All posts by Matt Davies

32 bit ODBC driver with 32 bit unixODBC on a 64 bit Ubuntu OS

In this article I’m going to build a 64 bit ubuntu 10 OS, and then install 32 bit unixodbc and get it to connect to a remote odbc data source using a third party 32 bit driver. No 64 bit driver available :-(


If I manage to pull it off, and then get ruby-odbc to work, I won’t have to build and manage a new server in order to get data from a remote data source into our current ruby on rails applications.

First up, lets install the OS

I’m building the OS with VMware Fusion on my mac using ubuntu-10.04.2-server-amd64.iso

Do not install any additional packages during the OS install

sudo locale-gen en_GB.UTF-8
sudo /usr/sbin/update-locale LANG=en_GB.UTF-8
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade
sudo reboot
sudo aptitude -y install ssh
sudo aptitude install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`
sudo ln -s /usr/src/linux-headers-`uname -r` /usr/src/linux
sudo reboot
sudo aptitude install ia32-libs
sudo apt-get install g++-multilib
mkdir ~/src
cd ~/src
tar -xzvf unixODBC-2.3.0.tar.gz
cd unixODBC-2.3.0/
CFLAGS=-m32 LDFLAGS=-m32 CXXFLAGS=-m32 ./configure
sudo make install

That has installed the 32 bit unixodbc libraries into /usr/local/lib, you can confirm that by running

file /usr/local/lib/

should say

/usr/local/lib/ ELF 32-bit LSB shared object, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, not stripped

Now upload the third party sassafras driver into that directory, and then test it

ldd /usr/local/lib/ => (0xf770e000) => /usr/lib32/ (0xf7632000) => /lib32/ (0xf760c000) => /lib32/ (0xf74b1000) => /usr/lib32/ (0xf7400000) => /usr/lib32/ (0xf73dc000) => /lib32/ (0xf73d8000) => /usr/lib32/ (0xf73d0000) => /lib32/ (0xf73cb000) => /lib32/ (0xf73c7000) => /lib32/ (0xf73b3000)
/lib/ (0xf770f000) => /lib32/ (0xf739a000)

Voila, it all looks rosey in the garden.

Now we need to define our odbc connections in /etc/odbc.ini and /etc/odbcinst.ini

These settings are specific to the driver you are using, check with the driver manufacturers for your recommended setup

sudo vi /etc/odbc.ini
Driver = ksodbc
Description = foobar
RemoteHost = [IP ADDRESS]

sudo vi /etc/odbcinst.ini
Description = Sassafras Keyserver Database
Driver = /usr/local/lib/
UsageCount = 1

Let’s test it

isql -v ksdsn [username] [password]

| Connected! |
| |
| sql-statement |
| help [tablename] |
| quit |
| |

If you get that back, you are at a joyous moment in time when you are connected.

Happy days.

Thanks to the good people on unixODBC mailing list for a lot of help with this process, the ubuntu forums of course, without whom I would be a lesser man, and last but not least, Julian Delvin at sassafras.

Part 2 will be configuring ruby and then rails to talk to the database, wish me luck!