Proposal: Let's drop i386

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Proposal: Let's drop i386

Bryan Quigley-2
Hello,

Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers. The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and support from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended.

Ubuntu and flavors just completed the 18.04 release cycle. This released version will either be supported until 2021 or 2023, depending on the product, team, and willingness to support it. At that point in time, the majority of these machines are approaching two decades old.

>>Previous 2016 thread: And in 2018, the question will come if we can effectively provide security support on i386.
We can't.  Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running amd64 Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability where they wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386 hardware simply isn't vulnerable, but some is).

We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:

Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87 
Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
Lubuntu error (pcmanfm) - 0.11
Xubuntu cdimage - 0.49
Xubuntu tracker 0.30
Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10
Kylin tracker - 0.30
Kylin error (engrampa) - 0.10 
Kubuntu cdimage - 0.14
Kubuntu tracker - 0.12
Kubuntu error (kinit) - 0.07

The data retrieved from cdimage is for a limited time period on May 7th. All cdimage statistics included many hundreds to thousands of downloads (except Ubuntu Kylin due to it using it's own CDN, so not being included here). The torrent tracker results are available here: http://torrent.ubuntu.com:6969/
The error tracker statistics come from comparing top bugs shared between i386 and amd64 over last week. Bugs that affect multiple flavors are not included.
It's not fully understood why there is a large discrepancy between the error tracker and other sources - but it's possible apport doesn't work as well in low memory.

With Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Studio joining Ubuntu Desktop and Server in not offering i386 support in order to focus their efforts, and these statistics in mind, we (flavors) should all join them. Now is the ideal time to do so, because it's before the Cosmic cycle is really under way, and if support were continued for i386, we don't want users to meet a dead end with respect to upgrade paths, and would support it until 20.04 (which means either five or seven more years of i386). Users still have the support cycle of 18.04 to use their machines and get full support, so these machines will still be able to function. But with no new machines being manufactured, we have to deprecate support at some point.

The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers but we should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally soon as well.

On the list of known blockers for removing the i386 port are Steam and Wine. Solus' snapped Steam is progressing nicely and Steam deb is difficult to maintain as is [See removal bug]. That leaves coming up with a good way forward for Wine.

Thanks!
Simon Quigley
Bryan Quigley

[2016 email thread] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2016-June/039420.html  (was Installation Media and supportability of i386 in 18.04 LTS Re: Ubuntu Desktop on i386)
[removal bug] https://pad.lv/1759715 



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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Nrbrtx
Dear Bryan and all!

Please do not forget about some special hardware configurations such as Thin Clients.
For example we use about 50 machines as Fat LTSP clients with Intel Celeron and Intel Atom. Their RAM is limited to 2Gb by hardware. They use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with MATE desktop environment.

Even if CPU is 64-bit compatible, it will be impermissible luxury (or high RAM usage in other words) of 64-bit OS. I prefer 32-bits here as it reduces RAM usage.

Please take into account my logic about 32-bit LTSP clients. And do not drop 32-bits completely.

With best regards,
Norbert.

On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 11:07 PM, Bryan Quigley <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello,

Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers. The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and support from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended.

Ubuntu and flavors just completed the 18.04 release cycle. This released version will either be supported until 2021 or 2023, depending on the product, team, and willingness to support it. At that point in time, the majority of these machines are approaching two decades old.

>>Previous 2016 thread: And in 2018, the question will come if we can effectively provide security support on i386.
We can't.  Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running amd64 Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability where they wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386 hardware simply isn't vulnerable, but some is).

We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:

Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87 
Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
Lubuntu error (pcmanfm) - 0.11
Xubuntu cdimage - 0.49
Xubuntu tracker 0.30
Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10
Kylin tracker - 0.30
Kylin error (engrampa) - 0.10 
Kubuntu cdimage - 0.14
Kubuntu tracker - 0.12
Kubuntu error (kinit) - 0.07

The data retrieved from cdimage is for a limited time period on May 7th. All cdimage statistics included many hundreds to thousands of downloads (except Ubuntu Kylin due to it using it's own CDN, so not being included here). The torrent tracker results are available here: http://torrent.ubuntu.com:6969/
The error tracker statistics come from comparing top bugs shared between i386 and amd64 over last week. Bugs that affect multiple flavors are not included.
It's not fully understood why there is a large discrepancy between the error tracker and other sources - but it's possible apport doesn't work as well in low memory.

With Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Studio joining Ubuntu Desktop and Server in not offering i386 support in order to focus their efforts, and these statistics in mind, we (flavors) should all join them. Now is the ideal time to do so, because it's before the Cosmic cycle is really under way, and if support were continued for i386, we don't want users to meet a dead end with respect to upgrade paths, and would support it until 20.04 (which means either five or seven more years of i386). Users still have the support cycle of 18.04 to use their machines and get full support, so these machines will still be able to function. But with no new machines being manufactured, we have to deprecate support at some point.

The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers but we should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally soon as well.

On the list of known blockers for removing the i386 port are Steam and Wine. Solus' snapped Steam is progressing nicely and Steam deb is difficult to maintain as is [See removal bug]. That leaves coming up with a good way forward for Wine.

Thanks!
Simon Quigley
Bryan Quigley

[2016 email thread] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2016-June/039420.html  (was Installation Media and supportability of i386 in 18.04 LTS Re: Ubuntu Desktop on i386)
[removal bug] https://pad.lv/1759715 



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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Walter Lapchynski
In reply to this post by Bryan Quigley-2
On 2018-05-09 13:07, Bryan Quigley wrote:
> Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running
> amd64 Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability
> where they wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386
> hardware simply isn't vulnerable, but some is).

This right here seems like the biggest argument to remove i386. If it's
a security issue, we should not support it.

> here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87

And there is my concern. That says the vast majority of Lubuntu's users
are using i386. The question becomes whether or not they have to. There
has been documentation all over the place to download i386 if you don't
know which is the right one and so people may still be running on this.
So maybe the number is skewed. But if it's not, does this mean Lubuntu
becomes irrelevant?

> The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers but
> we should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally soon
> as well.

Maybe keeping only the netboot image might make sense?

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Simon Quigley-2
Hello,

On 05/09/2018 04:29 PM, Walter Lapchynski wrote:
<snip />
>> here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
>> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
>
> And there is my concern. That says the vast majority of Lubuntu's users
> are using i386. The question becomes whether or not they have to. There
> has been documentation all over the place to download i386 if you don't
> know which is the right one and so people may still be running on this.
> So maybe the number is skewed. But if it's not, does this mean Lubuntu
> becomes irrelevant?

You're misreading the statistics. *Less* people use i386, not more. 87
i386 users per 100 amd64 users.

Additionally, with Lubuntu modernizing a bit, I would argue that Lubuntu
can and will still stay relevant in the future. This is before we
dropped LXDE, and it's the LTS. We can judge whether or not Lubuntu is
still relevant by seeing how the LXQt transition plays out.

Also, to be fair, Lubuntu 18.04 could be considered for sort of a niche
audience; people who need to run Linux (specifically, with LXDE and
Ubuntu) on older machines. Lubuntu's LXQt transition does modernize
things a bit, while still preserving some of those light selling points.

I would also not use this as a determining factor, because we have no
idea how things will look three years from now. My best guess is that
i386 users will drastically diminish.

>> The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers but
>> we should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally soon
>> as well.
>
> Maybe keeping only the netboot image might make sense?

If the port goes away entirely, so will the netboot images.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Thomas Ward-3
All:

I hate to interject this late in the thread, but I think we need to
clarify what the discussion actually entails.

On the #ubuntu-release IRC channel, it became clear that the purpose of
this thread was not entirely clear, so we need to clarify specifically:

Are we discussing dropping support for i386 *installation images*, or
are we talking about dropping i386 altogether, including in the
repositories in general?

I don't particularly have a care one way or another for the installation
images, as all my infrastructure is either amd64 powered or ARM powered.

However, killing i386 support globally could introduce issues, including
but not limited to certain upstream softwares having to go away
entirely, due to the interdependency or issues with how certain apps
work (read; Wine, 32-bit support, 64-bit support being flaky, and
Windows apps being general pains in that they work on 32bit but not
always on 64-bit).

So with the scope of this email chain, I would like to request a
clarification before we go forward much more with this email chain: Are
we discussing dropping 32-bit for *installer images* this cycle, or are
we talking about the complete global death of i386 as a supported
architecture?

(I can see both sides of the argument, but it's important to
differentiate for the purposes of this chain)


Thomas



On 05/09/2018 10:34 PM, Simon Quigley wrote:

