If you’re reading this article on a PC, it’s quite likely the processor under the hood is 64-bit. Most computers these days run 64-bit CPUs, and most computers run 64-bit operating systems. Arch Linux is acknowledging that fact by making February the last month the distribution will include an i686 (32-bit) download option.
“Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture,” Bartłomiej Piotrowski said in a January 25 announcement on the Arch Linux website.
“The decision means the February ISO will be the last that allows [installation of] 32-bit Arch Linux,” Piotrowski continued. The announcement goes on to say that i686 installs will continue to receive upgraded packages for a nine-month “deprecation period.” But starting November 2017, i686 will be effectively unsupported.
Arch is the first of the major Linux distributions to stop supporting the 32-bit architecture; although, as PCWorld reported last July, Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE all anticipate the imminent demise of 32-bit distros. Fedora, for its part, stopped offering 32-bit versions of its server images with Fedora 24, but for the time being you can still get 32-bit desktop versions of Fedora 25.