Archive for May, 2008

How to create shared libraries with gcc?

May 17th, 2008 1 comment

gccShared libraries are libraries that are loaded by programs when they start. All programs that start afterwards automatically use the new shared library.

Code for the library:

This is the code that goes into the library. A function that calculate and return the factorial of a number.


fact (int n)
        int fact  = 1;
        if(n == 0 || n == 1)
                return 1;
        while(n > 1) {
                fact = fact * n;
        return fact;

Now create a header file to define our function.

int fact (int);

Creating Shared library:

First, create the object files that will go into the shared library using the gcc -fPIC or -fpic flag. The -fPIC and -fpic options enable “position independent code” generation, a requirement for shared libraries.

$ gcc -fPIC -Wall -g -c fact.c

Every shared library has a special name called the “soname”. The soname has the prefix “lib”, the name of the library, the phrase “.so”, followed by a period and a version number.

We can use ‘ld’, the GNU linker to create our shared library. The ld combines a number of object and archive files, relocates their data and ties up symbol references.

$ ld -shared -soname -o fact.o

Installing Shared library:

Once you’ve created a shared library, you’ll want to install it. The simple approach is simply to copy the library into one of the standard directories (e.g., /usr/lib) and run ldconfig(8).

Now copy the to /usr/lib

$ sudo cp /usr/lib/
$ sudo ldconfig -n /usr/lib/

Now create a symbolic link to our library.
$ sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

Linking our Shared library:

This is the program that uses our ‘foo’ library.


#include <stdio.h>
#include "fact.h"
main(int argc, char *argv[])
        printf("%d\n", fact(4));
        return 0;


$ gcc main.c -lfoo -o fact

Now run program:

$ ./fact

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