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Proposal: Let's drop i386

I am not sure of the status of the following issue as I no longer have
access to hardware to test the issue against current ubuntu.

however supporting mixed-mode systems, 64-bit system with 32-bit UEFI, like
Debian Jessie 8.0's  multi-arch
installer (debian-8.6.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso) would increase the pool of
machines that can be migrated to the x86_64 by supporting those can can run
a x86_64 kernel but need mixed-mode support to help with their 32-EFI.

On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 4:07 PM, Bryan Quigley <bryan.quigley at>

> Hello,
> Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for
> consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers.
> The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and support
> from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended.
> Ubuntu and flavors just completed the 18.04 release cycle. This released
> version will either be supported until 2021 or 2023, depending on the
> product, team, and willingness to support it. At that point in time, the
> majority of these machines are approaching two decades old.
> >>Previous 2016 thread: And in 2018, the question will come if we can
> effectively provide security support on i386.
> We can't.  Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running amd64
> Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability where they
> wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386 hardware simply
> isn't vulnerable, but some is).
> We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> Lubuntu error (pcmanfm) - 0.11
> Xubuntu cdimage - 0.49
> Xubuntu tracker -  0.30
> Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10
> Kylin tracker - 0.30
> Kylin error (engrampa) - 0.10
> Kubuntu cdimage - 0.14
> Kubuntu tracker - 0.12
> Kubuntu error (kinit) - 0.07
> The data retrieved from cdimage is for a limited time period on May 7th. All
> cdimage statistics included many hundreds to thousands of downloads (except
> Ubuntu Kylin due to it using it's own CDN, so not being included here).
> The torrent tracker results are available here:
> 6969/.
> The error tracker statistics come from comparing top bugs shared between
> i386 and amd64 over last week. Bugs that affect multiple flavors are not
> included.
> It's not fully understood why there is a large discrepancy between the
> error tracker and other sources - but it's possible apport doesn't work as
> well in low memory.
> With Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Studio joining Ubuntu Desktop
> and Server in not offering i386 support in order to focus their efforts,
> and these statistics in mind, we (flavors) should all join them. Now is
> the ideal time to do so, because it's before the Cosmic cycle is really
> under way, and if support were continued for i386, we don't want users to
> meet a dead end with respect to upgrade paths, and would support it until
> 20.04 (which means either five or seven more years of i386). Users still
> have the support cycle of 18.04 to use their machines and get full support,
> so these machines will still be able to function. But with no new machines
> being manufactured, we have to deprecate support at some point.
> The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers but we
> should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally soon as
> well.
> On the list of known blockers for removing the i386 port are Steam and
> Wine. Solus' snapped Steam is progressing nicely and Steam deb is difficult
> to maintain as is [See removal bug]. That leaves coming up with a good
> way forward for Wine.
> Thanks!
> Simon Quigley
> Bryan Quigley
> [2016 email thread]
> June/039420.html  (was Installation Media and supportability of i386 in
> 18.04 LTS Re: Ubuntu Desktop on i386)
> [removal bug]
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