Jun 05 2015

UPDATED: Should OpenMandriva keep supporting i586?

That was the main question we asked OpenMandriva Association (OMA) Members and now want to ask all the community. The OMA members said Yes – Keep supporting it (56%), presenting as the main reasons that we need to keep supporting legacy technology that is still widely used around the world, specially in development countries that use legacy machines not only for personal use but for teaching and working. Also members stated that i586 should be bumped for i686, but not stop supporting 32 bits. Also, in a more casuistry approach, supporting it will be critical to some users that use 32 bits only software or have 32 bits machines, or it is critical for keep using OpenMandriva and spreading it’s name in various levels. Regarding our Sourceforge statistics we can say that our downloads of 32 bits editions are in average 30%, but going down since OpenMandriva Lx 2013. Now we would like to listen to you, what’s your opinion?

 

Community, have your say! The poll will open during 1 week, closing June 12th 23.59 CEST

UPDATED: Community voted and the results show that 67% believe that is a good idea to keep supporting the 32bit architecture. The reasons go in the same direction that the above (from the members responses); supporting legacy hardware, that OMA has a lot of users in countries where 32bit architecture are very common. Some people suggest moving to i686, others say that the advantage of this switch is unoticed to “common user”, other suggest cooperating in this field and ARM with other communities like Mageia.

Council + TC + Cooker we have listened to the Members, the Community, now it’s your decision.

15 comments

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    • Bero on June 5, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Ideally, I’d like to drop 32 bit support — it is causing more and more maintenance nightmares, especially because none of our developers are using 32 bit systems anymore. Running 32 bit only software is not a problem on a 64 bit OS, you just need to install some compat libraries (which we will continue to provide in any case).

    There’s still a few 32-bit only Atoms around, maybe a few Celerons from >10 years ago – so that’s the possible reason to keep a 32 bit build going.

    I’d urge to at least drop i586 in favor of i686 though — i586 class machines haven’t been around for a LONG time (and I’d be extremely surprised if anyone managed to find an i586 class machine that still has enough memory to run a modern version of OpenMandriva Lx! If you have such a machine, please really let me know), and a few upstream projects (such as compiler-rt, a core library of the clang compiler we’re using these days) have dropped support for pre-i686 CPUs. Outside of getting rid of the headache of working around compiler-rt and the likes not supporting the target CPU, if we allow the compiler to generate code for i686+ only, applications will be slightly smaller and faster.

    • Ben79 on June 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    While I did vote against seeing the reasons I can’t disagree with keeping it. Changing to i686 may be a good thing but we’d need to listen to folks who have 32-bit computers regarding that. All my computers are 64-bit.

  1. Try install an x86_64 system into an i586 , and you know why,
    we should have ever an other change, to take out the old Computers and have an other possibility,
    also the peoples, where need not more as only an i586.
    It should give ever an other possibility . Manny of us have 2 or more Architectures at home,
    an “old” (but well working) Computer, a more new and an Tablet or Handy
    (yup, Handy be today also computers, small computers but also computer..
    i think on my s3 mini and on my Galaxy10.1 Tab. so ARM.. ehh,
    but we have already systems for they are, do we need ARM or other Architectures ?
    Why should we remove our history ?
    It has help fur building up this x86_64 Architecture , why should we it cut up.. if we can/have learn about .. ?
    Never forget the history, never cut it off !
    With the last word, you can install an i586 System into an x86_64, but not vice versa.
    And never forget the history !

    best regards
    Blacky

    • Maik on June 6, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I only have one machine left which is on 32-bit (an AMD Athlon 2600) which is also my favourite Linuxbox. I remember running Mandriva Linux 2009-2011 on it.

    The only thing I am a bit concerned about is that from what I have heard from the wine-team is that apparently you can’t run 16-bit code on 64-Bit anymore. This would drop the support for Windows 3.1 applications from which I still have quite a few (mostly DTP-stuff).

