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it has come to my attention that Ubuntu will drop i386 desktop images. so i'm wondering what will happen to software of the same(i386) architecture.

  • You won't get any support for it. Other than that, nothing. That said, I suspect they'll stop building i386 packages altogether, starting with 18.10. ...but that is still some time away. – mikewhatever Oct 6 '17 at 19:54
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    The question is misleading: ONLY ONE FLAVOR (Ubuntu [Unity]) is dropping 32-bit, and for good reasons. ALL OTHER FLAVORS WITH 32-BIT ARE UNAFFECTED. They will still update 32-bit packages from Debian. They will still support their 32-bit packages. They will still produce 32-bit Live Install iso images. – user535733 Oct 6 '17 at 21:08
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    I see you have accepted an answer that seems to me not to answer the title question! Perhaps that is a speculative question and can't be answered properly here. If you really wanted to know how long support for i386 architecture would continue (which is what the accepted answer explains), you should edit your question to make that clear. – Zanna Oct 8 '17 at 8:17
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    @Zanna, I have tried to answer according to the title. But it is partly based on guessing and thinking. You used the word 'speculative' :-P – sudodus Oct 8 '17 at 16:35
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Future support

There will be support for i386 systems for several years. For example, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will be supported until April 2021 (totally 5 years of support).

Some community flavours, for example Lubuntu, intend to continue with i386 kernels beyond the deadline of standard Ubuntu. Lubuntu has a light desktop environment and comes with light application programs, so it works well in old computers with 32-bit hardware.

Links:

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

Post at the Ubuntu Forums by kansasnoob with links

What will happen to i386 software after Ubuntu's end of support

It is not easy to forecast what will happen to i386 software after Ubuntu's end of releasing desktop iso files several years away. It is easier to describe the near future.

  • The basic software in Ubuntu will be supported. Ubuntu will continue to release mini.iso files.

  • Ubuntu community flavours, for example Lubuntu, will continue to support its software and release iso files.

  • But we can expect that i386 versions of various software packages will gradually lose support and become deprecated.

  • After a few more years I think also mini.iso and the community flavours will drop the i386 iso files, because very few people will use them.

  • There will probably remain linux support from ultra-light distros like Puppy Linux and Tiny Core with 32-bit iso files for a longer time.

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    Let me add that even with 64-bit hardware, having only 64-bit software available will make it impossible to install Adobe Reader 9.5 according to the currently simplest workaround. – user334639 Oct 8 '17 at 14:09
  • Is the i386 version of Wine likely to be among the "various software packages [that] will gradually lose support and become deprecated"? Are users going to have to ask for x64 builds of Windows applications to run in 64-bit Wine? – Damian Yerrick Dec 30 '17 at 16:31
  • @DamianYerrick, I guess so, but I don't know. Let us hope that someone who knows will chip in and answer your question about Wine. But I think you have better chances to get a good answer, if you ask a separate question about it here or maybe even better at the Wine web site, winehq.org – sudodus Dec 30 '17 at 17:19

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