How does the impending ubuntugeddon affect the Julia community

Probably not directly, as even the official Julia docker is on Debian, but I’m just kind of curious about everyone’s mood on this subject.

For those not aware, Ubuntu is “dropping 32 bit support” (not necessarily the best article on the subject). To be honest, I’m not entirely sure exactly what that means, but the implication seems to be that all 32-bit libraries will be dropped from the repos. The negative implications of this seem to be primarily with video games. There is finally a pretty substantial effort by valve and others to make Linux a viable OS for gaming, and this throws a wrench in that, at least for anyone using Ubuntu. To be honest, my perception that this will be a disaster for Ubuntu comes more from me following news on the efforts to bring gaming to linux than anything else.

I’m wondering if this has a big effect on anyone in the Julia community, and whether there will be an Ubuntu exodus. For personal stuff, I strongly prefer Manjaro, although I am still living with PopOS (an Ubuntu branch) on my best laptop because of hardware issues. At my job, we use Ubuntu images by default, although I’ve long been suggesting that we move to Arch or at least Debian. I don’t expect this to have any effect on me, even when it is merged into LTS in 20.04, but I’m not quite sure.

Any thoughts?

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Another question to ask, what libraries used in Julia and Julia packages depend of 32-bit support?

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RIP : Ubuntu ⛬ 32bit Julia :cry:

It can be run via 64bit host …

$ docker run -it julia32bit julia
   _       _ _(_)_     |  Documentation:
  (_)     | (_) (_)    |
   _ _   _| |_  __ _   |  Type "?" for help, "]?" for Pkg help.
  | | | | | | |/ _` |  |
  | | |_| | | | (_| |  |  Version 1.0.3
 _/ |\__'_|_|_|\__'_|  |  Ubuntu ⛬  julia/1.0.3+dfsg-4
|__/                   |

julia> versioninfo()
Julia Version 1.0.3
Platform Info:
  OS: Linux (i686-linux-gnu)
  CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU       M 540  @ 2.53GHz
  LIBM: libopenlibm
  LLVM: libLLVM-6.0.0 (ORCJIT, westmere)


my Dockerfile

FROM i386/ubuntu:19.04
RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y julia && rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*


$ docker build -t julia32bit .

I work on a 10 year old Thinkpad T500 with a 32bit Core2Duo. At the moment i use a Lubuntu 16.04 and need a 32bit version of everything. I don’t buy new shit because of this movement. Never change a running system :slight_smile:


The Linux distro you run Julia on is mostly immaterial from a Julia perspective. If this is otherwise a concern for some people, they will just move on to another distro. Going from one Linux to another is quite easy. I don’t think that Julia is directly affected.

That said, the main downside for me would be all those legacy binaries that still come in 32-bit (yes, for products manufactured in 2019; the mind boggles). Maybe this will make them release 64-bit ones.

I wouldn’t hold your breath. :laughing:

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Me too! I had used Ubuntu for a long time, tried Arch but it’s too manual for my taste. Very happy with Manjaro though

The only device I own that needed 32-bit binaries were my Brother printers. I just checked and Brother released 64-bit drivers in 2019 March, so I guess I will be fine. Decent manufacturers do move with the times.

Frankly, I think this is

  1. absolutely not an issue for Julia,
  2. not an issue for most Linux users,
  3. a minor issue for some people, which they can work around.

I don’t understand why people try to blow this out of proportion. If someone insists on running legacy hardware, they always have Debian, which is rock-solid and supports all of these ancient architectures.

Probably on my next machine I will install Debian anyway, for orthogonal reasons (I find that following testing is better than getting upgrades 2x a year).


The Core2Duo is a 64bit processor, so please don’t fuel the “ubuntugeddon” with incorrect information.

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Good point. AFAIK the last 32-bit Intel desktop/laptop CPUs were the Core Solo/Duo, discontinued in early 2008.

Also, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, which has 32-bit, will be supported until April, 2023. I find the whole ubuntugeddon sentiment a bit silly.

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Yes, especially as it has been already been cancelled:

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I’m on Manjaro (which is based of arch), and arch dropped “32bit support” a while ago. However they only dropped running on 32bit hardware, there are still 32 bit libraries in the repositories.

It sounds like Ubuntu wants to be more drastic than that. I wonder how much time/disk space is required for the 32bit libraries. I’d also think Ubuntu would have good logs to see how often those libraries where downloaded/required by other applications. They should have been able to do “research” into how big of a disruption removing them would be.

The issue is, of course, not disk space. Read the announcement @laborg linked above: the real issue is having a bunch of libraries few people ever use any more, so they are not tested that much, nor do they get security audits.

I still don’t get the hubaloo about Valve etc. AFAIK Steam has its own PPA repository. They can maintain what they want without Ubuntu cooperating (of course it is nice if someone does the work for you).

I am sorry that Ubuntu backed down so quickly about this. When you have the source (as everyone has for their own software, hardware vendors for their drivers, Valve for Steam, etc), supporting legacy architectures is a continuously recurring cost, vs the one-time transition cost which would benefit everyone.

Uhm, that seems mutually exclusive…

Then there shouldn’t have been many people complaining…but if Steam is using them and many people are using Steam, then they are being used by lots of people…maybe just not by the people who test the software?

I can understand people not wanting to fix old libraries that have been around forever…but that would be a great place for Steam/Valve to step up and start maintaining those libraries. :slight_smile:

That was what I really did not understand about this initially. Lots of distributions have dropped 32-bit installers (which presumably means 32-bit kernels and kernel modules), but I was pretty surprised to hear they’d be expunging 32-bit libraries from their repositories.

I think the issue is that they were expecting the distributions to maintain the libraries, and it might be some effort for them to trace down every library they need and start hosting them in a PPA. Unfortunately this is still a very secondary concern for Valve. As Microsoft’s efforts to take over the world have repeatedly fallen flat on their face, Valve hasn’t had to worry about this sort of thing much, and they are extremely worried about the Epic games store. It’s a small miracle that Valve has continued to put any effort into linux at all.

I believe the decision has been reversed.
It might be worth discussing how many people use Julia on Raspberry Pi.
Even that platform is now beginning to be 64 bit with the announcement of the Pi 4 yesterday.

I really do think 32 bit distros have had their day. Sad to say it - I would imagine there is a lot of industrial control equipment still running on 32 bit platforms. But time marches on.