The GNU C Library cannot be compiled in the source directory. You must build it in a separate build directory. For example, if you have unpacked the GNU C Library sources in /src/gnu/glibc-version, create a directory /src/gnu/glibc-build to put the object files in. This allows removing the whole build directory in case an error occurs, which is the safest way to get a fresh start and should always be done.
From your object directory, run the shell script configure located at the top level of the source tree. In the scenario above, you’d type
$ ../glibc-version/configure args…
Please note that even though you’re building in a separate build directory, the compilation may need to create or modify files and directories in the source directory.
configure takes many options, but the only one that is usually
mandatory is ‘--prefix’. This option tells
where you want the GNU C Library installed. This defaults to /usr/local,
but the normal setting to install as the standard system library is
‘--prefix=/usr’ for GNU/Linux systems and ‘--prefix=’ (an
empty prefix) for GNU/Hurd systems.
It may also be useful to set the CC and CFLAGS variables in
the environment when running
configure. CC selects the C
compiler that will be used, and CFLAGS sets optimization options
for the compiler.
The following list describes all of the available options for
Install machine-independent data files in subdirectories of directory. The default is to install in /usr/local.
Install the library and other machine-dependent files in subdirectories of directory. The default is to the ‘--prefix’ directory if that option is specified, or /usr/local otherwise.
Look for kernel header files in directory, not /usr/include. The GNU C Library needs information from the kernel’s header files describing the interface to the kernel. The GNU C Library will normally look in /usr/include for them, but if you specify this option, it will look in DIRECTORY instead.
This option is primarily of use on a system where the headers in /usr/include come from an older version of the GNU C Library. Conflicts can occasionally happen in this case. You can also use this option if you want to compile the GNU C Library with a newer set of kernel headers than the ones found in /usr/include.
Specify add-on packages to include in the build. If this option is specified with no list, it enables all the add-on packages it finds in the main source directory; this is the default behavior. You may specify an explicit list of add-ons to use in list, separated by spaces or commas (if you use spaces, remember to quote them from the shell). Each add-on in list can be an absolute directory name or can be a directory name relative to the main source directory, or relative to the build directory (that is, the current working directory). For example, ‘--enable-add-ons=nptl,../glibc-libidn-version’.
This option is currently only useful on GNU/Linux systems. The version parameter should have the form X.Y.Z and describes the smallest version of the Linux kernel the generated library is expected to support. The higher the version number is, the less compatibility code is added, and the faster the code gets.
Use the binutils (assembler and linker) in directory, not
the ones the C compiler would default to. You can use this option if
the default binutils on your system cannot deal with all the constructs
in the GNU C Library. In that case,
configure will detect the
problem and suppress these constructs, so that the library will still be
usable, but functionality may be lost—for example, you can’t build a
shared libc with old binutils.
Use this option if your computer lacks hardware floating-point support and your operating system does not emulate an FPU.
Don’t build shared libraries even if it is possible. Not all systems support shared libraries; you need ELF support and (currently) the GNU linker.
Don’t build libraries with profiling information. You may want to use this option if you don’t plan to do profiling.
Compile static versions of the NSS (Name Service Switch) libraries. This is not recommended because it defeats the purpose of NSS; a program linked statically with the NSS libraries cannot be dynamically reconfigured to use a different name database.
By default, dynamic tests are linked to run with the installed C library. This option hardcodes the newly built C library path in dynamic tests so that they can be invoked directly.
By default, timezone related utilities (
tzselect) are installed with the GNU C Library. If you are building
these independently (e.g. by using the ‘tzcode’ package), then this
option will allow disabling the install of these.
Note that you need to make sure the external tools are kept in sync with the versions that the GNU C Library expects as the data formats may change over time. Consult the timezone subdirectory for more details.
Enable lock elision for pthread mutexes by default.
Compile the C library and all other parts of the glibc package (including the threading and math libraries, NSS modules, and transliteration modules) using the GCC -fstack-protector, -fstack-protector-strong or -fstack-protector-all options to detect stack overruns. Only the dynamic linker and a small number of routines called directly from assembler are excluded from this protection.
Disable lazy binding for installed shared objects. This provides additional security hardening because it enables full RELRO and a read-only global offset table (GOT), at the cost of slightly increased program load times.
The file pt_chown is a helper binary for
(see Pseudo-Terminals) that is installed setuid root to
fix up pseudo-terminal ownership. It is not built by default because
systems using the Linux kernel are commonly built with the
filesystem enabled and mounted at /dev/pts, which manages
pseudo-terminal ownership automatically. By using
‘--enable-pt_chown’, you may build pt_chown and install it
setuid and owned by
root. The use of pt_chown introduces
additional security risks to the system and you should enable it only if
you understand and accept those risks.
By default, the GNU C Library is built with -Werror. If you wish to build without this option (for example, if building with a newer version of GCC than this version of the GNU C Library was tested with, so new warnings cause the build with -Werror to fail), you can configure with --disable-werror.
By default for x86_64, the GNU C Library is built with the vector math library. Use this option to disable the vector math library.
Tunables support allows additional library parameters to be customized at runtime. This feature is enabled by default. This option can take the following values:
This is the default if no option is passed to configure. This enables tunables and selects the default frontend (currently ‘valstring’).
This option disables tunables.
This enables tunables and selects the ‘valstring’ frontend for tunables.
