Multiarch in Oneiric for developers

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at
Tue Aug 16 18:46:39 UTC 2011

Dear developers,

As part of the work to eliminate ia32-libs in favor of multiarch library
i386 sources have been enabled by default on amd64 systems in oneiric.  For
new installs, this is done by default in alpha-3 and above; and as of today,
update-manager also ensures that i386 multiarch support is enabled by
default on upgrade from natty.

If you have upgraded to oneiric amd64 *before* today, or if you did an
oneiric amd64 install prior to alpha-3, you will want to manually enable
multiarch support on your system to ensure you get the same experience (and
see the same packages) as other users.  This is as simple as running the
following command as root:

 # echo foreign-architecture i386 > /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/multiarch

An apt-get update later, and you'll have access to the full array of i386
packages in addition to the amd64 ones.

Work is still ongoing to optimize the Packages file download time, which has
obviously increased now that we're downloading Packages files for two
architectures instead of one.  Developers concerned about the impact on the
speed of 'apt-get update' *can* choose to leave multiarch disabled for now. 
However, the next step on the roadmap now that this is enabled by default is
to start chopping away at ia32-libs and removing its reverse-dependencies
from the archive on amd64, which means that some packages (in particular,
packages in multiverse and the Canonical partner archive) will no longer be
available or usable on amd64 without i386 support enabled.

Have a dreamy upgrade,
Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                          
slangasek at                                     vorlon at
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