I'm trying to install Skype in 12.04LTS.

It fails to install from the Software Center, complains about skype-bin being a virtual package.

skype-bin fails to install from apt-get, requires ia32-libs. 

Several online sources pointed to the installation of ia32-libs-multiarch. Fair enough.

Tried to install ia32-libs-multiarch from apt-get. Another several dependencies from 32bit packages that are on hold. Each package has another 4, 5 32bit package dependencies on hold. Really, this is hell.

How can I tell Ubuntu to not hold anything, to just install the frigging packages and its dependencies?

3 Answers 3


I had a similar problem with broken dependencies when trying to install wine and acroread, and a complaint when trying to install ia32-libs-multiarch, just after upgrading to 12.04 from 11.04 (passing over 11.10). It seems that some ppa's I had in 11.04 installed newer versions of applications in the system. After upgrading, the remains of these apps seemed to do some mess in the dependencies.

The solution that seems to work (until now), was found on a german ubuntu board (http://forum.ubuntuusers.de, posts from user Lasall):

First a downgrade is required and done with the following: create the 'preferences' file:

sudo vi /etc/apt/preferences

and insert the following lines:

Package: *       
Pin: release a=precise*
Pin-Priority: 2012

Pin-Priority must be greater than 1000.

Then you may downgrade the offending applications with:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Then you may install packages that complained about dependencies, like sudo apt-get install ia32-libs-multiarch, or sudo apt-get install ia32-libs.

Finally, you should remove the file you just created:

sudo rm /etc/apt/preferences

because else no new updates would be found.

Hope this helps you too!


See this section of the Debian release notes for a guide to disabling package holds.

Your problems could also be caused by PPA packages. Including apt-get install skype's output could help understand the causes here


I believe current versions of Skype (4.x) are not affected by this anymore as it has become Multi-arch aware!

The skype-bin package in the Canonical partner repository has it available as i386:

apt-cache policy skype-bin
  Version table:
 *** 0
        500 http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu/ precise/partner i386 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

apt-cache show skype-bin | grep -i arch
Architecture: i386
Multi-Arch: foreign

This makes it install flawlessly by regular dependencies on i386 packages.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .