14 Working With Libraries

Libraries are an integral part of your system. This section describes some common practices you might find helpful when working with libraries to build your system:

14.1 Including Static Library Files

If you are building a library and the library offers static linking, you can control which static library files (*.a files) get included in the built library.

The PACKAGES and FILES:* variables in the meta/conf/bitbake.conf configuration file define how files installed by the do_install task are packaged. By default, the PACKAGES variable includes ${PN}-staticdev, which represents all static library files.


Some previously released versions of the Yocto Project defined the static library files through ${PN}-dev.

Following is part of the BitBake configuration file, where you can see how the static library files are defined:

PACKAGES = "${PN}-src ${PN}-dbg ${PN}-staticdev ${PN}-dev ${PN}-doc ${PN}-locale ${PACKAGE_BEFORE_PN} ${PN}"
PACKAGES_DYNAMIC = "^${PN}-locale-.*"
FILES = ""

FILES:${PN} = "${bindir}/* ${sbindir}/* ${libexecdir}/* ${libdir}/lib*${SOLIBS} \
            ${sysconfdir} ${sharedstatedir} ${localstatedir} \
            ${base_bindir}/* ${base_sbindir}/* \
            ${base_libdir}/*${SOLIBS} \
            ${base_prefix}/lib/udev ${prefix}/lib/udev \
            ${base_libdir}/udev ${libdir}/udev \
            ${datadir}/${BPN} ${libdir}/${BPN}/* \
            ${datadir}/pixmaps ${datadir}/applications \
            ${datadir}/idl ${datadir}/omf ${datadir}/sounds \

FILES:${PN}-bin = "${bindir}/* ${sbindir}/*"

FILES:${PN}-doc = "${docdir} ${mandir} ${infodir} ${datadir}/gtk-doc \
SECTION:${PN}-doc = "doc"

FILES_SOLIBSDEV ?= "${base_libdir}/lib*${SOLIBSDEV} ${libdir}/lib*${SOLIBSDEV}"
FILES:${PN}-dev = "${includedir} ${FILES_SOLIBSDEV} ${libdir}/*.la \
                ${libdir}/*.o ${libdir}/pkgconfig ${datadir}/pkgconfig \
                ${datadir}/aclocal ${base_libdir}/*.o \
                ${libdir}/${BPN}/*.la ${base_libdir}/*.la \
                ${libdir}/cmake ${datadir}/cmake"
SECTION:${PN}-dev = "devel"
ALLOW_EMPTY:${PN}-dev = "1"
RDEPENDS:${PN}-dev = "${PN} (= ${EXTENDPKGV})"

FILES:${PN}-staticdev = "${libdir}/*.a ${base_libdir}/*.a ${libdir}/${BPN}/*.a"
SECTION:${PN}-staticdev = "devel"
RDEPENDS:${PN}-staticdev = "${PN}-dev (= ${EXTENDPKGV})"

14.2 Combining Multiple Versions of Library Files into One Image

The build system offers the ability to build libraries with different target optimizations or architecture formats and combine these together into one system image. You can link different binaries in the image against the different libraries as needed for specific use cases. This feature is called “Multilib”.

An example would be where you have most of a system compiled in 32-bit mode using 32-bit libraries, but you have something large, like a database engine, that needs to be a 64-bit application and uses 64-bit libraries. Multilib allows you to get the best of both 32-bit and 64-bit libraries.

While the Multilib feature is most commonly used for 32 and 64-bit differences, the approach the build system uses facilitates different target optimizations. You could compile some binaries to use one set of libraries and other binaries to use a different set of libraries. The libraries could differ in architecture, compiler options, or other optimizations.

There are several examples in the meta-skeleton layer found in the Source Directory:

14.2.1 Preparing to Use Multilib

User-specific requirements drive the Multilib feature. Consequently, there is no one “out-of-the-box” configuration that would meet your needs.

In order to enable Multilib, you first need to ensure your recipe is extended to support multiple libraries. Many standard recipes are already extended and support multiple libraries. You can check in the meta/conf/multilib.conf configuration file in the Source Directory to see how this is done using the BBCLASSEXTEND variable. Eventually, all recipes will be covered and this list will not be needed.

