Use of pkg-config

Richard Purdie richard.purdie at
Wed May 14 17:59:33 CEST 2014

On Wed, 2014-05-14 at 17:20 +0200, Werner Koch wrote:
> On Tue, 13 May 2014 14:55, richard.purdie at said:
> > I notice this has been mentioned back in 2012 but I'd like to ask again
> > whether it would be possible to consider adding pkgconfig support to
> > libgpg-error and friends?
> No.
> pkg-config is mess because it is not based on standard Unix tools but
> introduces extra dependencies.  The idea behind ./configure is to be
> able to run the build process on an arbitrary Unix box without extra
> dependencies. pkg-config introduces such extra dependencies because of
> itself and - even worse - because it depends on glib.
> Yes, I am talking about generic Unix systems.  There are still other
> systems in active use than Linux, Windows, and MacOS.  Those systems
> don't come with pkg-config or glib installed as standard tools.  They
> don't come with GNU make but with a standard make.  This is why we need
> most of the configure stuff.
> pkg-config makes sense for projects like GNOME and KDE where it is part
> of their framework.

Its worth highlighting that pkg-config has now standardised on using its
own internal glib code so it no longer has that dependency, its handled
internally. It only ever needed a tiny part of glib so this makes a lot
of sense. Since that is now addressed does that help improve the
situation to a point its use could be reconsidered?

I appreciate the idea configure is standalone however it is now a single
dependency which is widely available and widely used in many other
pieces of software.

Alternatively, could pkg-config be added as an option? It could be used
by default and things could then fall back to the -config scripts?



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