Ubuntu MATE 18.10 - dropping i386 images

Hi all,

Following the successful release of Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS last week the development cycle for 18.10 has now opened. We have taken the decision to stop making i386 (32-bit Intel) images starting with Ubuntu MATE 18.10

What does this mean?

  • i386 (32-bit Intel) images will continue to made and supported for the duration of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS, which concludes April 2021.

  • Starting with Ubuntu MATE 18.10 we will no longer make or release i386 (32-bit Intel) images.

  • Ubuntu will still offer i386 (32-bit Intel) packages in the package repository.

Why drop i386 (32-bit Intel) as a release architecture?

  • Less than 10% of Ubuntu MATE users are running the i386 (32-bit Intel) images. Of those who do, thanks to the recent introduction of an installation telemetry reports, many are choosing to install the i386 images on amd64 (64-bit Intel) capable hardware.

  • Application and driver vendors are (or already have) dropped support for i386 (32-bit Intel). nvidia support was recently dropped, upstream Mozilla only support amd (64-bit Intel), Google Chrome dropped i386 (32-bit Intel) some years ago as have many others.

  • The Ubuntu MATE QA team has limited access to i386 (32-bit Intel) hardware on which the images can be tested.

  • The last i386 (32-bit Intel) devices were manufactured 10 years ago, the audience for this architecture is diminishing.

  • We'd like to use the time saved by dropping i386 (32-bit Intel) images to better support ARM devices, such as the Raspberry Pi.

I hope that explains what is changing and the reasons why we're making this change. Most of you will be unaffected but for those that are I hope you enjoy using Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS on your i386 (32-bit Intel) for the duration of the LTS. If your i386 (32-bit Intel) computer is still useful to you past April 2021 then, thanks to the wide variety of Linux distributions available and the niches they serve, I'm sure you'll find a distro to keep your hardware running :slight_smile:

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I hope I will buy the new computer till the end of support for 18.04

But also wait for the answer which technology is needed to use 5G net that offers the data transfer up to 1Gb per second. Just because the speed of copying the files from the one partition to an another is just around 30Mb per second at the moment (on my netbook)

1Gb/sec?
What a radiation… wow!

Yet more pollution on the Mother Earth with the “old” computers and “outdated” cell phones :zap: :waning_crescent_moon:

That’s well and good and certainly within the decision making realm of the Ubuntu MATE developers, but…

It’s my experience that a lot of VMs are not capable of running 64bit guests and people or businesses may not be changing out that architecture for quite some time, so…

Might be a good idea to run i386 option until the next LTS and give users that warning that after 20.04, i386 will be dropped…

IMHO

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they dropped XT then dropped the 286, 386, 486...
now dropping completely i86...

and why they do not recycle 'unwanted technology' in their country?
It is always easy to speak about "new progress" and shut up about the consequences.

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How much users didn’t send telemetry report?
How much users didn’t install 18.04 because they read about the unwanted bugs?
Where we can see the official statistics?
How we can be sure the statistics are true?
Many people already know how various medical statistics have been made
in the name of profi… excuse me… humanity
ok, just kidding

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Hi @Wimpy,

even if the figure of 10% is true, that is still an awful lot of computers worldwide, 32 bit versions of Linux have saved my butt a few times in the past and although I agree you could spend more time on other areas like Arm devices; I still find it a shame that support is being dropped!. :frowning:

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Hallo

I’ve just installed the 32bit ISO on my HP built-for-Linux netbook and a 2010 large Macbook Pro (which only accepts the 32bit ISO). So I’m sorted for the next three years, as far as my legacy hardware is concerned. I can’t see 10 year old (they will both be that age in April 2021) portable computers surviving past that point (batteries, keyboards, rough and tumble, etc.). :head_bandage:

I’m glad there was a 18.04 32bit ISO. Thank you to all those who helped make that possible. :slight_smile:

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I’m sad to see 32bit UM go, but I guess it was necessary. Kinda ironic though, just the other day my 32 bit ACER Aspire one netbook went belly up. First it, then 32bit Ubuntu-MATE. Coincidence? Hmmmm… :open_mouth:

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I’m surprised that there are still 10% using the 32-bit, and many of them on 64-bit systems. I believe the last 32-bit systems were sold in 2010. In 2 years time, those machines are 10 years old. I keep it that way, if somebody wants to use 32-bit, then feel free to use an older OS.

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Own one as well. Great little machine. Runs Xubuntu very well.

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I run 3 old computers (all from before 2010). One of them can’t run 64-bit OS, but I use it daily as a media center on my TV.
Can you write a tutorial on how to install all the Ubuntu MATE DE and software packages from an Ubuntu mini i386. I think users with old hardware would really appreciate.
Love the last release, keep being awesome.

edit : forget Ubuntu Server, as Steven says Ubuntu Server is 64-bit only now.

