No More i686 Kernels or bootable images
Stop building i686 kernels, reduce the i686 package to a kernel-headers package that can be used to build 32bit versions of everything else. No kernel means we would stop producing i686 bootable images as well.
- Name: Justin Forbes
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Release notes owner:
- Targeted release: Fedora 31
- Last updated: 2019-07-10
- Tracker bug: #1728779
- Release notes tracker: #357
The i686 kernel is of limited use as most x86 hardware supports 64bit these days. It has been in a status of "community supported" for several Fedora releases now. As such, it gets very little testing, and issues frequently appear upstream. These tend to go unnoticed for long periods of time. When issues are found, it is often a long time before they are fixed because they are considered low priority by most developers upstream. This can leave other architectures waiting for important updates, and provides a less than desirable experience for people choosing to run a 32bit kernel. With this proposal, the i686 kernel will no longer be built. A kernel headers package will still exist, and all 32bit packages should continue to build as normal. The main difference is there would no longer be bootable 32bit images.
This was last proposed with Fedora 27, but it was deferred as an i686 SIG was to be created to handle issues going forward. That SIG has been largely unresponsive. The only thread so far this year has been a thread starting with "Hello, I noticed that the x86 group hasn't had any reports in a while. As the absentee sponsor of the group, I would like to remind people on the list and interested in keeping x86_32 in Fedora releases that there is general work which needs to be done by people interested. " And the only response was one person saying they would no longer have access to legacy i686 hardware as of August.
Benefit to Fedora
More testable kernel updates, faster fixes for security bugs, and lowered exposure.
- Proposal owners:
Changes to the kernel spec to stop the actual i686 builds, but keep the kernel-headers package.
- Other developers: NA
- Release engineering:  (a check of an impact with Release Engineering is needed)
- List of deliverables: Drop i686 based images
- Policies and guidelines: N/A (not needed for this change)
- Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)
32bit i686 users will need to reinstall as x86_64 with the next release.
How To Test
N/A Nothing to test, we simply stop producing a flavor of the kernel package. As there is no direct upgrade path from i686 -> x86_64, users with capable hardware will have to reinstall.
The few 32bit users will have the full lifecycle of Fedora 30 to choose a time to upgrade to a 64bit installation. Some old hardware will no longer be supported by fedora.
32 bit x86 images can no longer be built.
- Contingency mechanism: (What to do? Who will do it?) Start building an i686 kernel again
- Contingency deadline: As QA requires for image candidates
- Blocks release? Yes
- Blocks product? product Fedora 31
The lack of an i686 image will need to be documented.