Apprehensive About Ubuntu's Plans To Drop 32-Bit Support
It's looking like the plans announced by Canonical this week to drop their 32-bit packages/libraries beginning with Ubuntu 19.10 will be causing problems for the Wine camp at least in the near-term until an adequate solution is sorted out for providing their 32-bit Wine builds to Ubuntu users.
Wine and Steam are among the few prominent Linux software packages still prominently living mostly in a 32-bit world. Valve certainly has the resources to come up with a timely solution especially with Ubuntu being the most popular Linux distribution used by Steam and they can move on with shipping their own 32-bit Steam Runtime libraries and other changes as needed. For the upstream Wine project it might be a bit more burdensome providing 32-bit Wine packages for Ubuntu.
Those providing the WineHQ packagers for Ubuntu don't want to venture into providing a whole collection of 32-bit libraries/dependencies to satisfy Wine. It also appears there are several developers at least skeptical of the Canonical-backed "solution" to use 32-bit Ubuntu 18.04 LTS packages from within a Snap. Meanwhile providing a 64-bit-only Wine build would be of limited usefulness.
This situation of Ubuntu planning to discontinue their 32-bit x86 support beginning with Ubuntu 19.10 is being discussed now on the wine-devel list.
Often vocal Wine developer Henri Verbeet of CodeWeavers has even gone as far as to not provide any Ubuntu packages at least until a better solution can be devised. "I think not building packages for Ubuntu 19.10 would be the only
practical option. It would probably be good to have a small explanation on the download page though. As I understand it, it would still be possible to run 32-bit executables on the Ubuntu 19.10 kernel, but we'd have to build and ship all our dependencies ourselves. I don't think we want to go there just yet."
Andrew Eikum of CodeWeavers meanwhile brought up the idea of using the Steam Runtime as their 32-bit dependent packages. That would cover most of their bases but there are still some other packages they would need to address.
We'll see what happens with the 64-bit-only Ubuntu 19.10 plans over the weeks ahead.