Fedora Linux Moves Ahead With Effectively Demoting 32-bit x86 Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 29 August 2015 at 01:18 PM EDT. 36 Comments
FEDORA --
Fedora Linux is moving ahead with plans to place emphasis on i686 / 32-bit x86 support, but they stopped short of a proposal to outright eliminate 32-bit Fedora 24 ISOs for all spins.

Fedora Server already decided they'll stop spinning i686 images, but for now at least the plan is to still spin i686 images for the other Fedora versions like Fedora Cloud and Fedora Workstation. However, at the end of the day, not many developers there either are concerned about maintaining i686 support.

Earlier this month was the call to make i686 a non-blocking release architecture on Fedora whereby any i686-specific issues wouldn't hold up the official Fedora releases. The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee discussed the matter at this week's meeting.

The proposal of "Fedora will ship no i686/32-bit x86 install media in Fedora 24" was cut short and instead agreed on "Fedora will ship no i686/32-bit x86 install media in Fedora 24 as a primary/blocking deliverable." Thus the images will still (probably) come, but they won't hold up the rest of the release train if there are issues.

During the meeting, most continued agreeing though that i686 isn't that important these days for this popular Linux distribution. Kernel developer at Red Hat Josh Boyer noted, "the product WGs all don't care about i686 images." Other FESCo member Haikel Guemar also noted, "from my [point of view], nobody wants to support the i686 image." Kevin Fenzi was also for it, "I'm completely +1 for dropping all the i686 images/media in f24." FESCo member Dennis Gilmore was the only one rejecting the original proposal to stop shipping x86 install media for F24 on the basis of, "kinda related here is the idea of changing the definition of what is primary and secondary to where we ship the output, in this case we could have i686 be a secondary arch, even if only for some subsets of Fedora."

They also discussed making the i686 changes for Fedora 23, but ended up deciding the change will happen for Fedora 24. It does look like Fedora Cloud though may avoid shipping a i686 version of F23.


Now if only more modern Linux distributions and ISVs would let i686 die with fire...

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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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