> Hello, On 05/09/2018 04:29 PM, Walter Lapchynski wrote: <snip />
>>> here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04: Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
>> And there is my concern. That says the vast majority of Lubuntu's
>> users are using i386. The question becomes whether or not they have
>> to. There has been documentation all over the place to download i386
>> if you don't know which is the right one and so people may still be
>> running on this. So maybe the number is skewed. But if it's not, does
>> this mean Lubuntu becomes irrelevant?
> You're misreading the statistics. *Less* people use i386, not more. 87
> i386 users per 100 amd64 users. Additionally, with Lubuntu modernizing
> a bit, I would argue that Lubuntu can and will still stay relevant in
> the future. This is before we dropped LXDE, and it's the LTS. We can
> judge whether or not Lubuntu is still relevant by seeing how the LXQt
> transition plays out. Also, to be fair, Lubuntu 18.04 could be
> considered for sort of a niche audience; people who need to run Linux
> (specifically, with LXDE and Ubuntu) on older machines. Lubuntu's LXQt
> transition does modernize things a bit, while still preserving some of
> those light selling points. I would also not use this as a determining
> factor, because we have no idea how things will look three years from
> now. My best guess is that i386 users will drastically diminish.
>>> The first step would be to all agree on dropping images/installers
>>> but we should keep the end goal of dropping the port in mind ideally
>>> soon as well.
>> Maybe keeping only the netboot image might make sense?
> If the port goes away entirely, so will the netboot images.
>
>


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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Ian Bruntlett
In reply to this post by Nrbrtx
Hi Nrbtx et al,

On 9 May 2018 at 21:59, Nrbrtx <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear Bryan and all!

Please do not forget about some special hardware configurations such as Thin Clients.
For example we use about 50 machines as Fat LTSP clients with Intel Celeron and Intel Atom. Their RAM is limited to 2Gb by hardware. They use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with MATE desktop environment.

Even if CPU is 64-bit compatible, it will be impermissible luxury (or high RAM usage in other words) of 64-bit OS. I prefer 32-bits here as it reduces RAM usage.

Please take into account my logic about 32-bit LTSP clients. And do not drop 32-bits completely.

As a hobby, I run a computer refurbishment project where people give me old computers/laptops and, once they are refurbished, are given to people with mental health problems, their families or students or other needy people. As a result, I'm the go-to-guy for a number of old computers out in the community. The number of 32-bit systems out there actually in active use is pretty small.

For personal use, I have a Samsung NC10 32-bit netbook whose task these days is to act as an easily carried computer. I have been keeping an eye out for a similar system with the exception of having a 64-bit CPU, without much success.

According to my information, lubuntu 18.04 will be supported for 5 years. I should be able to find a suitable replacement system in that time.

It isn't convenient but perhaps it is time to start planning the replacement of existing 32 bit systems? Making computer shops / businesses aware that you'd like to have "old" (!) 64-bit  systems donated to your particular charities?

HTH,


Ian

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Jeremy Bicha-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Ward-3
On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 4:25 PM, Thomas Ward <[hidden email]> wrote:
> So with the scope of this email chain, I would like to request a
> clarification before we go forward much more with this email chain: Are
> we discussing dropping 32-bit for *installer images* this cycle, or are
> we talking about the complete global death of i386 as a supported
> architecture?

Let's make it simple and reserve this thread for discussion about
dropping 32-bit installer images now.

Someone else is welcome to start a separate thread to discuss the more
controversial and complex topic of dropping i386 completely.

And maybe dropping armhf completely should be a third thread since
that hopefully will be easier than i386.

Thanks,
Jeremy Bicha

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Brian Murray-5
In reply to this post by Bryan Quigley-2
On Wed, May 09, 2018 at 04:07:23PM -0400, Bryan Quigley wrote:

> Hello,
>
> Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for consumers
> to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers. The last of
> these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and support from
> an increasing
> number of upstream projects has ended.
>
> Ubuntu and flavors just completed the 18.04 release cycle. This released
> version will either be supported until 2021 or 2023, depending on the
> product, team, and willingness to support it. At that point in time, the
> majority of these machines are approaching two decades old.
>
> >>Previous 2016 thread: And in 2018, the question will come if we can
> effectively provide security support on i386.
> We can't.  Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running amd64
> Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability where they
> wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386 hardware simply
> isn't vulnerable, but some is).
>
> We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
>
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> Lubuntu error (pcmanfm) - 0.11
> Xubuntu cdimage - 0.49
> Xubuntu tracker -  0.30
> Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10
> Kylin tracker - 0.30
> Kylin error (engrampa) - 0.10
> Kubuntu cdimage - 0.14
> Kubuntu tracker - 0.12
> Kubuntu error (kinit) - 0.07
>
> The data retrieved from cdimage is for a limited time period on May 7th. All
> cdimage statistics included many hundreds to thousands of downloads (except
> Ubuntu Kylin due to it using it's own CDN, so not being included here). The
> torrent tracker results are available here: http://torrent.ubuntu.com:6969/
> .
> The error tracker statistics come from comparing top bugs shared between
> i386 and amd64 over last week. Bugs that affect multiple flavors are not
> included.
> It's not fully understood why there is a large discrepancy between the
> error tracker and other sources - but it's possible apport doesn't work as
> well in low memory.

