05 Jul

Ubuntu Developer Calling For Users To Let Go Of 32-bit Builds

In recent Linux news, many major Linux Distributions are calling for the end of 32-bit build Linux distros and software.

Most recent is a Developer from Ubuntu, Dimitri John Ledkov.

In a webmail post, Ledkov stated:

Let me resurrect this thread. In the context of what we should be
doing in 18.04 and what to do between now and then.

In 2018:
- it will be over 2 years since 3rd party ISVs stopped supporting
software on i386, or even never had it officially
- e.g. Google Chrome, ZFS, Docker, etc
- with both desktop and server software developed, tested and deployed
on amd64 only

And in 2018, the question will come if we can effectively provide
security support on i386.

Between now and 2018, it would be logical to limit amount of new
installations of i386, because cross-grading between i386->amd64 is
not something we can reliably ship.
We must continue provide the i386 port, to support multiarch and 3rd
party legacy application that are only available as i386 binaries.

Building i386 images is not "for free", it comes at the cost of
utilizing our build farm, QA and validation time. Whilst we have
scalable build-farms, i386 still requires all packages, autopackage
tests, and ISOs to be revalidated across our infrastructure. As well
as take up mirror space & bandwidth.

Thus the question is what can we and what should we do to limit i386
installations before they become unsupportable?

It really does cost distributions time to keep 32-bit hardware around as well as to build it.

Having 32-bit users doubles the burden developers face when testing their distro updates.

Dimitri closed it out by saying.

The key point here is lack of upstream software support and upstream
security support on i386, rather than actual hardware being out of
stock and/or old.

In essence this would mean April 2021 as the sunset for i386 as the
host/base OS architecture. And April 2023 to run legacy i386
applications with security support.



Interesting to see where this goes.



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