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From: Vladimir Prus (ghost_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-07-14 09:23:08

Roger Leigh wrote:

> This project, like many, utilises GNU Autoconf and Automake for its
> build system. I need to determine how to link with the Boost
> libraries in order to build the programs in the project. This is an
> issue for many projects which want to link with a Boost library.
> To illustrate my problem:
> ls -l /usr/lib/libboost_regex-*.so /usr/lib/libboost_program_options-*.so
> lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 45 2007-07-08 11:48
> /usr/lib/ ->
> lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 48
> 2007-07-08 11:48 /usr/lib/ ->
> lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 41

This indicates a bug with Debian packages. All Linux packagers are supposed
to building Boost with the --layout=system option. Passing such option will
produce names like
> The only means I have are the,
> (and so on for all the libraries)
> symbolic links which the Debian maintainer has helpfully provided.

Had they used --layout=system, there would be no need to provide the
symlinks ;-)

> AC_MSG_CHECKING([for boost::program_options::variables_map in
> -lboost_program_options-st]) saved_ldflags="${LDFLAGS}"
> LDFLAGS="${LDFLAGS} -lboost_program_options-st"
> AC_LINK_IFELSE([AC_LANG_PROGRAM([#include <boost/program_options.hpp>],
> [boost::program_options::variables_map::variables_map
> [dummy()])],
> [AC_MSG_RESULT([yes])
> BOOST_LIBS="${BOOST_LIBS} -lboost_program_options-st"],
> [AC_MSG_RESULT([no])
> AC_MSG_FAILURE([libboost_program_options (Boost C++ Libraries) is not
> installed, but is required by schroot])]) LDFLAGS="${saved_ldflags}"

> As you can see, that's quite a bit of complexity.

Note that the complexity you have shown (saving ldflags and
the like) has nothing to do with how boost libraries are named.
Instead, it seems that either:
        1. autoconf is not capable of easily compiling and linking
        a random C++ code to see if it works.
        2. You don't know the right spell to make it do so.
        (Actually, I recall having used exactly same voodoo in
        past, but I don't use autoconf regularly).

> It would be great if Boost would provide a mechanism to allow such
> discovery. Such a mechanism already exists, and is called
> "pkg-config". By installing a small file in LIBDIR/pkgconfig for each
> Boost library, the pkg-config tool or PKG_CHECK_MODULES Autoconf macro
> may be used to query this information. As an example:
> ---- boost-regex-mt.pc ----

1. The names of libraries Boost produces on your system are rather non-standard.
2. You propose to add a set of files with canonical names, that
give names of Boost libraries?

I think that we should do the following instead:

1. Generally change build process to no longer produce
zillion of variants, at least on Linux.

2. Make sure "system layout" produces exactly that. In particular,
the "-mt" suffix should disappear. As result, names like will be used.

3. Make "system" layout the default, at least on Linux. Alternatively,
write a special docs for packages that says: "for packaging Boost, use

How does that sound?

- Volodya

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