Author Topic: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture  (Read 3665 times)

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Offline windsmurfTopic starter

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Starting with Ubuntu 19.10, i386 32 bit processors will no longer be supported.
https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/i386-architecture-will-be-dropped-starting-with-eoan-ubuntu-19-10/11263
 

Offline fourtytwo42

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2019, 06:51:39 am »
Just another kick in the butt for those of us who prefer to live in the stoneage  :(
Think of all those perfectly good PC's & Laptop's consigned to landfill when there users were perfectly happy with them!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 06:53:24 am by fourtytwo42 »
 

Offline aix

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2019, 07:39:16 am »
It might be worth mentioning that the most recent LTS (long-term support) release, Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, won't reach end of life until 2028.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases

And of course all those older releases aren't turning into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight (for those who do need to run older, no longer supported, hardware).
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 07:40:55 am by aix »
 

Offline filssavi

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2019, 08:06:49 am »
Unfortunately it is not that simple, the 98% of Ubuntu installs are on amd64, so x86 has a less than 2% user share, with no prospect of growth or high revenue client uptake, as opposed to arm64 or power

The continued maintenance of the support of a whole architecture however is quite expensive, so dropping the support is undoubtedly the best thing

The people that still want to run i386 with a modern supported os should put their wallets where their mouth is and pay for the support themselves (or in alternative do it themselves as it all is open source), however I doubt anyone is inclined to do so.
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2019, 08:20:50 pm »
It's just the distro, there are a plethora of distros, and so long as Linux itself can be compiled for i386 (it will be a long time before /that/ happens) you can always find SOME distro that supports i386 (or you can just spin your own set of packages)

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Offline Bassman59

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2019, 08:25:00 pm »
Just another kick in the butt for those of us who prefer to live in the stoneage  :(
Think of all those perfectly good PC's & Laptop's consigned to landfill when there users were perfectly happy with them!

Is there any particular reason to upgrade the OS?

In any event, I don't deprecate computers when they're no longer supported by the OS. I stop using them when they stop working! I don't have anything from the Stone Age any more. It's all been taken to the recycler.
 

Offline geekGee

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2019, 04:06:47 am »
You can always go upstream to Debian.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2019, 06:55:32 am »
Is this really even an issue? The only PCs I have that are not 64 bit capable are vintage collectible stuff that run period correct operating systems. I have a hard time believing there are more than a tiny handful of people trying to actually use a machine that old to do modern things, and if they really want to use a PC less powerful than a Raspberry Pi but consuming 50 times as much electricity, there are many other Linux distros out there.
 
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Offline GromBeestje

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2019, 08:36:10 am »
When ArchLinux dropped i686 support, someone started a new distro, https://www.archlinux32.org/
If someone wants to keep Ubuntu going on i686, they can do the same for Ubuntu. However, Ubuntu is a distro with a different target audience then Arch. So I know if someone would be interested to do this.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2019, 06:30:58 pm »
I see Ubuntu as a modern polished OS for modern hardware, it's too bloated for some of the older 64 bit stuff these days, nevermind 32 bit antiques. There are other Linux distros specifically designed to be lightweight OS's for older hardware.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2019, 07:30:23 pm »
 The few times I have seen ancient hardware still in actual production use, it's usually been virtualized to run on more modern hardware, because if it's mission critical, it's hard to have any faith in an ancient piece of hardware working reliably. These places aren't the sort to have staff that can replace a blown capacitor on the motherboard, or even splice a modern power supply into the old style connectors when the power supply fails. Or where do you get a  known good 120MB (that's MB, not GB or TB) hard drive because the hardware can;t address a larger one, even if the interface is compatible?
 I have, within the last 10 years, come across an environment where Windows NT 4.0 was the operating system - driving a critical control software with a significant life safety factor (it controlled the electric arc furnaces in a steel mill - tripping the gate open at the wrong time could flood a working area with molten steel, or failing to stop the crucible dump at the right time, etc.). Why was this not upgraded? The new software, which would run on a modern system with a modern OS, also required all new control hardware, an investment of well over 1 million USD to replace. Combined with whatever losses would be incurred during the complete production shutdown to replace all the control hardware. It worked, so it was left alone. The only concession was that it was connected to an air gapped network so there was absolutely no way to externally hack into this system (which with the ancient OS would be otherwise fairly easy to do). We also have a pipeline company as a client who also takes great pains to control what connects to their publicly connected network, let alone the air gapped network for the control system. Even the monitoring system is completely independent of the control system. There may be some old out of date systems running on that control network there as well.
 But those are exceptions. I'm not real interested in "near-vintage" computing - 386, 486, early Pentium machines. I do have some older 8 bit and early 1 bit machines, those run, like James said, period correct operating systems, but they aren;t production machines. If I did have a 486 or Pentium machine - those too would run period correct stuff, not some cobbled together attempt to run something more modern. The oldest machine I have, though just shelved, is a second generation Core (the one after Core2 Duo) which was happily running Windows 7 when I replaced it. ANd I forgot my model railroad control machine, which is a second gen Atom dual core running Ubuntu - something like 10.04 I think, whatever was current when I built it, which was 8 or 9 years ago. It's been stored for the past 5+, since I moved. I know a new version came out shortly after I built it, but since I had to custom compile my own driver for the wireless card I didn't feel like upgrading and doing it all over again. It does what it needs to do with the old version it has, though I'm tempted to see how well it cna run Windows XP since my new control system will run a VB app.

