Lecture 30 – Apr 24th, 2020


  1. Log in to clyde.
  2. Copy ~steve/ex/dynamiclib to your home directory.


  1. We’re going to build a dynamic library libgreeting and an application to link to it (and also do some bug fixes).

    Start by reading the library source which consists of just a single .c file in libgreeting and a header file in libgreeting/include/greeting. (We’ll fix the typo later.)

  2. Compile hello.c. To do this, we’re going to need to tell the compiler to compile it as position independent code and we also need to tell the compiler where the header files are (it’s common to separate out the header files which will be installed from source files).
    $ clang -Wall -std=c11 -fPIC -Iinclude -c -o hello.o hello.c
  3. Next, we need to build our library. Since this is the first version of our library, we’re going to use an ABI version of 1.
    $ clang -fPIC -shared -Wl,-soname=libgreeting.so.1 -o libgreeting.so.1.0.0 hello.o
  4. Step 3 should have created the file libgreeting.so.1.0.0. If you run $ file libgreeting.so.1.0.0 it should tell you that it’s a shared object (along with some other interesting things). If you run $ nm libgreeting.so.1.0.0 | grep hello you can see where our hello() function is defined in the library.
  5. Next, we’re going to “install” the library and its header files for our program to use.

    Copy libgreeting/libgreeting.so.1.0.0 into the lib directory.

    Copy libgreeting/include/greeting into the include directory.

    Inside lib, we need to make two symlinks.

    $ ln -s libgreeting.so.1.0.0 libgreeting.so
    $ ln -s libgreeting.so.1.0.0 libgreeting.so.1
  6. Our library is installed, so it’s time to build our application which is in the src directory.

    The first step is to compile the source files to object files (this could be omitted, especially since it’s just a single file for the program, but we’re going to do it here).

    We need to tell clang where to find the header files.

    $ clang -Wall -std=c11 -I../include -c -o main.o main.c
  7. Now we want to link our application together. We need to inform clang which library we want (namely libgreeting.so) and in which directory to look for it.
    $ clang -L../lib -o prog main.o -lgreeting
  8. Great, now let’s run the program: $./prog.
  9. Well that didn’t work. The problem is the dynamic linker doesn’t know to look in that directory. We can tell it where to look by using an environment variable.
    $ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=../lib ./prog
  10. Using LD_LIBRARY_PATH isn’t great (you can search the Internet for the downsides). Instead, let’s tell the linker to include a runtime path in the binary. This will instruct the linker to check that path for libraries.
    $ clang -L../lib -Wl,-rpath='$ORIGIN/../lib' -o prog main.o -lgreeting
  11. Now when we run the program normally, it will do the right thing as long as the path to the library from the directory of the binary is ../lib. Let’s “install” the binary into the bin directory. (Just move or copy it there.)
  12. Let’s fix the typo in the library. Edit the library source and fix “lirbary.”
  13. Build a new version of the library. Make sure you rebuild the object file!

    Since this version is compatible with the existing version, use the same soname of libgreeting.so.1 but change the output file to libgreeting.so.1.0.1.

  14. “Install” libgreeting.so.1.0.1 in the lib directory and change the symlinks to point to the new version. You can leave the old version in place or remove it as you desire.
  15. Run the program which should still be in bin: $ bin/prog.

    If all has gone well, then without needing any changes to the binary, it should be using the new version of the dynamic library.

  16. Rerun the command from step 10 to build the program, but this time run it under strace.
    $ strace -o syscalls -f -e openat clang -L../lib -Wl,-rpath='$ORIGIN/../lib' -o prog main.o -lgreeting

    This will write the trace to the syscalls file, trace the children of clang (because clang will be invoking the linker), and only trace the openat system call.

    Open syscalls up in an editor and search for greeting. Which file did it open?

  17. Run prog under strace.
    $ strace -e openat ./prog

    Which of the libgreeting.so files did it open? How did it know to open that one when the one opened by the linker in the previous step was different?