21 January 2007

Installing a 32bit chroot in Debian

by Anton Piatek

My home PC is an AMD64 box, so when I installed linux I installed 64 bit Debian (why not use the power I can get from the hardware I have bought). Unfortunately there are several programs that don’t exist in 64 bit versions. So far just Skype, Flash, picasa and Bibble (if I decide to buy a copy) are the only things I coudn’t run. All Open Source software in Debian is pretty much already compiled in 64 bit for you (Debian have a wonderful build process which compiles for all architectures that are possible (and supported by Debian)).
I looked at the instructions for installing a 32 bit chroot and thought it was going to be rather difficult. It turns out it was incredibly simple. It took a few hours to download everything I need (basically a 2.4Gb second copy of Debian :-s ) but now I have all the above running happily, and I can barely tell that they are technically running on a second copy of linux. Using “schroot” (as explained in the instructions” allows me to run “skype” and it runs the 32 bit copy for me, I don’t notice…