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.

Workaround

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

Solution

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.