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Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu To Stop Offering 32-Bit ISO Images, Joining Many Other Linux Distros (bleepingcomputer.com) 133

An anonymous reader writes: Canonical engineer Dimitri John Ledkov announced on Wednesday that Ubuntu does not plan to offer 32-bit ISO installation images for its new OS version starting with the next release — Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) scheduled for release on October 19. The decision comes after month-long discussions on the dwindling market share of 32-bit architectures. Ledkov made it clear that Canonical does not plan to stop support for 32-bit architectures. The Ubuntu team plans to continue to offer security updates and bug fixes, but they won't be offering new ISO images. Lubuntu and Xubuntu, which are Ubuntu offshoots created to run on older computers, will most likely continue to provide 32-bit ISO images, as this is their bread and butter. Manjaro, Tails, and Arch Linux announced similar decisions. Even Google dropped support for Chrome on 32-bit Linux platforms, way back in 2015, predicting the overall trend.
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Ubuntu To Stop Offering 32-Bit ISO Images, Joining Many Other Linux Distros

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  • is it 2032 already?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who cares, it's Friday!

      WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      • by Anonymous Coward

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    • is it 2032 already?

      In Buddhist year, it is already 2560. :D

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @10:30AM (#55276849)
    Many people run Ubuntu Server on embedded devices. And Old Wyse terminal server makes a wonderful Cacti and Icinga box. (No good having monitoring inside a VM when the VM server fails...) Perfect for Pi-Hole. A nice syslog server you can drop at a client when needed. And Ubuntu Server is the only distribution you can install totally for free and then add support a-la-carte later. And yes, I have added an expensive support contract to a $10 used Wyse box for a client.
    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      Keep using a current LTS version of Ubuntu Server on those devices then. Oh and the Raspberry Pi 3 is 64 bit.

      • Everything a Pi will do, including power and connectors, for less money. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wyse-T... [ebay.com] I have these running Dokuwiki, Icinga, Cacti, Pihole, Syslog... I drop them off with clients all the time. And while 16.04 will be ok for another 3 years, I have systems I have not even looked at for 5 or more!
        • by b0bby ( 201198 )

          I like this idea, if I wanted one to play with is a VXO V10LE a good model to get? Do you only run Ubuntu on yours?

          • I run Ubuntu or FreeBSD on everything. Ubuntu because it is the only one where you can install it for free and add support later if you want it. This gives clients a level of comfort if I get hit by a bus. :) And FreeBSD because it is rock solid and secure.

            As for as what to get, the best resource I have found is here. http://www.parkytowers.me.uk/t... [parkytowers.me.uk] And David Parkinson is a nice guy!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      We'll have to start building from sources which is inconvinient but can be done; The problem is the main package repository, but maybe some volunteers can create their own repos for some parts of x86.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        The problem is the main package repository

        If Canonical wants to continue offering Wine, it'll need to maintain at least some i386 libraries in the main repository at least until Wine becomes a snap that hosts its own copy of the C runtime and X client libraries.

    • I don't run Ubuntu on embedded hardware, but I do run Debian, and I sure hope Debian keeps maintaining a 32 bit release.

    • Ubuntu will continue to provide 32 bit Cloud and Container images.

      https://lists.ubuntu.com/archi... [ubuntu.com]

    • by darkain ( 749283 )

      Exactly this! I'm running a series of 32-bit Intel based routers that so far have been running pfSense, but they just dropped 32-bit support as well. Now with Linux distros dropping support, that is another area I won't be able to explore with these boxes. Currently investigating staying with FreeBSD and going with OPNSense instead. But yeah, this really sucks that solid and reliable hardware that gets the job done very well isn't "supported" anymore.

      • This is exactly the reason SmallWall and t1n1wall were formed. www.smallwall.org for something that still does 32bit. OPNsense is even fatter then pfSense.
    • Ubuntu Server stopped offering 32 bit ISOs years ago. At least they did last I checked in 2015.
      They want to cite declining market share, but how are they polling that? Embedded systems and some types of servers aren't likely to be browsing the web, for example.
      • It really is sad because extending the life of old or marginal hardware is one of the strong points of Linux in the first place. Intel was shipping 32-bit-only Atoms as late as 2010. I'm still using one with Debian on it... But even their next release will drop 32bit.
      • Ubuntu Server stopped offering 32 bit ISOs years ago. At least they did last I checked in 2015. They want to cite declining market share, but how are they polling that? Embedded systems and some types of servers aren't likely to be browsing the web, for example.