Could you elaborate on the methodology you used to create these Error
Tracker statistics?

I'm not certain engrampa was a representative choice given that it is
also part of the xubuntu-desktop and ubuntu-mate-desktop tasks.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Steve Langasek-6
In reply to this post by Jeremy Bicha-2
On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 05:13:48PM -0400, Jeremy Bicha wrote:
> On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 4:25 PM, Thomas Ward <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > So with the scope of this email chain, I would like to request a
> > clarification before we go forward much more with this email chain: Are
> > we discussing dropping 32-bit for *installer images* this cycle, or are
> > we talking about the complete global death of i386 as a supported
> > architecture?

> Let's make it simple and reserve this thread for discussion about
> dropping 32-bit installer images now.

> Someone else is welcome to start a separate thread to discuss the more
> controversial and complex topic of dropping i386 completely.

As long as the architecture is included in the archive, I think it's up to
the individual flavor teams whether they want to support install images for
that architecture.

I do believe that the real question before us is that of dropping the
architectures from the archive.

However, please note that as of 18.04, i386 and armhf are still supported
architectures by Canonical for Ubuntu Core.  While there is as yet no
decision to continue supporting these architectures for 20.04-based Ubuntu
Core, we also wouldn't pull them from the archive until a decision is made
*not* to support them.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Bryan Quigley-2
In reply to this post by Brian Murray-5
Nice catch! I just looked for error stack traces that matched between the i386 version and amd64 and then compared them.  I only removed duplicates that we're in the flavors I was comparing - my mistake.

Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10  - thunar also included in Ubuntu studio


Thanks,
Bryan




On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 6:01 PM, Brian Murray <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Wed, May 09, 2018 at 04:07:23PM -0400, Bryan Quigley wrote:
> Hello,
>
> Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for consumers
> to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers. The last of
> these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and support from
> an increasing
> number of upstream projects has ended.
>
> Ubuntu and flavors just completed the 18.04 release cycle. This released
> version will either be supported until 2021 or 2023, depending on the
> product, team, and willingness to support it. At that point in time, the
> majority of these machines are approaching two decades old.
>
> >>Previous 2016 thread: And in 2018, the question will come if we can
> effectively provide security support on i386.
> We can't.  Machines running i386 Ubuntu which are capable of running amd64
> Ubuntu are vulnerable to the critical Meltdown vulnerability where they
> wouldn't be if they were running amd64. (Some actual i386 hardware simply
> isn't vulnerable, but some is).
>
> We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
>
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> Lubuntu error (pcmanfm) - 0.11
> Xubuntu cdimage - 0.49
> Xubuntu tracker -  0.30
> Xubuntu error (thunar) - 0.10
> Kylin tracker - 0.30
> Kylin error (engrampa) - 0.10
> Kubuntu cdimage - 0.14
> Kubuntu tracker - 0.12
> Kubuntu error (kinit) - 0.07
>
> The data retrieved from cdimage is for a limited time period on May 7th. All
> cdimage statistics included many hundreds to thousands of downloads (except
> Ubuntu Kylin due to it using it's own CDN, so not being included here). The
> torrent tracker results are available here: http://torrent.ubuntu.com:6969/
> .
> The error tracker statistics come from comparing top bugs shared between
> i386 and amd64 over last week. Bugs that affect multiple flavors are not
> included.
> It's not fully understood why there is a large discrepancy between the
> error tracker and other sources - but it's possible apport doesn't work as
> well in low memory.

Could you elaborate on the methodology you used to create these Error
Tracker statistics?

I'm not certain engrampa was a representative choice given that it is
also part of the xubuntu-desktop and ubuntu-mate-desktop tasks.

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AW: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Fiedler Roman
In reply to this post by Bryan Quigley-2
> Von: ubuntu-devel [mailto:[hidden email]] Im
>
> Hello,
>
> Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for
> consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers.
> The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and
> support from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended. ...
>
> ...
 >
> We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
>
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> ...

This decision is not only about numbers, but somehow also about ethics. The number of e.g. wheel-chair users or other disabled persons might not be relevant for a society/economy in terms of numbers. But we honor the value of freedom, also for those, who are not that well off than we are. Those would not be able to participate in the same way, if we would not assist them by providing support for that minority.

So for the i386 discussion, there might be only two distinct groups of users worth considering:

a) Those, who cannot afford newer systems due to economical reasons.

b) Those, who do not want to consume more resources due to ethical considerations (that's the one for me): how many people could fed or how much CO2 prevented, if all systems were some percent smaller on disk/RAM, including IT-system production and operation related resource usage? Wasting resources is also about freedom, as we deprive others who cannot afford them/fight for them in the same way we can do.


