32-bit support in Linux Mint 14 RC 64-bit

Description of the problem

It is not possible to install Skype, Google Earth or any 32-bit application in Linux Mint 14 RC 64-bit.

Cause of the problem

The ability to install 32-bit applications in a 64-bit environment is commonly referred to as “Multiarch”.

An upstream change occurred in Debian’s dpkg which made the Multiarch configuration in Ubuntu obsolete. That configuration was changed in Ubuntu and moved from dpkg to Ubiquity.

Linux Mint uses an older version of Ubiquity by default and the problem wasn’t detected during QA. It impacts the two 64-bit editions of Linux Mint 14 RC.


To enable Multiarch, open a terminal and type the following commands:

  • sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
  • apt update


This issue will be fixed manually in the stable release of Linux Mint 14.

In other words, if you’re running the 64-bit RC of Linux Mint 14, please apply the workaround. If you’re planning on waiting for the stable release you don’t need to worry about this issue.

Update (2012.11.04)

The description of the cause of the problem was edited to reflect the fact that this issue is specific to Linux Mint. 32-bit support works out of the box in Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit. The relevant changes in Ubiquity were overlooked by the Linux Mint team. Apologies to the Ubuntu developers for linking to the wrong bug report and creating confusion about this.


  1. Jake: I totally agree. This way Mint can focus only on Cinnamon & Mate development + Debian based distro quality.

    LMDE 201109 was the best. I hope the upcoming LMDE will be similar.

  2. Glad I am already using the 32-bit versions of both the MATE and Cinnamon releases. That was a really good catch, Clem. Once again Linux Mint is way ahead of the upstream folks. 🙂

  3. I disagree, Linux Mint should keep being ubuntu-based, remember there’s LMDE guys.

    Really liking the RC so far, feels good to be back on Linux Mint again, I’m becoming a fan of Cinnamon.

  4. So, do it! I am so tired of Ubuntu being another Microsoft, really?, having to constantly find bug fixes and workarounds so that they can release their software on time to hold their share price. I would like to see a distribution take the lead that still believes in ONLY releasing solid software. BTW thanks for the fix:)

  5. hi people,

    I already recognize this shutdown of Multiarch since some months here in LinuxMint 13. This happened one day via update

    But I now I am already downloading LinuxMint 14 after having done saving my personal files to external devices. I hope, that this bug won’t affect flashplayer to run. I will try out this workaround and test this.

    One more question: will the users, who install this RC also get the final stable version via update??

    your fan

  6. Why is anyone still building 32-bit apps theses days, much less a 32-bit OS. It’s been years since the last 32-bit desktop processor was manufactured, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a used 32-bit computer.

    It didn’t take this long to retire the 16-bit architecture when 32-bit came out, and it’s high time, IMHO, to retire the 32-bit architecture all together.

  7. I have had problems with 32-bit applications on 64-bit before. Especially with Second Life, which needs 32-bit versions of libraries. Will it be possible in Mint 14 to tell the package manager to install specifically the 32-bit version of a library (in particular all the libgstreamer codecs), along with any 32-bit dependencies?

  8. hi,
    does anybody know how to upgrade linux mint 13 to linux mint 14RC with software manager / update manager tool?

  9. runs great on my intel 2600k with my amd radeon 7970 🙂

    i installed my standard software what i’m using daily and it works!

    great job to the dev team 😉

    i’m looking forward for the final version of 32 bit mate.


  10. The best is to have a completely 64-bit operative system avoiding multiarch which often cause issue due o compensations of both ones.

  11. Being a Debian upstream issue, will this effect ‘LMDE’ in the future?
    And will need a Manual fix as above or will it be adressed in a UPack (6?)?

    P.S. use skype and/or google talk to keep in touch relatives/friends moved far far away from. (also use ‘GEarth but not that important)

    Thank You

  12. hi people,

    I am just trying to get Nadja run, but: Wireless with RT3090 does not work out, so I have to use cable. I hope, this will be fixed until the stable release!! I need wireless.


  13. The problem wasn’t detected during QA

    Has this now been incorporated into the QA process? Seems like a rather obvious thing to be testing for, especially as it impacts such popular programs as Skype…

    Edit by Clem: Yes.

  14. Thanks Clem for posting this and providing the workaround. Things like this are what makes Linux Mint such a pleasure to run. Thanks again!

  15. This is another reason for me to keep thinking that Linux Mint 14 will be the better OS for me, like other LMDE & LM1x is now.

    Great job LM team!