        Funny. I have a Ubuntu 17.05 32bit server image right now. But as to how they poll... Look at the package popcon, and then it is what is pulled from the repositories.

  • Are there really many 32bit systems being used in general purpose (workstation or similar) settings? I tend to come across 32bit boxes most often now as either embedded systems, mini servers (in low-demand applications), or various novelty / nostalgia applications. All of these could probably be better suited with a more specialized OS than Ubuntu that aims for the general populace. While it can make support a little more tricky (particularly if all your 64bit systems are Ubuntu) it is probably worth the effort. to switch.
    • Support is the key. Many people want support, or at least the option. Name some specialized distributions that support 32bit for embedded devices or small low powered specific needs. I'll wait...
    • Are there really many 32bit systems being used in general purpose (workstation or similar) settings? I tend to come across 32bit boxes most often now as either embedded systems, mini servers (in low-demand applications), or various novelty / nostalgia applications. All of these could probably be better suited with a more specialized OS than Ubuntu that aims for the general populace. While it can make support a little more tricky (particularly if all your 64bit systems are Ubuntu) it is probably worth the effort. to switch.

      Well, I have a neat little Atom based Netbook that I use as my inventory and library computer. It is technically a 64 bit system, but its specs are such where a 64 bit OS and 64 bit applications are just too damn slow, and the only drivers available were for XP and 32 bit Windows 7; so after trying various solutions (even both Debian and Ubuntu), I ultimately settled on 32 bit W7.

      On another note, since I can't be arsed at the moment to check out the article, is it only ISOs they are discontinuing, or is it

      • 64-bit ought to be faster: 16 64-bit GPRs, PC-relative addressing etc. If you want smaller pointers, it is nothing hindering you to run 32 bit apps on the 64-bit OS.

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          There was at least one 64-bit Atom iteration which could do x64 just fine, but which did not ever have appropriate drivers available for Windows.

          "Slower" in 64-bit here can be for a variety of reasons.

          • This was the Cherry Trail series I believe, which used the GMA 3150 GPU which was basically just like the GMA 500 from Imagination Technologies and required a proprietary blob to operate. Intel never released a 64bit driver for that GPU (or they tried, it had glitches and they didn't want to continue supporting it).

      • 64 bit applications tend to be a bit larger than their 32 bit counterparts, mostly because pointers and some other data types are larger. (Even if you keep the same data sizes within your application, the size of some data items called for by APIs like time stamps and I/O counters for streams get bigger.) Code size tends to stay about the same; the 64 bit code uses fewer instructions because of having more registers available, but the instructions are on average a bit larger.

        How all of this affects executi

  • Pity those motherboards and CPUs used as a virtual machine host that don't support VT-x and can't run 64-bit VMs even though the host OS can be 64-bit.
    • The article does say cloud and container images will still be offered. Not sure if that is prepackaged, however. (Here is your VM. Password is "Putz".)
  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Friday September 29, 2017 @11:03AM (#55277113) Homepage Journal

    For those arguing that there are still uses for 32bit machines, I gotta wonder: Is the cost of upgrading to something tiny, modern, and 64bit more or less expensive than running 32bit on old hardware if you include the cost of power?

    • I imagine the people most concerned would be people with embedded hardware. I have a number of custom-built routers all running 32 bit processors with a 1gb of RAM and SSD drives. They work well as routers/VPN gateways, but since they are Internet-facing, I want to make sure everything is up to date. If I can't find a distro that will continue to support security updates, I will have to replace these systems.

    • something tiny, modern, and 64bit

      Sometimes modern isn't tiny.