Those two groups could be seen apart from a third one: those, who do not want to change for convenience (parking on the wheel-chair parking space, because it is closer to the entrance), thus depriving others from resources (in our case developers having to care for one platform more).

How to value all those arguments might be more something for a Ubuntu ethics board (if existing), not just the mailing list? But first to get more insight, add some online survey link beside each i386-download asking users for their reasons?

LG Roman
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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Bryan Quigley-2
I definitely should have included more links to previous discussions - including this survey I did 4 years ago - https://bryanquigley.com/posts/crazy-ideas/32-bit-usage-survey-results.html.

Is it ethical to continue to support a platform that we may not be able to provide meaningful security support for?  Ignoring meltdown for a moment, Spectre V2 requires microcode updates to protect against it - I'm not sure they will ever come for hardware from 2006.

b) Those, who do not want to consume more resources due to ethical considerations (that's the one for me): how many people could fed or how much CO2 prevented, if all systems were some percent smaller on disk/RAM, including IT-system production and operation related resource usage? Wasting resources is also about freedom, as we deprive others who cannot afford them/fight for them in the same way we can do.

My laptop is from 2009 (albeit upgraded).. I like holding on to devices myself.  If we fully drop the port, every i386 user still has some level of Ubuntu support until 2023.   In any case as you go back further processors become much less power efficient - are you sure that you aren't the one wasting resources?

It happens that Energy Star requirements significantly increased requirements in 2007 especially around idle power usage which is one of the biggest wasters of power in computers generally (see https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=archives.computer_spec_version_4_0).

Kind regards,
Bryan


On Fri, May 11, 2018 at 11:32 AM, Fiedler Roman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Von: ubuntu-devel [mailto:[hidden email]] Im
>
> Hello,
>
> Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for
> consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers.
> The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and
> support from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended. ...
>
> ...
 >
> We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
>
> Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> ...

This decision is not only about numbers, but somehow also about ethics. The number of e.g. wheel-chair users or other disabled persons might not be relevant for a society/economy in terms of numbers. But we honor the value of freedom, also for those, who are not that well off than we are. Those would not be able to participate in the same way, if we would not assist them by providing support for that minority.

So for the i386 discussion, there might be only two distinct groups of users worth considering:

a) Those, who cannot afford newer systems due to economical reasons.

b) Those, who do not want to consume more resources due to ethical considerations (that's the one for me): how many people could fed or how much CO2 prevented, if all systems were some percent smaller on disk/RAM, including IT-system production and operation related resource usage? Wasting resources is also about freedom, as we deprive others who cannot afford them/fight for them in the same way we can do.


Those two groups could be seen apart from a third one: those, who do not want to change for convenience (parking on the wheel-chair parking space, because it is closer to the entrance), thus depriving others from resources (in our case developers having to care for one platform more).

How to value all those arguments might be more something for a Ubuntu ethics board (if existing), not just the mailing list? But first to get more insight, add some online survey link beside each i386-download asking users for their reasons?

LG Roman


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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Seth Arnold
In reply to this post by Steve Langasek-6
On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 11:05:09PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> I do believe that the real question before us is that of dropping the
> architectures from the archive.
>
> However, please note that as of 18.04, i386 and armhf are still supported
> architectures by Canonical for Ubuntu Core.  While there is as yet no

I believe deleting i386 and armhf before 18.10 is the politest thing to do:

- supporting these architectures in 2025 doesn't sound plausible
- thus supporting them in 20.04 LTS doesn't sound plausible
- thus we should not encourage our users to accidentally migrate off
  18.04 LTS to 18.10, 19.04, or 19.10.

*Maybe* if we modify do-release-ugprade to ask users to confirm typing
"I know what I'm doing" it wouldn't be so bad to support both arches
through 19.10.

But 20.04 LTS ought not include these architectures and I don't want to
strand anyone away from an LTS release.

Thanks

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Dimitri John Ledkov
In reply to this post by Fiedler Roman
On 11 May 2018 at 16:32, Fiedler Roman <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> > Von: ubuntu-devel [mailto:[hidden email]] Im
> >
> > Hello,
> >
> > Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for
> > consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers.
> > The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and
> > support from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended. ...
> >
> > ...
>  >
> > We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> > mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> > today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
> >
> > Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> > Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> > ...
>
> This decision is not only about numbers, but somehow also about ethics. The number of e.g. wheel-chair users or other disabled persons might not be relevant for a society/economy in terms of numbers. But we honor the value of freedom, also for those, who are not that well off than we are. Those would not be able to participate in the same way, if we would not assist them by providing support for that minority.
>
> So for the i386 discussion, there might be only two distinct groups of users worth considering:
>
> a) Those, who cannot afford newer systems due to economical reasons.
>
> b) Those, who do not want to consume more resources due to ethical considerations (that's the one for me): how many people could fed or how much CO2 prevented, if all systems were some percent smaller on disk/RAM, including IT-system production and operation related resource usage? Wasting resources is also about freedom, as we deprive others who cannot afford them/fight for them in the same way we can do.
>

