Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

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catweazel
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Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby catweazel » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:47 am

Ubuntu Is Dropping 32-bit Desktop Images

Ubuntu is dropping 32-bit builds of Ubuntu desktop entirely as of Ubuntu 17.10

Canonical’s Dimitri John Ledkov has asked the Ubuntu release team to “action” a proposal he put forth earlier in the development cycle, in which he argued that i386 builds of Ubuntu desktop (aka 32-bit builds) should no longer be produced.

“Please action the below and remove Ubuntu Desktop i386 daily-live images from the release manifest for Beta and Final milestones of 17.10 and therefore do not ship ubuntu-desktop-i386.iso artifact for 17.10,” he writes.

“There is no longer any effective qa or testing of the desktop product on actual i386 hardware (explicitly non x86_64 CPUs).”

What this change doesn’t mean
No changes are being made to other builds of Ubuntu 17.10, such as minimal install ISOs or the net install option, and this news does not mean Ubuntu won’t run on 32-bit, simply that you won’t be able to download a pre-made desktop ISO image for it.

So, don’t panic: you can still install the Ubuntu desktop on 32-bit machines, you’ll just need to use a different ISO to do it.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby sphyrth » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:44 am

That's clear from Canonical several times now. They won't be putting much effort into 32-bit support. It's all they can handle. It doesn't mean that Ubuntu won't work in 32-bit systems.

So far, the strongest argument for not abandoning (from distrowatch's most current weekly article) 32-bit is that most laptops default to 4GB RAM or less. I don't accept "minimal build" argument. If manufacturers want people to shift to 64-bit, build computers have more default RAM.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Pjotr » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:39 am

sphyrth wrote:So far, the strongest argument for not abandoning (from distrowatch's most current weekly article) 32-bit is that most laptops default to 4GB RAM or less. I don't accept "minimal build" argument. If manufacturers want people to shift to 64-bit, build computers have more default RAM.

64-bit only becomes problematic when multitasking with less than 2 GB RAM. And with single tasking when there's less than 1 GB RAM.

As there aren't many computers around anymore with less than 1 GB RAM, dropping 32-bit won't be a big problem....

The crumbling of the 32-bit ecosystem is unstoppable, and even desirable. The imminent death of 32-bit means that application developers can focus their time and energy on 64-bit software development only. Which is a huge efficiency gain.
Last edited by Pjotr on Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby catweazel » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:42 am

sphyrth wrote:So far, the strongest argument for not abandoning (from distrowatch's most current weekly article) 32-bit is that most laptops default to 4GB RAM or less.

Or less only in the dark ages.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby sphyrth » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:54 am

I'm gonna refer you guys to the Distrowatch Article. The writer says that "32-bit CPUs must fade away, just as 8-bit and 16-bit did in the past - it's not personal, it's evolution. But timing is important...."

32-bit should lose support, but is it the right time? He's even stating that the main problem is that:
"And there are a lot of good PCs out there with 64-bit CPUs having 2-4 cores and SSDs, but they have low RAM because that's how the computer manufacturers prefer doing business"

I won't bother much in the comment section. It has a lot of people crying out "I still have my old machines! What am I supposed to do with them?".

This is a big issue for me now, but when 2020 comes, I would've long shifted to 64-bit (or higher) anyway.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Pjotr » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:04 am

sphyrth wrote:This is a big issue for me now, but when 2020 comes, I would've long shifted to 64-bit (or higher) anyway.

Then you have absolutely no problem at all, because Mint 18.x is being supported until 2021. Rejoice and have a cigar. 8)
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby catweazel » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:12 am

sphyrth wrote:I won't bother much in the comment section. It has a lot of people crying out "I still have my old machines! What am I supposed to do with them?".

Door stops, boat anchors... the list is endless.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Pjotr » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:19 am

catweazel wrote:
sphyrth wrote:I won't bother much in the comment section. It has a lot of people crying out "I still have my old machines! What am I supposed to do with them?".

Door stops, boat anchors... the list is endless.

Mine the gold in it and buy a Lexus. :lol:
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Hoser Rob » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:35 am

Most of those who are running Linux on old hardware that's one step from becoming a doorstop seem to think that the primary reason for the existence of Linux is to keep old computers running.

But the developers at almost all Linux distros don't think that. They (rightly I think) want to get Linux out there to the widest audience possible, and they have their hands full trying to get NEW hardware to work. These open source projects aren't exactly overstaffed. So they prioritize in favor of newer hardware.

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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby sphyrth » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:02 pm

Hoser Rob wrote:These open source projects aren't exactly overstaffed. So they prioritize in favor of newer hardware.


THIS!
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby MintBean » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:13 pm

sphyrth wrote:
Hoser Rob wrote:These open source projects aren't exactly overstaffed. So they prioritize in favor of newer hardware.