 

Offline james_s

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2019, 11:55:14 pm »
I haven't actually found the hard drive thing to be a big problem. I have a modern open source IDE card in my PC/XT and it is using a 4GB microdrive with I think a 120MB partition on it. My Mac SE/30 has a 72GB 2.5" SCSI server drive in it with 3 2GB partitions, each absurdly huge for that machine, the rest of the drive is just empty space. A lot of older systems will talk to a larger drive just fine even if they cannot utilize all the space.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 06:11:34 pm »
Just another kick in the butt for those of us who prefer to live in the stoneage  :(
Think of all those perfectly good PC's & Laptop's consigned to landfill when there users were perfectly happy with them!

Is there any particular reason to upgrade the OS?

In any event, I don't deprecate computers when they're no longer supported by the OS. I stop using them when they stop working! I don't have anything from the Stone Age any more. It's all been taken to the recycler.
The problem you'll run into that there is a lot of software which simply doesn't run on a 32 bit machine. Sometimes because the creators have dropped support for 32bit but also due to needing more memory than the 32bit address space can provide.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 06:29:05 pm by nctnico »
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Offline mark03

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2019, 08:31:46 pm »
Is this really even an issue? The only PCs I have that are not 64 bit capable are vintage collectible stuff that run period correct operating systems. I have a hard time believing there are more than a tiny handful of people trying to actually use a machine that old to do modern things, and if they really want to use a PC less powerful than a Raspberry Pi but consuming 50 times as much electricity, there are many other Linux distros out there.
^^^ This!!

Someone quoted a figure of 2% for 32-bit installs.  I'm willing to bet the vast majority of those either (1) installed the 32-bit version by mistake or ignorance ("my Windows install was 32-bit so my Ubuntu install should be too"), or (2) want to run closed-source, statically-linked Linux binaries like Adobe Flash which are only provided for 32-bit systems.  #1 is not a problem at all and #2 is just Canonical enabling lazy companies' laziness.

We forget that there is always a cost/tax for backwards compatibility.  At some point, the gain from shedding legacy crud is greater than the cost of a handful of forced upgrades.  (Note that this is NOT the same reasoning as the "upgrades are always good" ridiculousness which has infected so much of modern computing.)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 08:37:34 pm by mark03 »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2019, 09:54:06 pm »
One place where lack of 32 bit support is still an issue is smartphones. Apple has been trying their hardest to push an iOS update to my phone which will remove support for 32 bit apps. This will result in half a dozen apps I paid for and use being taken away from me while adding nothing that is of any value to me. Old apps get abandoned all the time because there is no mechanism for paid upgrades.

Lots more workarounds for 32 bit PC hardware, which became obsolete much longer ago.
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2019, 10:19:09 pm »
The biggest problem is not running a 32bit OS on some ancient hw (Ubuntu is really not the best distro for that).

The issue is various proprietary software that needs 32bit libraries, even when running on 64bit OS. Since the 32bit libraries won't be available anymore, such software cannot be used on Ubuntu anymore. E.g. older versions of Matlab, Webpack ISE from Xilinx (64bit version exists but it is extremely buggy, the tool is not supported anymore so no chance of any fixes from Xilinx), etc.

In particular this is a large problem for Wine - a lot of even 64bit windows software still uses 32bit installers and thus in order to get it to work in Linux it needs 32bit Wine and 32bit runtime libraries, otherwise you won't be able to install it anymore (e.g. LTSpice is one such program).

So users that need one of the above need to look for another distro - which is going to suck because Ubuntu has been a defacto industry standard (whether that's good or bad is different debate). A lot of proprietary software has been packaged and supported only for Ubuntu, so keeping it working will require significant hackery and expense.



 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2019, 11:25:26 pm »
Sorry but I don't think 32bit library support will stop. Just the 32bit only versions. There is too much software out there which is 32 bit only. Besides that I'm wondering how you managed to break ISE. It works fine (as far as it can work fine) for me on 64bit but then again I'm not using the editor from ISE; I use Eclipse and the Veditor plugin to write HDL code.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline NorthGuy

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2019, 01:50:14 pm »
Sorry but I don't think 32bit library support will stop. Just the 32bit only versions. There is too much software out there which is 32 bit only.

Apple said they're dropping 32-bit support completely in their next MacOS. Looks like they feel they have too much software for Mac. If Apple can, why Ubuntu can't?
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2019, 04:31:35 pm »
It's a foolish choice IMHO. MacOS is already a tiny niche, if it suddenly loses support for a bunch of software with no tangible gain that will not help things any. Ditching 32 bit operating systems is fine, ditching support for 32 bit applications is stupid.

Already I think my current iPhone will be my last, I a so fed up with the lengths I've had to go in order to prevent iOS getting updated to one that does not support numerous apps I've paid for. What I have works just fine, aside from the built in reminders being buggy as hell which I gather has still not been fixed. Why would I want an update that takes away functionality I use?
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Canonical (Ubuntu) to drop support for 32-bit x86 architecture
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2019, 08:10:21 pm »
Sorry but I don't think 32bit library support will stop. Just the 32bit only versions. There is too much software out there which is 32 bit only. Besides that I'm wondering how you managed to break ISE. It works fine (as far as it can work fine) for me on 64bit but then again I'm not using the editor from ISE; I use Eclipse and the Veditor plugin to write HDL code.

They are dropping the support for 32bit completely, so while the you could load a 32bit executable (I don't think they are dropping x86 from the kernel), you will not have where to get the 32bit runtime libraries from.

Or rather that's what they have communicated originally - apparently they have changed tack now and will only "freeze" the 32bit runtime on the 18.04 LTS versions (i.e. no updates for 32bit apps).

https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/06/is-ubuntu-not-dropping-32-bit-app-support-after-all

I do wonder whether Valve saying that Ubuntu 19.10 will not have Steam support if they drop 32bit architecture may have something to do with that   :-DD ...

 


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