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Why is there no 32 bit ISO for the new Ubuntu 18.04?

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There are 32 bit ISO from the new 18.04 LTS distro, but not standard Ubuntu. The community flavours have uploaded 32 bit iso files, and some of them are particularly suitable for old 32 bit computers, because they have light desktop environments,

  • Lubuntu
  • Ubuntu Budgie
  • Ubuntu MATE
  • Xubuntu

You can find them via the following link. Look for 'i386' in the name of the iso file.

releases.ubuntu.com/


You can use the Ubuntu mini.iso files in order to install Ubuntu in BIOS mode (but not in UEFI mode), and there is a 32-bit version with 'i386' in the name of the mini.iso file. See this link,

cdimages.ubuntu.com/netboot

So it is possible to install standard Ubuntu in a 32-bit computer, but in most cases it is better to use a community flavour of Ubuntu with a lighter desktop environment, because standard Ubuntu 'wants' more powerful hardware for graphics that what is common in most 32-bit computers.

However, there may be cases, when you want to run a 32-bit operating system in a 64-bit computer, for example if you have some application software, that only works with a 32-bit system, or because a 32-bit system uses less RAM for the same task compared to a 64-bit system.

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    This answer implies that there are no ISOs for 32 bit PCs of standard Ubuntu, which isn't the case. There just aren't any Live ISOs. The plain network installer ISO is still available in 32-bit. Jan 8 '19 at 0:12
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    @thomasrutter, I have tried to improve the answer by adding a paragraph about the Ubuntu mini.iso 32-bit version.
    – sudodus
    Jan 8 '19 at 15:56
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Wow. A lot of misinformation here.

Ubuntu can still be run on 32-bit PCs and Ubuntu still provide 32-bit installers. All Ubuntu have stopped doing is producing 32-bit Live installer images. The other type of installer image - the network installer - is still available in both 64-bit and 32-bit (along with other architectures like arm64 and armhf which were never available as Live installers).

Network installer images can be found on the alternative downloads page.

The network installer images don't boot to a live Ubuntu desktop instance, just to a basic installer that you can use to install Ubuntu onto your machine. If you've ever installed Debian, it's a bit like their installer. They are small images because they fetch almost all packages from the internet during installation (this is why they are called a network installer). This means that the installer can't be used without an internet connection. That said, this is a perfectly convenient way of installing Ubuntu these days, since most people have a permanent internet connection and the installer is light weight and has no frills.

Note that if you have a 64-bit capable machine, and you are not severely limited in physical RAM (ie, you have at least half a gigabyte) there is no good reason not to run 64-bit Ubuntu on it.

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  • I think I just discovered a good reason to run 32-bit Ubuntu. I'm trying to set up a virtual machine, and VT-x is disabled. VT-x must be disabled to run docker, so in spite of having a 64-bit capable machine and heaps of RAM, I think I need the 32-bit iso. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    – craq
    Feb 13 '20 at 20:48
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Go to Alternative downloads/Network installer and download 32 bit mini installer. Other files will be downloaded by the installer.

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Ubuntu has decided to stop creating desktop builds for 32bit since 17.10

https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/09/ubuntu-17-10-32-bit-builds-dropped/amp

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    Not just Ubuntu. Every mayor company that creates operating systems.
    – Rinzwind
    Apr 27 '18 at 17:47
  • Yes you are right. That is also true. May 1 '18 at 18:52
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    They've stopped 32-bit desktop builds of the Live CD image, not of Ubuntu itself. Nov 13 '18 at 5:38
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Since nobody has explicitly said how to do a 32-bit desktop install for "regular" Ubuntu, you can run the mini.iso installer referenced (which is usually meant for network boot install.) There're procedures to run this ISO off a USB stick, you don't have to burn it to CD. Warm up that fast internet connection, the mini ISO is 62MB and the 64-bit desktop ISO is like 1.9GB so you do the math.... install the ubuntu base system, run "apt-get install ubuntu-desktop" and when you reboot you'll have an equivalent of the desktop CD install. Run "apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras" if you want the equivalent of checking that box in desktop installer that's for installing mp3 support and such. I also personally "apt-get install gnome-session-flashback" for a traditional desktop rather than Unity, but that's personal choice just like on 64-bit.

I only have 1 32-bit system, but on it so far the only packages I've noticed unavailable are chrome (google quit building it a year or more ago) so you can install chromium instead; and android development toolkit (it made sense to get rid of the 32-bit version, it was easy to make it try to exceed the ~2.5GB address limit and bail out.)

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