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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the end-of-the-road? dept.

Ubuntu seems to be poising itself to letting 32-bitters alone in the dark:https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2016-June/039420.html

in 2018, the question will come if we can effectively provide security support on i386.

cross-grading between i386->amd64 is not something we can reliably ship. We must continue [to] provide the i386 port, to support multiarch and 3rd party legacy application that are only available as i386 binaries.

Building i386 images is not "for free", it comes at the cost of utilizing our build farm, QA and validation time. Whilst we have scalable build-farms, i386 still requires all packages, autopackage tests, and ISOs to be revalidated across our infrastructure. As well as take up mirror space & bandwidth.

Thus the question is what can we and what should we do to limit i386 installations before they become unsupportable?

In essence this would mean April 2021 as the sunset for i386 as the host/base OS architecture. And April 2023 to run legacy i386applications with security support.

I do use, from time to time, a (then, in 2009) top-of-the-notch 3.4GHz P-IV, for the little gaming I do and for printing. But I did notice even it is easily overwhelmed by many javascript-laden sites. How many soylentils are going to fight tooth and nails to keep their 32 pc's up and running beyond 2018, are 32 bit platforms of any relevance today aside as for IoT or CNC processes?


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  • (Score: 1) by Uncle_Al on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:29PM

    by Uncle_Al (1108) on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:29PM (#370209)

    yes, if you aren't sucking off the interweb/js teat.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Hyperturtle on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:11PM

      by Hyperturtle (2824) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:11PM (#370265)

      32 bit OSes on 32bit or 64 bit hardware... is good for just about anything server related that provides something straightforward, or even complex if done properly -- alerting, ftp, tftp, mail delivery for a small place or limited function, home control network management (16 bit would do for that...probably 8bit too but I think windows 3.1 and dos 6 or so is as far back in time as most people want to install on 32 bit hardware...but I can be mistaken! Even exchange 2007 has a 32 bit version. Yes older stuff may not be up to date, but older stuff often doesn't even HAVE the problems that need patching. If you do not run flash on it then you aren't going to get hit with flash problems. And if you don't use it to surf the web, you aren't going to expose it to that set of issues either.

      If your needs are not requiring web enabled fancy java scripticiousness, then a lot of that older hardware never got old in the context that they were intended to be used in. They still do the job they were designed to do, and with some effort to modernize parts of them, they can do the job better than intended. Windows 2003 32 bit with a gigabit card, an SSD boot volume and some modern SATA drives (raid them or not doesnt matter) can act as a file share, network monitor etc, really really well. Better than most 2003 VMs, since most VM platforms seem to have a problem emulating the 2003 networking stack*. 2008 may be faster, but it might not be faster on your old hardware.

      32 bit linux based firewalls are still very powerful. They never became otherwise. It's the *consumer* stuff that most people think 32 bit sucks at -- that it sucks at. That 3.4ghz PIV mentioned in the article is faster than the entire Cisco line of ASA 5500 series firewalls that most people would see -- the ASA 5510-5540 is all slower than that. There is special sauce in those, no doubt (integrated chips for encryption and such), but consider that the ASA 5505 is a 500mhz processor. You do not need a multicore i3 i5 i7 whatever to do this -- you don't even need a dual core CPU to do a lot of this. Some special purpose ISOs don't even support hyperthreading, let alone a true second core or physical processor.

      The real hiccups are when people can't leave the hardware alone and try to make it do too much -- a linux firewall can be great, a linux firewall that plays videos and share files and surfs the web and hosts a web server for media selection... might disappoint. A 32 bit linux PC acting as a several purpose appliance won't. Even so, you can get a *lot* more life out of older hardware by improving them a bit--replace the old disk drive with a solid state storage device (CF, SD, SSD, etc) can rejuvenate old hardware.

