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32-Bit Support in Future Ubuntu Releases

Filed under
  • i386 in focal: an update
    Thanks to thorough feedback from our community, we now have a reasonably
    comprehensive answer to the question of what 32-bit compatibility library
    packages are needed on x86 for Ubuntu 20.04. 
    Some developers will have noticed changes this week to the behavior of focal
    builds in Launchpad.  Out of 30,000 source packages in focal, there is now a
    whitelist of about 1,700 source packages which will trigger builds on i386
    in Launchpad.  This means that other packages which previously built on i386
    will need to have the binaries from the old version of the package removed
    before they will be migratable from focal-proposed to focal.
    As a side note, the implementation of this also affects PPA builds, because
    the whitelist applies to the focal series as a whole.  In general, you
    should not expect to need i386 builds of third-party packages in PPAs for
    focal either, given that i386 in focal exists solely for compatibility with
    legacy binary software.  However, if you have a third-party package that you
    believe it's important to continue producing i386 binary builds of in
    Launchpad for Ubuntu 20.04, please contact the Ubuntu archive admins
    (ubuntu-release at, or #ubuntu-devel on for best
    results), and we can evaluate including your PPA package in the whitelist.
    At the moment, I am doing some manual removals of the i386 binaries as I see
    them show up as blockers on
    and as I'm able to determine that the removals aren't going to cause
    near-term knock-on problems.  But if some i386 binaries aren't being removed
    fast enough and this is blocking your work, feel free to reach out to an
    archive admin to ask for their removal.
    In the slightly less near term, the plan is to do a mass binary removal of
    all of the i386 binary packages in focal built from sources other than those
    in the whitelist.  However, before pulling the trigger on this mass removal,
    there are some changes that should be landed to our autopkgtest
    infrastructure, so that we can continue to run autopkgtests for those
    remaining 1700 packages.  In summary: the plan is not to retain the test
    dependencies of those 1700 packages on i386, but instead to cross-test the
    i386 libraries on an amd64 host, which ultimately means testing them in an
    environment that better models the expected real-world usage.  The work is
    in progress for this change and I'm currently anticipating landing it next
    In the meantime, if you need any help getting packages migrating to the
    focal release from -proposed, please reach out on #ubuntu-release on IRC.
  • Canonical Formulates The 32-Bit Support Strategy For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

    Canonical's Ubuntu engineers in cooperation with community members have figured out their 32-bit support adjustments for the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release.

    After dropping their original proposal of clearing out 32-bit packages entirely, Ubuntu 19.10 shipped with a trimmed down set of 32-bit packages (32-bit x86) available to x86_64 users. Those 32-bit packages on Ubuntu 19.10 were based on popularity with what 32-bit packages might still be in prevalent use today on modern Intel/AMD systems. For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, some minor adjustments are being made.

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