Are We Looking At The End Of 32 Bit Linux?

You know one of the main reason why Linux is better than Windows?

Because it has great support for older hardware.

You can bring back decades-old computers to life with Linux. I am not bragging here. It’s FOSS reader Roy Davies has already shared how he uses Linux on a 13 years old laptop.

Heck, there are specific Linux distributions for older computers capable of running a computer with just 256 MB of RAM. There is Damn Small Linux that can run with just 16 MB of RAM. Can you believe that?

32 Bit Linux will die soon

The vanishing act of 32Bit Linux

But I am not going to talk about these specific Linux distros. Let’s talk about the more popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, elementary OS, Arch Linux etc.

If you are a regular follower of Linux news, you might have noticed a trend. 32Bit is disappearing from the world of regular Linux distributions. Slowly, it’s only 64Bit world.

Popular Linux distribution elementary OS doesn’t have a 32-bit version. Newer Linux distributions such as Solus Linux did not even bother to release a 32-bit version.

The matter doesn’t end here. Privacy focused Linux distribution Tails OS recently bid goodbye to the 32Bit version. Ubuntu has already hinted on retiring 32Bit version. On top of that, Arch Linux has also decided to stop supporting 32Bit versions.

The demise of 32Bit Linux is inevitable

You know that. I know that. With time, technology moves on.

Remember, even 32Bit was modern and a thing of desire once. But 32Bit processors are not being manufactured for regular computers anymore. I think it was around 2008 that 32Bit processors were phased out.

You cannot buy a new 32Bit system anymore. It’s a thing of past.

And this reflects in the development of applications as well. Many new applications are 64Bit only. Big enterprises that are releasing a desktop client of their popular applications, most of them are for 64Bit and you cannot really blame that.

Martin Wimpress, the lead of Ubuntu Mate, shades more light on challenges faced with 32Bit support:

There is however a security concern, in that some larger applications (Firefox, Chromium, LibreOffice) are already presenting challenges in terms of applying some security patches to older LTS releases. So flavours are being asked to be mindful of the support period they can reasonably be expected to support i386 versions for.

Google has already dropped support for Chrome on 32Bit Linux. And this trend won’t stop here. Get ready to hear more about 32Bit support drop from various developers.

What are your options?

As more mainstream Linux distributions will stop supporting 32Bit systems in next 2 years or so, you won’t be left without a Linux distributions for sure.

There are Linux distributions that still support older architecture and I am sure there will be some Linux distributions providing support for 32Bit systems.

However, you won’t be getting the popular choices like Ubuntu, Arch, Debian etc.

Are you still using a 32Bit system?

As the future looks gloomy for 32Bit systems, what do you feel about it? Personally, I haven’t used a 32Bit system since 2008 and there are almost no chance that I’ll be using a 32Bit system anymore.

How about you? Do you use a 32Bit system? If you do not know, check if you have a 32Bit or 64 Bit system. And if you use 32Bit Linux, what do you think of more Linux distributions dropping 32Bit support?

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  • yeah i did still use a pc that run only 32 bit , and not just distribution that left the 32 bit also the softwares begin to left 32 bit, and i really don’t think what to do (it’s rly bad for me that i used ubuntu in this pc over 5 – 6 years , only one think i do right know is trying to back some stuff in windows that still supp 32 bit.

  • I didn’t owe 32 computers anymore, yet still I still use 32 bit Linux distribution for laptop with less than 2 gb ram. For now I’m using Peppermint OS 32 bit and Feren OS Classic 32 bit on each.
    Still hoping it will supported at least until 10 years more. :(

  • well, i have a 15yr old 32bit machine running like a charm! (both… windows and linux) it would be too bad if i have to throw it away simply because it cannot go live for want of 32bit software… :-(