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Installing .la files

From: Axel Thimm
Subject: Installing .la files
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 22:58:44 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

Some packages install the .la files. Looking at some rpm packages I noticed,
that these are sometimes removed before packaging. There is currently some
discussion about this on two packagers' mailing list (while discussing a
standard skeleton for packaging libraries), but there seems not to be a
libtool expert on board.

Some discuss that .la is not needed on Linux, others that the installation
procedure (configuring for /usr, installing under /var/tmp/foo-root/usr) is
`tainting' them, which is the reason for their removal. Others say that this
simply slows down the link process.

I don't think that libtool/automake decide to install unnecessary files under
/usr/lib. What is the purpose of these meta-files, and how is it used
(obviously by other libtoolized software). What drawbacks are there,
should/can they be missing, especially on i386-pc-linux-gnu (glibc) systems?

And should the included paths get wrong if one diverts the `make install' into
another DESTDIR (or diverting each path separately), how can this be overcome,
other than deleting them? does that tainting happen, or is it just a myth?

Maybe there was some version of libtool in the past creating headaches with
path diversion?

Maybe I am asking too many questions? ;)
Please enlighten me, I need arguments to carry on the discussion!


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