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Changelog & Docs: Dropped 32-bit host support

PostPosted: 4. Dec 2018, 04:32
by Technologov
The VBox 6.0 installer clearly says it, when I tried to install it on my old netbook. (Win7-32bit host... and I still have an old WinXP-32 laptop)

Please document in the changelog of v6.0 : Dropped 32-bit host support.

And in section "1.4 Supported Host Operating Systems". It says:
– Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows 10 RTM build 10240 (32-bit and 64-bit)

BTW: What is the reason to drop 32-bit host support ? (if it already works fine) It reduces QA work or other reason ?
I'm fine with that, as very few machines are 32-bit nowadays... (mostly a decade-old laptops... they don't necessarily need the latest VirtualBox as I use them very sporadically, and they run happily with VBox 4.1.x series...)

Re: Changelog & Docs: Dropped 32-bit host support

PostPosted: 4. Dec 2018, 19:45
by klaus
The reason: it's work to support a tiny amount of VirtualBox installs on such vintage 32-bit hosts (and the fact that we still shipped 32-bit Linux packages for BETA3 is kind of an oversight due to time pressure, as usual such decisions are made last minute). It needs lots of special code paths, i.e. is making the code harder to maintain. VirtualBox 5.2 will continue to work on such systems until the end of its support lifetime.

If we'd include it in 6.x that would mean keeping it alive for 5 more years, with all testing effort and so on. We did 4 more years of 32-bit host OSes than our competitors. All things have to end eventually. As you said, it's hard to find old 32-bit only hardware these days.

Hope that we'll be able to find time to update the docs soon. It is on the todo list already.

Re: Changelog & Docs: Dropped 32-bit host support

PostPosted: 6. Dec 2018, 14:02
by stes
Klaus said: "As you said, it's hard to find old 32-bit only hardware these days."

But on the other hand it is easy to create a virtual 32-bit guest and install VirtualBox in it ? (to simulate/emulate it).

I understand that this may be wishful thinking from my part, but if possible at all, I think there is still some interest in supporting 32-bit.

In any case if I understand correctly this is about "host support" and not "guest support" as the 32-bit guest support is clearly useful functionality . I certainly hope that 32-bit guest support remains fully supported.

Anyway for me as a user it is easy to say of course, the developers have to do it and it is complex product, and it's easy to say for me that I would like it, but from the developer / vendor point of view they understandably may wish to drop support ...

Re: Changelog & Docs: Dropped 32-bit host support

PostPosted: 6. Dec 2018, 14:49
by klaus
Confirmed, this is purely about 32-bit host support. There's no plan to make any changes (besides improving it whenever we can) to 32-bit guest support.

The source code for handling the 32-bit host case will not be immediately eradicated from the 6.0 sources either, so if someone has specific needs in this direction then it might be an option to build your own package. Without any guarantees or support. However, it will see decreasing testing, and at some yet unspecified point in the future the code will be removed.