Building Biarch Wine On Ubuntu

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Ubuntu makes building 32-bit Wine hard because the 64-bit system doesn't come with a full set of 32-bit development libraries. The easiest workaround is to build 32-bit Wine inside a 32-bit container, but that breaks --with-wine64, which expects to be able to run 64-bit tools inside the 32-bit build. The easiest workaround there is to use --with-wine-tools to point to a plain old 32-bit build of wine. This guide uses LXC (chroot is another option) and should work with any Ubuntu derivative distro, compatible with 12.04 or later, that supports LXC. The source code and full build will require about 3.5GiB of storage space. The LXC container will require about 1.6GiB.

The basic approach is:

  • Build 64-bit wine
  • Build 32-bit tools in lxc
  • Build 32-bit wine in lxc, referring to the 64-bit Wine and 32-bit tools built in the previous steps
  • Install 32-bit wine
  • Install 64-bit wine

Many of the commands require root privileges. Your user account needs to have access to root via sudo or you need to switch to a user account that does with:

su -l <username> 


Ubuntu and derivatives use apt-get for software management. To build (compile) Wine from source code the build tools and the headers all if its dependencies need to be installed. The headers are the "*-dev" packages which are located in the source repositories. The repository configurations are located in /etc/apt in the sources.list file and as separate files in the sources.list.d directory. These are text files and can be viewed with any text editor. A normal repository entry begins with "deb" while a source repository begins with "deb-src". Normally the source repositories are not configured by default and have to be added. This can be performed via the command line and with graphical tools including software-properties-gtk (a.k.a. "Settings & Updates" or "Software Sources" in the desktop menu, "Settings > Repositories" in Synaptic, "Edit > Software Sources" in Ubuntu Software Center), Muon, or Adept. They can also be added via the command line with add-apt-repository using the "-s" option. After adding the source repositories, update the package lists using either a graphical package manager or apt-get in a terminal:

sudo apt-get update

Packages can be installed or removed using apt-get, aptitude, or a graphical package manager. The examples use apt-get since it is universally available and a terminal is needed for most of the other commands.

Next you need to remove all existing Wine packages. You will need wine-mono, wine-gecko, and optionally winetricks for your compiled version of wine but they may depend on the existing Wine installation which may force you to remove them. Don't fight it - they can be installed manually later.

Search for installed Wine packages using the search or filter functions of your graphical package manager tool. If you are using a terminal then use apt-cache to search by name then use apt-get to remove them:

apt-cache madison wine
     wine | 1:1.7.55-0ubuntu1 | trusty/main amd64 Packages
     wine | 1:1.6.2-0ubuntu4 | trusty/universe amd64 Packages
  wine1.6 | 1:1.6.2-0ubuntu4 | trusty/universe Sources
  wine1.7 | 1:1.7.55-0ubuntu1 | trusty/main Sources
apt-get remove wine wine1.6 wine1.7

You can also use dpkg-query to list packages with "wine" in their names:

dpkg-query -l '*wine*'

After removing the conflicting packages, install git and the Wine build dependencies:

sudo apt-get install git 
sudo apt-get build-dep wine

Obtain Wine Source Code

Create a local git repository of the Wine source code. This can be over 300MiB so it may take a while depending on your Internet connection speed.

cd $HOME
git clone git:// ~/wine-git


Patches need to be applied before compiling. For example, if a developer provided you a patch to test as part of resolving a bug then it needs to be applied against the source code in ~/wine-git. Typically a patch is made using the diff tool and applied with the patch command. A patch can affect many files. To apply a patch against your local git repository:

cd $HOME/wine-git
patch -p1 <../fix.patch

The patch command may respond with a warning:

Reversed (or previously applied) patch detected!  Assume -R?

This means the changes from the patch already exists in the source code, either from being applied previously or the result of the changes being accepted into the main source tree by the maintainers. Press Enter to skip applying it again.

Build 64-bit Wine

The general process for compiling anything is to execute a configuration script (checks for dependencies and compiler quirks then creates "make" files), execute make to compile the source code, then install the binaries that the compiler (gcc) created. Compiling can be faster with a multi-core system by starting several compiler "jobs" simultaneously. This is controlled by the "-j#" parameter supplied to make. The examples assume four simultaneous jobs (-j4). The make clean removes existing binaries that were from a previous build.

mkdir $HOME/wine64
cd $HOME/wine64
make clean
../wine-git/configure --enable-win64
make -j4

If the configure or make steps fail then check the config.log file to make sure there aren't any missing build dependencies. If you can't figure it out then ask on the forum or IRC.

Install LXC

Install LXC:

sudo apt-get install lxc

Next create a 32-bit container named "my32bitbox" using the Ubuntu template and bind your home directory to the /home directory in the container.

Since sudo will result in $HOME pointing to /root, $LOGNAME is used to supply the home directory name. This assumes your home directory name is the same as your login name. If it is not then just type it manually.

sudo lxc-create -t ubuntu -n my32bitbox -- --bindhome $LOGNAME -a i386

Copy the apt configuration from the host to the LXC container to save time:

sudo cp -R /etc/apt /var/lib/lxc/my32bitbox/rootfs/etc 

Start the container and log in with your username and password.

sudo lxc-start -n my32bitbox

Now you should be inside the container but in your real home directory. If you are not in the container (the prompt is not <your username>@my32bitbox), then open a new terminal and attach to it. Then try to login again.

sudo lxc-attach -n my32bitbox

Install the 32-bit dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-software-properties git-core
sudo apt-get build-dep wine

Build 32-bit Wine

Build the 32-bit version of the Wine developer tools from within the LXC. The make clean removes existing binaries that were from a previous build.

mkdir $HOME/wine32-tools
cd $HOME/wine32-tools
make clean
make -j4

Next build the 32-bit version of Wine, pointing to the 64-bit build for data, and the 32-bit tools build:

mkdir $HOME/wine32
cd $HOME/wine32
make clean
~/wine-git/configure --with-wine64=$HOME/wine64 --with-wine-tools=$HOME/wine32-tools
make -j4

Install the 32-bit Wine in the LXC itself to force the last little bit of building:

cd $HOME/wine32
sudo make install

If successful then shut down the container. Make sure you see the <your username>@my32bitbox prompt then:

sudo shutdown -h now

This drops you back out into your real machine.

Install Wine

Install the newly built Wine into your real machine:

cd $HOME/wine32
sudo make install
cd $HOME/wine64
sudo make install

Warning: When you install a locally built version of Wine, the package management system will not know it exists since it did not come from a package. Thus it is possible to later break its dependencies or install a conflicting version of Wine without a warning from the package management tools. You can prevent this by creating a package or by blocking conflicting packages with apt-pinning by setting "Pin-Priority: -1" for the packages.

Next, install Mono, Gecko, and optionally winetricks if you had to remove their packages because of a dependency on a conflicting Wine package.

And you're done! Use wine --version to check the version installed.


The uninstall process is similar to the install process:

cd $HOME/wine32
sudo make uninstall
cd $HOME/wine64
sudo make uninstall

Then remove any manually installed Mono, Gecko, and winetricks.


If you want to update your Wine installation then start by uninstalling the old binaries. Then remove the old binaries from the build directories:

cd $HOME/wine32
make clean
cd $HOME/wine64
make clean

If your system libraries are later updated, as part of normal maintenance, be sure to update the 32-bit system in the LXC also.

Reverting Patches

If you need to remove all changes to your local git repository from patches you applied:

cd $HOME/wine-git
git fetch --all
git reset --hard origin/master

See Also