Installation page gives no indication that i386 is supported and not amd 64

Asked by kewlguy

I find my Ubutu installs, on my 64 bit computer, that include i386 packages has made my systems unstable.

It would be nice to see the fact that pipelight has been compiled for i386 computers only and may make 64 bit systems unstable.

Thank you for your time & consideration.

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Sebastian Lackner (slackner) said :


Pipelight itself can not be responsible if your system is getting unstable, at least not the way you think.

You're right that Pipelight (or to be a bit more precise Wine-compholio) pulls a lot of 32-bit dependencies - but on all new Linux systems this shouldn't cause any trouble. Thanks to multi-arch you can install both 64-bit and 32-bit libraries on the same system without any conflicts. It will also definitely not influence other 64-bit parts of your system: those parts are (of course) only linked against the 64-bit libraries, and so they'll behave exactly as expected, even if Pipelight is installed.

What most people don't know: On 64-bit systems the Linux part of Pipelight is of-course also 64-bit (-> your statement that Pipelight is compiled for i386 computers is not true)! Otherwise it wouldn't be possible to load the plugin in the native 64-bit browsers. Only the Windows part is 32-bit - often because the Windows plugins are only available for 32-bit, or the 64-bit version is just too unstable to be useful.

Depending on what kind of instability you experience this can have one of the following reasons:

*) If your browser crashes from time to time when you've enabled a plugin system-wide: Normally this shouldn't happen, at least for plugins which are not marked as experimental. When you're using an experimental plugin you should probably keep it disabled, until the stability has improved for daily usage. Otherwise it is most probably a configuration or dependency issue, which can be solved by looking for suspicious messages in the debug output.

*) If your Xserver (or other related components) crashes, then this means that there is most probably something wrong with your graphic card drivers. If you experience such an issue, it will most probably not only affect Pipelight, but also all other applications which make use of the graphic card, for example games.

*) If your whole system freezes, then it might be possible that there is something wrong with your CPU or GPU cooling, and the system shuts down before the components are damaged permanently. Pipelight makes heavily use of both, so it can trigger issues which otherwise would be undiscovered.

At my opinion all these possible issues are nothing, where Pipelight can be blamed for. Especially for the first point: its still possible to enable unstable plugins only in a separate browser profile, such that they are definitely not active unless you're using them (the page above also describes how this works). Moreover problem 2 and 3 could also occur with any other game or application which makes use of the same functionality.


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kewlguy (don-handymanreality) said :

Sebastian, Thank you for your summary of the issues that may be involved. I apologize for mistating the "compiled for," I now understand that it is the dependencies that are i386.

I am not a developer only a guy that has made all efforts to use Ubuntu since 10.04, and, I have had issues in the past when I have had a mix of i386 & amd64 packages that is pretty much all I am making an effort to have clear for other 'users.'

I have learned that I can keep my system more stable and more consistent if I keep the packages seperated, so, I now use a separate Ubuntu in a VirtualBox virtual machine when I want to use packages that draw in many i386 packages.

Personally, I have found the stability of Ubuntu to be quite questionable once a user starts installing packages beyond the default install. And, really, the community support can be a real mess to sort through.

My system uses the X.Org nouveau display driver & libgl1-mesa-dri because, well, nVidia like many other hardware manufacturers is an OS racist. The odd package even requests that I install the nVidia drivers and I KNOW that is not something I want to do, been down that road before. I'd rather dump the package than be drawn into a situation where my computer becomes unstable especially while using an LTS version.

After saying all that, NetFlix is damned tempting to all of us. I would prefer that regular users were not given the idea that installing such packages will be "easy" or not cause instabilities. "Easy" is what it says on the installation page for Pipelight, right?

Do as you please with my comment. as far as I am concerned you can close the question.

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