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Well does the multiarch feature of 11.10 mean 64bit users will be able to install 32bit '.debs' without resorting to the 'force--architecture' command?

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Could you link to more information about this Multarch? I've never heard of such a thing before. – Marco Ceppi Sep 2 '11 at 20:51
Muti architecture feature is what I meant. It seems that feature will mitigate the need for ia32 libraries or so I heard d – Mysterio Sep 2 '11 at 20:56
Excellent - thanks! – Marco Ceppi Sep 2 '11 at 20:58
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is indeed no need for --force-architecture anymore with multi-arch support with a some notes:

  • The libraries on which the package depend must support Multi-arch
  • Even if multi-arch is supported, it's possible for a library package to make the system install either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit one, but not both. So, the package in question should not have a need to depend on such a library unless there is no 64-bit equivalent necessary.
  • Many packages from third-party websites do not set the necessary dependencies. Before multi-arch, a dirty hack called ia32-libs was created. This would contain the 32-bit libraries for multiple packages, and therefore it was easy for the maintainer to say "just install the ia32-libs package." In most cases, the dependencies are mentioned for the 32-bit sysems, so you should install those, but for the 32-bit architecture by adding :i386 after each package as in:

    sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libc6:i386
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wow! Ubuntu getting exciting by the day – Mysterio Sep 2 '11 at 21:06
Is this still valid for 12.04? – belacqua Apr 28 '12 at 0:10
@belacqua Yes it is. – Lekensteyn Apr 28 '12 at 16:54
@Lekensteyn Thanks -- good info. – belacqua Apr 29 '12 at 1:10

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