back to article Out of Steam? Wine draining away? Ubuntu's 64-bit-only x86 decision is causing migraines

Canonical's decision to effectively ditch official support for 32-bit x86 in Ubuntu 19.10 means the Steam gaming runtime is likely to run aground on the Linux operating system – and devs say the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows apps will be of little use. As a result of the changes, Valve developer Pierre-Loup …

  1. Elledan

    Interesting

    So as Windows not only has continuing 32-bit, 64-bit and now 32 & 64-bit Linux (WSL) support, Linux (face it, at this point Ubuntu is 'Linux' for most people) is losing features?

    I'm still no huge fan of Windows 10, but I really appreciate how I can still run any old and new 32-bit Windows apps, even those using legacy APIs, and with WSL and the upcoming WSL2 integrate working with the Linux world into my day to day workflow without jumping through hoops.

    I wonder whether it's just a lack of resources on Canonical's side, or an actual difference in philosophy? If Ubuntu drops this support, does that mean that Mint Linux and Debian are also affected?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I think I read last Friday that Mint has declared no intent of dropping 32-bit support.

      Could someone confirm ?

      1. LenG

        Mint

        Well, the next release (19.2) will still be based off Ubuntu 18.04. Whether this means they will step up to the changes needed for new game drivers I can't say.

        Maybe steam should throw a few developers into the mix to help out.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Mint

          Maybe Mint should use Debian direct, or fork Debian. IMO, Mint is more important than Ubuntu and out side of Kool - Aid brigade is more popular. Ubuntu is too fashion orientated.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Mint

            Maybe Mint should use Debian direct,

            They already have that:

            https://linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Mint

          I suspect Ubuntu needs Steam far, far more than Steam needs Ubuntu. Why should Valve pay for Linux support, when less than 0.5% of their customers use any kind of Linux?

          (Source.)

          1. TVU

            Re: Mint

            "I suspect Ubuntu needs Steam far, far more than Steam needs Ubuntu. Why should Valve pay for Linux support, when less than 0.5% of their customers use any kind of Linux?"

            ^ I fully agree with this. Who would want to use Ubuntu without games or Wine? This move would have effectively destroyed Ubuntu on the desktop had it not been reversed (and yes, it was a climbdown and not a clarification).

            This was a truly inept and ill-considered decision hence the massive blowback that forced Canonical to change their minds but it should never have got to this stage. Something of this importance should have gone out to the official Ubuntu respins for consultation and someone would almost certainly have picked this up, "Hey, dude, have you really thought about this and the implications of what you have just proposed?".

        3. Cloudane

          Re: Mint

          Based off != clone of

          I'm not aiming this at you in particular, but the overall media with their sensationalism: Why would upstream dictate downstream? Debian never used to provide various proprietary or patented codecs etc because of their philosophy but that never stopped Ubuntu adding them, no one said "oh no, Debian says they won't bundle MP3 so now Ubuntu can't ever have MP3 support" (before the patents expired, but an example off the top of my head) so why should Ubuntu's decision to leave out 32-bit libraries (now somewhat reversed, but arguably not completely) stop Mint from adding them just like they add Cinnamon and numerous other things? That's the beauty of open source, it's not like Mark Shuttleworth is holding a gun to anyone's head and stopping them. Pop!OS devs have already said they'll put 32-bit back in if it disappears from Ubuntu.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Mint

            > it's not like Mark Shuttleworth is holding a gun to anyone's head

            I think given Wines i386 dependency, this is potentially both poor timing and a major blow to Ubuntu in pulling users in from Windows...

            Aside: re: Ubuntu is what the kids who don't do Linux use.

            Linux needs these kids (using Ubuntu or whatever) if it is to seriously challenge the position of Microsoft in the market...

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Not exactly. Apparently all they said is that they'll do what they can to keep the (Steam / Wine / 32-bit) lights on, but in effect it would be a band-aid: no 32-bit Ubuntu -> no 32-bit Mint either...

      3. Morten Bjoernsvik

        Mint

        95% of Mint is Ubuntu, it is just some fluff on the top, But as long at it is an LTS it will live for long.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Interesting

      If Ubuntu drops this support, does that mean that Mint Linux and Debian are also affected?

      There is no reason why a downstream decision would affect the upstream distro. Debian is notorious for its tendency to keep backward compat for as long as possible in order to bring maximum stability (recent decision about init systems notwithstanding).