      It may take effort, but if you are willing to tinker, you can get a lot of utility out of older hardware. Replacing the disk drives, getting more ram etc. People argue sometimes that oh old stuff sucks a lot of power new stuff is so much better -- sometimes the people that say that are the same people that spend $200 on candles to save on electricity. Spending that electricity cost over time is of greater value to me than front loading the expense by buying new stuff, but its a valid argument if you don't have the old hardware to repurpose and don't want to find any.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @11:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @11:04PM (#370335)

      for me yes. Still use Intel Family line.
      486sx25 w/ 12MB
      WinChip C6 @ 200MHz 128MB
      Celiron @ 2.4GHz 3GB
      P4 @ 2.8GHz 3GB

      Just a start.

      Good equipment does not die. Poor developers kil it.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by julian on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:55AM

        by julian (6003) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:55AM (#370490)

        You can replace all of those with a Raspberry Pi (except maybe the P4) and probably get better performance too in addition to a modern architecture; that's not to mention the power, space, heat, and noise reduction.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:13AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:13AM (#370522)

          "You can replace", not even "you can probably replace".

          He did not say anything about what software he runs on those, and whether or not said software has ARM versions.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:10PM (#370614)

          Actually no

          I also have RPis and RPI2s. But they cannot even handle the same work load. I pop either of P$ or Celeron in line with a TV at 1080p and have full video functionality. The RPi choke, not real general purpose machines yet. Manly I blame that on developers of the OS and tools, using high level language but coding in way that supports one chip type (intel) over all others. This is same group that makes even using 386 486 586 or even 686, a no go, because of gcc compile is no longer uses pipes, so 128MB+ compile fit into memory or the requires of latest and greatest Intel/AMD instruction sets. You can hear them thinking "Who will use a machine older than 1yr??? You cannot game on it, so it must be junk!".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @02:13PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @02:13PM (#370653)
            Full 1080p video decoding on an old "crippled P4" Celeron? I call shenanigans, those things could barely handle 480p MPEG2 without an add-in "DVD accelerator" card.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday July 06 2016, @03:42PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06 2016, @03:42PM (#370705)

          Your post motivated me to check out latest network performance stats. The original pi used about 1% CPU per megabit/sec of network traffic... yeah that means the 10/100 internal ethernet could pretty much DOS the system at the CPU use level just by sending line rate traffic to it.

          The newer PI are supposed to be much better. So I could make a firewall out of a pi pretty well.

          One big problem is I'm used to Debian or Freebsd levels of security patches and with a pi with its goofy customized OS it'll get powned a lot, which sucks. Maybe I can get freebsd running on a pi or vanilla out of the box Debian. I'd like to move toward a unix implementation like freebsd away from windows/systemd whenever possible of course.

          The biggest problem I have is I have a perfectly good, perfectly capable asterisk PBX drawing about 5 watts as a 32 bit 586 soekris box and the cost of it continuing to do so for the second (near) decade is $0. I get plenty of security patches, its a nice PBX. The problem with the "just buy a $5 pi zero" is a pi zero has no ethernet so its of little use to me, I need a $40 pi3 or something similar. Then the second problem is my PBX works fine and was set up a decade ago and is regularly patched to this day. However I'd have to blow a weekend or so to get the PBX set up on the pi. Not a killer problem. But I'll have non-productive time invested to gain, um, what, exactly nothing over the current system? Very annoying.

          I also have a 486 soekris box that already can't run some i386 OS. Its a great firewall box other than being unsupported. Draws about 2 to 3 watts.

          I also have a secondary old P4 as a basement mythtv setup, pretty sure thats 32 bit. I'd have to power it on to make sure. Again I gain NOTHING by reimplementing it on a pi. The power use is microscopic compared to the TV its plugged into and the overhead lights. It draws 0 watts when off which it is about 99% of the time. I don't care about space. I don't care about heat in a basement lab/workroom. Its near silent so I don't care about noise. The forced upgrade is just a big annoyance that does nothing good for me.

          The whole story boils down to "I get to blow $100 and a weekend and ruin the environment by tossing out working gear and buying new with the advantage for me of ... nothing, absolutely nothing at all".

