Why multilib? (MPlayer?)

jstipins at umich.edu jstipins at umich.edu
Mon Nov 28 19:05:13 PST 2005

Hi everybody.

I was wondering: what is the advantage of having a multilib x86_64 box, as
opposed to a pure-64 x86_64 box?  Let's stick to the point of view of the
linux user who is not developing and testing cross-platform code on his

As near as I can tell, there are only two advantages to multilib:

  1. GRUB works.  (Although in theory this will work eventually on pure-64.)

  2. 32-bit libraries are needed to view video files encoded in Windows
     formats (.wmv, .avi, etc).

Actually, I'm not sure about the second one... is it true that there are no
pure-64 codecs out there to view all of the major file formats?  If so, is
there a technical reason why 32-bit is required, or is it just that nobody
has gotten around to writing 64-bit versions yet?

One more thought.  It seems like the goal on a mulitlib platform would be
to have as much 64-bit code as possible... why then /lib and /lib64?  Would
it make more sense to have a /lib and /lib32, or is that insane?


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