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Run-time dynamic linking in grep

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: Run-time dynamic linking in grep
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2011 23:12:09 +0000

I have two outstanding patches against grep: #7017 (dlopen PCRE) &
#6107 (Patch to add transparent decompression). Both require dynamic
run-time linking (indeed, #6107 is purely to add it).

They have been stuck for some years because I have been unable to get
the grep maintainers to tell me how they'd like to do dynamic linking
(see the inconsistent comments to #7017).

Both patches address items on the TODO list.

Since the maintainers have not found the time to address this problem,
maybe it's not considered worth the effort to solve?

That is not an unreasonable position to take: dlopening is really a
solution to a problem that some GNU distributions have (namely,
shipping grep in /bin and libpcre/libz in /usr/lib), not a problem
that grep itself has. A form of patch #7017 has already been accepted
by Debian, while Fedora doesn't have the problem as they ship libpcre
in /lib.

Hence, I suggest:

1. Remove run-time linking items from the TODO list.

2. Reject and close patch #7017.

3. I rewrite patch #6107 in a form that links the relevant compression
libraries normally, and provide a configure option to enable/disable
the feature.

This recognises what seems to be the unexpressed consensus, namely
that sorting out run-time linking is more trouble than it's worth,
while unblocking a useful patch (transparent decompression) whose
implementation and UI design was already tentatively agreed on some
years ago.


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