Why cant apt-get install the i386 version of libpcap-dev?

$ sudo apt-get install libpcap-dev:i386
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package libpcap-dev:i386 is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source

E: Package 'libpcap-dev:i386' has no installation candidate

However, the package clearly exists: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/trusty/i386/libpcap-dev. I'm on Ubuntu 14.04 x64.


The package may exist, but this package is an architecture-independent package (see here for the source package info), since this is a transitional package that does nothing but install another package. Such packages don't need to be "built" for each architecture.

The package that it installs is libpcap0.8-dev (don't ask me why they decided to suffix a development package with the version), which is multi-arch.


This normally is because you don't have enabled multiarch and updated your package lists. This can be achieved easily:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update

The first tells dpkg that we like to support the i386 binaries in our system, APT query this and starts downloading not only the amd64 package list but also the i386. I'm not sure why this isn't the default in Ubuntu (in Debian it isn't, but Debian supports way more architectures) but that's why.


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