That's right, as you are reading it, Canonical has made the decision to stop creating and to no longer continue to support 32-bit architecture packages.
Well, almost two years after Canonical's decision to abandon the creation of 32-bit images for Ubuntu, now, the Ubuntu developers made the decision to complete the end of the architecture life cycle in the distribution.
And it is that through a statement they have reported that from the next version of Ubuntu, which is Ubuntu 19.10 which will be released in the fall of this year, This version will already have the possibility of having the packages with the i386 architecture in the repository.
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The x32 architecture will die definitively in 2023
Despite this sudden decision by the developers to put aside the package work for 32-bit architecture. (Which might be understandable, since if you don't already have the x32 version, it's just an investment of time in development that few people take advantage of.)
With this, the latest versions of Ubuntu with support for 32 bits both in system and for packages are LTS versions 16.04 and 18.04.
Where for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users whose support will last until April 2021 and for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS the support will be until 2023 (while for a paid subscription until 2028).
While for all official versions of the project such as Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, etc, as well as the derived distributions (Linux Mint, Pop_OS, Zorin, etc) will be deprived of the ability to deliver versions for the 86-bit x32 architecture, since they are created from the base of shared packages with Ubuntu (most of the editions have already stopped the delivery of installation images for i386).
To ensure the release of existing 32-bit applications that cannot be rebuilt for 64-bit systems (for example, many games on Steam remain only in 32-bit versions), it is proposed to use a separate environment with Ubuntu 18.04 on Ubuntu 19.10 and in newer environments in a container or chroot, or package the application in a snap package with core18 runtime libraries based on Ubuntu 18.04.
The reason for the end of support for the i386 architecture is the inability to maintain packages at the level of other architectures supported by Ubuntu due to insufficient level of support in Linux kernel, tools and browsers.
En particular, the latest developments in the area of improving safety and protection against critical vulnerabilities are no longer developed in a timely manner for x86 32-bit systems and are only available for a 64-bit architecture.
In addition, maintaining the base of the i386 package requires large resources for development. and quality control, which is not justified due to the negligible user base that continues to use outdated equipment.
The number of i386 systems is estimated at 1% of the total number of installed systems. Most PCs and laptops with Intel and AMD processors, released in the last 10 years, can easily be switched to 64-bit mode.
Hardware that doesn't support 64-bit mode is already so outdated that it doesn't have the computing resources to run the latest versions of Ubuntu.
It's time to migrate to other options
Finally, many instances that usually receive donations or are charitable, and even in areas where there are not enough resources, may have teams with very limited resources.
So they tend to resort to using even 32-bit systems and is that Ubuntu is not the only distro to abandon this support.
But it is not the last that continued with him, so for many people it may be the step to use some other of the alternatives that continue with this architecture.