'It has been a tumultuous week for gaming on Linux. Last Tuesday
afternoon, Canonical's Steve Langasek announced that 32-bit libs would
be frozen (kept as-is, with no new builds or updates) as of this
October's interim 19.10 release, codenamed "Eoan Ermine." Langasek was
pretty clear that this did not mean abandoning support for running
32-bit applications, however.
"While this means we will not provide 32-bit builds of new upstream
versions of libraries, there are a number of ways that 32-bit
applications can continue to be made available to users of later
Ubuntu releases, as detailed in . We will be working to polish the
32-bit support story over the course of the 19.10 development cycle.
To follow the evolution of this support, you can participate in the
discourse thread at ."
Unfortunately, that part of the announcement may not have been
entirely clear to all who read it. This group may include Steam lead
Pierre-Loup Griffais, who responded by breaking up with Ubuntu in a
"Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by
Steam or recommended to our users. We will evaluate ways to minimize
breakage for existing users, but will also switch our focus to a
different distribution, currently TBD."
Two days later, Canonical issued another public statement making it
very explicit that support for commonly used 32-bit libs would be
continued. That statement has been widely reported as an "about-face"
from Canonical, but it appears to be more of a clarification of the
original statement. The heart of the issue is that 32-bit computing
represents an incredibly wide attack surface, with lessening amounts
of active maintenance to discover, analyze, and patch flaws and
exploits. Canonical, like any company, needs to apply its developer
resources intelligently, so it looks for ways to remove unnecessary
cruft where possible. The vast majority of 32-bit code is cruft.
"We will put in place a community process to determine which 32-bit
packages are needed to support legacy software, and can add to that
list post-release if we miss something that is needed... We do think
it’s reasonable to expect the community to participate and to find the
right balance between enabling the next wave of capabilities and
maintaining the long tail," Canonical said in a statement.
"Nevertheless, in this case it’s relatively easy for us to change plan
and enable natively in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS the applications for which
there is a specific need."
Canonical also promised it would work with "the WINE, Ubuntu Studio
and gaming communities to use container technology to address the
ultimate end of life of 32-bit libraries; it should stay possible to
run old applications on newer versions of Ubuntu. Snaps and LXD enable
us both to have complete 32-bit environments, and bundled libraries,
to solve these issues in the long term."'
The article mentions "Solus", which I've only come across once before
in 2017. Anybody keen on giving that a swirl at the next meeting?
-- project page: https://getsol.us/home/
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174