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Re: Advice in switching from Mandriva 64 to Debian 64

Giacomo Mulas wrote:

On Thu, 20 Oct 2005, Jean-Jacques de Jong wrote:


I am planning to switch to Debian from Mandriva. I have an AMD64 and I would like to exploit the 64 bits for those programs that really need it (video editing/transcoding, photo editing), and still run Firefox with Flash, OpenOffice, and Wine (CodeWeavers and Cedega).

The issue is that the 32 bit applications need to be run by the rest of the family, and I fear a chroot environment would be too complex for them (they just want to click on an icon and it must work).

They don't need to be aware of the chroot for it to work, if it's configured
properly. I have a similar setup and my users usually have no indication
but just run what they want. This is how I did it:

1) install the 64 bit system first, with everything you want in there.

2) create a chroot, following the howto in the debian documentation, including bind mounts and the sort, so that home directories, X etc. are
indeed available in the chroot.

3) compare the passwd, shadow, group and gshadow files in the 64 and 32 bit sides, make sure to make them as nearly equal as you can.

Or make them hardlinks, if they are on the same filesystem.  That way,
you won't need to maintain these files.  It saves some stress when
some package installs yet another daemon user.

4) get the list of installed packages in the 64 bit system, e.g. with
dpkg --get-selections >my64bitselects

5) install the same packages in the 32 bit chroot, e.g. with dpkg --set-selections <my64bitselects (run this in the chroot)

Ouch - much waste of diskspace. I see no need to make a comlete mirror. Install the complete 64-bit system.
Install the 32-bit base system using debootstrap or cdebootstrap.
Then install those 32-bit packages that are necessary.
In this case - the webbrowser with a complete set of plugins, wine
and openoffice.
Thanks to the nice packaging systems, every other package these
apps depend on wil also be pulled in.  It'll be a lot, but nowhere near
a mirror of the 64-bit installation.  (A mirror may even be
impossible, if you have network server software like sshd or
apache installed.)

8) in the 64 bit side, configure something as dchroot or schroot so that your users can run programs in the 32 bit chroot, and create scripts in /usr/local/bin for those programs you want to run in the chroot (e.g. firefox, mozilla, OOo, acroread...) and arrange the default path to look in /usr/local/bin _before_ /usr/bin. In this way, you can just type the command and, if you arranged for a script to be run in /usr/local/bin, it will take precedence over the 64 bit app, even if it is present, unless you call the latter with the full path (which you usually don't do).

Nice trick. And 32-bit apps will automatically get on the usual desktop menus
too, when the're available on the PATH.

Helge Hafting

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