Ubuntu Desktop on i386

Bryan Quigley bryan.quigley at canonical.com
Tue Feb 2 17:26:20 UTC 2016

> Kernel support is a separate vector. E.g. in Debian it is common to
> install 32-bit userspace with the 64-bit kernel. Thus using all the
> CPU/kernel features, access all the memory, yet have lower memory
> utilisation.

Right, but depending on what we decide it will also impact how tested
the HWE stack is on Unity.  Say we stop building the x86_32 image
starting with 16.10.  Would backporting the x86_32 bit kernel from
16.10 to 16.04.2 HWE release still happen?

>> I'm also happy to revisit my survey [2] and see where people are today.
> I'm not sure it's about where people are, but rather where we want people to be.

I mean I want us to just drop 32-bit kernels and images entirely and
just keep 32 bit compat libraries.   But I also want to give lots of
notice so the soonest I'd want to that would be after 18.04 at this

> My argument for dropping .iso, but keeping the packages/archive is as follows:
> * we would like to support upgrades, for those that have 32 bit install
> * but we would like to prevent any new installations

I just want to prevent further bit root for those upgrade users.
There will be even less people testing those now, so I do think we
need a plan to eventually remove Unity from the archive and maybe
migrate those users to another DE?  (Unity8 seems to be doing x86_32
releases? the obvious choice for me would be Xubuntu/Mate/Lubuntu but
we don't need where to move today)

> * because any new installation is amd64 capable, or such is the Ubuntu
> Desktop ISO installer requirement for 16.04 LTS
> * reduce releases.ubuntu.com mirror costs by about a third
> Otherwise, all survey results will remain constant.
> Building images is cheap, however I do not believe we can actually
> adequately support i386 ones for ubuntu desktop:
> * there is no i386-only certified hardware
> * image manual testing has a cost
> * no ubuntu developers use them =)
> Could we start the sunset period with removing flavour dropdown from
> the ubuntu desktop download pages for 16.04? (But keep the i386 images
> on releases.ubuntu.com?)
I'm 100% for that.  Still supported (although not certified), but you
really have to know you want to get it.

So maybe a basic plan like:
1.  Announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will be the last officially
supported release of Unity.  Keep it on releases.u.c but remove from
main download page.  Also announce that x86_32-bit Ubuntu (server
too?) won't be getting HWE?
2.  Drop to cdimage for 16.10 with not tested/supported caveat
(continue based on usage numbers)
3.  For 17.04 evaluate migration options and consider dropping Unity7
from x86_32 archive
4.  For 18.04 have migration options well tested for 16.04 upgraders.

Kind regards,

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