64-bit Ubuntu seems to contain the 32-bit version as well

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by jj1984, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. jj1984

    jj1984 Member

    Messages:
    85
    Hi,

    I burned 32-bit Ubuntu version 16 to a USB and successfully ran it on a 64-bit machine without installing.

    This is to be expected as 32 bit Intel code will run on a 64 bit Intel machine as long as you stay in protected mode or go into legacy mode.

    I checked the files burned on the USB and saw that under the dists/xenial/main and dists/xenial/restricted folders there is a binary-i386 folder.

    This makes sense.

    Then, I burned the 64-bit Ubuntu version 16 to a USB.

    I checked the files burned on the USB and saw that under the dists/xenial/main and dists/xenial/restricted folders there is a binary-amd64 folder and a binary-i386 folder.

    Apparently, the 64-bit version has both the 64-bit code and the 32-bit code.

    Why?

    What happens if you take the 64-bit version and try to run it on a 32 bit system?

    Will the bootloader load the 32-bit version and successfully run the OS?
     
  2. Cromewell

    Cromewell Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,112
    1. To run 32 bit applications.
    2. You mean try to boot 64 bit ubuntu on a 32 bit system? If your hardware is not 64 bit it will not work.
    3. The bootloader loads whatever it is told to. If you somehow managed to coerce the installer into running, when it comes time to boot it would fail.
     
  3. beers

    beers Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,451
    That's essentially the same question as 'why is there a program files x86 folder in Windows to run 32 bit applications?'
     

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