Get rid of libtool? [was Re: Makefile problems]

Alexandre Oliva
Sun Feb 24 21:46:00 GMT 2002

On Feb 25, 2002, Bryce McKinlay <> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> frankly, the platforms on which libtool is supposed to be magically
>>> helpful are platforms which IMHO need to die, and the sooner we
>>> abandon them the better.
>> Yay!  HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, Windows, no more!

> Are you saying that "gcc -shared" does not currently work on these
> platforms?

Nope.  I'm saying that there's a bit more than gcc -shared.  There are
library naming conventions.  There are versioning mechanisms that vary
from system to system.  There are options to get libraries to find one
another at run time.  There are a lot of small details that, when
added up, may turn into enough of a hassle that a lot of libtool's
built-in intelligence ends up having to be duplicated, and poorly.

The only advantage I see for GCC in keep on using libtool is the
abstraction.  Abstraction comes with a price, though: it becomes
harder to peek into the implementation details.  But do people really
want to do it?  How many of the problems that were blamed on libtool
were really bugs in libtool?  How many times we didn't have problems
just because we were using this package?  Is it really worth to ditch
it in favor of a more limited solution that will require effort to put
in place and maintain?  I'm not sure.

As I wrote before, I don't oppose this move.  But it shouldn't be
taken lightly either.  There may be some (or a lot) to gain, but I'm
pretty sure there's a lot to lose.

Alexandre Oliva   Enjoy Guarana', see
Red Hat GCC Developer                  aoliva@{,}
CS PhD student at IC-Unicamp        oliva@{,}
Free Software Evangelist                Professional serial bug killer

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