rstudio-server uninstallable on Ubuntu 18.04.3

Hi all,

I'm trying to upgrade an installation of RStudio Server 1.1 on Ubuntu 18.04. The recommended installation method with gdebi fails as follows:

will@glasshouse:~$ wget
--2019-10-21 18:01:33--
Resolving (,,, ...
Connecting to (||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 38728778 (37M) [application/x-deb]
Saving to: ‘rstudio-server-1.2.5001-amd64.deb’

rstudio-server-1.2.5001-amd64.deb     100%[======================================================================>]  36.93M  78.9MB/s    in 0.5s    

2019-10-21 18:01:34 (78.9 MB/s) - ‘rstudio-server-1.2.5001-amd64.deb’ saved [38728778/38728778]

will@glasshouse:~$ sudo gdebi rstudio-server-1.2.5001-amd64.deb 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree        
Reading state information... Done
Reading state information... Done
This package is uninstallable
Cannot install 'libclang-dev'

Chasing down the dependency issues reveals that libclang-dev ultimately depends on libc6-i386, while other software depends on libc6-amd64:i386, and these two conflict (which according this Debian bug is expected behavior):

will@glasshouse:~$ sudo apt-get install libc6-i386 libc6-amd64:i386
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
libc6-amd64:i386 is already the newest version (2.27-3ubuntu1).
libc6-amd64:i386 set to manually installed.
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-amd64:i386 : Conflicts: libc6-i386 but 2.27-3ubuntu1 is to be installed
 libc6-i386 : Conflicts: libc6-amd64:i386 but 2.27-3ubuntu1 is to be installed
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

apt-get offers to fix the dependency mess by uninstalling libc6-amd64:i386, but that seems certain to break something important.

Is there a known way out of this situation, like a build of RStudio against the other libc6 package? Or should I just use Docker?


Solved this problem after some more digging, hope the answer helps anyone else in a similar spot: it turns out I didn't need libc6-amd64:i386. I was reluctant to uninstall it because uninstalling things that start with "libc" is a good way to make an expensive doorstop, but this one is an obscure glibc variant without many reverse dependencies.

In my case, this server's configuration has been under version control for a while and some cruft had crept in. I had lib64readline-dev:i386 installed, which depends through lib64tinfo5:i386 on libc6-amd64:i386, but nothing actually using lib64readline-dev:i386. After removing it, apt-get autoremove got rid of libc6-amd64:i386 and rstudio-server installed without conflicts.

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