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you should be able to install 32-bit apps the same way you install 64-bit apps.
I have seen statements like this on several occasions. I assume the authors know whereof the speak. If this a feature of certain distros? It is certainly not that simple on Debian. If you install the 64-bit OS, you have to do a lot of messing around (chroot, etc) to get a 32-bit app to work.
Yes, that's true. I should've qualified my response. I don't use SuSE, but on Gentoo, the 32-bit apps install the same way using the package manager. It's just a matter of emerging the 32-bit version. The important this is the multilib support. Thanks for keeping me honest, rickh.
Googling "multilib support" seems to suggest a real rats-nest. I think some distos are trying to work out a common method of handling it, but I would not suggest that a relative newbie go much further than trying to install a 32-bit app on his 64-bit OS. If it works ... which I doubt, fine. Otherwise he can presumably remove the package. Gentoo and some others may have worked out a suitable hack for more sophisticated users, and I know Fedora is messing with it, but it looks pretty shaky to me.
Anything that works would probably have to take some fairly radical liberties with the FHS.