    3. LordHighFixer

      Re: Interesting

      "(face it, at this point Ubuntu is 'Linux' for most people)"

      Really?? I had not heard. No one I know runs Ubuntu. Slackware, CentOS, RHEL, are most prominent in my circle of losers. Ubuntu is what the kids who don't do Linux use.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Interesting

        It's pretty much all Ubuntu here where I work (although I've been pushing Mint for desktops). The only other distro I ever encounter is Red Hat/Centos at companies that like to pay for things.

        (* edit, and Raspbian of course)

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Interesting

        I know loads of people running Mint, some RHEL/Centos, no-one using Ubuntu now. Unity killed that for people I know, though even Ubuntu is U turning on it.

        Also Gnome is too eye-candy. Mate, XFCE etc. Cinnamon if you want fancy.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Interesting

          Funnily enough, dropping Unity killed the distro for me. I tried to like the thin civility they put on Gnome, and there are things about gnome I like, but no. Too annoying after a week.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Interesting

            >Funnily enough, dropping Unity killed the distro for me. I tried to like the thin civility they put on Gnome, and there are things about gnome I like, but no. Too annoying after a week.

            Me too. I was already using Arch for my headless devices and I found Manjaro. At work I rarely see anything other than Redhat, OEL and CentOS.

        2. RegGuy1

          Re: Interesting

          Gnome 3 is shit (in MHO of course).

          1. Weiss_von_Nichts

            Re: Interesting

            Yes. Devs did everything possible to optimize GNOME for tablets when they were the latest craze. Now noone uses tablets and even fewer use GNOME.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting

      At this point, Linux has 32-bit and 64-bit support, not just on x86 but across a number of architectures.

      What this likely indicates is that Canonical thought they could drop 32-bit support with minimal pain. It turns out they can't.

      If in 6 months time, Canonical drop 32-bit support, I suspect you may see a shift away from Ubuntu. Or Canonical listen to their users and delay dropping 32-bit support until the requirement diminishes further..

      Time will tell...

    5. thames

      Re: Interesting

      Almost the entire desktop software environment in Linux went 64 bit many years ago. There's just a few edge cases left that use 32 bit, one of them happening to be older games ported over from other platforms (e.g. Windows).

      Arm and certain other embedded platforms are of course different, and 32 bit is still common there. In this case though we are talking strictly about PC desktops and servers.

      I suspect that what has happened in this case with Cannonical is that there has been a decisions to drop the purely 32 bit version of the desktop version of the distro, something already done with server without any serious problems that I am aware of. There isn't much 32 bit only hardware left around and you can run 32 bit applications on 64 bit just fine, so long as you have the 32 bit libraries.

      There has been plenty of notice given that the plan for longer term support of 32 bit legacy applications was through Snap packages, which allow application developers to bundle specific versions of libraries with their applications. Games were explicitly seen as being one major target for this, and it was supposed to be much better for game packagers than relying on standard distro-level versions of libraries.

      So far, so good. However, the people involved in implementing the lower level OS side of that decision don't seem to have been very familiar with certain parts of the market, specifically games. They assumed that people using 32 bit libraries only needed older versions of the libraries, not up to date ones and so could freeze the libraries at the 18.04 version. This appears to have been incorrect, and it now seems that at least some game developers (or distributors) need newer versions of at least some libraries.

      The solution is rather simple, Canonical just has to continue to package the latest version of 32 libraries and allow games and other niche legacy applications to be packaged with the specific libraries they need. I don't see this as being a big deal, as Canonical would be simply pulling these in from the original sources anyway. Updating them would probably require less work in the long run than freezing them, as it would allow security updates to be maintained more easily.

      What likely will happen is that the appropriate Ubuntu people will sit down with their counterparts at places like Steam and find out just what it is the game industry needs and figure out how to accommodate it. I suspect it will involve getting a list of the subset of 32 bit libraries which are actually used and need to be kept updated and then maintaining those.

      Wine may be a more difficult problem for those who want to install their Windows apps directly in the desktop rather than sticking them in a container. I'm not sure if there is really a solution there that doesn't involve some sort of Snap package (Snap is a package format that bundles application dependencies together in a cross-distro isolated format rather than in a highly integrated format like Apt).

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Interesting

        There has been plenty of notice given that the plan for longer term support of 32 bit legacy applications was through Snap packages, which allow application developers to bundle specific versions of libraries with their applications.

