Ubuntu – How to apt-get a 32-bit package on a 64-bit installation?

32-bit64-bitapt

I was trying to get a game working. But I have Lucid Lynx on amd64 running while the game binary was 32 bit (no 64 bit version available and nobody was in the mood for recompiling). It lacked libfsml-windows1.5 to run, and apt-getting it failed. So I have to manually download the i386 packages and force install them. (No, not part of ia32libs.)

Now I'm wondering if there is an automated way to have x86 packages downloaded at least on a 64-bit installation. apt-get -o apt::architecture=i386 did not work. (If you switch the architecture mode it doesn't find the package or assumes missing dependencies for existing packages all around.)

Is there another tool to automate that? Possibly one which downloads the i386 packages and relocates contained libraries into /usr/lib32/ implicitely?

Best Answer

Solution for Ubuntu 11.10 or Later

Since Ubuntu 11.10 it shouldn’t be necessary anymore to use getlibs or some other workaround. The package system on 64 bit systems is now able to manage 32 bit libraries in parallel to the 64 bit libraries. You can even easily install complete applications with all their dependencies now!

Simply add :i386 to the name of the package you would like to install.

For example, I needed a 32 bit version of Java 7 and could install it (along with all its dependencies) simply by running:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk:i386
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