Google Earth on 64-bit Linux

Google Earth is a fun toy. But it's not always straightforward to get it to work on a 64-bit Linux (Ubuntu) system, since it's a 32-bit program, even when the .deb package says amd64. I wrote this post as a reminder for myself and others who run into similar problems.

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Sometimes Google Earth wouldn't find a file called libGL.so.1:

  ./googleearth-bin: error while loading shared libraries: libGL.so.1:
  cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

You can work around this by installing the 32-bit libraries and helping Google Earth find the file. Assuming your Earth installation is in ~/google-earth/:

$ sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
$ ln -s /usr/lib32/mesa/libGL.so.1 ~/google-earth/libGL.so.1

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Sometimes this cryptic error message would also show up:

/usr/bin/google-earth: 43: ./googleearth-bin: not found

Luckily, fixing it is easy:

$ sudo apt-get --reinstall install lsb-core libc6:i386