          • (Score: 2) by julian on Thursday July 07 2016, @01:32AM

            by julian (6003) on Thursday July 07 2016, @01:32AM (#371080)

            tossing out working gear and buying new with the advantage for me of ... nothing, absolutely nothing at all

            Well, that depends what you want. I have been using pfSense for a few years now (after a brief period using Smoothwall Linux). I started out with a full-sized Dell Optiplex 330 [dell.com] (Pentium Dual Core 1.6Ghz, 2GB RAM, 2x80GB HDD in RAID1, extra Intel NIC). It worked. It only had to reboot for updates, the longest stretch being about 6 months. It still worked when I replaced it. Dell seriously made those things to last. They could be out in the world secreted away in closets and offices dutifully running network services for decades.

            I bought a tiny fanless computer smaller than three standard DVD movie cases that is just as reliable (probably theoretically more reliable since there are no moving parts). It mounts on the wall next to my modem and I bought a nice little table that hides the whole thing.

            The advantage? I no longer have that ugly Dell box whirring away in my office and using way more electricity than is necessary for the job :^)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @11:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @11:43PM (#370346)

      Yup. Plenty of them out there that have plenty of life in them.

  • (Score: 2) by KilroySmith on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:35PM

    by KilroySmith (2113) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:35PM (#370212)

    Nobody's trying to stop you from running 32 bit Linux; the maintainers are just saying they're not gonna update you anymore. Your 7 year old P-IV will run on it's current version of Linux until the last drop of electrolyte in one of the power supply caps evaporates. You'll have to exercise more care, because those unsavory sites and advertisers that access your machine from your browser are going to have unpatched holes to access, but that's only different in a relatively minor degree from current zero-day malware. Backups become a bit more important.

    It's time for the 32-bit desktop to go away.

    The question is, with the putative rise of the IOT, how long will 32-bit Linux survive there?

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:52PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:52PM (#370223) Journal

      Unless you are running some ancient windows software, there is just no point in running 1386 these days. Certainly not on Linux.

      I can see it mostly to keep old games alive in old windows VMs,

      A Raspberry Pi 3/B is 35 bucks. It will run Linux and 4 or 6 other operating systems and the Quad Core 64bit Arm has enough gas to compile anything you can't find already packaged for it. More than sufficient for surfing the web.
      Yeah, its ARM. Not a big deal. Like I say, its a capable internet machine.

      Hasn't everybody else already dropped i386?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:17PM (#370232)

        A leader in supplying the Military Industrial Complex, and in designing hardware that makes system infiltration and data exfiltration easy if you're a nation state actor with their design documents.

        All the crap people are worrying about with the Intel ME and AMD equivalent is far more pervasive in Broadcom's hardware, especially the RPis (where the VC4 is the bootup processor and management engine. But everybody glosses over this.)

        Now MAYBE it will turn out that the firmware isn't nefarious, or the open source implementation will get good enough to initialize the VC4 for graphical use. But then again, do you really want to trade one electronic oppressor for another (Obviously you in particular do. But how about the rest of you?)

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by KiloByte on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:54PM

        by KiloByte (375) on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:54PM (#370251)

        Raspberry Pi 3 doesn't officially support arm64, neither in the kernel nor userland.

        There's an attempt to port it, but it's very very experimental. It boots, is reachable over uart and ethernet, can run software that doesn't rely on hardware drivers (although slower than on armhf), and that's it.

        --
        Ceterum censeo systemd esse delendam.
        • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:31PM

          by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:31PM (#370280)

          And is utterly pointless except as a platform to prepare for the future. It only has 2GB ram and since it is 100% backward compatible all of the SoC bits are going to be strictly 32bit and thus limited to a 4GB address space. Would not be shocked to find that even a well done 64 bit port ran slower on it since the memory pressure would get pretty bad running a web browser + desktop environment in 64bit code with only 2GB.

