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?


1 Answer 1


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
  • 1
    wow! Ubuntu getting exciting by the day
    – Mysterio
    Sep 2, 2011 at 21:06
  • Is this still valid for 12.04?
    – belacqua
    Apr 28, 2012 at 0:10
  • @belacqua Yes it is.
    – Lekensteyn
    Apr 28, 2012 at 16:54

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