I am currently experiencing issues with Debian Sid. My architecture is amd64 (x86-64). If I want to install a i386 package and run the following commands:

# dpkg -add-architecture i386
# sudo apt-get update

... the i386 packages are retrieved correctly (i386 can be seen in the apt-get update output), but if I try to install a i386 package it will not work:

$ sudo apt-get install libc6:i386
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 libc6:i386 : Depends: libgcc1:i386 but it is not going to be installed
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

If I try to break the circular dependency by specifying that I want to install both libc6 and libgcc1 at the same time, then it gets worse:

$ sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libgcc1:i386
[insert here the list of all my packages that will be removed]
0 upgraded, 5 newly installed, 2428 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 5538 kB of archives.
After this operation, 6787 MB disk space will be freed.
You are about to do something potentially harmful.
To continue type in the phrase 'Yes, do as I say!'

It seems that it wants to remove all my amd64 packages and replace them by i386 ones despite that both of these packages are co-installable (Multi-Arch is set to same in the Debian control file).


  1. I am up-to-date and this is not a glitch due to some package update as I can reproduce the bug for several days after several repositories update.
  2. I am using Debian Sid on purpose and I am aware of its intrinsic instable nature. I still would like to understand what is causing this problem.
  • If you have fixed the problem, please update the post. Otherwise... The "The following packages have unmet dependencies: libc6:i386 : Depends: libgcc1:i386 but it is not going to be installed" message is usually easy to diagnose. What is the output of apt-cache policy libgcc1:i386? Also, do you have a non-empty preferences file? – Faheem Mitha May 30 '13 at 18:11

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.