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.
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.
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
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.isoand 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.