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6.1 Writing libraries for C++

Creating libraries of C++ code should be a fairly straightforward process, because its object files differ from C ones in only three ways:

  1. Because of name mangling, C++ libraries are only usable by the C++ compiler that created them. This decision was made by the designers of C++ in order to protect users from conflicting implementations of features such as constructors, exception handling, and RTTI.
  2. On some systems, the C++ compiler must take special actions for the dynamic linker to run dynamic (i.e., run-time) initializers. This means that we should not call ld directly to link such libraries, and we should use the C++ compiler instead.
  3. C++ compilers will link some Standard C++ library in by default, but libtool does not know which are these libraries, so it cannot even run the inter-library dependence analyzer to check how to link it in. Therefore, running ld to link a C++ program or library is deemed to fail.

Because of these three issues, Libtool has been designed to always use the C++ compiler to compile and link C++ programs and libraries. In some instances the main() function of a program must also be compiled with the C++ compiler for static C++ objects to be properly initialized.