Do we need 32 bit OSs anymore?

Discussion in 'Computer Software and Operating Systems' started by Flame, Jul 18, 2019.

?
  1. 32 bit

    4 vote(s)
    5.9%
  2. 64 bit

    64 vote(s)
    94.1%
  1. Flame
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    With Ubuntu saying that it will drop 32bit images and then changing they minds and saying they support some select packages and what not because of WINE and steam.

    imo the decision to drop 32 bit was a good move. why maintain something which is used by almost nobody any more. put effort and time into 64 bit.

    imo Microsoft should drop 32 bit too.


    what are your thoughts?
     
  2. Memoir

    Memoir Hi, I'm Cynical!

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    Dropping 32bit in its entirety could screw things up. There was a huge blow up over it at r/linux_gaming. Interesting reads.
     
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  3. boomerang42

    boomerang42 Member

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    I recently couldn't install a game I own on 64 bit Windows because the installer is 16 bit (which means it needs a 32 bit OS to run).

    That kind of situation is mostly rare but there are reasons to keep 32 bit around.
     
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  4. Vorde

    Vorde GBAtemp Fan

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    I would say that it shouldn't be done because there's a lot of legacy 32 bit hardware out there that's still being used in business. If you had a million dollar server from the late 90s that was 32bit but still performed fairly decently, it's best to leave them in a state where updates and simple security fixes will come about. It's understandable to stop supporting future additions of features, but stopping updates altogether and leaving them out in the cold to get hacked seems pretty unreasonable
     
  5. Lacius

    Lacius GBAtemp Legend

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    Support for 32-bit operating systems should be dropped. Nobody should be using a device that can't run a 64-bit operating system, and issues involving depreciated, specialized hardware that only works with 32-bit operating systems (e.g. medical equipment) can continue to be used with old operating systems, preferably in a sandboxed environment.
     
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  6. tech3475

    tech3475 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I think you're confusing 32bit software support with 32bit OSs.

    32bit software is still fairly common, even 64bit software still uses 32bit components. Just looking at task manager in windows I see allot of 32bit processes.

    We could likely drop 32bit OSs with minimal complaint outside of legacy stuff (e.g. DOS/16bit support), I've only ever seen 32bit windows installations on those cheap ATOM tablets these days.
     
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  7. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

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    I still got a 32bit OS on me laptop.
    I'm fine with it tbh, a whole lot of compatibility with old flashers/hacking tools.
     
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  8. bodefuceta

    bodefuceta GBAtemp Regular

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    Of course. Not maintaining it is just lazy, look up how many archs are supported by Debian and it's not even a company with resources like canonical. Being based on Debian they don't even need to do most of the work. I agree Ubuntu totally sucks on older machines, though. Actually Ubuntu just sucks, it's unbelievable how bloated even their Server versions are. We'll always have Gentoo that supports anything so it's gonna be fine anyway.
     
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  9. Flame
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    thanks. but i mean go 64bit only. OS, software, everything.

    in the linux world they has been this thing about that at the moment.

    https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/06/ubuntu-is-dropping-all-32-bit-support-going-forward

    we can still use virtual box if needed.
     
    Last edited by Flame, Jul 18, 2019
  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    For a day to day use OS you could make a convincing case -- most hardware still viable at this point should be 64 bit compatible.

    That said I have plenty of legacy hardware still in service that works fine on 32 bit versions of new OSes but struggles with 64 bit, and plenty that requires 32 bit older OSes. Some of it I can/have virtualised, or even figured out a way to punch the drivers hard enough that things work again, but other times if it if fancy cards, dongles, serial ports using the weird stuff rather than boring TTL and such like you need hardware. Most of the time a well set up OS sorts problems well enough if it also has to reach out into the world but other times you can run into "needs to be a current OS" because security or something similar.
     
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  11. tech3475

    tech3475 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I've heard of it and the Steam/games backlash.

    One problem as I said is that 32bit software is fairly common even if it says '64 bit', at least on windows and VMs may not be adequate since they can suffer from performance/compatibility issues, etc. Just recently I had to deal with something which simply couldn't have worked in a VM due to it being time sensitive.

    I could theoretically see Linux transitioning better due to differences e.g. relatively niche, more open source, etc.

