openSUSE Is Still Looking For Users To Step Up And Maintain 32-bit x86 Support
SUSE/openSUSE has acknowledged the decline of i586 devices and there has been discussions whether to drop support for their Tumbleweed i586 builds. Beginning in January they are transitioning Tumbleweed i586/i686 to being a community-supported port. While the "openSUSE:Factory:LegacyX86" legacy x86 archive is being created, so far there hasn't been anyone willing in the community and step up and commit to maintaining the packaging work moving forward.
Per this week's openSUSE release engineering meeting minutes:
i586 carve-out from Factory
* openSUSE:Factory:LegacyX86 is setup and builds are in a similar state as openSUSE:Factory
* Bots are already up and running: ttm, pkglistgen, trigger-rebuild for rebuild=local
* openQA is setup https://openqa.opensuse.org/group_overview/75
=> the releases have been rolling on for the last three days, QA looks reasonable and things progress nicely. As planned, users should be able to migrate in January. We'll add some code to openSUSE-release in Tumbleweed to migrate repositories away when detected (with information logged of course)
The maintenance of this port is uncertain though. Jiri Slaby volunteered, but that was back when the idea of having x86_64 there (and TW as v2) was current. As that decision was revised, I don't think Jiri is interested in maintaining i586; Felix Miata mentioned something, but no clear commitment to actually do it. I will keep an eye on it during the migration phase (just as I do with PPC and also s390x) - but no commitment, so things might fall over for weeks if not longer
Jiri Slaby who was mentioned in the meeting then responded on the mailing list:
You are right ;). As I explicitly wrote in the e-mail I never intended to maintain ix86. I also asked there for maintainers and noone raised their hands. Does this mean noone is interested and we can drop the port at last? (Hint: it's the right time to wave your hands NOW.) That would render all the work Dominique and others invested into :LegacyX86 futile :/.
Maybe it will prove noone cares when the project fails to build completely. Good riddance then.
There will likely be at least some x86 32-bit package work for openSUSE Tumbleweed for cases where those packages are used by x86_64 systems. However, so far the openSUSE Tumbleweed project appears to be short on capable and willing individuals to take over the maintenance burden of their i586/i686 package maintenance and testing/QA.
This sadly happens all too often in the open-source world when a Linux distribution or other software project wants to abandon old hardware support or some other old change, there is often push-back from the community objecting to it -- only to find later a lack of willing participants to help in the effort. We'll see what happens with this openSUSE:Factory:LegacyX86 effort over the weeks ahead.