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Author Topic: Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit  (Read 1283 times)

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Offline scifidude79

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Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit
« on: February 08, 2016, 10:44:31 am »
I was glancing through the latest issue of Distro Watch Weekly and I came across a news bit that is of interest to some and likely concerning to others.  Ubuntu is considering dropping support for 32-bit computers:

http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20160208#news

Of course, as Peppermint is built from Ubuntu's source code, that means there's a possibility that it won't be possible to do a 32-bit version of Peppermint anymore either.  This is an important point to make, as not everybody may be aware of this.  In fact, someone in the comments section said:

Quote
Speaking of 32 bit machines, I for don't care much about what happens to the main edition of Ubuntu in terms of 32 bit support, but I want to be able to have Mint in 32 bit.

Well, if there's no 32-bit source available, there's no way for Linux distros like Mint and Peppermint to have their own 32-bit version.  Mint doesn't program their own OS from scratch, they simply modify the Ubuntu source, that's why their (main) releases come about a month after the version of Ubuntu on which they're based.  The only way for Mint to stay 32-bit if Ubuntu goes totally 64 is to go independent.  That person went on to say that they think the news only applies to the main Ubuntu release and that the other editions (Kubunut, Xubuntu, etc.) may not be affected.  Well, again, I don't see how, as the Ubuntu dev team is the main dev team and Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc. are just Ubuntu with different desktop environments.  So, as is typically the case, a move of this scale that happens for Ubuntu is likely to happen by default for any related projects.

Anywho, I thought some people here might find this news interesting, perhaps troubling.  I, for one, use only 64-bit, but I know we have a number of 32-bit users, and you may possibly be in trouble if this happens.  More and more Linux distributions are doing this, going totally 64-bit, as 32-bit technology is more than 20 years old.  Plus, maintaining two versions can, I'm sure, be a drag on whoever is programming the distribution and maintaining the repositories.  So, going totally 64-bit is a very logical decision.

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 10:57:51 am »
I'm *now* of the opinion that 32bit has really reached the end of its useful life .. by the time 16.04 support ends it's going to be a good 15-20 years since anyone made any 32bit only CPU's
(yes I know there are those troublesome Pentium/Celeron "M" processors, but they actually *are* 64bit even if they don't report it to the kernel, and you can install 64bit on those with the "forcepae" parameter anyway)

If only having 64bit distros allows / forces devs to put more effort into 64bit software I'm kinda for it

I know there are still a few people with old 32bit CPU's but will there really be enough of them left in 5 years to warrant the effort ?

It has to end at some point, and people have been talking about whether it should have been dropped from around 10.04 (which at that time I considered far too early), 16.04 will take them through to 2021 .. so really 32bit has had an 11 year extension ;)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 11:00:58 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline darthlukan

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Re: Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2016, 11:12:13 am »
Personally, so long as certain software providers, like Valve, shift from their current 32bit lib requirements over to full 64bit support, I won't care.

As a developer on Team Peppermint? One less thing to support, one more thing we'll have to explain to users. I'm not complaining mind you, but it will be rough for those expecting Peppermint to have a 32bit release after the end of life.

Upstream providers are giving us lots of things to contend with. We'll just have to provide a large message to our users for the Peppermint 7 release :)
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Offline scifidude79

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Re: Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2016, 01:15:27 pm »
I agree with both of you, dropping old hardware support is a good step in the right direction.  Too bad it won't be happening for the upcoming LTS release.  Instead, we have to wait at least two years for it to happen on a release that matters.  Though, if they are going to go this route, I expect it to start with their six month "testing" releases.

I just hope by "dropping support," they mean no longer supporting 32 bit software.  Right now, you can install 32 bit software (such as Steam) on a 32 bit OS, so there's been no need for lazy programmers to keep up.  They just release 32 bit software and it runs on 64 bit systems.  Though, of course, it drags in all of those 32 bit libraries, which are useless junk on your system.  So, unless Canonical is planning to allow inclusion of only 64 bit software in its repositories, there will be no hurry to change.

Right now, a few smaller independent Linux distros like KaOS only include 64 bit software in their repositories, but small independent distros don't affect wider change.  Canonical is a trend setter in the Linux world.  Most Linux compatible software works with Ubuntu.  So, one can only hope that's how they plan to play this, if indeed they plan to drop 32 bit.  Otherwise, a totally 64 bit Ubuntu will be like the current 64 but version, which is frustrating at times.

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2016, 01:54:03 pm »
Personally I think if they drop a 32bit build but keep the 32bit packages it'll just spur people on to find multiarch solutions which should then appear all over the web .. heck it should even drive the better packaging of things like Steam for multiarch.

But in the long run I guess the idea is to drop 32bit binaries/packages all together.
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Offline emegra

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Re: Ubuntu Considering Dropping 32-bit
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2016, 04:04:22 pm »
The Openmediavault team are also considering dropping 32bit support for future releases so it looks like it's becoming a general trend



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