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Single static library from multiple Libtool .a files

From: Nate Bargmann
Subject: Single static library from multiple Libtool .a files
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2012 13:06:04 -0600
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

This is probably going to be long and somewhat complex.

I am involved with a library project that has used the Autotools for
some time.  We primarily focus on Linux and other UNIX platforms as well
as build using Mingw32 for Win32.  All of this works well with shared

We have a downstream application author who wishes to link against a
static build of our library.  He is insistent that users of Win32 and
OS/X platforms would not be able to deal with installing our shared
library and he does not wish to have to support those issues.  So be it.

He says that we broke his ability to build against our library
statically a few releases ago.  Between the release that worked and the
later releases we moved our "backend" libraries into their own
subdirectory rather than leaving them in /usr/local/lib.

Our library architecture consists of a single "frontend" C library ABI
with multiple "backend" libraries (37 as of the current release).  In
the old version the files for all libraries used the
"lib_LTLIBRARIES" variable which put all the backend .la, .so. and .a
files in libdir.  The patch retained the same variable for the frontend
library's and changed the backend files to use
"pkglib_LTLIBRARIES" which seems more proper and cleans things up since
the backend libraries are not directly usable by programs.

For some reason, that I have yet to understand, his static build
succeeded with all the backends in libdir but fails with them in pkgdir.
In my opinion, it would be better to be able to provide him with a
single .a library that includes the entirety of the frontend and backend
libraries.  Right now I am at a loss on how to accomplish this with
Libtool.  Perhaps Libtool is not the way to accomplish this as suggested
by the Automake documentation and perhaps a specific Makefile target is
needed to build the single archive?


- Nate >>

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
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