        And illustrating an issue with all these solutions (snap, flatpack, docker, whatever); if you can no longer build the libraries you're stuck anyway, it just lets you pretend for a while longer. While maybe easier to achieve than just static linking everything the effect in terms of long-term compatibility is not much different.

      2. thames

        Re: Interesting

        And in the latest update to the story, it appears that Canonical are doing exactly what I suggested they would. They will talk to developers and find out which 32 bit libraries they are actually using and support those.

        It turns out to have been a tempest in a teacup.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Interesting

          It turns out to have been a tempest in a teacup.

          It may turn out to have been a tempest in a teacup, but if so, it will have only been a result of having been a tempest in a teacup. Had there been no tempest, they would presumably have stuck with the plan to 86 x86.

    6. rcxb Bronze badge

      Re: Interesting

      > I really appreciate how I can still run any old and new 32-bit Windows apps

      Except for the laundry list of the many that you can't run... We've got various old Windows systems scattered all over this place because one or more critical applications doesn't work on even slightly newer versions of Windows. So the Win 98, 2000, XP, etc., systems keep chugging along, sometimes virtualized, sometimes on scavenged old retired hardware from other systems of the era. We wouldn't do it if we didn't have to. WINE on Linux does a better job running legacy Windows apps than newer releases of Windows.

    7. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Interesting

      Win10 will probably continue supporting 32-bit apps for a while yet, not out of the goodness of Microsoft's heart, but because the enterprise market would scream bloody murder, as nearly every company is too cheap to update those apps they've been using since 2004 or pay for maintenance. Although someone will probably be watching at MS and doing a study to see how well getting rid of 32-bit is received in the Linux community.

      It's kind of like when MS stopped supporting 16-bit apps natively, actually.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Interesting

        It's kind of like when MS stopped supporting 16-bit apps natively, actually.

        I still have 16-bit Windows applications that I use regularly (not least the last usable version of the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary CD-ROM).

        For a couple of years it amused me to point out to anyone who'd listen that while these Windows programs no longer ran on 64-bit Windows they worked perfectly on 64-bit Linux using Wine ... but Wine's support for 16-bit apps went away, and I now have to use a 32-bit Windows VM to run 16-bit code.

        I find all this rather annoying, because one of the much-vaunted advantages of Linux is its long-term support for older hardware and software. It seems all good things do come to an end.

        For Canonical already to be talking about dropping support for 32-bit code in 64-bit Linux does seem a couple of decades premature, though.

        1. Alan Bourke

          Re: Interesting

          They'll also work fine on 32-bit Windows 10. And on Windows 3.11 running on DosBOX on whatever bitness of whatever OS.

  2. Suricou Raven

    Valve should fix this.

    The solution seems obvious: Time to start pushing game devs to produce for 64-bit native support. Should have done it years ago.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Valve should fix this.

      Presumably they'll "fix" it by packaging Steam in a container or VM. This could confer other advantages as well.

      1. Mykilr

        Re: Valve should fix this.

        @Suricou Raven

        Even if Steam enforce a 64bit policy on new games, older games are unlikely to get updated in this way.

        @Charlie Clark

        Many games will not perform well (at all) in a VM without dedicating a GPU (along with a monitor or switch) for pass-through. I think containers would still require some 32 bit libraries.

        Not saying those are bad ideas, just that there are some hurdles to get over.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Valve should fix this.

          Nothing to do with Valve.

          I use WINE purely for old Windows programs. None are 64 bit, most won't work on 64bit Win7 or 64 Win10. Even the VB6 RS232 OCX works on 32 bit WINE. I can't get it to work on any 64 bit windows. Yet you get 64 bit Wine and no 32 bit support already on some distros. You then have to remove it, set some environment stuff and libraries to get the 32 bit Wine.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Valve should fix this.

          Right, but virtualisation should allow some degree of standardisation. Nothing to stop Valve shipping the relevant libraries and drivers with Steam. But I'm also sure they know how many (or how few) this really affects.

          Even though it probably doesn't make much difference to their work, I can understand why Ubuntu, along with Apple and Microsoft, taking the decision to drop support for i386 code. Over time it should make maitenance a bit easier. Of course, Apple's own policy, which currently warns me that a couple of my apps will no longer be supported in future versions, may hold me back from upgrades. But then I quite often wait a while, while they fix all the bugs that the new, "magical" versions of MacOS inevitably bring with them. But on the Posix side I think it's been x86_64 for a while now.