THIS!
I call it benevolent self interest. Devs who aren't paid tend to work on something they want to see but they don't mind sharing. Since they're computer enthusiasts, they tend to have newer hardware.

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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby catweazel » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:17 am

MintBean wrote:
sphyrth wrote:
Hoser Rob wrote:These open source projects aren't exactly overstaffed. So they prioritize in favor of newer hardware.


THIS!
I call it benevolent self interest.

I call it opportunity. Linux is open source so if people like sphyrth want to see 32bit linux continue then they can build their own.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Aleron Ives » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:35 am

Even though Linux developers give priority to new hardware, Linux support for old hardware is equal to or better than that of proprietary OSes. You can still get modern Linux distros that run on systems with < 1 GiB of RAM; good luck trying to run a modern Windows version on that hardware. Even if Linux support for x86 ends soon, you'll still be able to run a current distro on your x86 hardware until its EOL, as it's not like it will last forever, and it's already at least 11 years old.

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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby MintBean » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:43 pm

catweazel wrote:Linux is open source so if people like sphyrth want to see 32bit linux continue then they can build their own.
Oh I quite agree. There's a segment amongst the owners of old hardware who are quite vocal about the efforts that should be expended on supporting 32 bit but don't seem to step up to the plate themselves. (I'm not lumping sphyrth in with them.)

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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby BG405 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:37 am

I'm not sure sphyrth is intent on keeping 32-bit going, from re-reading some of the posts. However I would like to see at least a few distros maintain 32-bit support as old hardware can actually be useful for some tasks.

I suppose if these old machines aren't used online after the support ends, it's no problem to carry on using them. It's not as if they'll all just stop working. Well, they probably will eventually ...
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Citizen229 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:10 am

the plus side.. if AMD would quit paying for x86 archetecture, they could invest in creating 128 bit :D
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby JosephM » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:37 pm

As far as I know this only applies to the main Ubuntu edition. Not that surprised, especially with the switch to gnome shell by default. Probably not a lot of 32-bit era machines that run it very well. It does nothing to stop the flavors, like Ubuntu Mate or Xubuntu, from shipping a 32-bit version. Nor does it stop Linux Mint from doing so.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby Pjotr » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:45 pm

JosephM wrote:As far as I know this only applies to the main Ubuntu edition. Not that surprised, especially with the switch to gnome shell by default. Probably not a lot of 32-bit era machines that run it very well. It does nothing to stop the flavors, like Ubuntu Mate or Xubuntu, from shipping a 32-bit version. Nor does it stop Linux Mint from doing so.

Yes, but even if Mint 19 would have a 32-bit edition as well, would there be enough choice in good well-supported 32-bit applications for it, during its entire lifetime of five years? Given the rate in which the 32-bit ecosystem is crumbling....

It's not just the OS and its kernel. An architecture should also have enough available applications. :)
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby sphyrth » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:30 pm

BG405 wrote:I'm not sure sphyrth is intent on keeping 32-bit going, from re-reading some of the posts...


If you want to know, my only reason is that I currently can't afford my target hardware. I'm only relying on the fact that my current hardware "still works". -- Of course, that is not an argument why 32-bit should still be supported. It's only a concern.

I'm only hoping that I already have my 64-bit machine on or before Mint 19 comes out.
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Re: Does this mean an end to 32bit Linux Mint?

Postby jglen490 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:35 pm

Until 2 - 3 months ago, I had an IBM T20 with a manufacture date of 06/00 on its barcode - that's June 2000. I still have it actually, but it has decided to not boot anymore. Until that time, it ran well - at least as well as a laptop with 512 MB of RAM could run. And run it did, on Vector Linux Light 7.0 - a version of Slack. There was plenty of software available and running on it the usual browsers, and office packages. It took a week of Sundays to boot, but it was O.K. once it did.

The point being that while Linux is not necessarily intended to extend the life of older hardware, it does exactly that. Some can't afford the latest and greatest hardware, and some would rather not make the latest and greatest hardware a priority. Sure, 32-bit will pass on eventually, but until then the alternatives will undoubtedly be made available in the Ubuntu branches/cousins/children - for instance - simply because there is a need or demand.

When my T20 died, I bought my younger son's Toshiba Satellite - he wasn't using it. And being a certified Windowsphobe, I looked around for a Linux. I always wanted to try Mint, even though I've been running Kubuntu for probably 10 - 12 years on my desktop. After trying Lubuntu, successfully, I downloaded 18.2 and attempted to install on the Toshiba. That Mint was 64 bit, and Toshiba is 32 bit and said, "Oh no you don't!" This Toshiba is a really nice, if heavy, laptop more of a desktop replacement. I suspect it, too will eventually decide not to boot one day, but until then it's not going into the recycle/landfill simply because of the lack of a 32 bit OS regardless of who makes it.

There is a need and there is a market. 32-bit may not come from the mainstream Ubuntu, but there will always be derivatives that will satisfy that market.
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