      The first round of netbooks, such as the Eee PC 900, were 9" laptops with a 32-bit Celeron processor. The second round of 9" and 10" netbooks used a 64-bit-capable Atom processor, but many shipped with 1 GB of RAM and can't be upgraded past 2 GB. At RAM sizes of 1 GB or less, pointer size increase becomes substantial, and "x32" (x86-64 with 32-bit pointers) never drew enough of a following to come close to displacing i386. (Xubuntu will still be around to support 1 GB PCs, and 64

      • The 7xx were Celeron M, and starting with the 900a, they used atoms.

        I moved my 701 to Voidlinux, which is not a derivative of any other distro. Hopefully Void will keep 32 bit supported longer than the debian/arch derivatives.

        I also happen to dislike systemd, and Void boots very quickly.

        This post was written using said 701 (4g surf).

    • Like another poster here, I have a 32-bit only netbook that despite being over 8 years old, still works perfectly (that idea of substituting an SSD for the old HD is appealing).

      Similar use case: as a portable for mostly doing writing and editing. Something to take on travel and not worry so much about it being stolen or confiscated at the border. It's perfect for such use. Why trash it? I buy a new battery every few years and that's it. (Batteries can still be easily obtained.)

      32-bit distros are useful to m

      • 32-bit distros are useful to me, and I am sure there are many others like me

        If that "many" is a sufficiently small part of the population, it is no longer worth serving.

        No corporate product manager is going to think about someone that runs an 8-year-old netbook.

        The influx of corporate money into Linux was bound to make things like this more commonplace.

        • Of course you're right --- but it may not necessarily be due to corporate influence (although it could be). Distro support often relies on a limited set of volunteers with limited time, and they can only do so much. Supporting a 32-bit distro may fall far down on the list or fall off completely.

          But as I said, I'll manage. Nothing to stop me from running an older distro for a long time. It's not like an 8-year old netbook is going to suddenly acquire new hardware needing new drivers.

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      More, when it's a laptop. Laptops use negligible power when used sporadically through the working week.

  • I can run 30% more VMs on my Linux Host using 32-bit server images. I understand dropping desktop, but i686 for server still makes perfect sense. I have 30 512 VMs running with 16 GB of Ram. If I was forced to upgrade to x86-64 today, I could only run 21 VMs. Not sure Ubuntu was considering the wasted memory when they made this call.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can run 30% more VMs on my Linux Host using 32-bit server images. I understand dropping desktop, but i686 for server still makes perfect sense. I have 30 512 VMs running with 16 GB of Ram. If I was forced to upgrade to x86-64 today, I could only run 21 VMs. Not sure Ubuntu was considering the wasted memory when they made this call.

      gosh how dare ubuntu do anything without worrying first and foremost about you and your old computer

    • Not sure Ubuntu was considering the wasted memory when they made this call.

      I'm pretty sure they're aware of it. Your use case is not the end-all, be-all.

      Either switch to a new distro or get more RAM. Since they will have a 32-bit build in the LTS branch for a few more years, you could easily upgrade or replace that machine in the meantime---it's not like your existing installation will evaporate overnight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lederhosen ( 612610 )

      No, you are wrong. If you want performance AND you want 32-bit pointers you can use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Then you get the benefit of 16 64 bit GPRs, PC-relative addressing and other features that INCREASE performance. There is no good reason to run a 64-bit x86 OS in 32 bit mode.

    • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

      64-bit is superb for desktop, being able to do various hobbies with less disk thrashing(and don't bring out that old NA geek chestnut about non-geek users just needing a browser, it's not true at all).

      Look at all the non-computer geeks doing video and graphics as hobbies. Live streaming with live greenscreens and effects. Or playing games and watching movies at the same time etc etc. All things that nowadays can become almost impossible on a 32-bit system. The combination of being able to use more than 4GiB

  • Anyone who installs linux on their machines understands that Ubuntu is not a corporate vanguard for FOSS hippies or run by a tech "evangelist". They've decided to cease providing service for machines that are over 10 years old, which is what a PC running an Intel CPU older than the Core I-series (or a slightly less recent ARM cpu). If you don't like that, boo-effing-hoo.

    I can find drivel like this on reddit. I expect Slashdot to do better job at curation of articles.

    • hell i think its been more then 10 years sense 32 bit quit being mainline as a Pentium d supported 64bit. even Pentium 4 supported 64bit later in there life.

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