          Which beings us to the poster who brought up Pi in the first place. Any crusty old P4 will beat the ever living snot out of a Pi3 for any typical use. Who cares if the Pi is only $35? How expensive is it after you buy a case, power supply, perhaps a new monitor (if you have VGA), keyboard, mouse (if you have PS/2), etc? To get the joy of an obsolete phone processor repurposed as a (???) then repurposed again to playing at desktop PC? When you already HAVE a faster machine long since paid for? Really?

          • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:54PM

            by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:54PM (#370302) Journal

            Eh, It's not going to be as power friendly as the P4. And a case is like 6 bucks, keyboard and mouse another 10-30 depending on quality or if it's wireless. Monitor? Most everyone has an LCD TV and you can get a low cost 23 inch monitor for $100 or less.

            Honestly, if you were on a shoestring budget, a pi and some cheap second hand components scavenged from work/friends/family would get you online and be a valuable learning tool.

            My beef with the pi is its garbage SoC and lack of decent I/O. It's a junk SoC that I'm surprised they even bothered to add 64bit cores to. No hardware Ethernet MAC? No external bus other than USB, SPI or i2c? Not a good hardware hacker tool. The Beagle Bone Black is a step up but stuck with a crappy Ti SoC and emmc that likes to shit the bed.

            A good hacker board should have one of those FPGA SoC's or an ARM SoC with hardware gigabit, external static memory bus, GPU, and maybe PCIe with an embedded secondary arm core for real-time tasks like the Freescale/NXP i.mx7.

            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday July 06 2016, @12:02AM

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06 2016, @12:02AM (#370352) Journal

              Eh, It's not going to be as power friendly as the P4.

              I think you said that backwards.
              I never saw a P4 draw any less than 25 or 30 watts.
              A Pi 3 would be hard pressed to draw over 12.

              What I like about the Pi is the ready availability of several different OS choices, because I have better things to do than write my own os.
              There is very little reason to worry about having no actual Ethernet Mac since the version 3 supports WIFI which is what most people are
              going to use anyway.

              I had keyboards, mice, Monitors laying around. I had it up and running in 30 minutes which included downloading and burning a microsd card.
              I would have spent more time and money re-purposing a beater from my closet shrine to obsolescence.
              I wanted an expendable machine to read email. That it surfs the web well enough is a freebe.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
              • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday July 06 2016, @11:54AM

                by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06 2016, @11:54AM (#370589) Journal

                Oops, you're right.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:31PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:31PM (#370624)

                which included downloading and burning a microsd card.

                Where can you download a MicroSD card? The best I could figure out is to buy it online and have it mailed to you.
                Anyway, the downloaded card cannot have been any good if you burned it afterwards. ;-)

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @12:40AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @12:40AM (#370368)

            Any crusty old P4 will beat the ever living snot out of a Pi3 for any typical use.

            Including space heater.

            Look, there's plenty of older PCs that could be put to good use, but the P4 is an abomination, and deserves to die -- even if the only alternative bears the curse of Broadcom.

      • (Score: 1) by hedleyroos on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:27AM

        by hedleyroos (4974) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:27AM (#370474)

        A Pi3 does not make a good machine for browsing. I gave it an honest shot for a month as my desktop and Javascript and the lack of RAM kills it. I run noscript where I can; however on Github.com I need Javascript for code reviews and the Pi chokes.

        Even less intensive sites that require Javascript are unpleasant to use.

        Still, I'm hopeful. If the next one has more RAM I'll try it again.

  • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:36PM

    by dyingtolive (952) on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:36PM (#370213)

    I normally give older systems away to family/friends who need them so I don't have anything 32 bit anymore. Even if I did have a 32 bit system, Ubuntu (or a derivative) would not be the OS running on it.

    The family is a different story though. I think my sister is running some ubuntu derivative... Zorin or something, and my parents are both probably running kubuntu, though Dad might be on Mint. Still derivative i believe. Dad and sis could both handle a linux that didn't have training wheels, but they have that whole "I like to get shit done, not fix my OS" mentality.

