Unsurprisingly, Ubuntu has planned to follow the same path that other major distributions have, and drop 32bit ISO images for upcoming releases.
Dimitri John Ledkov from Canonical, sent out a message through their mailing list to the release team, instructing them to not release a 32bit ISO for the upcoming Ubuntu release.
Ledkov says, “Dear Release team, 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. As a followup to this thread it has been confirmed that argumentation below is sound, and furthermore there is no longer any effective qa or testing of the desktop product on actual i386 hardware (explicitly non x86_64 CPUs). There are no other changes requested to d-i, mini.iso, archive, or the upgrade paths. Regards, Dimitri.”
As I reported just a few days ago, Manjaro has also done the same thing, and we can be sure that more distributions will likely be following suit in the near future as well.
Current Ubuntu users don’t need to fear however as just like with Manjaro, you are able to upgrade your current installation to the newest release when it comes out, and still keep your 32bit system; this decision will only affect users looking to install Ubuntu fresh from an ISO from the website.
However, that being said, if you really want to run Ubuntu, and you really want it to be 32bit, you do have another option; install Ubuntu via the minimal install ISO. Granted, that will only give you the absolute base of Ubuntu and nothing else, so if you are not comfortable setting up a system from barebones, then perhaps it’s not for you.
The initial proposition that Ledkov sent out on May 3, reads,
“It is no longer the default, nor most widely used architecture on the traditional form factors: desktop, laptop, rack servers.
But i386 is becoming more of a purpose built architecture, similar to how in the past "embedded" devices label was applied. Today, I would call it an IoT; single purpose device; and a cloud/container guest architecture.
Ubuntu website download pages have stopped advertising traditional i386 images for either desktop, server, or cloud, without any significant backslash and without any noticeable drops in the download
Therefore I would like to propose the following change of scope for the i386 architecture".
Continue to provide for i386
Discontinue to provide for i386
So, as you can see, existing i386 installations will still receive proper updates.
With Ubuntu now jumping onto the bandwagon of discontinuing 32bit ISO downloads, it’s only a matter of time before more and more distributions follow suit. How long will it take? I personally give it a year, tops.
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