What does it matter? I think there are enough variations in what i386 means to see it's not a straight question. I'm not sure I uderstand the issue?
I'll guess it has to do with wine? I have no use case for any i386 contamination without it. My 3 amd64 variations have no i386 or multi-architecture, so good riddance i386...
On the other hand I do have a i386 image I play with a few times a year, it does have wine. I try to keep it at feature parity with my straight amd64 image and baremetal XP, but really I don't like it so much, it doesn't make the grade for me. Even though I have a few dual P3's I still haven't tried running anything. I did play with i386 as a VM base since it does save some memory.
...but then I ended up in a no-man zone. In probing memory use I uncovered a few good memory leaks. In reporting those leaks I made the point these occur on hardware not appropriate for i386, even though it runs well otherwise. Then, there are many things that have moved with good reason up the ladder of cpu feature functionality at which there is a point that it could run amd64! So why have a i386, or 686 that has such a narrow hardware profile? For wine?
Of course limiting my wine experience to a native i386 image perhaps I'm missing the use of 64 bit windows under wine. ? Is it that wine is both on an amd64 setup, and users use win32 and 64, and there isn't a pure 64 wine install? Does anybody have multiarch enabled without wine, and only for an old 32 bit linux program?
There seems a simple answer, run a vm for anything frozen in time. IMO, if all the effort in wine was redirected into reactOS and kvm video drivers we'd be way better off.
I don't think this is the same as the 16 to 32 jump. We should jump to 64 for focus and uniformity moreso than need. This wasn't the case back then. I remember freaking out for hours trying to figure out why I was getting blank areas in cad plots only to realize the print drivers being 16 bit could only handle 32 or 65k objects or whatever. That was pre-95, I moved to NT and missed the 9x series of 16 bit stuff.
If i386 development stops, what do we loose?