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glibc 2.3.3 prefix /usr/local confustion

From: Kevin Hawkins
Subject: glibc 2.3.3 prefix /usr/local confustion
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 14:59:09 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040803

Greetings and thanks again to Paul Jarc for all the help,

I'm through the 'configure' phase and am now at the stage where I could run 'make', however a question has stuck in my mind and I'd like to get some feedback on it.

If I run this command:

../glibc-2.3.3/configure \
  --with-add-ons \
  --enable-add- \

I get an error/warning from configure:

*** On GNU/Linux systems the GNU C Library should not be installed into
*** /usr/local since this might make your system totally unusable.
*** We strongly advise to use a different prefix.  For details read the FAQ.
*** If you really mean to do this, run configure again using the extra
*** parameter `--disable-sanity-checks'.

I certainly don't want to make my system "totally unusable", so I check the FAQ (http://www.gnu.org/software/libc/FAQ.html#s-2.2):

<>2.2. How do I configure GNU libc so that the essential libraries like libc.so go into /lib and the other into /usr/lib?

{UD,AJ} Like all other GNU packages GNU libc is designed to use a base directory and install all files relative to this. The default is /usr/local, because this is safe (it will not damage the system if installed there). If you wish to install GNU libc as the primary C library on your system, set the base directory to /usr (i.e. run configure --prefix=/usr <other_options>). Note that this can damage your system; see question 2.3 for details.

Some systems like Linux have a filesystem standard which makes a difference between essential libraries and others. Essential libraries are placed in /lib because this directory is required to be located on the same disk partition as /. The /usr subtree might be found on another partition/disk. If you configure for Linux with --prefix=/usr, then this will be done automatically.

So, information comming from configure says that installing to '/usr/local' could make my system "totally unusable", but information comming from the FAQ says that installing to '/usr/local' "is safe".  Which is true?

For more confusion, read on.  Here is part of question/answer 2.3:

2.3. How should I avoid damaging my system when I install GNU libc?

{ZW} If you wish to be cautious, do not configure with --prefix=/usr. If you don't specify a prefix, glibc will be installed in /usr/local, where it will probably not break anything. (If you wish to be certain, set the prefix to something like /usr/local/glibc2 which is not used for anything.)

So now I have even more information from the FAQ which is slightly contrary to all the rest ("/usr/local, where it will probably not break anything").  Taking this '--prefix=' advice, I tried this command:

../glibc-2.3.3/configure \
  --with-add-ons \
  --enable-add- \
  --prefix=/usr/local/glibc-2.3.3 \

And all was well; configure exited with no errors or warnings.  Should I go with this solution?

Thanks for your time & help.


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