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 17.10 desktop entirely. It’s time to bid farewell to non-64 bit ISOs.
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 requested to other builds of Ubuntu 17.10, such as minimal install ISOs or the net install option, and this news doesn’t mean Ubuntu won’t run on 32-bit, simply that you won’t be able to download a pre-spun ISO image for it.
This news simply means 32-bit Ubuntu users won’t be able to download and boot up an official live ISO to install the distro. 32-bit desktop configurations will also no longer benefit from any sort of official testing.
This change does not affect Ubuntu flavours such as Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, et al — they’ll be free to make their own decisions about what they support.
“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 no longer lists 32-bit images as being available for download on desktop, server, or cloud. Many other Linux distributions and operating systems are also distributed as 64-bit only images.
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.