Looking to use Arch Linux on a 32-bit computer?
Well, I have both bad news and good news for you.
The bad news first. Arch Linux doesn’t support 32-bit systems for the past few years.
The good news is that you can still use Arch Linux on 32-bit computers thanks to the Arch Linux 32 project.
Intrigued? Let’s see it in detail.
Arch Linux no longer provides ISO for 32-bit systems
Like most other Linux distributions, Arch Linux no longer serves 32-bit systems.
Arch Linux ended support for i686 architecture, i.e., 32-bit systems, in 2017.
Decreasing popularity was cited as the driving factor behind this decision: “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture.”
Since March 2017, 32-bit images of Arch Linux have not been available on the project website. Existing 32-bit installs were given this ‘grace period’ to plan their switch to other Linux distributions that still support 32-bit processors. Starting with December 2017, no updates were provided to the existing 32-bit Arch systems.
This means you can only install Arch Linux 64-bit version now, officially. More on that in the next section.
Though Arch Linux has stopped the support for 32-bit systems, it doesn’t affect the multilib repository. You can still install Steam on Arch Linux.
Arch Linux 32-bit lives in the form of archlinux32
One of the reasons why I love Linux is its open source nature and the enthusiastic community.
Meet archlinux32, a community-maintained fork of Arch Linux 32-bit. They have official packages optimized for the i686 and pentium4 architectures.
The project was created when the official Arch Linux announced ending the support for 32-bit systems. It is heartening to see that the project has continued to be active even in 2022.