Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

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fulalas
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Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#1 by fulalas » 11 Dec 2018, 23:36

It was just several years ago that the open-source ecosystem began supporting the x32 ABI, but already kernel developers are talking of potentially deprecating the support and for it to be ultimately removed.

The Linux x32 ABI as a reminder requires x86_64 processors and is engineered to support the modern x86_64 features but with using 32-bit pointers rather than 64-bit pointers. The x32 ABI allows for making use of the additional registers and other features of x86_64 but with just 32-bit pointers in order to provide faster performance when 64-bit pointers are unnecessary.

While the x32 support was plumbed through the Linux landscape, it really hasn't been used much. Kernel developers are now discussing the future of the x32 ABI due to the maintenance cost involved in still supporting this code but with minimal users.

Linus Torvalds is in favor of sunsetting x32 and many other upstream contributors in favor of seeing it deprecated and removed. However, there are some users still of this port although no known enterprise users, so we'll see what ends up happening with Linux x32.

Source: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... -Drops-x32

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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#2 by Rava » 16 Dec 2018, 22:31

Sounds like a potential good idea, but when it is hardly used by any software I get why the kernel crew thinks about kicking it out...

I had no idea about all that, thanks for the heads up.
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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#3 by brokenman » 17 Dec 2018, 01:00

This will drag on for some years.
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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#4 by Rava » 17 Dec 2018, 01:25

brokenman wrote:
17 Dec 2018, 01:00
This will drag on for some years.
Sounds like it. Any chance some programmers might catch on and start using the technique so that it gets more used (by the way the kernel folks observe all that) and as a result the code is not kicked out?
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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#5 by brokenman » 17 Dec 2018, 13:33

They've been saying 32bit support is at End Of Life for some time now. Just like python2 and gtk2 and lxde and typewriters. They were right about typewriters.

Until they remove the option in the kernel it will always be here. I still run some old 32bit machines with porteus.
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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#6 by fanthom » 17 Dec 2018, 13:47

x32 ABI is different than i386:
X32 ABI: Details

Pretty much nobody is using x32 and thats why its being dropped from the kernel.

i386 is here to stay (existing old PCs and embedded, IoT cases with limited RAM).
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#7 by Rava » 17 Dec 2018, 15:32

fanthom wrote:
17 Dec 2018, 13:47
i386 is here to stay (existing old PCs and embedded, IoT cases with limited RAM).
Indeed, the Kernel folks want to keep all the embedded systems, and of course also want to keep the folks with older hardware that can only be used in a secure way when running it with Linux.
Like, using WitlessXP without Firewall and without Virusscan... could make a quick enough older PC to work with, but never a secure one. Therefore, especially for folks with older stuff they only have Linux. (Or BSD)
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Re: Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support

Post#8 by brokenman » 24 Dec 2018, 12:39

Virtualbox 6 already dropped support for 32bit. Virtualbox 5 will support 32bit until 2020. Pity version 6 didn't even work for me.

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
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