64-bit libs on i386?

Adam Conrad adconrad at ubuntu.com
Tue Sep 5 07:54:15 BST 2006

John Richard Moser wrote:
> Why are there 64-bit libs on i386?  The kernel can't run 64-bit programs
> at all anyway.

Mine can.  i386/amd64 merely describes the primary userspace interface
of a bi-arch system.  The kernel is orthogonal to that.  If you run an
i386 userspace on an x86_64 kernel, then you can also use the stuff in
/lib64.  If not, then you can't, obviously.

This will all become a bit less messy when the much-anticipated
multi-arch proposal comes entirely to fruition, but for now, i386/amd64
are bi-arch systems, and some (very few) things will ship both arches
together (most split them out into separate packages, so you don't have
to care about the cruft).

Also, I'll note that a default Ubuntu installation on i386 doesn't
appear to include any bi-arch components, it's only when installing
compilers and fakeroot and other fun toys that they will start getting
pulled in.

... Adam

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