6.27. Readline-5.2

The Readline package is a set of libraries that offers command-line editing and history capabilities.

Approximate build time: 0.1 SBU
Required disk space: 10.2 MB

6.27.1. Installation of Readline

Reinstalling Readline will cause the old libraries to be moved to <libraryname>.old. While this is normally not a problem, in some cases it can trigger a linking bug in ldconfig. This can be avoided by issuing the following two seds:

sed -i '/MV.*old/d' Makefile.in
sed -i '/{OLDSUFF}/c:' support/shlib-install

Readline contains a bug in its handling of non-multibyte characters, which can lead to incorrect display calculations and incorrect redisplay. Fix this issue by applying the following patch from the upstream maintainer:

patch -Np1 -i ../readline-5.2-fixes-5.patch

Prepare Readline for compilation:

./configure --prefix=/usr --libdir=/lib

Compile the package:

make SHLIB_LIBS=-lncurses

The meaning of the make option:


This option forces Readline to link against the libncurses (really, libncursesw) library.

This package does not come with a test suite.

Install the package:

make install

Now move the static libraries to a more appropriate location:

mv -v /lib/lib{readline,history}.a /usr/lib

Next, remove the .so files in /lib and relink them into /usr/lib:

rm -v /lib/lib{readline,history}.so
ln -sfv ../../lib/libreadline.so.5 /usr/lib/libreadline.so
ln -sfv ../../lib/libhistory.so.5 /usr/lib/libhistory.so

If desired, install the documentation:

mkdir   -v       /usr/share/doc/readline-5.2
install -v -m644 doc/*.{ps,pdf,html,dvi} \

6.27.2. Contents of Readline

Installed libraries: libhistory.{a,so}, and libreadline.{a,so}

Short Descriptions


Provides a consistent user interface for recalling lines of history


Aids in the consistency of user interface across discrete programs that need to provide a command line interface