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1.4 A postmortem analysis of other implementations

In all fairness, each of the implementations that were examined do the job that they were intended to do, for a number of different host systems. However, none of these solutions seem to function well as a generalized, reusable component.

Most were too complex to use (much less modify) without understanding exactly what the implementation does, and they were generally not documented.

The main difficulty is that different vendors have different views of what libraries are, and none of the packages that were examined seemed to be confident enough to settle on a single paradigm that just works.

Ideally, libtool would be a standard that would be implemented as series of extensions and modifications to existing library systems to make them work consistently. However, it is not an easy task to convince operating system developers to mend their evil ways, and people want to build shared libraries right now, even on buggy, broken, confused operating systems.

For this reason, libtool was designed as an independent shell script. It isolates the problems and inconsistencies in library building that plague Makefile writers by wrapping the compiler suite on different platforms with a consistent, powerful interface.

With luck, libtool will be useful to and used by the GNU community, and that the lessons that were learned in writing it will be taken up by designers of future library systems.