Privacy-focused Linux-based operating system Tails 3.0 will drop 32-bit processor support


If you find yourself needing an operating system that respects your privacy, you cannot go wrong with Tails. The live Linux-distro can be run from a DVD which is read-only, meaning there is less of a chance of files being left behind. Heck, Edward Snowden famously used it to protect himself when shining a light on the overreaching US government.

Unfortunately for some users, Tails will soon not work on their computers. The upcoming version 3.0 of the operating system is dropping 32-bit processor support. While a decline in compatibility is normally a bad thing, in this case, it is good. You see, because there are so few 32-bit Tails users, the team was wasting resources by supporting them. Not to mention, 64-bit processors are more secure too.

"It's no surprise that over the last years, the number of people who use Tails on a 32-bit computer has dropped: most 32-bit computers are at least ten years old, and one after the other their hardware stops working. As a result, in the beginning of 2016, only 4-percent of Tails users were still using a 32-bit computer. Of course, some of these computers will keep working for a while. But once the number had fallen this low, the benefits of switching Tails to 64-bit outweighed the reasons we had to keep supporting 32-bit computers," says the Tails team.

The team further explains, "Tails has been using a 64-bit Linux kernel for a while on machines that support it. But all other programs included in Tails so far were built for 32-bit processors, and compatibility issues kept arising. In the last few years, the developers who maintain Tails have spent lots of time addressing such issues. We would rather see them spend their time in ways that benefit our users on the long term, and not on problems that will vanish when Tails switches to 64-bit eventually."

True, some 32-bit computers are still working perfectly fine for their owners, but the time to upgrade is now. Look, even those crappy $200 laptops found at stores like Best Buy have 64-bit processors and should out-perform decades-old 32-bit only machines. Thankfully the Tails team is giving advanced notice so the paltry amount of impacted users can prepare -- June 13, 2017 is the targeted Tails 3.0 release date.

If you aren't sure if your computer is 64-bit compatible, the Tails team shares a helpful tip for finding out. While running the operating system, open up a terminal window and type "uname -m" without quotes. If "x86_64" is displayed, congratulations -- your computer will be compatible with Tails 3.0. If you see something else, you are out of luck.

Photo Credit: Kjpargeter / Shutterstock

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