MintInstall/Update - Allow 32-bit Repositories in 64-bit Mint.

mikefreeman
  9 years ago
  5
  Implemented

This may be difficult to do on a programming level, but it would be really good to be able to use 32-bit repositories on a 64-bit Mint installation.

Perhaps an option could be selected that would give access to the 32-bit repositories, and when installing a program from that repository, the ia32-libs package from the 64-bit repository is made an automatic dependency. Then, MintInstall would dpkg --force-architecture for that package, and save the name of that package in a file that MintUpdate watches so that the file can be updated as well.

Reason: Occasionally, packages are only available for 32-bit archestecture, which prevents some from installing 64-bit Mint and having full access to all the software that the 32-bit release has, without doing some minor terminal acrobatics. Also, it is sometimes preferable to use 32-bit versions of programs, even on a 64-bit architecture (such as using 32-bit Firefox when only 32-bit plugins are available, as happened with Flash for a while).
Latest comments
mikefreeman 8 years ago

@vincentv: This is now an outdated, irrelevant issue. As of Mint 12 and 13, in 64-bit editions, you can download any 32-bit version by installing the one that says :i386 in the package name.


hithirdwavedust 8 years ago

This seems to get a bit hairy in my experience. The 64 bit architecture sometimes seems a bit fragile when 32 bit libraries get involved, though I get the impression that this is being addressed Linux-wide as we speak.

If you add the Canonical repositories, for instance, you may install any of the 32 bit you like.

Just be careful with applications which deal with kernel modules, such as machine virtualization, etc.


blueXrider 8 years ago

Your welcome @mikefreeman 


mikefreeman 8 years ago

@blueXrider: Thanks for the link! I hadn't run into the GTK+ issue they mentioned.

Anyway, I'd just like to have some way of accessing the 32-bit repositories from the 64-bit environment through Software Manager, Synaptic, aptitude, apt, etc. It'd also be good, I suppose, to have the things this post mentions done by default as well. But really, all I need is for the software/package managers to look through both 64- and 32-bit repositories, and if there are both versions of a package available, just use the 64-bit version (unless Force Version or whatever is selected), but when there is just a 32-bit version, make that available by default, and make it depend on the ia32-libs package.


blueXrider 8 years ago

@mikefreeman Was wondering if you saw this post

Which refers to this link


blueXrider 8 years ago

@mikefreeman Don't know what the heck I was thinking at that point. 64 IS backward to 32.


mikefreeman 8 years ago

@blueXrider: I guess don't see as much of a need for making 64-bit software compatible with 32-bit Linux, simply because I don't know of any 64-bit software that isn't already available in a 32-bit variety. Could you give me some examples of some 64-bit software that you'd like to run on a 32-bit Linux machine?

There are plenty of examples the other way around. If you compare the number of software packages available when using 32-bit Linux to those available when using 64-bit Linux, there are a fair bit more packages available in the 32-bit repositories than in the 64-bit repositories. I also constantly run into 3rd-party repositories that are only available on 32-bit.

Hardware-wise, it's easier to make 64-bit machines compatible with 32-bit software than the other way around. I'm not even sure that's possible at the moment, at least without a significant performance reduction.


blueXrider 8 years ago

@mikefreeman I can see your point, the difference in performance from 32bit to 64bit on my machine isn't noticeable because the memory is less than 4gb. However that said I can't use the 64bit software either.

What we need is 64bit software that is backward compatible to 32bit machines.

It's easier to make the hardware work with 64bit than than the software compatible I suppose.


mikefreeman 8 years ago

@blueXrider: I guess I'm hoping for the best of possible outcomes here. Yes, I could run a pure 32-bit environment on my 64-bit computer. But, that would limit my processing power and memory (yes, on my machine there is a considerable speed increase on most software with 64-bit Linux). I would like to utilize the full processing and memory that my computer offers, without having a more limited software selection.

Yes, I would like to access all of the memory available, and no, I cannot load the 32-bit repositories in the software manager when I'm using a 64-bit environment. The software manager/apt only "sees" repositories labeled to match your environment.

Now, that said, I can load in the 32-bit libraries and install 32-bit debs with some level of compatibility, but it cannot be done completely through the software manager with repositories. And it's not something a new user should be expected to know how to do.

Any new machine the average person buys these days is going to have a 64-bit processor. Soon enough, 32-bit machines aren't going to exist (for the average desktop user) in any usable state. Are we still going to be running 32-bit Linux at that point? I mean, how many of us are still using a 16-bit or 8-bit machine today?

Why not focus more on improving our 64-bit environment to make it at least as complete as the 32-bit? We can start by making it able to *easily* install and run the software that still refuses to release in 64-bit (mostly proprietary, such as Flash, some games, etc.). That will help eliminate most of the users' excuses why not to use the 64-bit version, and it will be more widely adopted. Once that becomes a widely-used environment, then that said software will most likely begin releasing in 64-bit also, and this will all be a moot point.


blueXrider 9 years ago

Even though you run a 64bit machine doesn't mean you can't utilize 32bit programs. IE: I have a Toshiba Laptop with 64bit architecture however I run 32bit applications and a 32bit kernel. So what if I can't run 4GB of memory and blah blah. Point is it works just fine.

Is it not possible to load the 32bit repositories in the software manager?

If you are running a 64bit computer does that restrict you from the rest of the world?

i would bet the kernel settings are limiting the return on the repositories.