          1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
            Stop

            Re: Valve should fix this.

            > Nothing to stop Valve shipping the relevant libraries and drivers with Steam

            No, it can't. One of the big, vital things is the OpenGL library, which it needs to link to dynamically to get graphics acceleration; another issue is that shipping older versions of libstdc++ will cause drivers to not load if they're built against newer ones(I've had to deal with this more than a few times). Proper multilib support is vital for Steam to run properly on amd64 installs.

          2. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Valve should fix this.

            I don't know about Apple, but Windows hasn't dropped WOW64. That's what we're really talking about here; the ability to run 32-bit programs in a 64-bit OS.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: start pushing game devs

      Most gamers I know got off the GPU upgrade treadmill on Windows and have consoles on their 55" 4K tellys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: start pushing game devs

        ...So what?

    3. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Valve should fix this.

      They have a large back catalog of 32-bit titles that people still want to be able to use, and that they want to keep selling. Even if the new ones are 64-bit only (and I would think that would be the case even without this Ubuntu thing), the old ones are still relevant.

      In the case of WINE, they say that most of the installers are 32-bit even if the programs themselves are 64-bit, and certainly Windows devs are only concerned with whether it works on Windows. I would like it much if developers for the Windows platform would take care to make their products at least WINE compatible if they don't wish to do a full Linux port, games and otherwise, but I'm not sure any of them ever have considered it.

      1. TVU

        Re: Valve should fix this.

        "I would like it much if developers for the Windows platform would take care to make their products at least WINE compatible if they don't wish to do a full Linux port, games and otherwise, but I'm not sure any of them ever have considered it"

        While the developers of the image editor PhotoLine don't produce a Linux version, what they do is make sure that their product works well with Wine so that Linux users can use their competent image editor.

        I wish that more companies would adopt that more Linux-friendly approach (here's looking at you, Serif Affinity).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has been the case on EPEL for years

    Wine on EPEL for RHEL/CentOS is 64 bit, only. No 32 bit support, at all. And it's a deliberate choice, since RHEL7 shipped, it's been like that for literally years.

    So, well, welcome to the club.

    https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1117422

    1. Speeddymon

      Re: This has been the case on EPEL for years

      Not only that but Fedora is dropping support for 32 bit libraries in the next release.

      I believe that the reason distros are going this route is to facilitate allowing the Linux kernel to eventually (5+years from now) drop support for i686 the same way they dropped support for i386 a couple of years ago.

    2. harbottle
      Happy

      Re: This has been the case on EPEL for years

      https://gitlab.com/harbottle/wine32

      sudo yum -y install https://harbottle.gitlab.io/wine32/7/i386/wine32-release.rpm

      sudo yum -y install wine.i686

      32bit wine on RHEL/CentOS 7 that works perfectly alongside EPEL 64bit version :)

  4. DropBear Silver badge

    So, considering that a "solution" like 18.04 that is end-of-life _and_ end-of-the-road in a few years is not worth wasting another word on, what is the current "best option" / "most mainstream" for people who need a low-friction distro that "just works" but who also need to keep running Steam and Wine? Will future versions of Mint avoid this problem? Would one need to go back all the way to Debian? Something else...? And none of the "first, start a virtual machine..." / "just use Docker" / "in Snaps we trust" / whatever other nonsense, please...

    1. It's just me

      Ubuntu 18.04 is not anywhere near EOL, it is the current LTS version and will receive updates for the next 4 years.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Unhappy

        4 years? That's just an instant. We'll be there before we know it.

        I'm with Dropbear on that, I have lots of (very) old DOS/Windows games I still like to play every now and then (don't like new stuff), and this will influence my choice of distro: I'm on Mint right now, but when Mint (due to Ubuntu) goes 64-bit only, I'll have to move. I don't want to, but I need the OS to run my programs, not the other way round.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Why not just use DOSBox or a VM to run your old DOS & Windows games? Those should run on any distro for the foreseeable future.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Speed and ease of use - My laptop isn't a powerhouse, and the overhead of running Virtualbox and a whole another OS on top of everything makes some of those games run too slowly (or even not at all). I guess there are solutions and fixes to that (like buying a new computer...), but nothing beats the ease of use of just starting a program like if it was native.

