Follow-up: decision timeline for whether to include i386 in 20.04 [Was Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386]

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at
Mon Feb 18 22:31:21 UTC 2019


A belated follow-up to this discussion.

On Tue, May 15, 2018 at 02:43:57PM -0700, Walter Lapchynski wrote:
> On 2018-05-14 12:38, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > this is a cost largely paid by Canonical (both in terms of
> > infrastructure, and in terms of engineering work to keep the base system
> > working).  It's not very compelling to say that Canonical should continue
> > bearing these costs out of pocket

> There's been a lot of talk amongst the flavors of dropping i386, but I
> think rather than making it a flavor decision, it would be a lot simpler
> if Canonical would just put their foot down and say they won't be
> providing the infrastructure and engineering for i386 images. Then if
> flavors want to continue doing it, they'll have to deal with those
> resources on their own. It seems to me the vast majority of flavors are
> interested in dropping it and have already. That said, why not just make
> the decision for the rest of the folks hanging on to it?

This is what I tried to make clear up thread at the time: there is no need
for a unanimous decision among flavors about whether to drop i386 images,
/so long as/ i386 is a supported architecture in the archive for the devel
release.  The real question is whether i386 is still supportable (and
justifiable) as a release architecture at all in the 20.04 timeframe.

There are significant technical concerns raised about whether we can
continue to provide the expected security support for i386 over the lifetime
of Ubuntu 20.04.  Certainly, we know that running a 32-bit i386 kernel on
recent 64-bit Intel chips makes for a weaker security story today than using
a 64-bit kernel; and as usage of i386 continues to decrease more broadly in
the ecosystem, we can expect it to increasingly be a challenge to keep
software in the Ubuntu archive buildable for this target.

In preparation for the possibility that we will not want to ship i386 in
20.04 LTS, automated upgrades to 18.10 were disabled on i386, enabling users
of i386 to stay on the LTS which will be supported until 2023 instead of
being islanded on a non-LTS release supported only until early 2021.

A final decision about whether to discontinue the i386 port of Ubuntu for
20.04 LTS will be made around the middle of 2019.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                         
slangasek at                                     vorlon at
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