Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has announced that Linux Mint 20 and beyond will drop support for 32-bit systems. The news comes on the heels of a decision made by Canonical to drop support for the 32-bit architecture in Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the latter of which Linux Mint 20 will be based on.
In the blog post, Lefebvre said he believes most people are happy with the decision to drop 32-bit versions and that it makes sense in 2020. Computers with a 64-bit processor have been on the market since 2003, and most of the computers that have shipped in this decade are 64-bit ready (except several infernal netbooks).
If you currently use Linux Mint on older hardware that doesn’t support 64-bit operating systems then you can stay on Linux Mint 19, 19.1, 19.2, or 19.3 until their expiration in 2023. If you plan to continue using the hardware after that date then you should use the next few years to search for a new distribution that will continue to produce 32-bit versions and meet your computing needs.
Lefebvre also touched on the issue of 32-bit package requirements for applications such as Steam and Wine; Canonical’s solution to the issue is expected to be present in Linux Mint 20, unless it involves Snap as a dependency, in which case, the Linux Mint team will develop its own workaround that doesn’t require the installation of Snap.