Installing 32 Bit Applications on a 64 Bit Ubuntu Linux Box

Okay, long story short. A small percentage of computer users run Ubuntu Linux instead of Window or Mac. An even smaller percentage run 64 bit versions. But I guess many of them want to use 32 bit apps like LibreOffice (many) and Scrivener (fewer).

The 64 bit Ubuntu 12.10 apparently doesn’t have 32 bit support out of the box. I’d bet 13.04 doesn’t either. Maybe some upgrade will give it to you but I haven’t tried yet. This is my experimental system I’m talking about here. So when you remove LibreOffice 3.6 that comes with it and install LibreOffice 4.0.x, it won’t run. Same with Scrivener and probably any other 32 bit apps.

You have to explicitly install the 32 libs to make it work. Who knew? (Maybe the non-lazy people who RTFM – I just didn’t look hard enough!). To get the 32 bit libraries, try this:

	sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

It will download couple 100 MBs but it worked for me. Good Luck! Here’s the source of that little gem of info:

Alternatively, if you can get the 64 bit versions of the apps, do so. LibreOffice is available in 64 bit but I don’t think Scrivener is. The only reason I put a 32 bit LibreOffice on a 64 bit Linux was because my other Ubuntu is 32 bit and I CBF downloading another installer.

Sanitised Glossary (for those not in the industry and are curious):

CBF – A highly technical term that means Can’t (or Couldn’t) Be Bothered.

RTFM – Read The Fantastic Manual.

2 thoughts on “Installing 32 Bit Applications on a 64 Bit Ubuntu Linux Box

  1. ericjbaker

    I recognized every word in that post, yet, as a collection, I have no idea what you just said. Can I ship all my computers and accessories to you so you can make them work right and then ship them back to me? In my technological mind, it’s 1974.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Main reason I posted this was because I’d feel bad about allowing other unwitting Linux users to spend as much time as I did trying to solve this problem. Then again 12.10 was released in October 2012 so most people who were going to install it would have done so by now. There’s also a good chance they’d find the solution quicker than I did!


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