For the most part, the Multilib class extension works automatically to extend the package name from ${PN} to ${MLPREFIX}${PN}, where MLPREFIX is the particular multilib (e.g. “lib32-” or “lib64-“). Standard variables such as DEPENDS, RDEPENDS, RPROVIDES, RRECOMMENDS, PACKAGES, and PACKAGES_DYNAMIC are automatically extended by the system. If you are extending any manual code in the recipe, you can use the ${MLPREFIX} variable to ensure those names are extended correctly.

14.2.2 Using Multilib

After you have set up the recipes, you need to define the actual combination of multiple libraries you want to build. You accomplish this through your local.conf configuration file in the Build Directory. An example configuration would be as follows:

MACHINE = "qemux86-64"
require conf/multilib.conf
MULTILIBS = "multilib:lib32"
DEFAULTTUNE:virtclass-multilib-lib32 = "x86"
IMAGE_INSTALL:append = " lib32-glib-2.0"

This example enables an additional library named lib32 alongside the normal target packages. When combining these “lib32” alternatives, the example uses “x86” for tuning. For information on this particular tuning, see meta/conf/machine/include/ia32/arch-ia32.inc.

The example then includes lib32-glib-2.0 in all the images, which illustrates one method of including a multiple library dependency. You can use a normal image build to include this dependency, for example:

$ bitbake core-image-sato

You can also build Multilib packages specifically with a command like this:

$ bitbake lib32-glib-2.0

14.2.3 Additional Implementation Details

There are generic implementation details as well as details that are specific to package management systems. Following are implementation details that exist regardless of the package management system:

  • The typical convention used for the class extension code as used by Multilib assumes that all package names specified in PACKAGES that contain ${PN} have ${PN} at the start of the name. When that convention is not followed and ${PN} appears at the middle or the end of a name, problems occur.

  • The TARGET_VENDOR value under Multilib will be extended to “-vendormlmultilib” (e.g. “-pokymllib32” for a “lib32” Multilib with Poky). The reason for this slightly unwieldy contraction is that any “-” characters in the vendor string presently break Autoconf’s config.sub, and other separators are problematic for different reasons.

Here are the implementation details for the RPM Package Management System:

  • A unique architecture is defined for the Multilib packages, along with creating a unique deploy folder under tmp/deploy/rpm in the Build Directory. For example, consider lib32 in a qemux86-64 image. The possible architectures in the system are “all”, “qemux86_64”, “lib32:qemux86_64”, and “lib32:x86”.

  • The ${MLPREFIX} variable is stripped from ${PN} during RPM packaging. The naming for a normal RPM package and a Multilib RPM package in a qemux86-64 system resolves to something similar to bash-4.1-r2.x86_64.rpm and bash-4.1.r2.lib32_x86.rpm, respectively.

  • When installing a Multilib image, the RPM backend first installs the base image and then installs the Multilib libraries.

  • The build system relies on RPM to resolve the identical files in the two (or more) Multilib packages.

Here are the implementation details for the IPK Package Management System:

  • The ${MLPREFIX} is not stripped from ${PN} during IPK packaging. The naming for a normal RPM package and a Multilib IPK package in a qemux86-64 system resolves to something like bash_4.1-r2.x86_64.ipk and lib32-bash_4.1-rw:x86.ipk, respectively.

  • The IPK deploy folder is not modified with ${MLPREFIX} because packages with and without the Multilib feature can exist in the same folder due to the ${PN} differences.

  • IPK defines a sanity check for Multilib installation using certain rules for file comparison, overridden, etc.

14.3 Installing Multiple Versions of the Same Library

There are be situations where you need to install and use multiple versions of the same library on the same system at the same time. This almost always happens when a library API changes and you have multiple pieces of software that depend on the separate versions of the library. To accommodate these situations, you can install multiple versions of the same library in parallel on the same system.

The process is straightforward as long as the libraries use proper versioning. With properly versioned libraries, all you need to do to individually specify the libraries is create separate, appropriately named recipes where the PN part of the name includes a portion that differentiates each library version (e.g. the major part of the version number). Thus, instead of having a single recipe that loads one version of a library (e.g. clutter), you provide multiple recipes that result in different versions of the libraries you want. As an example, the following two recipes would allow the two separate versions of the clutter library to co-exist on the same system:


Additionally, if you have other recipes that depend on a given library, you need to use the DEPENDS variable to create the dependency. Continuing with the same example, if you want to have a recipe depend on the 1.8 version of the clutter library, use the following in your recipe:

DEPENDS = "clutter-1.8"