When should we stop making 32 bit images?

Registered by Bryan Quigley on 2014-11-04

I suggest that we make 16.04 LTS the last release with x86_32 bit images of the Ubuntu desktop, server, and cloud images. I want to announce it long before 16.04 is released so organizations can plan.

I have ~580 responses from a servey I conducted on the matter (Planet Ubuntu / Phoronix), with the above idea being part of the premise. Here is a brief writeup of the results - https://bryanquigley.com/crazy-ideas/32-bit-usage-survey-results.

Several people have already contacted me (mostly from Lubuntu) about making 32 bit a community supported port.

Previous related blueprint: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/client-s-32v64-bit

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
None
Priority:
Undefined
Drafter:
Bryan Quigley
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
None
Definition:
Drafting
Series goal:
None
Implementation:
Unknown
Milestone target:
None

Related branches

Sprints

Whiteboard

We are finding games etc are now targetting 64 bit, we want to encourage 64bit. We are doing this socially already, but there is not good upgrade path right now. We are not likely to have effort to get cross grading between 32bit and 64bit working in time for 16.04.

 We are not against even further desmphasising 32bit further, but we are not in a position to remove the arch as a supported arch. Not producing supported images is likely ok, but we internally need the images for testing anyhow otherwise.

Suggestion that we might use the installer "upgrade in place" option here to do this but that does not cope with arch specific things in home, as an unsupported thing it is possibly viable and worth testing.

All upgrades/side grades are affected by the "any data you have in the original arch" might not be compatible problem. The sanest _is_ a new install sadly.

We could also consider a 64bit kernel for 32bit arches again. This would allow us to install that on 32bit and with some jiggery pokery the games could be made to use the multiarch versions of the base libraries.

32 bit UEFI is an issue, it looks like we cannot call 32bit efi in a 64bit kernel. Also is there a separate eltorito type for this? On eltorito the header points to a real partition for efi, so we should be able to put more than one grub.efi in there on the same image and we have both sizes existing. We might need shim fixing for that, if you need signing. The server folk are already looking at shrinking their image portfolio by consolidating the srver and cloud images into "one". Server people tend to know what they are doing so if they install 32bit they prolly meant to
dumpit is a useful tool to investigate other peoples images.

Are we going to decommission desktop images and server images? This is not about dropping the port. We will continue to produce d-i images. More about demphasising them, moving them from releases to cdimages, likely at or after 16.04, and reduce QA testing. Specifically the Ubuntu desktop CD will be moved to cdimage around opening of 16.10. Server/Cloud images would be decided seperately..

Usassigned work items:
[???] could we install a 64bit kernel from the 32bit installer: TODO
[???] could we detect the 64bit cpus in the 32bit installer and suggest a different image: TODO
[???] investigate how multiple uefi images work in eltorito: TODO

(?)

Work Items

Work items for ubuntu-15.04:
[adconrad] hand off demphasising the 32bit images in the web etc to someone: TODO
[apw] look at a 64kernel meta package for 32bit: TODO
[apw] test that installing a 64bit kernel on 32bit install: TODO
[canonical-kernel-distro-team] confirm that a 64bit kernel can/cannot call into 32bit EFI: TODO
[adconrad] can we get a system to test 32bit efi: TODO
[adconrad] look at 32bit efi image at least for d-i: TODO
[canonical-foundations] could we install a 64bit kernel from the 32bit installer: TODO
[canonical-foundations] could we detect the 64bit cpus in the 32bit installer and suggest a different image: TODO
[canonical-foundations] investigate how multiple uefi images work in eltorito: TODO

This blueprint contains Public information 
Everyone can see this information.