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pkg-config and versioning of static libraries

From: Pavel Roskin
Subject: pkg-config and versioning of static libraries
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 04:23:18 -0500 (EST)


I've received a bugreport that GNU Midnight Commander cannot be compiled
statically on Gentoo Linux.  The fix is to replace "-lglib-2.0" with
"-lglib" in the command line.  Midnight Commander doesn't use libtool, but
glib 2.x does.  glib also used pkg-config.

Following command is used to request static linking:
./configure LDFLAGS="-Wl,-static"

The configure script blindly trusts the output of pkg-config.  That's what
pkg-config developers want us to do - the macro file pkg.m4 comes from
pkg-config.  To get the list of the libraries (in the form suitable for
the compiler command line), following command is run:

pkg-config --libs glib-2.0

The result is "-lglib-2.0".  pkg-config doesn't know that static linking
was requested.  There is no option for that.  So the output is the same
for shared and static libraries.

For this to work, libglib-2.0.a should be available to the linker.  It
exists on Debian unstable and Fedora Core 1, but not on Gentoo.

It may surprise you, but the existence of libglib-2.0.a appears to be a
workaround for a libtool bug.  glib by itself doesn't create versioned
static libraries.  And that behavior comes from libtool.

I'm not talking about "correct" versioning with "-version-info", but about
"hard" versioning using the "-release" option.

Let's compile CVS libtool with tests and run following in tests/demo:

./libtool --mode=link gcc -g -O2   -o -rpath /usr/local/lib \
 -no-undefined -release 5.6 hello.lo foo.lo -lm is created in .libs, but libhello-5.6.a is not.  Neither
is it created during installation.

The problem may be in pkg-config, but if so, I need very good arguments
why libtool doesn't use versioning for static libraries.

My question is - is the lack of versioning for static libraries a
limitation of libtool or is a something that pkg-config should work

I checked the archives and found that proposals to add versioning for
static libraries were posted, but I could not find anything that would
explain position of the libtool developers in this question.

I don't want to add libtool support for GNU Midnight Commander just because
it's linked against glib.  If you think it's a good idea, I'd like to hear

Pavel Roskin

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