"Consume more resources" is a bit vague. Environmental impact is
correlated with performance-per-watt measurements. That improves with
the newer generation of lithography, better support of newer and more
efficient instruction sets, ability to dynamically clock-down cpu
cores etc. Thus newer generation CPUs are better performance wise on
environment front. Depending on how much newer it is, it may even make
economic sense to upgrade old hardware. Unless one operates complete
off-grid, on self-harvested renewable energy, e.g.
https://identi.ca/joeyh/note/mSMKXM3gSluoeC5mP1xIsw

An example of this is comparing Intel Core Duo (65nm litography) as
used in the last 32bit only Macbook from 2006 with the MacBook Retina
(14nm) from 2015 about 10 years gap. The same number of cores, with
comparable maximum frequency, Yet Thermal Design Power went down from
31W to 4.5 W (turbo 6W, low 3.5W, target average 4.5W). Dissipated
heat is a proxy measurement for environmental impact. And the fact
that later models are now fan-less, indicates better thermal dynamics,
less power consumption, and overall nicer for the environment.

I beat myself up a bit for still using a 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU with TDP
of 77W, when I can get a new tower for less than 300 quid, which would
come with a 14nm processor and TDP of just 35W. Electric saving alone
for me would be at least 40 quid per annum.
I have at least migrated my always-on servers to ARM64.

HDDs consume more energy than SSDs; similarly newer (faster
clock/dynamicly clocked, and operating at a lower voltage / amps) RAM
consume less energy. If newer platforms were not more power efficient,
we would not see public clouds / datacentres upgrading their platforms
as aggressively as they do.

The question comes down to, that some users simply cannot afford any
upgrades at all. That makes me feel sad, and it is an indicator of
poverty to me. I hope such users have access to and are better served
by mobile phones / tablets with ARM processors for basic computing,
information and communication needs. But I also fear that such users
cannot afford to download security updates and choose to spend their
MBs on downloading web pages and communicating instead.

Doing a brief search in the UK there appear to be charities /
sponsored schemes for affordable computing
https://www.choose.co.uk/guide/free-computer-schemes-on-benefits.html
and for around 100 quid one can get multi-core 64-bit based, 3GB of
RAM desktops, laptops, netbooks. See for example
http://www.getonlineathome.org/ . I do not see it as prohibitively
unattainable, but I do guess this is still a luxury and not the case
for many other countries around the world.

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Dimitri.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Bugzilla from gruemaster@gmail.com
I've been following this thread for a while, and have some questions.  Are we talking about dropping Ubuntu x86 images or i386 packages from the repo?  If the former, I don't see an issue here, as the subs (Lubuntu, core, etc) can still build release images.  But if Ubuntu is dropping i386 packages, that brings up a huge issue with software compatibility, at a very bad time (at least for me and the projects I support).  I work with FPGA accelerators, both at Intel and for a startup.  A majority of the tools we use (Quartus, Modelsim in particular) only support 32bit (and very old at that).  The companies developing these tools are all too happy to ONLY support Redhat Enterprise 6 (and barely RHEL 7), and so far refuse to budge.  A wide variety of our customer base prefer Ubuntu and have their infrastructure geared towards this, so I have had to be very creative in getting everything working for them (adding 32bit support, swapping out the linker that ships with these tools, etc). If Ubuntu drops i386 all together, this can have a major impact on the whole FPGAaaS model.

Outside of that, I also have a large collection of older software (games mainly) that are still fun, but also 32bit only.  Dropping i386 would render them entirely useless, or force people away from Ubuntu.

The real issue is the costs of maintainership.  I know for a fact that Ubuntu uses automation for everything in disposable VMs, so the overhead is minimal (far less than ArmHF or Armel).  That leaves the FTBFS issues, which if it is in Universe and obscure (Haskell), can safely be ignored or reported upstream.  Main should be very well supported on all architectures the packages upstream were designed for, so that should minimize issues.  This leaves image and installer testing.  My vote is to drop the images (except core as it is very useful for embedded projects which Intel still sells 32bit only chips for IoT.  This at least keeps Ubuntu as a prime development environment for these devices.

