Fwd: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Stephen Morris samorris at netspace.net.au
Tue Jul 10 22:50:31 UTC 2018

On 17/5/18 9:17 am, Valorie Zimmerman wrote:
> Hello folks, I'm forwarding the following email to Ubuntu-devel ML to
> explain the thinking on the part of the Ubuntu developers as to why
> they are discontinuing the i386 images. For us, this would mean that
> the 18.04 LTS is the last i386 ISO that we will be publishing. I'm
> reluctant to do this, however, I do not have the time or technical
> knowledge required to do this on my own, and the Kubuntu Devels want
> Kubuntu to stop issuing i386 images.
> Therefore, we are going to do that. For those of you who still want
> and need i386, you will have 3 years of support from us on the LTS.
> This means that when we're ready for the point releases (18,04.1, 2
> etc.) I will still be asking for testers and expect you i386 people to
> step up and do that.
> For now the i386 *packages* in the archive are not going away.
> However, I think the clock is ticking for them as well. On the other
> hand, this will mean more attention from devels on the newer ARM stuff
> which will be useful for those with Raspi or little ARM
> laptop/netbooks.
> Discussion is welcome, but I'm afraid that the decision has been
> taken, and we'll be moving ahead to 18.10 without i386.
> Valorie

Is this article saying that from 18.10 onwards people are not going to 
be able to run 32 bit applications on their 64 bit images? If that is 
the case I think this decision is a bit short sighted. There are lots of 
applications out there that are 32 bit only and don't exist as 64 bit 
versions (a case in point is steam, I run steam in 2 linux environments 
and a windows environment, and it is only 32 bit in all environments and 
in both linux environments I have to specifically install 32 bit 
versions of a number of packages to get steam to run), so if this 
decision is saying that going forwards we cannot run 32 bit apps, 
especially if they are provided by sources other than Kubuntu, then that 
makes the usefulness of Kubuntu extremely limited, and personally, I 
would be forced to stop using Kubuntu and Ubuntu.



> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Bryan Quigley <bryan.quigley at canonical.com>
> Date: Wed, May 9, 2018 at 1:07 PM
> Subject: Proposal: Let's drop i386
> To: Ubuntu Developers <ubuntu-devel at lists.ubuntu.com>, Ubuntu Core
> developers <ubuntu-devel-discuss at lists.ubuntu.com>
> Cc: Dimitri John Ledkov <xnox at ubuntu.com>
> Hello,
> Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for
> consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling
> centers. The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade
> ago, and support from an increasing number of upstream projects has
> ended.
> Ubuntu and flavors just completed the 18.04 release cycle. This
> released version will either be supported until 2021 or 2023,
> depending on the product, team, and willingness to support it. At that
> point in time, the majority of these machines are approaching two
> decades old.
>>> Previous 2016 thread: And in 2018, the question will come if we can effectively provide security support on i386.
> We can't.  Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running
> amd64 Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability
> where they wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386
> hardware simply isn't vulnerable, but some is).
> We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that
> doesn't mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors
> remaining today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> Lubuntu error (pcmanfm) - 0.11
> Xubuntu cdimage - 0.49
> Xubuntu tracker -  0.30
> Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10
> Kylin tracker - 0.30
> Kylin error (engrampa) - 0.10
> Kubuntu cdimage - 0.14
> Kubuntu tracker - 0.12
> Kubuntu error (kinit) - 0.07
> The data retrieved from cdimage is for a limited time period on May
> 7th. All cdimage statistics included many hundreds to thousands of
> downloads (except Ubuntu Kylin due to it using it's own CDN, so not
> being included here). The torrent tracker results are available here:
> http://torrent.ubuntu.com:6969/.
> The error tracker statistics come from comparing top bugs shared
> between i386 and amd64 over last week. Bugs that affect multiple
> flavors are not included.
> It's not fully understood why there is a large discrepancy between the
> error tracker and other sources - but it's possible apport doesn't
> work as well in low memory.
> With Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Studio joining Ubuntu
> Desktop and Server in not offering i386 support in order to focus
> their efforts, and these statistics in mind, we (flavors) should all
> join them. Now is the ideal time to do so, because it's before the
> Cosmic cycle is really under way, and if support were continued for
> i386, we don't want users to meet a dead end with respect to upgrade
> paths, and would support it until 20.04 (which means either five or
> seven more years of i386). Users still have the support cycle of 18.04
> to use their machines and get full support, so these machines will
> still be able to function. But with no new machines being
> manufactured, we have to deprecate support at some point.
> The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers but
> we should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally soon
> as well.
> On the list of known blockers for removing the i386 port are Steam and
> Wine. Solus' snapped Steam is progressing nicely and Steam deb is
> difficult to maintain as is [See removal bug]. That leaves coming up
> with a good way forward for Wine.
> Thanks!
> Simon Quigley
> Bryan Quigley
> [2016 email thread]
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2016-June/039420.html
> (was Installation Media and supportability of i386 in 18.04 LTS Re:
> Ubuntu Desktop on i386)
> [removal bug] https://pad.lv/1759715
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