I am trying to debug a scanner install failure and when checking if the required packages were present or not I saw a difference in the package architecture.

$ dpkg -l | grep Brother
ii  brscan-skey           0.2.4-1 amd64 Brother Linux scanner S-KEY tool
ii  brscan4               0.4.2-1 amd64 Brother Scanner Driver
ii  mfcj6910dwcupswrapper 3.0.0-1 i386  Brother CUPS Inkjet Printer Definitions
ii  mfcj6910dwlpr         3.0.0-1 i386  Brother lpr Inkjet Printer Definitions
ii  printer-driver-ptouch 1.3-8   amd64 printer driver Brother P-touch label printers

Knowing I have an intel CPU (and also the printing is working + scanning failing) Do I need to replace the amd64 packages with their i386 equivalents?

  • There isn't any problems using amd64 on an Intel processor as It is fully compatible with the architecture. – Michael Lindman Apr 13 '15 at 13:29
  • @MichaelLindman thanks, so are you saying that the architectures are literally different , i.e. I thought amd64 is 64bit and i386 is 32bit, but despite that they are still compatible in certain situtations? – the_velour_fog Apr 13 '15 at 13:35
  • amd64 is 64-bit and i386 is 32-bit but you can use both architectures on an Intel or AMD processor. – Michael Lindman Apr 13 '15 at 13:41

No, it will usually not cause any problems.

amd64, also known as x64, x86_64 and x86-64 refers to the 64-bit version of the x86 instruction set. It was developed by AMD (hence the name amd64) as an alternative to Intel's and HP's IA-64 architecture, as a means to add 64-bit computing capabilities to the existing x86 architecture.

Most recent Intel and AMD processors (with the exception of Intel's Itanium line) utilise the x86_64 architecture, so do not be confused by the name.

  • thanks, so are you saying that even though AMD developed the 64bit version of their x86 instruction set as an different, alternative architecture to IA-64, they so in a way that was different, yet still actually compatible? – the_velour_fog Apr 13 '15 at 13:47
  • IA-64 and AMD64 are not compatible. IA-64 is Intel's Itanium server CPU architecture, while AMD64 is a 64-bit extension to Intel's x86 architecture. This might help you. – zhongfu Apr 13 '15 at 13:53
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    ok I think I got it IA-64 is a special case for itanium CPU's otherwise for all other 64bit CPU's intel use the x86_64 even though it was developed by AMD? – the_velour_fog Apr 13 '15 at 13:56
  • Yep, correct! Only Intel's Itanium line uses the IA-64 architecture. – zhongfu Apr 13 '15 at 13:59
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    Yeah, ia64 is a completely separate architecture, with no similarity to x86/i386, or to x86_64/amd64. – Peter Cordes Apr 13 '15 at 14:59

AMD64 packages are for 64-bit processors and i386 are for 32-bit. AMD64 and i386 refers to the architecture, not the manufacturer.

To answer the question "Is it a problem to have packages with “amd64” architecture when I have an intel cpu?" - no, it isn't.

However, there may be some special cases when the amd64 package is known to have problems and the recommendation might be to install the i386 package instead.

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