Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Mart Raudsepp <leio@g.o>
To: gentoo devs <gentoo-dev@l.g.o>
Subject: [gentoo-dev] RFC: Installation of static libraries, USE=static-libs proposal
Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2008 02:06:29
Message-Id: 1214877951.29224.54.camel@localhost
Hello again,

Over a year or two ago, it was communicated that it supposedly a policy
that USE=static should only control if a package installs static
libraries INSTEAD of shared libraries, and never to be used to control
if static libraries are installed in _addition_ to shared ones or not.

Packages were coerced to stop using USE=static for controlling that, and
most of them ended up unconditionally installing both static and shared
libraries. What's worse - they were told that if a package can provide
both shared libraries and static libraries at once, it just MUST (or
SHOULD) install them both instead of choosing to not ship the static
End result that affects me: GNOME does not fit on LiveCD installation
media anymore.

So I'm proposing a USE=static-libs or similar to get out of this
problem, and a lifting of the supposed (I wasn't around as a dev that
long ago to know for sure) policy of having to install both instead of
choosing to never install static libraries.

I am quite sure that absolutely nothing whatsoever uses about 97% of the
static GNOME libraries we are now installing as an end result. How can I
be sure? Because everything worked just fine when static libraries
weren't installed in the past thanks to that not happening from
USE=static missing on most systems for years, and you'd have to be quite
crazy if you required static version of desktop libraries with well
established and followed ABI guarantees.

Those that aren't absolutely sure that there is no use case for static
libraries, could then use a USE=static-libs or similar to not
unnecessarily install static libraries that are not going to ever be
used. And LiveCD media could avoid all these static libraries, that it
currently has to ship just because the packages by default install that
cruft for no real technical reason (and it has to follow that due to
I would use USE=static-libs on packages like gtkmm, that have good
reasons to provide a static version - it allows Gentoo users that would
like to do commercial or universal C++ based development against Gentoo
system packages, as it avoids feared libstdc++ ABI breaks (there's even
a request for it in bugzilla).

There are packages in the tree that are required to install static
libraries, or something else in the system breaks. So INSTALL_MASK=*.a
is not a solution in my eyes.

Useful comments, thoughts, agreements?

I have had some additional ideas for handling static libraries better at
a package manager level, but those still need to be fleshed out and put
into writing.
Things like possibility to rebuild all packages that link to a static
library that was now upgraded, so the higher level package could use a
relinking to benefit from the bug fixes from the new library; optional
ability to install only the type of library currently needed - shared or
static, etc. Much of it goes to blue-sky ideas though with minimal
benefit for normal desktop/server systems and potentially high
maintenance effort, so I haven't put much effort into putting it into
writing. But maybe someone interested wants to chat on IRC on the topic.

Mart Raudsepp
Gentoo Developer
Mail: leio@g.o


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