General Libraries

Libraries contain code which is often required by more than one program. This has the advantage that each program doesn't need to duplicate code (and risk introducing bugs), it just has to call functions from the libraries installed on the system. The most obvious example of a set of libraries is Glibc which is installed during the LFS book. This contains all of the C library functions which programs use.

There are two types of libraries: static and shared. Shared libraries (usually are loaded into memory from the shared copy at runtime (hence the name). Static libraries (libXXX.a ) are actually linked into the program executable file itself, thus making the program file larger. Quite often, you will find both static and shared copies of the same library on your system.

Generally, you only need to install libraries when you are installing software that needs the functionality they supply. In the BLFS book, each package is presented with a list of (known) dependencies. Thus, you can figure out which libraries you need to have before installing that program. If you are installing something without using BLFS instructions, usually the README or INSTALL file will contain details of the program's requirements.

There are certain libraries which nearly everyone will need at some point. In this chapter these and some others are listed and it is explained why you may want to install them.

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