  16. The main advantage of using the Ubuntu’s codebase is that it allows mint users to benefit from Launchpad. Switching to the debian’s base will take away launchpad — the only reason why Ubuntu is still so popular is that you can very easily install fresh apps directly from the developers, without eternal waiting for a new version in the off. repo.

    For experienced linux users, all distros become almost the same, there are only few major factors that really matter for choosing one, among of them are package management (so you can re-configure the environment to your needs) and the ability to install newest versions of your favorite apps.

    That’s why there are only 2 dostros left right now that really deserve attention for the desktop linux users: Ubuntu and Arch — Ubuntu has Launchpad, Arch has AUR.
    But the problem with Arch is that it’s not for everybody, it’s only for those who really wants to invest a lot of time in learning very low level stuff about your distro and operating systems as a whole. That’s why Ubuntu is still very popular.

    Linux Mint though is a very interesting phenomenon, it appeared just as yet another ubuntu’s exterior remastering, with no corporate backup, supported only by donations, but it has grown into an almost self sustained project with it’s own DE, amazing success!

    So, i just wanted to say, that these hard times for Ubuntu and Gnome, can give Mint a great opportunity for taking their users, but you shouldn’t underestimate the key feature that gave Ubuntu it’s popularity in the long term — Launchpad.

  17. Just in case someone runs into problems while installing googleearth7 (or other 32 bit only apps):
    sudo apt-get install -f
    This one installs most of the needed :386 files.

  18. As long as it’s fixed in the final release… But I agree with dropping Ubuntu and going with Debian, at least in the future. Is this what the Linux Mint team is planning, or is LMDE just an experiment?

    Edit by Clem: LMDE is not just an experiment and there are no plans to drop the Ubuntu base. We’re very happy with the way things are at the moment 🙂

  19. I agree with Jake. Why keep messing around with this Ubuntu non-sense? Debian is far superior and I believe you guys would make leaps and bounds of efforts by solely focusing on the LMDE put out. It’s faster, more secure, more stable….

  20. installed mint 14 rc yesterday. After the update today the program “Software-Quellen” = software-sources? does not start any more.
    It is the prog where I can change the graphic driver from noveau to nvidia. How can I start this again?

  21. I would love to see Mint follow an independent path away from Ubuntu.
    Mint would become perfect if they adopted Debian as their base and did a radical overhaul of package management (adopting delta updates, separating the upgrade of system packages from non-system packages thus allowing the update of packages that don’t affect the system, etc).

  22. Kinda wished mate 14 came with a better screensaver setup. Instead of downloading xscreensaver. Floating feet is ok. But I wouldn’t mind something else, like lightning or something.

  23. Mint really did save me. You see, I’m stuck with Debian and was looking for a replacement for my good old Mepis 11. It turns out that I work on Libreoffice and, for some strange reason, the fonts I work with (verdana and impact) don’t look the same in Ubuntu or any non-Debian distro. That’s when LMDE saved me two-fold: 1 for providing an outstanding debian distro and 2 for MATE. Now I’m hoping for a LMDE-KDE. It is a shame I can’t be using Mint 13 KDE as there’s nothing even remotely as beautiful (and functional) as it.

  24. @ #21 / darislav: there’s experimental PPA support and a lot of how-to’s to add PPAs yourself to Debian, so thats not a real problem 😉

    cu, w0lf.

    Edited by Clem (language).

  25. I disagree with Johnny. There are plenty 32bit systems still around. Of three Mint boxes in my home network, two are 32bit, including a not-too-shabby 1.6 GHz Core Duo laptop. I administrate another half-dozen for friends and relatives. And unless you break multiarch like it happened here, there is no need to drop 32bit support anytime soon.

  26. I will wait for the final release for 2 reason.
    1: I still can’t find me with the new changes, Cinnamon look great, really but I can make it mine, I can’t change a lot of thinks and I continue using Julia. i install all the version after Julia and …..
    Clem and all development team are making really a great job but mate don’t like me and Cinnamon like me, but I can change nothing in the panel like a shortcut for example, I know, there are more important thinks but I really miss that thinks, take the control of my desktop.
    2, Please, if you can, add the old tool in compiz, maginifer was called I think, my english is a too bad, “Magnificador” i have visual problems and that help me a lot to read. I know, more people don’t need that but if you have a little extra time and if you wish work in that… that will great for me and other user with visual problems. In Julia I have it but Julia now are old and I wish all the new tecnology and oportunities of the new software, I have firefox 11 becose I can’t find a deb package for example :/ there are a lot of programs with this problem and I don’t know how I can get that software In Julia.

