Ubuntu 19.04 and 20.04 will continue to have 32-bit i386 packages, contrary to the previous announcement by Canonical.
The past week, Canonical announced the latest version of Ubuntu, which caused quite some buzz (unfortunately, in a wrong way). According to the statement, the company had plans to discontinue 32-bit support starting from Ubuntu 19.10. This news wasn’t received quite well by Ubuntu-enthusiasts as they showed their disapproval of this decision on various online forums so much that even Canonical couldn’t ignore it.
However, the company demonstrated its genius and made the right decision by listening to the positive criticism of their community (including gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and WINE users) and announcing that this significant change can wait if the users aren’t fully prepared for it. Accordingly, Ubuntu users will get selected 32-bit i386 packages when they update to Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.
The question arises that how will Canonical know of which 32-bit packages to keep. Well, they have mentioned in their official statement that they will stay intact with their users for this process as well. Therefore, the community can give their input on what they think is essential to support legacy software.
The company also makes it clear that the former decision wasn’t something that they came up with without putting in much thought process. Instead, it was the product of years of discussions in Ubuntu developers and community forum, much like these turn of events.
The statement also mentions that the company carefully listened to what their audience had to say after the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Not only that but they also informally collaborated with Valve to know more about its concerns. With that being said, Canonical feels like these reactions were minimal as compared to those that erupted due to their latest announcement. Because of such response, the company was given more than enough reasons to enable the needed programs in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. They have also mentioned that they faced no issues in doing this favor for the enthusiasts of their product.
Moreover, Canonical looks forward to using container technology so that newer versions of Ubuntu will be able to run old applications. For this purpose, the company will establish talks with the WINE, Ubuntu Studio, and gaming communities. The company also thinks that Snaps and LXD will play a big part in providing complete 32-bit environments.
The official announcement also comes with a throwback to when they discontinued Ubuntu install media for i386 in 2018. The driving force behind this move was that not a lot of people have been using 32-bit applications as of late, which leads to more bugs. Accordingly, this puts people who run these applications at risk. The developers are also making a lot of efforts to maintain the usability of as many 32-bit applications as possible on 64-bit architectures.
To close it all off, Canonical believes that listening to their community will bring about more positive changes in their software, and they can’t wait to hear more about what their users have to say regarding their upcoming releases.