Running 64bit Matlab on 32bit host OS

Some of you have experienced problems due the recent move of Mathworks to drop 32-bit Linux builds of their products (i.e. Matlab R2013a and co.). Please note that this is not the first time Mathworks values its own costs higher than the benefits of a few scientists. In 1998 PowerPC builds for Macs were abandoned, causing a furious reaction of the community.

Luckily, users of the fresh Debian stable release wheezy (or more recent variants of Debian and its derivatives) who still need a 32bit OS on 64bit-capable hardware can take advantage of the new multiarch support. Multiarch allows for multiple architecturesi to co-exist on a hardware/kernel that is capable of supporting both (e.g. i386 and amd64).

Below we describe how you can use multiarch support and in few simple steps that prepare your existing 32bit user-land for running 64bit Matlab.


  • [2-10 min] Install 64-bit kernel and reboot:

    sudo apt-get install linux-image-amd64
  • [1-3 min] Enable multi-arch support for amd64 architecture:

    sudo dpkg --add-architecture amd64
    sudo apt-get update
  • [1-5 min] Install 64bit libraries (and compilers) needed for matlab:

    sudo apt-get install libstdc++6:amd64 zlib1g:amd64 libncurses5:amd64 \
      libxp6:amd64 libstdc++6-4.4-dev:amd64 libxt6:amd64 libxmu6:amd64 libxtst6:amd64 \
      g++:amd64 gcc:amd64 binutils:amd64

Now your 64bit matlab (which you hopefully “registered” with matlab-support) is ready to run.

If you have any comments (typos, improvements, etc) – feel welcome to leave a comment below, or contact us .


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