Monday, 1 February 2016

Re: Ubuntu Desktop on i386

On 2 February 2016 at 03:12, Bryan Quigley <[email protected]> wrote:
> The plan from the session we did over a year ago was:
> "Specifically the Ubuntu (x86_32) desktop CD will be moved to cdimage
> around opening of 16.10". The argument is that it was easy to build
> the CD and it was cheap to do. It would be a community build that
> wouldn't be promoted on the Ubuntu website or officially tested.
>
> It doesn't make sense to stop building the CD unless:
> * We make the unity packages x86_64 bit only (what's the point in
> having less easy to test latest 32-bit unity packages?)
> * We drop x86_32 bit kernel support (guessing not something to
> consider until after 18.04?)
>

Kernel support is a separate vector. E.g. in Debian it is common to
install 32-bit userspace with the 64-bit kernel. Thus using all the
CPU/kernel features, access all the memory, yet have lower memory
utilisation.

> I think it also makes sense to see if other derivatives want to go
> x86_64-bit only like maybe Kubuntu (like I believe project Neon
> targets just 64 bit). At some point we are going to want drop x86_32
> kernel support and just have 32-bit compatibility libraries, but I
> don't know when that makes sense.
>
> Also, does Valve Steam product rely on i386 multiarch binaries?
> Yes, it does, but it also downloads it's own Steam runtime with it's
> own libraries.
>
> And Netflix - does that run on amd64-only without i386
> multiarch? I believe that runs completely with libs if you use Google Chrome.
> Oh, and also Google Chrome is dropping Linux x86_32 bit support.
>
> I'm also happy to revisit my survey [2] and see where people are today.
>

I'm not sure it's about where people are, but rather where we want people to be.

My argument for dropping .iso, but keeping the packages/archive is as follows:

* we would like to support upgrades, for those that have 32 bit install

* but we would like to prevent any new installations

* because any new installation is amd64 capable, or such is the Ubuntu
Desktop ISO installer requirement for 16.04 LTS

* reduce releases.ubuntu.com mirror costs by about a third

Otherwise, all survey results will remain constant.

Building images is cheap, however I do not believe we can actually
adequately support i386 ones for ubuntu desktop:

* there is no i386-only certified hardware
* image manual testing has a cost
* no ubuntu developers use them =)

Could we start the sunset period with removing flavour dropdown from
the ubuntu desktop download pages for 16.04? (But keep the i386 images
on releases.ubuntu.com?)

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

It has been switched to amd64 by default some time ago.

Regards,

Dimitri.

> Thanks for bringing this up again!
> Bryan
>
> [1] https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/development-1411-drop-x86-32
> [2] https://bryanquigley.com/crazy-ideas/32-bit-usage-survey-results
> [3] http://summit.ubuntu.com/uos-1411/meeting/22353/when-should-we-stop-making-32-bit-images/
>
> On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 5:14 PM, Dimitri John Ledkov <[email protected]> wrote:
>> Hello,
>>
>> Ubuntu has an i386 port which is fully supported.
>>
>> There a bunch of 3rd party applications that rely on the Multi-Arch
>> technology to support/use i386 binaries on amd64 (e.g. Skype from the
>> partner archive). BTW, can we ask Microsoft to publish native amd64
>> binaries, rather than those that rely on multi-arch i386? Also, does
>> Valve Steam product rely on i386 multiarch binaries? or is it fully
>> amd64? (and e.g. downloads/bundles/ships any required i386 binaries
>> that it needs)? And Netflix - does that run on amd64-only without i386
>> multiarch?
>>
>> However, it seems to me that this is done specifically on otherwise
>> full amd64 installations.
>>
>> My guess is that: all currently shipped hardware, with enough support
>> to run full Unity (7) Desktop, is amd64. Tested with amd64 kernel, and
>> amd64 graphics drivers. And hardware validation is done on amd64 too.
>>
>> In 2016, people with i386-only hardware are unlikely to be capable to
>> run Unity 7 Desktop, and probably run other Ubuntu variants. I guess
>> there are some accidental i386 users, e.g. those that have installed
>> i386 variant on amd64 hardware.
>>
>> Does it still make sense to build ubuntu-desktop-i386.iso? Validate
>> it? Test it on amd64 hardware? Ship it?
>>
>> To me this seems like a futile effort. Imho, we should only test the
>> relevant multiarch i386 pieces that are there to support 3rd-party,
>> i386-only apps on amd64 desktop.
>>
>> This is specifically about building, validating and shipping
>> ubuntu-desktop-i386.iso, specifically for the Ubuntu Desktop flavour.
>> Which I am suggesting should be dropped. Without any other changes to
>> the archive and/or publishing i386 binaries.
>>
>> --
>> Regards,
>>
>> Dimitri.
>>
>> --
>> ubuntu-devel mailing list
>> [email protected]
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--
Regards,

Dimitri.

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