            Yes, I am aware that this argument is lost to the "new & shiny" crowd, for whom both myself and my favorite games are just leftover junk from primitive times, holding them back in their pursuit of even more "new" and even more "shiny". I'm truly sorry, I'm doing my best to not get much older... :-p

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It's lazyness and fashion.

    It's not hard, with most programs and the OS to build for 32bit & 64bit. It's not like 16 bit Windows / programs / drivers/ DOS vs 32 bit unsegmented console, services, drivers, OS and applications.

    It's really really stupid, because the one BIG advantage of Linux is backward compatibility, vs trying to run older or 32 windows programs on 64bit Win 10.

    Similarly Viber and Waterfox being 64 bit only is really stupid. There is a lot of 32bit HW out there people want to use and for most applications there is no difference 32bit vs 64bit.

    I've some old 32 bit HW that's far faster than much newer 64 bit Atom based junk.

    1. Nate Amsden

      Re: It's lazyness and fashion.

      Can't say backwards compatibility in Linux has ever been good (Linux user since 1996). So I can't believe how you can say it is a big advantage. I have a bunch of Loki games which I'm sure don't have a prayer of running in any modern linux distro (probably not even one in the last 10 years). Windows has far better (though not perfect) backwards compatibility (though I have not tried anything newer than Windows 7 for old games anyway).

      Last time I used Wine in linux was probably when Cedega was still around(which by the looks of it was 10+ years ago). I hardly ever play games these days, if I do need a game on windows then I reboot my laptop which is dual boot Mint/Win7), but that is maybe once or twice a year these days(I have no games on Linux that I play). The most time I've spent gaming the past ~5 years has been Fallout 4 (probably 2000+ hours) and GTA 5 (offline only, probably 600+ hours) both on regular PS4. Last game I recall playing very seriously in Linux was the original Unreal Tournament probably ~2001 (Loki version of course on 3DFX Voodoo3 I think).

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: It's lazyness and fashion.

        "I have a bunch of Loki games which I'm sure don't have a prayer of running in any modern linux distro"

        How sure are you? I have a bunch of old Loki games and they all still run fine in my modern Linux distro.

  6. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    WTF!

    32 bts? The 1990's called and want their CPU architecture back!

    1. John Gamble
      Boffin

      Re: WTF!

      Hmm. Itanium was introduced in 2001. Opteron was introduced in 2003.

      Yes, I know there were >32 bit processors out before that (I have very fond memories of working with CDC's 60bit machines), but that's not the context here.

      In fact, looking back, what's astonishing is how fast 32bitness fell to the wayside. I was supporting both 16bit and 32bit machines into the early or mid 1990s before we were finally able to say No More to 16bit architectures.

  7. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    Didnt steam start work on a SteamOS a while back?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Bsaed on Ubuntu, I believe...

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    This is not a surprise

    So why aren't Steam etc prepared for this?

    Mind you Adobe is still using 32bit binaries on MacOS 10.14 and they have known for years that 32bit is on its way out but will they do anything about it? Do pigs fly?

    1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: This is not a surprise

      Valve's not prepared because it can't be: 32-bit applications require 32-bit libraries and almost the entirety of their catalogue is 32-bit. Targeting a distribution willing to implement proper multilib(which isn't difficult) is the only logical course of action.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is not a surprise

        That sounds like a Valve problem, not an Ubuntu problem.

  9. Ben XO

    What's unclear to me from the article is whether they're only dropping support for 32-bit builds of Ubuntu, or if they're also dropping the 32-bit compatibility libraries that you install to get 32-bit programs to work on a 64-bit env (that is, the libc6-i386 package).

    If it's just the former, then I don't see how this would impact Steam or Wine.

    1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

      They're gimping multiarch as well. They've just backtracked a bit, but only just as much as major printer drivers, Steam and Wine require.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I guess with Canonical making their money from the support from Ubuntu perhaps they have decided the amount it costs them to maintain and support a 32bit outweighs the benefits.

    While Ubuntu is the most well know Linux distro I am sure that other distros will still be there to fill the void and offer 32bit support for those who want it.

  11. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    More Important Than They Think

    One of its best features is the ability to run legacy Windows apps in Wine. There's still a tremendous number of businesses and users who depend upon those legacy apps. Much more than the 'experts' realize and mitigation is not just some 'whim'.

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not as if they're the only ones.

