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Re: no more *.la files in libgc-dev

From: Andreas Rottmann
Subject: Re: no more *.la files in libgc-dev
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 22:15:23 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

David Pirotte <address@hidden> writes:

> Hello,
> Thinking it was a libgc-dev debian package problem I posted a mail ... and 
> got the
> following 2 answers [below].
> Once I manually removed all *.la files from my /usr/local/lib tree, I could 
> further
> try to compile guile-gnome-platform against gcc-4.6. 
> As the list of *.la files I removed does not only includes guile-gnome stuff 
> but
> also libguile, cairo and g-wrap, I am posting here instead of guile-gtk.
[Puts on Debian Maintainer hat] Debian indeed tries to get rid of .la
files wherever possible, as they cause spurious dependencies encoded in
the shared libraries, and subsequently, in Debian packages.  On the GNU
system, there is (somewhat ironically) no real advantage of having .la
files that I know of -- they are needed just for platforms with less
capable linkers, IIUC.

There thus is a coordinated effort going on to get rid of .la files
inside Debian, where first leaf packages (i.e. those where no package
build-depend on them, or more accurately, is built using the information
contained in their .la files) drop their .la files, making further
packages become leaf packages, who in turn can no drop .la files, and so
on.  If the process is followed correctly this should not cause any
issues internal to Debian, but there are occassional hiccups (see [0],
for an example where I was affected as a g-wrap maintainer).

For software installed "manually" (i.e. not via Debian packages), this
procedure may indeed cause issues, and my guess at what had happened in
your case is something like this: you built some software (for example
g-wrap) when libgc-dev still had its .la files installed by the Debian
package, leading to g-wrap's (to stay with the example) .la files
encoding the location of libgc's .la file.  When then libgc-dev dropped
the .la file, the .la files originally installed by g-wrap were broken,
thus breaking the build of any software depending on g-wrap.  The
solution (other than just removing the offending .la files) would be to
re-build and re-install all software depending on libgc-dev, including
g-wrap, as to get rid of the stale references to libgc's .la file.


Regards, Rotty
Andreas Rottmann -- <>

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