    --
    Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:02PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:02PM (#370227) Journal

      Dad and sis could both handle a linux that didn't have training wheels, but they have that whole "I like to get shit done, not fix my OS" mentality.

      Same with my wife who runs some oldish gnome ubuntu combination. She only upgrades when I insist. She doesn't deal with change well.

      The 47th virus her machine caught years and years ago while she was still on windows is when I informed her that tech support was going on strike till she switched to Linux. That threat, and a then-new Dell with Factory installed Linux was enough to get her over the hump.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:17PM

        by dyingtolive (952) on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:17PM (#370233)

        That was kind of what forced mom into Linux. Dad lets her have a Windows install for the Sims, but has made it clear that it's not to be used for anything browser related. That's still not perfect but it does reduce the number of vectors available.

        Dad actually does tinker a little with more interesting distros once in a while, but he keeps a dual boot with his standard linux on one boot and whatever experimental one he's playing with on the other.

        To be honest, I've kind of given up on Linux for the most part, though my gaming box is Windows/Korora for the time being. My i7 (where the serious work happens) is BSD, and that's where I'd like to wind up eventually with the gaming box too if I could just get a couple more games working in Wine.

        --
        Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:39PM (#370215)

    So what if Ubuntu drops support for it. Debian hasn't yet. Debian still supports POWER for Christ's sake.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:37AM (#370482)

      Debian isn't the only one supporting POWER. Ubuntu 16.04 runs on POWER8, as does Debian, Fedora 24, RHEL 7.x, Centos 7.x, and SUSE.

      • (Score: 2) by joshuajon on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:49PM

        by joshuajon (807) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:49PM (#370889)

        Debian, Ubuntu, AND Debian?! There's literally several of them!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:48PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:48PM (#370220) Homepage Journal

    it helps to use an ad blocker, but recently I tried to read a page that explained how to implement responsive tables. I had to close the tab because there was so very much javascript that it was painfully slow to scroll the window.

    Quite soon we're going to need 128-bit CPUs with petabytes of DDR57 RAM just to keep up with facebook.

    --
    127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @11:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @11:28PM (#370338)

      Next time, give archive.is [archive.is] a try.
      Let them run the scripts and absorb the hit on resources.
      Allow their boxes to deal with any rogue instructions as well.

      it helps to use an ad blocker

      You spelled "is mandatory" incorrectly.
      ...and, again, archive.is saves you the irritation on any sites that insist on being tight-asses.

      to keep up with facebook

      SCENE: INTERIOR - Village of Tupiza, Bolivia, 1908
      Man replies to his partner: "Oh, good. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble." [google.com]

      ...and, when thinking about Facebook, the line "Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?" also comes to mind.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @03:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @03:54AM (#370452)

      NoScript

      whitelist temporarily only if required

      • (Score: 2) by francois.barbier on Wednesday July 06 2016, @05:33PM

        by francois.barbier (651) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @05:33PM (#370794)

        I use it but some websites as so JS ladden that my screen is not large enough to display them all... Seriously?

  • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:50PM

    by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:50PM (#370221)

    Don't forget that i386 is not the only 32-bit architecture: 32-bit ARM is also available.

    I don't believe Ubuntu supports arm32, but it is arguably more relevant in the "Internet of Things" argument.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:11PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:11PM (#370231) Journal

      Let us also not forget that i386 is the oldest supported processors at the moment. The distros also compile for 586 and 686. The day is coming when they'll drop support for those as well. 32 bit processing is obsolete. I'm trying to remember - when did the first 64 bit processors hit the market? I know it's more than ten years ago . . .

      It says here that the first Opterons hit the market in June of 2003 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Opteron_microprocessors#First_Generation_Opterons [wikipedia.org]

      That doesn't quite match my memory, but it's probably right. This page indicates that the Clawhammer came out at the same time as the Sledgehammer - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Athlon_64_microprocessors [wikipedia.org]

      So, we've had 64 bit chips on the market for 13 years now, and people are still worrying over the most obsolete of 32 bit computers? Why aren't we complaining that no one supports the 8086? At some point, we've got to give up on ancient hardware, and move on.