    Is long my text and with bad english from my side, if Clem or other read it, thanks.
    Take the comtrol of our descktop is important, we always have that and with Gnome 3 we lost that freedom. If Cinnamon is customisable…. wow…

    Well, you have a lot of work, I will be waiting the final release to check how work, I hope stay in that version.
    Thanks for Julia Version 😀

  27. I personally think using ubuntu as a base is still the right way to go, because of launchpad and because of generally ubuntu being very commonly used thus being one of the most compatible distro’s yes its debian based and yes it should work with that to but ubuntu just makes things easier there. That being said I think being a little less faithful to ubuntu and using more of your own stuff in the distro is not a bad idea.

  28. ^^ I’ll use this as an opportunity to say this: We use Ubuntu as a base because it’s the best available. I’m happy to see LMDE users prefer Debian over Ubuntu and we’re happy to maintain both bases. They each have their pros and cons and we feel they’re both fantastic bases to work with, so Mint is likely to continue to be Ubuntu-based for a long while, and LMDE to be Debian-based for a long while as well. There’s really no need to take a shot at them like this, especially here when we’re in a facepalm situation and the bug is specific to Mint 🙂

  29. it also affects ubuntu 12.10 64-bit, not just linux mint 14, but now that i’m aware of this, i am going to upgrade to mint14

    Edit by Clem: Well.. not really. It affects Ubuntu 12.10 in live mode but Ubiquity fixes it. Now, it’s possible it also impacts Ubuntu users who upgrade to Ubuntu 12.10 or install it without using Ubiquity, I’m not sure about this. What I know is that a default installation of Ubuntu 12.10 amd64 does not suffer from this.

  30. Mint 14

    Postby Curtrey on Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:09 pm
    Downloaded and installed today. But can not get it to boot.
    It freezes up at the following:-

    (4.8049171) init: ureadahead main process (495) terminated with status 5.

    Now what ever that means to developers/software engineers etc it means to me yet another DVD for the rubbish.
    Can anything be done to rectify?

    love Curtrey

    Level 1
    Level 1

    Posts: 2
    Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:07 pm

  31. Solar@34

    Amen to that. I’ve actually been running 64bit hardware for several years now, but haven’t installed one single 64bit OS. I’ve attempted to but have seen no distinguishable benefit, and more often than not, I will run into some unsupported software function that works fine on 32bit. This goes double for MS. It is my personal choice, and recommendation to stick with 32bit, unless someone has a dire need to utilize more than 4GB of system memory. My system has 4GB and has for some time, and it is way more than I need, and will be for the foreseeable future. In fact, Ubuntu still recommends downloading 32bit systems, and there is good reason for it.

    Also, I really don’t understand why people must insist on telling Clem to drop the Ubuntu base. First of all, it’s his project. Secondly, there are still far fewer users who like LMDE better than the Ubuntu base, and for good reason. LMDE is still not quite as user friendly as far as introducing new users to Linux. Yes, some of us have no problems with getting LMDE to work fine for us, and it is constantly improving. But something that is stupidly simple for you could be astronomically complicated for someone else.

    If you like LMDE better than the Ubuntu base, then great. All you need to do is thank Clem for maintaining 2 bases, and pick which one you like best. The rest is unnecessary.

    If anything, I would rather see Clem merge all of the good things about both bases and bring them into one, but that’s not practical, or even possible in some cases. That being said, is it really so terrible that he is maintaining two bases? Really folks, I have a hard time with that one.

  32. well updating my system when power went i thought i would try mint 14 still installing i have the rc version will i be able to update to full by the updates i like the look of 14 plus it i have 3 systesm that are 32bit still thinking of installing linux mint 13 to my moms laptop so she can have a usable computer again after i get more ram in it it only has 512mb it needs 1gig at least

  33. It reflects Ubiquity becoming the default installer.. so much that Ubuntu’s Alternate CD has been dropped!

    So if you wanted to use a full ISO to make a text mode install and add another desktop afterwards, you can’t anymore, unless you use the net install. Likewise for using RAID during the installation.
    I don’t know how the network installer of Ubuntu 12.10 64bit behaves.

  34. LMDE won’t be effected YAY.
    Noble of Clem saying how ‘being Mint problem, or version of installer used at least’.

    Personally love LMDE (Xfce version actually)for computers like rolling (semi really) on ancient tablet (rather not effort to reinstall)wife’s computer (she hates my messing with for reinstalls), BUT I prefer Ubuntu base on my computer (distro hopper) because I like to ‘putter around with (Com)Puter’ (wife’s & son’s saying) and eventually need reinstall anyways.

    P.S. can’t touch sons MSWin install and games.