    • rugyada on June 6, 2015 at 8:02 am

    People who are going to answer “Yes, keep support i586” please first ask yourselves “How can I contribute? Am I willing and ready to test and report any found issue, try to help with bugsquashing and fixing?” etc.
    Community is not only ask & grab. Community is also cooperate, help and contribute 😉

  2. Hi Rugy 🙂

    we are now more as 2 Years on it, don’t you think that this is one thing the leadership is ?
    only 2 peoples where comes from f … how ever, we should stay on the topic,
    And yes, it should comes an english fresh wind on it.. but this have nothing to do with dropping an Architecture .
    The advertise for members is another thing .
    And a Community can well build up, if the upper floors fits ..
    and i be happy to be you on it, Joao, Itchka TPG, JCL, Itchka, Fedya, Kate and Avokhmin 🙂

    best regards
    your Blacky 🙂

    • TPG on June 6, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I’m in favour of dropping i586. This will help us to put more focus on ARM which contrary to i586 have a bright future.

    • luca on June 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    this week om2014.1 had 444 64bit downloads and 198 i586 downloads
    i think it is still a significant percentage.

    • Dmeadows on June 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    If you drop i586 support, there are other distros that do support it. In trying to keep a little consistency between systems.. makes those more attractive. I, at least at this time, have no interest in ARM.

  3. We think the migration i586 to i686 is the best, in our communitty still exist people with that kind of hardware.
    But even when the OpenMandriva users are x86_64 only at the moment, is good to have choice 😉

    • anoobi on June 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    ARM is gaining its place. It cannot just be ignored.
    But i voted yes because i am currently using i586 distro on various machines and for various reasons.
    Dropping i586 means to drop older hardware compatibility, but what if people come to know they can resuscitate their machines with OMA and not only with Lubuntu?
    Plus, I am not talking about fossils. It’s just that, for example, there are little to no advantages in installing x86_64 on a 64bit processor when you have less than 4 GB RAM.
    A i686 switch is welcome to me, though.

    If ARM and 32bit are mutually exclusive, we might sponsor (or collaborate with) Mageia i586 if they agree. That should be a “close enough” solution for us, users of i586, in case this drop reveals to be mandatory to get ARM.

    • Shalok Shalom on June 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I drop my opinion already 1 year ago: https://forums.openmandriva.org/en/discussion/770/focus-on-one-arch

    If TPG is right and the maintainence of i586 is such easy, why this poll, please ?

    For me, its clear: Yes, some people in other coutrys use still 32 Bit computer.
    And yes, its sensefull, that they get a proper OS for theire devices.

    To be honest: What can these hardware provide ?

    Surf in the Web, Office, play Music and Videos.

    I think, to be honest, ROSA, Debian, Slackware and others are fine options, to offer these options. 🙂

    I know, that some people want to see OpenMandriva on any device.

    Is this really doable ?

    As far as i know, is the team already in trouble and lacks human power, correct ?

    The team have to maintain a lot more devices and setups, if they succeed with 32 Bit further.

    So, projects like Chakra decide to drop 32 Bit Support and just ask them, how they life with that choice.

    I guess OpenMandriva is a modern distribution, fast updates, build much as possible with llvm, so drop the support for devices, which are 10 years old and more, is maybe suitable ?

    • Colin Close on June 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I think bero has proposed an excellent compromise here. There are many people who have i686 machines also there are many places in the world that are only too grateful to receive the cast off PC’s from the wealthier nations. As a community we would be being very selfish to deny them access to an operating system that may ultimately help them improve their lives. Mandriva has a history is places like Africa. Of course decisions like this have to be reviewed on a regular basis because there will come a time a time perhaps not too far ahead where it is appropriate to give up 32 bit support. As regards the extra effort required to support it? Well most of the time I suspect it is fine but when a major component fails some work does need to be done and it is then that we hear the get rid of i586 calls come in. I can even envisage a situation where supporting i686 could even gain us human resources (devs/QA) from countries who still wish to use it if we could only find a way to reach them.

    • Matthias on June 9, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Please follow the discussion about the port to i686: https://forums.openmandriva.org/en/discussion/996/port-i586-to-i686#latest

    • itchka on June 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I have just done a little research prompted by a post in the om-cooker mailing list. It seems that there are some uses for i5/686 type processors over and above those that involve machines that end up the less weathy countries. One significant area is in car computing and I wonder whether any of our users have an interest in this as it seems to me that this might be an orpportunity to produce a iso that addresses this function.
    The other fairly significant usage of these processors are thin clients which the quoted post points out could be significant in schools and universities. Again though this calls for a specific group of packages to be assembled into a workable iso. Our build tools do allow us to create such iso’s but it involves a significant amount of work in both developing and testing.
    If there was a group willing to take on one or both of these tasks it would greatly strengthen the case for retaining the i5/686 repositories.

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