      It's almost time for 128 bit CPU's to come out. There is talk of quantum computers, after all. Are we going to limit quantum computers to the capabilities of a 64 bit processor? That's just crazy to even contemplate.

      --
      #Hillarygropedme
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jmorris on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:44PM

        by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Tuesday July 05 2016, @09:44PM (#370295)

        They dropped i386 support entirely in the kernel years ago. Debian doesn't support i486 or Epia and I think they already ditched i586. We are down to discussing PPro and newer being dropped and eliminating the entire x86_32 arch. And note that they are already more concerned about the impact on the dual library use to run i686 binaries on a 64bit system as the use case of interest. Think the old Loki games, Abobe Reader, Flash, etc. but most important and it doesn't look like they have thought about it yet, the ability of WINE to run 32bit PXE binaries will almost certainly be impacted if the 32bit libc and xlib libraries go away.

        As for Ubuntu running on an actual 32bit platform, it is probably time to plan a graceful end to that. Unless you have a server class machine with PAE you are limited to a total 4GB address space so 3GB of RAM is the usual upper limit. Despite their best efforts, Ubuntu is not a server OS so the limits of desktop hardware are what they have to worry about. 4GB is starting to be average for a phone and the browser bloat ain't stopping. All other arguments end right there, you can't run a desktop without a browser and 2 or 3GB barely does it today and won't in another few years. The end.

        I bought my first AMD64 in 2004, they are talking about supporting 32bit out to two decades beyond that. And the last set of libraries will still probably be there to run really old binaries, after all if the program isn't being updated it isn't too bad if the libraries aren't either. By 2024 there won't be much hardware left in the wild that can't boot an x86_64 OS.

        • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Wednesday July 06 2016, @05:57AM

          by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @05:57AM (#370501)

          It annoys my that my PentiumII-350Mhz supports PAE with the Processor having a 36-bit address bus, but that majority of 64bit systems from 2005-2010 only support a 32 bit address bus.

          The board does not physically support more than 384MB, but that is a different story (mostly).

    • (Score: 2) by Wierd0n3 on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:19AM

      by Wierd0n3 (1033) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:19AM (#370395)

      My spin on this is this will have NO bearing on anything but X86-32. (Pi, MIPS, insert-name-of arch) will see no loss of support. this is only about supporting one version of the same OS on a single architecture.

      Besides, Ubuntu still pulls from Debian, so their decision won't affect any debian derived distros.

      Ubuntu Mate Edition has a release for the Pi, but is dog slow.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:02AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:02AM (#370520)

      Ubuntu does support ARM 32 bit. I have Toshiba AC100 ARMHF 32-bit that originally came with Android and am currently running Lubuntu 14.04 ARMHF 32-bit on it. Works well, although it was a preinstalled image built specifically for this machine.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @07:58PM (#370226)

    Unless you live in Minnesota/Canada and use it also as a space heater, dump that thing - just not worth all the heat it generates and the electricity it sucks up. A cheap used laptop will serve your purpose better.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:19PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:19PM (#370234)

    Are they dropping support for i386 or i686 as well? Debian dropped i386 support, but i686 [distrowatch.com] still works.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by draconx on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:53PM

      by draconx (4649) on Tuesday July 05 2016, @08:53PM (#370250)

      When they say i386 they actually mean i686. If you're really, really lucky Ubuntu might even work on an actual Pentium Pro processor.

      No modern distro runs on a 386 because the pthread implementation in the GNU C Library hasn't supported actual 386es for a long time.

    • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Tuesday July 05 2016, @10:35PM

      by digitalaudiorock (688) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05 2016, @10:35PM (#370328)

      Are they dropping support for i386 or i686 as well

      My question as well. That's a very confusing announcement. Are they dropping i386 or x86_32?...big difference.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @01:20AM (#370396)

    i386 enthusiasts need a passionate, plain-talking leader willing to stand up and say enough is enough [cbsnews.com].

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday July 06 2016, @02:27PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06 2016, @02:27PM (#370656) Journal

      386 enthusiasts aren't being told what to do. They still have the distros that were originally installed on them to choose from. They still have all the updates that were available, stashed on a mirror somewhere. They can still pick and choose among the entire range of distros that were ever available for the 386.

      They just can't expect other people to spend time and effort maintaining every version of every distro out there for a very small market segement. Let's get that as accurate as possible - it's a very small segment of a market that doesn't pay.

      Now, if some enthusiasts were enthusiastic enough to fork the kernel, a desktop environment or six, along with all the supporting utilities and software, and make their own kernel - then fine. But, again, they can't really expect everyone else to help them support their new special-purpose distro.

      Take me for instance - I don't pay anyone to maintain a distro. Now and then, I'll toss a twenty dollar bill at someone, because his/her work pleases me. That entitles me to just about diddly squat. If in five years time, I distribute $500 among twenty or thirty developers, I have zero claim on their time or attention. Generally, I can join a forum, and voice my opinion. I've been asked to vote on issues, either because I was a member, or because I was on the mailing list after making a donation. But, I have no real claim on their time, attention, goals, or anything at all.

      So - enthusiasts? They are in the same boat I am. Either they make their own, or they are left out in the cold. Those are the only alternatives to taking what is being offered, when the offering is free.

      I like that word, "free". The enthusiasts are free to do as they like. Develop for themselves, continue using unsupported systems, give up their ancient systems, or whatever else they think of.

      --
      #Hillarygropedme
  • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Wednesday July 06 2016, @03:36AM

    by bitstream (6144) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @03:36AM (#370439) Journal

    This "to support multiarch and 3rd party legacy application that are only available as i386 binaries" can be solved by providing an API or binary emulation layer. Considering that modern computers are way faster than the original CPU series.

    IoT and other platforms that actually need to run 32-bit on the metal may have to use another solution.

    • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Thursday July 07 2016, @12:24AM

      by Pino P (4721) on Thursday July 07 2016, @12:24AM (#371058) Journal

      My personal use case involves Xubuntu on a 1.6 GHz Atom netbook for which Wine is just barely fast enough to run free Windows-only applications (FCEUX debugging version and FamiTracker) at full speed. An Atom is roughly as fast as a P4 clock for clock but sips much less power. An actual emulator (like DOSBox) on an ARM or x86-64 wouldn't come near keeping up.

      • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Thursday July 07 2016, @12:28AM

        by bitstream (6144) on Thursday July 07 2016, @12:28AM (#371064) Journal

        Not possible to use protected mode environment where the 32-bit code is run natively on the 64-bit platform?

        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Thursday July 07 2016, @01:03AM

          by Pino P (4721) on Thursday July 07 2016, @01:03AM (#371072) Journal

          Either way would still need some i386 libraries installed. There is a purist on another forum I use who refuses to use Wine because of all the :i386 libraries Wine brings in. He would actually prefer to debug programs in a 64-but Linux-native emulator with no debugging capability by debugging the emulator itself than to install Wine for the debug-capable emulator, even if the emulator is free software.

          • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Thursday July 07 2016, @02:40AM

            by bitstream (6144) on Thursday July 07 2016, @02:40AM (#371097) Journal

            Can't run the libraries in i386 mode then?

            • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Thursday July 07 2016, @03:04PM

              by Pino P (4721) on Thursday July 07 2016, @03:04PM (#371273) Journal

              Can't run the libraries in i386 mode then?

              No.

              When it was suggested that this person install the i386 libraries for 32-bit Wine, the reply [nesdev.com] was

              And waste several gigs? I have better use for that space.