    If we do drop 32bit support, it has to be long term e.g. a decade+, particularly when it comes to software which may be in use for years including corporate.

    I wonder if MS would rather push UWP instead?
     
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  12. Urbanshadow

    Urbanshadow GBAtemp Maniac

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    The business world is crammed with enterprise oriented desktops running whatever because "it works". Plenty of enterprise users still with windows 7 32 bits and windows XP just because the programs they use to work were never updated to win 10 or do not have a linux version.

    Commercial software development still needs to accomodate the 32 bit platform because of this.

    Microsoft is internally pushing Win32 and WPF back, as strange as it sounds. WPF will work alongside UWP in net stardard for the years to come.
     
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  13. Tom Bombadildo

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    I forgot
    In a perfect world, sure we could abandon 32bit OS support just fine because everyone and everything would be upgraded for use with 64 bit OS's and software, and nobody would have issues.

    ...but it's not a perfect world. You have places that still use 16 bit hardware and software, because "it's too much work/costs too much to upgrade!" or "It just works, why change it!". I don't think devs should drop 32bit support completely, but should continue supporting things with LTS releases (like Ubuntu is doing with 18.04), to give people enough time to upgrade to something new 5+ years in the future.


    That's still their long term plan AFAIK, but recently they've started pushing UWP under the rug because nobody likes being forced to used it. Their new Edge is Chromium based instead of UWP, for instance, so it can be used on most OS's now, and they're letting Win32 apps on the Windows Store instead of keeping it UWP only which is a good step forward. Supposedly they want to drop "UWP" and just call it "Windows Apps", which would allow devs to integrate UWP components (like touch screen and "ink" support) into Win32 apps so devs could have the "best of both worlds".
     
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  14. Extrasklep

    Extrasklep gbaTemp Fan

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    I use arch linux 32 on an old netbook and normal arch on my main computer and it's not bad on the netbook
    There should be some support for 32 bit for some people who don't have a 64 bit computer or want to do something with an old computer like me but everyone should use 64 bit if they can
     
  15. MythicalData

    MythicalData GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I wouldn't care either way. I run 64 bit windows and have a Virtual Machine as need be for 32 bit
     
  16. tech3475

    tech3475 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I had heard of both of these, I was thinking more that it may cause too many problems to just ditch 32bit support that they want to ditch traditional windows software entirely.
     
  17. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    They tried and sort of gave up. There's good reason to keep around Win32 (and Win16) compatibility: legacy software that you need to integrate with other software. One can argue to use a VM/sandbox which intrinsically means using an unsupported 32-bit OS--since that's the topic at hand--, but that invites bugs discovered in 64-bit OS not being patched in 32-bit OS and then you sandbox becomes a malware haven.

    As for Linux specifically, a large part of the difficultly in getting adoption of the OS was two things: a lack of a standard, static interface and the seeming desire to have everything open source. The latter really wasn't a needed thing--but definitely a desired thing--precisely because the former goes away or changes over time. Microsoft has to keep support Win32 indefinitely or it risks mass defection to another OS; Win64 may be enough of a hook, but eventually Microsoft will want to depreciate that as well. The same goes for Linux land, especially when it comes to games. Games especially tend to run terribly in a VM. Microsoft's work towards streamlined sandbox/VMs with WSL2 might change this, but I've seen no evidence they've done any of their work with gaming in mind.

    tl;dr - Until VMs can offer streamlined sandboxes to compartmentalize individual apps, including games, dumping 32-bit backwards compatibility is a non-starter.
     
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  18. Ryccardo

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    No, at least if we consider "a computer" and "windows" together like many do and the industry seems to have a vested interest to - plenty of tablets with 32 bit firmware around

    The CPU is fully amd64 compatible, mind you - but Microsoft arbitrarily made multiple "stupid" choices with regards to Windows compatibility, sooo...
    (not like the added bloat of 64-bit software is considered a feature, on 2 GB of memory)
     
    Last edited by Ryccardo, Jul 18, 2019
  19. Clydefrosch

    Clydefrosch GBAtemp Guru

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    for legacy software? sure.

    for everything else? no.
     
  20. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Does 64 bit add that much bloat when you are not counting your memory in megabytes any more?

    That said I had forgotten about those tablets popular for a few years. I don't know how many are still going though, and most of those I saw back then were barely fit for purpose.
     
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