This is just my opinion based on what I see in the market outside of desktops, and not representative of the companies I work for.

Tobin Davis


On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 8:31 AM, Dimitri John Ledkov <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 11 May 2018 at 16:32, Fiedler Roman <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Von: ubuntu-devel [mailto:[hidden email]] Im
> >
> > Hello,
> >
> > Less and less non-amd64-compatible i386 hardware is available for
> > consumers to buy today from anything but computer part recycling centers.
> > The last of these machines were manufactured over a decade ago, and
> > support from an increasing number of upstream projects has ended. ...
> >
> > ...
>  >
> > We still have a relatively high number if i386 downloads but that doesn't
> > mean users machines are not capable of amd64. For the flavors remaining
> > today on i386 here are some i386 to amd64 ratios for 18.04:
> >
> > Lubuntu cdimage - 0.87
> > Lubuntu tracker - 0.64
> > ...
>
> This decision is not only about numbers, but somehow also about ethics. The number of e.g. wheel-chair users or other disabled persons might not be relevant for a society/economy in terms of numbers. But we honor the value of freedom, also for those, who are not that well off than we are. Those would not be able to participate in the same way, if we would not assist them by providing support for that minority.
>
> So for the i386 discussion, there might be only two distinct groups of users worth considering:
>
> a) Those, who cannot afford newer systems due to economical reasons.
>
> b) Those, who do not want to consume more resources due to ethical considerations (that's the one for me): how many people could fed or how much CO2 prevented, if all systems were some percent smaller on disk/RAM, including IT-system production and operation related resource usage? Wasting resources is also about freedom, as we deprive others who cannot afford them/fight for them in the same way we can do.
>

"Consume more resources" is a bit vague. Environmental impact is
correlated with performance-per-watt measurements. That improves with
the newer generation of lithography, better support of newer and more
efficient instruction sets, ability to dynamically clock-down cpu
cores etc. Thus newer generation CPUs are better performance wise on
environment front. Depending on how much newer it is, it may even make
economic sense to upgrade old hardware. Unless one operates complete
off-grid, on self-harvested renewable energy, e.g.
https://identi.ca/joeyh/note/mSMKXM3gSluoeC5mP1xIsw

An example of this is comparing Intel Core Duo (65nm litography) as
used in the last 32bit only Macbook from 2006 with the MacBook Retina
(14nm) from 2015 about 10 years gap. The same number of cores, with
comparable maximum frequency, Yet Thermal Design Power went down from
31W to 4.5 W (turbo 6W, low 3.5W, target average 4.5W). Dissipated
heat is a proxy measurement for environmental impact. And the fact
that later models are now fan-less, indicates better thermal dynamics,
less power consumption, and overall nicer for the environment.

I beat myself up a bit for still using a 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU with TDP
of 77W, when I can get a new tower for less than 300 quid, which would
come with a 14nm processor and TDP of just 35W. Electric saving alone
for me would be at least 40 quid per annum.
I have at least migrated my always-on servers to ARM64.

HDDs consume more energy than SSDs; similarly newer (faster
clock/dynamicly clocked, and operating at a lower voltage / amps) RAM
consume less energy. If newer platforms were not more power efficient,
we would not see public clouds / datacentres upgrading their platforms
as aggressively as they do.

The question comes down to, that some users simply cannot afford any
upgrades at all. That makes me feel sad, and it is an indicator of
poverty to me. I hope such users have access to and are better served
by mobile phones / tablets with ARM processors for basic computing,
information and communication needs. But I also fear that such users
cannot afford to download security updates and choose to spend their
MBs on downloading web pages and communicating instead.

Doing a brief search in the UK there appear to be charities /
sponsored schemes for affordable computing
https://www.choose.co.uk/guide/free-computer-schemes-on-benefits.html
and for around 100 quid one can get multi-core 64-bit based, 3GB of
RAM desktops, laptops, netbooks. See for example
http://www.getonlineathome.org/ . I do not see it as prohibitively
unattainable, but I do guess this is still a luxury and not the case
for many other countries around the world.

--
Regards,

Dimitri.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Gizmo Chicken
In reply to this post by Seth Arnold
> I believe deleting i386 and armhf before 18.10 is the politest thing to do

Provided that i386 and armhf won't be supported in 20.04 LTS (which
seems to be the case), I fully agree that such support should be
removed *before* 18.10.  Those needing such support should be
encouraged to remain on the current LTS, and not lured to 18.10 with a
false hope of continued support.

