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Ubuntu Is Dropping 32-bit Desktop Images

Live CD

This news affects users of live CDs mostly

If you were hoping to download Ubuntu 17.10 32-bit come its release next month we’ve some bad news to give you.

Ubuntu is dropping 32-bit builds of Ubuntu desktop entirely as of Ubuntu 17.10

Canonical’s Dimitri John Ledkov has asked the Ubuntu release team to “action” a proposal he put forth earlier in the development cycle, in which he argued that i386 builds of Ubuntu desktop (aka 32-bit builds) should no longer be produced.

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,” he writes.

“This doesn’t mean Ubuntu desktop won’t run on 32-bit computers, simply that you won’t be able to download a pre-made live disc for it”

“There is no longer any effective qa or testing of the desktop product on actual i386 hardware (explicitly non x86_64 CPUs).”

What this change doesn’t mean

No changes are being made to other builds of Ubuntu 17.10, such as minimal install ISOs or the net install option, and this news does not mean Ubuntu won’t run on 32-bit, simply that you won’t be able to download a pre-made desktop ISO image for it.

So, don’t panic: you can still install the Ubuntu desktop on 32-bit machines, you’ll just need to use a different ISO to do it.

The 32-bit Ubuntu archive is not going anywhere either. If you’re currently running a 32-bit version of Ubuntu you can continue to upgrade to new releases as normal.

This change also does not affect Ubuntu flavours such as Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE Ubuntu Budgie, et al — they’ll be free to make their own decisions about what they support.

And there’s always Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is supported until 2021 and readily available as a 32-bit image.

“Change of scope and target market for i386”

Why drop 32-bit Ubuntu? Well, it seems like no-one really uses it. And those who do probably run a lighter, trimmer version of the distro like Xubuntu or Ubuntu MATE.

The Ubuntu website hasn’t offered 32-bit downloads for some time, not for desktop, server, or cloud. Many other Linux distributions and operating systems are also distributed as 64-bit only images.

Last year we ran a poll asking how which version of Ubuntu you use: 32-bit or 64-bit. The results of that poll revealed that 92% run Ubuntu 64-bit already.

While not a total slam dunk, those results suggest that while this is a significant sounding change it is one that will have little practical impact for the majority of users.