  35. And while we’re on the subject of Ubiquity, when I try to update it in the Live environment, it says that there’s a newer version (2.12.something, I think) but then requests to pull in some 100 KDE packages. What gives?

  36. Johnny Says:
    > Why is anyone still building 32-bit apps theses days, much less a
    > 32-bit OS. It’s been years since the last 32-bit desktop processor
    > was manufactured, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a used 32-bit
    > computer.

    REALLY???? It’s nice that you have the spare cash to buy new machines. As for the rest of us having to deal with a continuing economic depression (which still exists despite certain bureaucrats trying to claim otherwise), we need to get by with whatever we can scrape up, and the majority of those machines will still be 32bit. In fact, some of them (later-model laptops especially) may not even have PAE processors. So next time get a realistic view of the world.

  37. SUGGESTION: if it possible, reduce the number of active thread to max 20 so to make more fluent entire system… as well as XP. XP is the best microsoft system.

  38. Linux Mint will never be base on Debian – it is too stable.

    Clem and gang will have nothing to announce.

    Base on Ubuntu will give them the chance of twice yearly release party.

  39. Compiz in Linux Mint 14 is too unstable, and made ​​every effort to display at least one effect and still not stable is a mistake but in this new version there will be some solution for this????

  40. Hello!
    I’m try to install LM 14 RC and this is hangs on my laptop dell inspiron n 5040 (int.intel graphic).
    Any ideas?

  41. JELaBarre@52

    Obviously people stick with 32bit platforms for many reasons, including those of an economic nature. But believe me, you’re better off, no matter what your reasoning is. 32bit is alive and well, and will not die for a long time. Like I mentioned in another post, I have 64bit hardware, but insist on 32bit OS. It’s just more stable, and more things work together on that platform.

    So please don’t feel slighted in any way when–through shear ignorance–others make remarks that are completely devoid of reality. I wish I could say what I’m really thinking, but that’s as nicely as I can put it.

    Sometimes I wish people would engage their minds long enough to realize that it’s time to be quiet. Yes we have a right to express ourselves in whatever way we want, but a tape recorder would do a world of good sometimes.

  42. Thanks for spotting this and fixing it so quickly. Installed 14 RC 24 hours ago and love it! I missed running Mint but 13 gave me problems I couldn’t handle. Have found nothing but joy in 14. Great job and many thanks. By the way, I like LMDE better, myself, but, since it won’t run on my hardware, I’m just as glad Clem keeps both distros going.

  43. 64bit Mate stable so far in my VirtualBox instance. Anything crucial to test before release? I’m probably gonna do an install fest this weekend backing up and blowing wind at my dows. I was split between this and Xubuntu, but after a few tweaks, free -m reported less memory usage than Xubuntu!

  44. Loving the new distro. Only bug I a found so far that affects me is: I use the Dlink dns-321 NAS drive, and had a program accessing it. Found a line of code to put under the Workgroup, and not am able to access the NAS. My problem is that when I copy multiple folders and/or large files, Nemo, Nautilus and any other file manager I use freezes up, and I have to force quit or reboot. Ended up booting into Windows to copy my back from the nAs to a partition on my computer, then booting back into LM 14 Cin to copy them to my home folder. Any one have ideas to fix this? PS the line I added was:

    # Change this to the workgroup/NT-domain name your Samba server will part of
    workgroup = WORKGROUP
    –> name resolve order = lmhosts wins bcast host <–

  45. Thanks for the fix. I kept trying to install Wine and software manager kept choking on it. It would give me the spinning wheel and essentially freeze up. This seems to have corrected the problem.

    As always thank you for all your hard work, I just put the 64bit cinnamon version on my laptop today, so far I am impressed. Cinnamon has come a long way since 1.4 in Mint 13.

    Naming the desktops is actually a great feature, I already love it. Everything just seems more polished and snappy. Keep up the great work.

    To respond to everyone who thinks Ubuntu should be dropped I would say to you that Mint still gets plenty of good things from Ubuntu. I could see a point in time where Mint could be complete isolated from Ubuntu but they have a ways to go. I personally have tried LMDE and disliked it with great intensity. I agree with the Mint team in keeping Ubuntu as an upstream source.

  46. Thanks for this, I spent ages trying to resolve dependencies for Wine, but then thought of this thread and tried to install Skype. It didn’t install, so I applied this fix and I can install Wine now!

    However, the Mint I downloaded was Nadia RC (so I am running that now) but even though the stable release has come out, I did not receive this patch through and upgrade.

    Thanks anyway- this is why I use Mint.

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