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1.1 Motivation for writing libtool

Since early 1995, several different GNU developers have recognized the importance of having shared library support for their packages. The primary motivation for such a change is to encourage modularity and reuse of code (both conceptually and physically) in GNU programs.

Such a demand means that the way libraries are built in GNU packages needs to be general, to allow for any library type the package installer might want. The problem is compounded by the absence of a standard procedure for creating shared libraries on different platforms.

The following sections outline the major issues facing shared library support in GNU, and how shared library support could be standardized with libtool.

The following specifications were used in developing and evaluating this system:

  1. The system must be as elegant as possible.
  2. The system must be fully integrated with the GNU Autoconf and Automake utilities, so that it will be easy for GNU maintainers to use. However, the system must not require these tools, so that it can be used by non-GNU packages.
  3. Portability to other (non-GNU) architectures and tools is desirable.