This frontend allows users to specify tunables as a colon-separated list in a
single environment variable
By default, libnsl is only built as shared library for backward compatibility and the NSS modules libnss_compat, libnss_nis and libnss_nisplus are not built at all. Use this option to enable libnsl with all depending NSS modules and header files.
By default, a per-thread cache is enabled in
this cache can be disabled on a per-application basis using tunables
(set glibc.malloc.tcache_count to zero), this option can be used to
remove it from the build completely.
These options are for cross-compiling. If you specify both options and
build-system is different from host-system,
will prepare to cross-compile the GNU C Library from build-system to be used
on host-system. You’ll probably need the ‘--with-headers’
option too, and you may have to override configure’s selection of
the compiler and/or binutils.
If you only specify ‘--host’,
configure will prepare for a
native compile but use what you specify instead of guessing what your
system is. This is most useful to change the CPU submodel. For example,
configure guesses your machine as
you want to compile a library for 586es, give
‘--host=i586-pc-linux-gnu’ or just ‘--host=i586-linux’ and add
the appropriate compiler flags (‘-mcpu=i586’ will do the trick) to
If you specify just ‘--build’,
configure will get confused.
Specify a description, possibly including a build number or build date, of the binaries being built, to be included in --version output from programs installed with the GNU C Library. For example, --with-pkgversion='FooBar GNU/Linux glibc build 123'. The default value is ‘GNU libc’.
Specify the URL that users should visit if they wish to report a bug, to be included in --help output from programs installed with the GNU C Library. The default value refers to the main bug-reporting information for the GNU C Library.
To build the library and related programs, type
make. This will
produce a lot of output, some of which may look like errors from
make but aren’t. Look for error messages from
containing ‘***’. Those indicate that something is seriously wrong.
The compilation process can take a long time, depending on the configuration and the speed of your machine. Some complex modules may take a very long time to compile, as much as several minutes on slower machines. Do not panic if the compiler appears to hang.
If you want to run a parallel make, simply pass the ‘-j’ option
with an appropriate numeric parameter to
make. You need a recent
make version, though.
To build and run test programs which exercise some of the library
make check. If it does not complete
successfully, do not use the built library, and report a bug after
verifying that the problem is not already known. See Reporting Bugs,
for instructions on reporting bugs. Note that some of the tests assume
they are not being run by
root. We recommend you compile and
test the GNU C Library as an unprivileged user.
Before reporting bugs make sure there is no problem with your system. The tests (and later installation) use some pre-existing files of the system such as /etc/passwd, /etc/nsswitch.conf and others. These files must all contain correct and sensible content.
make check will run all the tests before reporting
all problems found and exiting with error status if any problems
occurred. You can specify ‘stop-on-test-failure=y’ when running
make check to make the test run stop and exit with an error
status immediately when a failure occurs.
The GNU C Library pretty printers come with their own set of scripts for testing,
which run together with the rest of the testsuite through
These scripts require the following tools to run successfully:
Python is required for running the printers’ test scripts.
The printer tests drive GDB through test programs and compare its output to the printers’. PExpect is used to capture the output of GDB, and should be compatible with the Python version in your system.
GDB itself needs to be configured with Python support in order to use the pretty printers. Notice that your system having Python available doesn’t imply that GDB supports it, nor that your system’s Python and GDB’s have the same version.
If these tools are absent, the printer tests will report themselves as
UNSUPPORTED. Notice that some of the printer tests require the GNU C Library
to be compiled with debugging symbols.
To format the GNU C Library Reference Manual for printing, type
make dvi. You need a working TeX installation to do
this. The distribution builds the on-line formatted version of the
manual, as Info files, as part of the build process. You can build
them manually with
The library has a number of special-purpose configuration parameters
which you can find in Makeconfig. These can be overwritten with
the file configparms. To change them, create a
configparms in your build directory and add values as appropriate
for your system. The file is included and parsed by
make and has
to follow the conventions for makefiles.
It is easy to configure the GNU C Library for cross-compilation by
setting a few variables in configparms. Set
CC to the
cross-compiler for the target you configured the library for; it is
important to use this same
CC value when running
configure, like this: ‘CC=target-gcc configure
BUILD_CC to the compiler to use for programs
run on the build system as part of compiling the library. You may need to
AR to cross-compiling versions of
if the native tools are not configured to work with
object files for the target you configured for. When cross-compiling
the GNU C Library, it may be tested using ‘make check
where srcdir is the absolute directory name for the main source
directory and hostname is the host name of a system that can run
the newly built binaries of the GNU C Library. The source and build
directories must be visible at the same locations on both the build
system and hostname.
In general, when testing the GNU C Library, ‘test-wrapper’ may be set to the name and arguments of any program to run newly built binaries. This program must preserve the arguments to the binary being run, its working directory and the standard input, output and error file descriptors. If ‘test-wrapper env’ will not work to run a program with environment variables set, then ‘test-wrapper-env’ must be set to a program that runs a newly built program with environment variable assignments in effect, those assignments being specified as ‘var=value’ before the name of the program to be run. If multiple assignments to the same variable are specified, the last assignment specified must take precedence. Similarly, if ‘test-wrapper env -i’ will not work to run a program with an environment completely empty of variables except those directly assigned, then ‘test-wrapper-env-only’ must be set; its use has the same syntax as ‘test-wrapper-env’, the only difference in its semantics being starting with an empty set of environment variables rather than the ambient set.