Question @ 10,000 feet

Mike McCarty Mike.McCarty at
Tue Nov 18 10:34:45 PST 2008

Alexander Haley wrote:


> What is to stop me from telling glibc to install itself into
> /usr/weird/path/foo and gcc into /bar/zap/ .. and then somehow
> configuring them to understand their relationship? Is that even
> feasible? Would doing this somehow create a deeper understanding (for
> me) of how gcc and glibc fit together?

Nothing should prevent you from doing that, which I am aware of.


> Basically, the fundamental thing that bugs me is ... I type 'make
> install' and scads of files arrive on the file system ... and I really
> don't quite know their role, purpose or importance ... Do I really
> need to know the purpose of each and every library file that is
> installed? Probably not .. but, I am irked that I'm typing 'make
> install' and just crossing my fingers that the system is getting it
> right .... (of course the system often gets it right .. but does it
> teach me? no. or at least, not yet.)

What do you want to learn from it? Essentially, this particular
question is just a matter of organization. There COULD be just
one big library containing everything anyone could ever want
in a Standad C Library, and the kitchen sink, as well. However,
not many C programs use, for example, the arcsine function.
So, the math related functions are collected together into a
library of related functions. There is no compelling reason
for doing that. It's for the convenience of the maintainers
of the libraries. The fellow who knows how best to write a
super fast strlen(.) may not be the one who knows best how
to write a fast efficient and accurate asin(.) function,
and vice versa.

So, the library gets split up into "related" pieces.

It makes it less unweildy. (Weird. It seems like I should
be saying "It makes it more weildy", but that isn't the
idiom. Anyway...)

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