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Re: transitive shared library dependencies and installation

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: transitive shared library dependencies and installation
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2020 10:07:02 -0600 (CST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.20 (GSO 67 2015-01-07)

On Fri, 3 Jan 2020, Richard Purdie wrote:

Libtool must also work for static linking.  It seems to me that your
issue also impacts static linking.

I think the challenge that libtool has here is that many of these older
systems that libtool supports aren't so prevalent anymore.

This is true. It is possible that support for some archaic compilers and systems should be removed since there is no way to verify that the support works anymore, and there might not be any more active users.

Regardless, libtool must continue to support static linking, even if deployment usually uses dynamic linking. As a developer, I use static linkage for daily development yet recommend dynamic linkage for most deployments.

We have a number of libtool patches to sort cross compile issues which
really need discussion with upstream libtool. With the lack of
releases, our incentive to do that diminishes :(.

You can become part of upstream libtool and commit your fixes directly.

Finding new maintainers with the amount of knowledge of weird older
systems needed is going to be a struggle which only gets worse over
time :(

Most systems are not so weird. Most problems with legacy targets have been due to shell and common utility differences/bugs (e.g. depending on 'bash' syntax or behavior of 'echo'. These problems are due to the Autotools assumption that Autotools should be able to work with the shell and utilities that originally came with the system.

If it is impossible to find a representative target system to test on, then that is an indication that support should be deprecated. Users of unpopular systems need to stand up for themselves and assist, even if only by providing remote access to test on the system.

I do worry about the future here as libtool is a key part of the
autotools fabric but its most likely to be wholesale replaced given how
things are trending.

The current trend is that all of Autotools at risk even though it still works pretty well. Perhaps Automake is in best shape since it was released most recently. Autoconf has continued to be developed, but has not been released.

Autoconf 2012
libtool 2014
Automake 2017

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,
Public Key,

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