On Fri, 25 Sep 2020, Oleg Smolsky wrote:
> Well, AFAIK any well-formed .a file (an archive) is a static lib. And these
> can be passed to the linker. Are you saying that libtool extracts the
> individual .o files instead passing -lfoo (for libfoo.a)?
Exactly! It might as well be a tar file except that the 'ar' archiver
knows how to add/update/remove files from it and that is not possible
with a tar file. The ability to do incremental updates of the archive
file is important as objects are built/rebuilt. The 'make' program
itself already understands archive files.
I did not know this about libtool and convenience libraries. Do you have any historical notion of why this was done? I ask because this sort of behaviour total defeats the linker's ability to discard unused objects, does it not?