I just checked linux mint's 17.3 manifest and lots of its packages includes both architectures. Why is that?


All the packages which are installed for both architectures are libraries or support packages (e.g. the GTK+ engines). The amd64 libraries and support packages are necessary for the rest of the system to work. The i386 libraries are installed so that older or 32-bit-only software can be easily installed; examples include Skype and 32-bit Wine (to run 32-bit Windows applications or games, which is still a common use-case if you're running Windows programs).

  • I'm mainly talking about packages like bluez-alsa that have both architectures. I checked ubuntu trusty's 64bit manifest also, it only has amd64 and not i386 packages. – answerSeeker Mar 6 '17 at 20:03
  • bluez-alsa and so on are part of the "support packages" in my answer. There's a possibility bluez-alsa:i386 would be needed for 32-bit Skype with a Bluetooth headset. This is just speculation but perhaps the Mint developers decided it was easier to just install all that and provide out-of-the-box installation support for 32-bit binaries (whereas Ubuntu in the Trusty time-frame would perhaps rely more on its application store). – Stephen Kitt Mar 6 '17 at 20:23

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