Skype on 64 bit Ubuntu

I just installed Skype on the latest 64 bit version of Ubuntu 8.04, and thought I might share the knowledge of how to do it without breaking your system. Most of what I write is based upon Dave’s Blog, but I have modified it somewhat to reflect changes in Skype and because his original posting can break already installed system packages.

The difference in this recipe, when compared to Dave’s version, is that I make sure to load all the 32 bit libraries in /lib32, thus avoiding overwriting any libraries in /usr/lib that might be needed for 64 bit programs (such as KDE).
The latest version of Skype uses QT4, not QT3 as in the original article.

This is what you do:

  1. You have to have the ia32-lib libraries and related packages installed. For many they will already be installed because they are automatically installed when you install the Adobe Flash plugin for Firefox. But if not, do this in a terminal:
    sudo apt-get install ia32-libs lib32asound2 \
    lib32ncurses5 ia32-libs-sdl ia32-libs-gtk \
    lib32stdc++6 linux32
  2. Download Skype
  3. Download 32bit version of libqt from
    Remember to get the right version of QT for skype (if you try to install skype by dpkg -i skype.deb it will spit out error messages saying what version of QT it needs (libqt3 or libqt4). For us, we would choose hardy, Libraries, libqt4-core and libqt4-gui, and i386.
  4. Open a command shell and go to the directory where you downloaded the files, and tell dpkg to unpack the libraries, and then move the library files to /lib32. If I downloaded to «~/Desktop» I would type this:
    cd ~/Desktop
    for deb in libqt*.deb; do
        dpkg -X $deb tmproot;
    sudo mv tmproot/usr/lib/* /lib32
  5. Now we can safely install the true 64 bit libraries without messing anything up, and also install skype
    sudo apt-get install libqt4-gui
    sudo dpkg --force-architecture -i skype-debian*.deb

That should be it. You will now find Skype in your menu. Otherwise just start it from a terminal by typing skype

edit (April 19 2008):
There is a (supposedly) better/more robust way of doing it than my recipe below, although I haven’t tried it myself. I was made aware of getlib, which is an app that will get any missing libraries for you 32 bit applications running on 64 bit hardware in Ubuntu, on the Ubuntu Forums by its author. His recipe uses getlib to install Skype on 64 bit Hardy as well. Basically does the same as what I just wrote, but getlib will also help you with all other 64 bit apps! I see someone having problems in that thread, so without getting into details, I can’t vouch for it.


7 Responses to Skype on 64 bit Ubuntu

  1. Andrew sier:

    I’m still getting the wrong architecture message «i386″…I’m such a noob 😦

  2. Carl-Erik sier:

    You usually only get the error message «Wrong architecture …» when not specifying «–force-architecture» as stated above. Are you sure you followed my steps precisely?

  3. stoyan sier:

    Thank you very much – it works ! 6/6

  4. Carl-Erik sier:

    You’re welcome! I am glad it worked for you 😉 As written above, this procedure *works», and should be applicable for most 32-bit programs. But it is somewhat laborious and manual, and there is now a script written by someone on that automates much of this process. Check out the link above, as this might save you some typing. My version is still good and all, but there are better solutions.

    I haven’t tried the «getlibs» script, so I cannot guarantee anything.

  5. astromme sier:

    I’ve tried the getlibs script and I love it. It’s worked for just about every 32bit only program on both my 64bit hardy laptop and desktop. I highly recommend it.

  6. [F]iltar sier:

    brat da ne si bulgarin we 😛

  7. Carl-Erik sier:

    Serbian? Google Translate gives me: «brother that we do not have bulgarin». OK?

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