Enforcing library version in a port Makefile?

Alex Stangl alex at stangl.us
Sun Oct 11 14:49:37 UTC 2009

On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 05:15:58AM +0000, b. f. wrote:
> Alex Stangl wrote:
> >I am trying to create a new port. The software I am trying to port uses
> >scons which calls out to pkg-config to check for certain minimal library
> >version #s (e.g., sndfile >= 1.0.18, libcurl >= 7).
> >I would like to enforce these same checks upfront in the Makefile rather
> >than letting the build potentially blow up in scons. Section 5.7.8 of the
> >Porter's Handbook says that all of the _DEPENDS variables *except
> >LIB_DEPENDS* can enforce minimal dependency versions. It's not clear why
> >LIB_DEPENDS is excluded here, or what the correct alternative approach
> >is. It doesn't seem like putting LIB_DEPENDS= curl.5 is equivalent to
> >libcurl >= 7. Hopefully there's a straightforward way to accomplish
> >this, without having to patch or scrap the scons config file.
> >Unfortunately I have not been able to find the answers from
> >searching the net, so I hope somebody here can help.
> It's not enforced in quite the same way, but there is a check on the
> version of the library if you specify it, only the check is for an
> exact match, not an inequality.  You can see the precise means by
> which this is accomplished by looking at the lib-depends target in
> /usr/ports/Mk/bsd.port.mk   (beginning on line 5102 of version 1.629
> of this file).  For example,
> /sbin/ldconfig  -r | /usr/bin/grep -vwF -e "/usr/local/lib/compat/pkg"
> | /usr/bin/grep -wE -e "-lblas\\.2"
> which is version-specific.  Probably an inequality check was not
> implemented because libraries with different major versions are
> expected to have different and incompatible ABI/APIs.  The
> corresponding version numbers of the port as a whole are not usually
> relevant for LIB_DEPENDS, only the version of the shared library
> itself, as the upstream maintainers are supposed to change a shared
> library version if and only if they change the API/ABI of the library.

It seems like there are 2 numbering schemes for shared libraries:

1. Version stored in /usr/local/libdata/pkgconfig/*.pc (same as

2. Major version number stored as part of the library filename.

I realized I could check for exact match for #2 (mentioned LIB_DEPENDS=
curl.5 in my message), however I would like to ideally check for #1
since that's what the scons config seems to be looking at.

It seems like checking #2 is only a rough proxy for #1 and is likely to
make for a fragile port. For instance, say scons config is checking
for >= X.Y in scheme #1, but all I can do is put a check
for M in scheme #2. Then we have these problematic scenarios:

1. If there are versions of the lib.M that have version #s in scheme #1
less than X.Y, then the build will fail in scons, leaving the user
confused and unhappy.

2. If user upgrades ports and gets lib.M+1, make fails because the exact
match is no longer satisfied. (Porter's Handbook says you can use
LIB_DEPENDS regular expressions like curl.[5-9] so this shouldn't be as
much of a problem, at least not until it breaks years later on curl.10)

>  If you are relying upon some feature of a port that may change while
> it's relevant shared library versions remain the same, then you should
> add the port to the other *_DEPENDS as needed, with appropriate checks
> on the port version number in those variables.

I suspect this is what I shall have to do. Is this what all other port
authors do in similar circumstances? It seems kind of a hackish
workaround, especially if the library in question doesn't have a
corresponding executable to list in RUN_DEPENDS. Do I force a library
name into RUN_DEPENDS?

It would be nice to be able to express the real dependency as precisely
and accurately as possible, say I want >= X.Y (in numbering scheme Z) of
this library, rather than have to obfuscate intent by using some proxy.

Thanks for the response!


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