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Poor decision. Since when did Mate test 32 bit binaries for kernel, xorg, glibc ? All testing done either in debian or upstream. Ubuntu just copy from debian. 32 bit binaries still there in the archieve. All they did was stop the script which builds the 32 bit iso. But why stop your user using a compiled iso while anyone can still use 32 bit from archive? This does not make any sense. And Wine still uses 32 bit binaries.

So mate users can’t use wine starting with 18.10. Is it?

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This is only about installation ISO images, not about dropping support for running 32 bit applications.

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It will be very difficult to run 32 bit apps without a easy way to test/install 32 bit os from iso.

Not really. The 32 bit packages will still be available, you just install them on a 64 bit system in addition to the 64 bit version.
Long story short: you can still run 32 bit applications from a 64 bit ISO install.

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Yes but that will only make duplicate of libraries and everything (and it creates many bugs too). Also for wine, on 64 bit it doesn’t really works…never ending bugs. With a limited amount of RAM it makes sense to install 32 bit os and use 32 apps on that.

But now without a 32 bit iso it almost becomes impossible. I did’t understand dropping build script which uses Canonical’s resource.

Announcing 32 bit not supported but keeping iso building script on would have been better for everyone.

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To write a tutorial on how to install the Mate Desktop Environment on top of a fully functional Ubuntu Server would be a very easy thing to do.

To get everyone to the point that they could configure a Ubuntu Server and make everything work is quite another thing to consider.

For example, even though the installer for Ubuntu Server will find and configure a Ethernet or WiFi network for the purpose of installing the server software, after the installation is complete the network is no longer configured, and will have to be manually set up by gathering information and editing files from the command line.

Not only that, but someone will eventually find that after the server is installed that their network hardware has been disabled by the system, and they will need to know how to manually enable it again before the network can be manually configured from the command line.

Considering the vast array of systems that such a tutorial might be tried on, the variables are almost endless.

Obviously, if you can not get the network up and running, you can not download the Mate Desktop Environment software.

And there are many other things that will need to be fixed, cleaned up, and installed to have a fully functional Mate Desktop when installing on top of a Ubuntu Server. Even more to do beginning with 18.04 Bionic due to updates and changes made to the Mate DE.

The Ubuntu mini.iso does give the option of installing the Mate Desktop during the setup process. I’ve done so many times in a virtual machine. It’s really quite easy to do. However, I am unable to test the mini.iso on my only i386 system because it does not have a CD-ROM drive and for some reason I can not successfully write the mini.iso to a USB drive.

Perhaps someone who has successfully installed Ubuntu Mate from the mini.iso on i386 hardware can weigh in.

If the mini.iso does indeed work in this fashion, it would be much simpler than trying to install a the Mate DE on top of a Ubuntu Server for most users who would want to do this.

Edit: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server is 64-bit only. The Ubuntu 18.04 Beta Network installer (mini.iso) does support i386 and can be downloaded by following the links below.

Download link:
https://www.ubuntu.com/download/alternative-downloads

Download link with documentation:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD

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If you think that making a 32 bit iso is just putting things and compiling, you are so wrong. Don’t forget, it’s open source and if you want, you can make a respin, “putting things” and maintain it.
It’s very easy saying that it’s easier because you take stuff from different projects but it’s hard to make them work together.
One of the problems causing the dropping of 32 bit iso for most of the versions of ubuntu is that we don’t have PC’s with 32 bit processors for testing, and because of that, we test in a VM. And that’s not a good way to give the users a quality OS.

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Updated our netbook to Xubuntu 18.04. If it is still running in 2021 I will probably let it retire. It’s had a good run.

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The people having 4GB or less RAM are better off with 32-bit software if they need to run multiple programs at the same time. You don’t need access to 32-bit-only hardware, but simply install the 32-bit builds on 64-bit machines, as most of the people in those 10% are doing.

Some people are really having a hard time understanding this is less about the CPU architecture, and more about the increase in RAM usage by so many programs, which makes it harder to work on machines with a low amount of RAM and no upgrade options.

There are still brand new PCs sold today, that are 64-bit capable but have 2GB-4GB RAM. People buy them because they don’t know what they get into. But aren’t the distro makers supposed to know how things work, so they can make better decisions?

Sure it’s easier to drop the support for an architecture, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Besides, I bet there are plenty of people who have 4GB or less RAM that use the 64-bit editions and use the swap frequently. Because the default download option is 64-bit, and the developers and distro makers are better off ditching 32-bit completely. I wish we didn’t have hardware limited to a low amount of RAM, but there’s plenty of it and it sucks. That also means that a lot of people struggle with their hardware and software choices just because not enough people in the right places make decisions that make practical sense for the users.

Too bad.

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