    RHEL7.5 onwards is x64 only, no x86

    RHEL8 is fully 64-bit only (not just x64 - Arm32 is gone too)

    Support for actual i386 cpus (as in: no fpu) was dropped a long time ago and 32-bit x86 cpus are a distant memory at this point.

    A lot of this is driven by one simple problem: Nobody is developing for these items anymore.

    If you were to step up and take over the mantle (and you're good enough) then perhaps the reign of the 32-bit environment could continue, but unless someone's willing to do it, things stagnate.

    I'm minded of the story of the guy in the rowing club who used to do do various bits and pieces on Saturday mornings to keep the place tidy because he liked doing so - until he got yelled at by some entitled brats for not keeping it tidy enough. That was the day he stopped.

    1. MattPi

      Re: Not as if they're the only ones.

      RHEL7.5 onwards is x64 only, no x86

      There wasn't a 32-bit install since RHEL7.0. There's a AltArch i386 CentOS spin (among other interesting architectures), but that's it. I'm actually pretty surprise the game people didn't see this coming and find a workaround, but that probably says more about my lack of imagination than tech.

      Realistically, we're to the point where my beloved Amigas are: either get an emulator/VM with GPU pass-thru, or build yourself a dedicated "old game" box with Windows 7/XP (or an older version of Linux) and play on that.

      (FWIW, KVM VMs on LInux support GPU passthrough, so it's not like you have to get exotic or anything)

  13. tempemeaty
  14. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Terminator

    Old Hat

    What ancient architectures are no longer considered canonical? i386? i486? i586? i686? x86_64? ia64? All of the above?

  15. bazza Silver badge

    What about...

    ...thunking? Surely it'd not be impossible to auto-produce the necessary thunked 32bit libs?

    Not that I'm advocating it, far from it, just pointing out that it's possible. However, breaking old stuff regardless of the consequences seems very, well, Jobsian...

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    ...getting ready with my sheild for the downvotes. I've always liked Windows but I like the idea of Linux. I like its free and gives people the option if they can't afford a Windows license or decide they just don't want to use Windows. Or if you're a system builder, you can at least give away an OS with no extra cost in the form of Linux. At least there are options. But Linux doesn't make it easy. You see posts from people over the net saying "Why use Windows, move to Linux" or "Linux is my main system, I only go into Windows if I'm desperate for something that doesn't work on Linux" or "Everyone should start moving to Linux what with Windows 10 intrusiveness". But the problem is, not everyone is a tech. People just want stuff to work, and unfortunately Windows 10, for the most part, does just 'work'. But Linux can be an arse to get working for a non technical person and now this. Hmmm.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm...

      People just want stuff to work, and unfortunately Windows 10, for the most part, does just 'work'. But Linux can be an arse to get working for a non technical person and now this.

      Windows 10 normally comes preinstalled. If you bought a PC with Linux preinstalled, you wouldn't have to get it working. Linux is no harder to install than Windows these days, but most people never install Windows, or any other OS.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm...

      "People just want stuff to work, and unfortunately Windows 10, for the most part, does just 'work'. But Linux can be an arse to get working for a non technical person and now this."

      I find just the opposite. Linux "just works", and Windows 10 requires a day or two of fiddling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm...

        >I find just the opposite. Linux "just works", and Windows 10 requires a day or two of fiddling.

        Me too. With Linux, install a minimal version of the OS and then add on the stuff you need. With Windows, spend days trying to get rid of the gigabytes of crap that you didn't want or ask for.

  17. tcmonkey
    WTF?

    Valve still have developers? Wow. With all the talent they’ve lost lately I thought all they did these days was sit atop their pile of money and play with themselves whilst Sony, Microsoft and friends get ever closer in the rear view mirror.

  18. jonfr

    ReactOS

    Steam can always support ReactOS and help them to get out of their current beta status.

    https://reactos.org/

    It works more or less like Windows 2000 today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ReactOS

      Which means it's about FOUR generations behind and still slipping. Get the hint? PLUS they're chasing a moving target.