Removing support before 18.10 would also be a good way to draw out
early feedback.  If enough backlash (and technically feasible to do
so), perhaps i386 and armhf could be (reluctantly) added back for one
final LTS, namely 20.04 LTS (and maybe tested in 19.10).  But
hopefully that wouldn't be needed.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Philipp Kern
In reply to this post by Dimitri John Ledkov
On 5/12/18 5:31 PM, Dimitri John Ledkov wrote:
> HDDs consume more energy than SSDs; [...]

Unless it's NVMe.

> similarly newer (faster clock/dynamicly clocked, and operating at a lower
> voltage / amps) RAM
> consume less energy.

Didn't RAM power consumption go up with frequency and especially as now
everyone tries to get more and more RAM into their boxes, consuming more
power?

> If newer platforms were not more power efficient, we would not see public
> clouds / datacentres upgrading their platforms as aggressively as they do.

Well, there are other considerations as well. Floor space. The fact that
you need more compute power and hence you add machines rather than
replacing them. What you really want in these environments is
performance per watt, of course. Outside of these cloud environments
rarely anyone runs their machines that hot. In which case you care more
about idle consumption.

Given that people were talking about replacing machines with new ones
just for environment purposes, there's also something to be said about
the e-waste generated by that. If people keep their power-hungry CPUs
not continuously running but dutifully power them off if not needed, the
trade-off is probably more on the generating waste side than the "we
need to convert everyone to more efficient CPUs"[1].

Kind regards
Philipp Kern

[1] Low consumption also sometimes backfires. Low water consumption now
requires the utilities to waste more water on their side to keep the
pipes operational, also raising prices.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Henri Sivonen
In reply to this post by Thomas Ward-3
On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 11:25 PM, Thomas Ward <[hidden email]> wrote:
> However, killing i386 support globally could introduce issues, including
> but not limited to certain upstream softwares having to go away
> entirely, due to the interdependency or issues with how certain apps
> work (read; Wine, 32-bit support, 64-bit support being flaky, and
> Windows apps being general pains in that they work on 32bit but not
> always on 64-bit).

If 32-bit x86 support becomes mainly a thing that's run on x86_64
hardware as a compatibility measure for things like Wine, it would
make sense to bring the instruction set baseline to the x86_64 level.
Specifically, it would make sense to compile the 32-bit x86 packages
with SSE2 unconditionally enabled.

This would mean dropping support for Pentium Pro and earlier or Athlon
XP and earlier, but it's pretty sad to leave all that performance on
the table in order to support the few computers still in use that have
Pentium Pro or earlier or Athlon XP or earlier.

As upstream software assumes SSE2 as the baseline, it will be less and
less a run-time check and compiling software without SSE2 will mean
shipping it in a damaged form performance-wise.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Jeremy Bicha-2
In reply to this post by Bugzilla from gruemaster@gmail.com
On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 12:40 PM, Tobin Davis <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I've been following this thread for a while, and have some questions.  Are
> we talking about dropping Ubuntu x86 images or i386 packages from the repo?
> If the former, I don't see an issue here, as the subs (Lubuntu, core, etc)
> can still build release images.

The primary Ubuntu flavor already stopped creating 32-bit ISOs before
18.04 LTS. At a minimum, I think this discussion is about whether
*any* official Ubuntu flavor should offer official 32-bit ISOs
starting now with 18.10.

I believe one proposal is to go a step further and block users from
using the normal upgrade tools to upgrade 32-bit installs past 18.04
LTS. The error should explain the situation. This is a bit annoying
because we don't support cross-grading from 32-bit to 64-bit.

I was hoping that the question about 32-bit packages would be split
off into a separate thread.

Thanks,
Jeremy Bicha.

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Re: Proposal: Let's drop i386

Walter Lapchynski


On May 13, 2018 7:58:05 AM PDT, Jeremy Bicha <[hidden email]> wrote:

>On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 12:40 PM, Tobin Davis <[hidden email]>
>wrote:
> Are
>> we talking about dropping Ubuntu x86 images or i386 packages from the
>repo?
>> If the former, I don't see an issue here, as the subs (Lubuntu, core,
>etc)
>> can still build release images.
>
>The primary Ubuntu flavor already stopped creating 32-bit ISOs before
>18.04 LTS. At a minimum, I think this discussion is about whether
>*any* official Ubuntu flavor should offer official 32-bit ISOs
>starting now with 18.10.

And maybe more appropriately whether Canonical will be providing the infrastructure to build them?

> we don't support cross-grading from 32-bit to 64-bit.

Indeed and it's ridiculously difficult. I tried it with multi-arch and it would simply take a lot of extra effort to convert all the packages. Changing kernels is easy but that's a small part of the problem.

But a fresh install using the existing $HOME would do the trick. Just make sure to have a `dpkg -l` to restore all the packages. Should be pretty easy, no?
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