              When it was suggested that the existence of X11/Linux distributions smaller than 200 MB proved that i386 libraries weren't necessarily "several gigs", he replied [nesdev.com] that running FCEUX SDL inside GDB "took me much less time than setting up a 32-bit chroot, and wasted no space." (FCEUX, an NES emulator, has a Win32 version with a debugger and an SDL version with no debugger.) In fact, he later said [nesdev.com] he'd rather write a debugger from scratch for FCEUX SDL than install anything 32-bit on his computer's storage. I myself use FCEUX SDL most of the time, breaking out Wine when I need to single-step execution.

              I initially considered dismissing such 64-bit purists as crazy or eccentric [wiktionary.org]. But the plan expressed in the featured article was to drop i386 libraries from the repository entirely as of 18.04, instead relegating them (and thus Wine) to a container of some sort, indeed "a 32-bit chroot".

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @07:31AM (#370526)

    Linux used to be the OS that keeps old computers alive.

    Now Ubuntu will be dropping 32-bit support before Microsoft (Windows 10 exists in a 32 bit version, and not just for special uses, if you upgrade from a 32-bit windows, 32-bit Windows 10 is what you get).

    I would expect the OS that needs reinstalling every couple of years (if you keep viruses away, more often otherwise) would be the first one to have only 64-bit users.

    New Linux users who haven't yet found out that Linux doesn't need reinstalling keep asking why I run 32-bit Linux. Because nobody told me that 64-bit was the way to go when I installed Linux back in 1999. Besides, I don't even think the Pentium 2 I had at the time supported 64-bit anything.

    They then tell me that it's time to upgrade hardware that old - and I have to inform them that unlike certain other operating systems, Linux doesn't need to be reinstalled just because you replace the hardware.

    I'll switch to 64-bit when I can do it without reinstalling. Assuming by then that all the software I have is able to run on 64-bit (that includes all the games I paid for, some of which are from the Loki days).

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @08:50AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @08:50AM (#370553)

      > I'll switch to 64-bit when I can do it without reinstalling.

      You can do that already using multiarch, it is just not particularly fun.

      > Assuming by then that all the software I have is able to run on 64-bit (that includes all the games I paid for, some of which are from the Loki days).

      Any example of software that does not run using multiarch or at worst a chroot?

    • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Thursday July 07 2016, @03:24AM

      by toddestan (4982) on Thursday July 07 2016, @03:24AM (#371114)

      I'm sure you'll be able to run Linux on a 32-bit system for many years to come. It's just that some distributions won't support it (Ubuntu isn't the first, Scientific Linux already dropped support with the latest version). If you plan on keeping the install around a while, I might pick a distribution that's unlikely to drop support such as Slackware or Gentoo.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:06PM (#370727)

    since my computer have 2GB memory I'm not interested in 64bit, and not PAE either.

    even if I, say 10-20 years from now, would have lots of money to waste on buying a new computer so I could get a quiet one without fans, I would still use this one too - so I would still want 32bit for this one.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06 2016, @04:27PM (#370751)

    What desktop softwares need more than 4GB per process or more than 64GB total?
    Can a linux distro that normally runs in 32bit mode, but switching to 64bit mode only when such
    a program would be started, be possible?

    • (Score: 2) by mendax on Thursday July 07 2016, @03:58AM

      by mendax (2840) on Thursday July 07 2016, @03:58AM (#371129)

      Sure it can be done. Why would you want to run a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit CPU when you can run a 64-bit OS? All the 64-bit OSes I know of can run 32-bit programs. Of course, DOS, a 16-bit OS, could run 32-bit programs on i386 CPUs and beyond with DOS extenders, but that was a simple animal compared to the OSes we have now.

      --
      It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 2) by ngarrang on Wednesday July 06 2016, @06:43PM

    by ngarrang (896) on Wednesday July 06 2016, @06:43PM (#370838) Journal

    I am certain there are Linux distros that will continue to support 32-bit Linux. Ubuntu is not the only Debian-based game to play.