  19. Michael Jarve

    For the past several months, I've been running a bit of an experiment- running Ubuntu 18.04 from a 16GB USB 3 stick, and Steam/Proton on an additional 128GB USB 3 stick. Two USB sticks, an Intel Core I5-2500K, an MSI Lightning GTX-780, 8GB of RAM, and that's it. The idea was to see if, once and for all, Linux could be a true "daily driver" OS/environment for me. Before this, gaming was my one hangup with Linux. Wine could be pressed into service, but to get any particular Win32 app to work often took more effort than it was worth. Play on Linux was certainly a step forward, for non-Steam games or applications, but Steam with Proton makes using Linux for gaming as simple as pie, with few bugs and little noticeable drop in performance in games (which for me are mostly Bethesda ES/FO games). I've had to fallback on my Win 10 installation only to back-up/sync my iPhone before an OS upgrade, or to access my Windows stripped array to get to old files. If you told me 18 months ago that I would be booting into Linux daily for work and play, I'd have said you're daft. Now, however, I've come to appreciate the simplicity and utility that Ubuntu has to offer. Fully booted, at idle, it uses a mere ~800MB of RAM, and the processor is practically comatose (as an aside, there was a time, of course when even 1GB of RAM seemed to be fantasy to me, having been brought up on a fully loaded IBM PC XT with 640KB of RAM and 10 MB double-height 5.25" HDD).

    Having said as much, if/when Ubuntu drops support for x86 to make life easier on its talented and dedicated developers, I will be forced to go back to Windows, and not be easily tempted back. Even Microsoft, some day, will decide to drop support for x86 (without VMs/Containers, etc), but I actually don't see that happening in my lifetime. Steam OS, which is also based on Debian, could prove a viable alternative for gamers, but only for the narrow focus of gaming, not being an every-day OS you could easily fool your mother into using. The entire point of Ubuntu, I thought was to create a version of Linux that would not frighten away the casual user, and would be as easy (or easier, in my experience with 18.04) to install and use as Windows. Dropping support for an entire, still widely used, architecture is certainly a step backwards. Saying "Run it in a VM" (with the necessary performance loss, if it runs at all) is the wrong message even if it's something as trivial as gaming. If it's not a turn-key solution, it's not going to be an easy sell as an alternative.

  20. Roxor

    So, does this mean there's no Linux equivalent to Microsoft's WOW64?

    Forgive my ignorance. I only moved to Linux a few months ago.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PoS

    Sadly this illustrates why Linux remains insignificant on desktops. Hundreds of distros and disparate efforts and arguments rather than a cohesive effort to push MS off the desktop. Meanwhile Evil Android expands and will take over on the desktop.

    1. Alan Bourke

      Re: PoS

      Why would Android take over the desktop when Linux won't?

      The issue is the software people run in businesses, and the games world, is Windows and installed locally. Until that changes neither Linux or Android (or Mac) will make any inroads.

  22. ExpatZ

    And that is one of the MANY reasons I don't use Ubuntu.

  23. Cloudane

    Why do we act like Linux distros are closed source these days? Surely there are plenty of solutions for this - put them back yourself via custom packages or even compiled from source, shove 'em back on with a PPA as and when someone makes one, create yet another Ubuntu fork, use one of the myriad of existing forks... jump on the Pop!OS bandwagon for example as they've announced they'll put 32-bit back in downstream if it disappears from upstream.

    Linux is open source software! Let's not panic about what one has-been distro decides to do with their offical repos.

  24. fredesmite Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    When I think of cesspools and shitholes

    Ubuntu tops the list

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: When I think of cesspools and shitholes

      While Ubuntu has never given me anything but headaches, I think RHEL actually tops the cesspool list.

  25. DrBed

    recapitulation

    Ubuntu = Schmubuntu.

    If they become unbearable, we'll switch to LMDE ("Debian Mint"), Manjaro etc.

    Let them Mir, Unity, WSL, Gnome3 & "128-bit cloud apps only" to make money with.

  26. JohnFen Silver badge

    An even better solution

    "So, in short, Canonical will try to keep some older legacy i386 software running in some shape or form in the future, but it really, really doesn't want to, and thus you're better off just running Ubuntu on 64-bit x86, or one of its other supported CPU architectures."

    A better solution is to switch to a more reasonable distro.

  27. Mike_R

    Happy U-turn

    "Thanks to the huge amount of feedback this weekend from gamers,

    Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community, we will change our plan and

    build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

    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.

    Community discussions can sometimes take unexpected turns, and this is

    one of those.(...)"

    Statement:

    https://blog.ubuntu.com/2019/06/24/statement-on-32-bit-i386-packages-for-ubuntu-19-10-and-20-04-lts

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just run a 32 bit OS in a VM with GPU passthrough via vfio and bitch at nvidia until they stop crippling their geforce drivers with logic bombs that try to block that.

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