.la files in /opt/Foo

Simon Geard delgarde at ihug.co.nz
Wed Mar 22 01:24:50 PST 2006

On Tue, 2006-03-21 at 23:16 +1100, Lennon Cook wrote:
> It strikes me that pkg-config does everything
> libtool does, just in more general ways, and so I don't see a need for
> any package to use *both*. 

Actually, they do cover different problems, although there is some
overlap. Libtool is fairly specialised towards the task of hiding the
differences in the build process that exist on different platforms, e.g
Windows vs Linux vs HP-UX vs OpenVMS. Developers don't want to worry
about every possible concept of how to link a library, so they use
libtool to deal with it for them.

In contrast, pkg-config is simply a way of finding information about an
installed library. Rather than each developer writing tools to look for
include files and libraries or asking the user to specify them,
pkg-config means that library developers can trivially export that
information to a standard location where those who want to use that
library can extract it.

In short, they're both solving problems with portability, but they're
different problems. Libtool is about how to actually build the
libraries, while pkg-config is about how to find the dependencies needed
for the build. The latter is typically part of 'configure', while the
former is part of 'make'.

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