I need to run 2 proprietary C++ applications, one is 64 bit and the other is 32 bit ,on a production Debian GNU/Linux server.

Both have a lot of dependencies for libraries provided by debian. Here are a few for example:

Application A (64 bit) depends on :

  • mysql (64 bit)
  • libssl (64 bit)
  • Libboost (64 bit)
  • ...

Application B (32 bit) depends on:

  • libssl (32 bit)
  • libboost (32 bit)
  • ...

If I install debian lenny 64 bit, I will get a great OS for running application A on. But for application B, I will have to maintain (and update) the 32 bit libraries on my own, backporting each one to install itself to /usr/lib32.

Is there another way to go about this problem that I haven’t thought of? Or is this a bad idea which should not be used on a production server?

  • 1
    Must it be on Debian? There are other distros that have mostly solved this. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 5 '10 at 8:36
  • Yes, it must be Debian. Although not necessarily Lenny, squeeze is an option too. – freddie Dec 5 '10 at 8:47

One option is to build a complete 32 bit install to be run as a chroot environment, debian has good tools for this I would look at debootstrap for example

debootstrap --arch i386 gutsy /mnt/32bit_install http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian

See Installing Debian GNU/Linux from a Unix/Linux System

  • 1
    I'm aware of the chroot option. However, when thinking of running a production server, with a production application inside a chroot, it just feels wrong. You basically still end up managing 2 OSes in terms of security updates. Not to mention taking care of startup issues (who will start the application service from the chroot?), having 2 sets of /var/log/*. It just complicates things in a way I would rather not have complicated on a production server. – freddie Dec 5 '10 at 13:21

It's a normal situation. Debian has some great howtos related to this problem. See here. Chrooting the 32bit app will give you a clean 32bit environment to play with and maintain properly.

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