Libraries Background Question

Ainsley Pereira marble at
Sun Dec 17 11:34:31 PST 2000

In message <001001c0685b$037cd840$b4c9accf at mmiller>
          "Mike Miller" <mhmtech at> wrote:

> I just had a basic question about .so libraries... why are there .so.0,
> .so.0.0.0, .so.? which all link to the same (often not the one with no
> "extra" extentions) libraries... what do the suffixes mean? Thanks!

A library usually has, for example and links - this way a program can specify that it wants if it's just
interested in any 1.x version of libx, or if it needs a more specific version,
it can specify that too.
If you have version 1.2.4, you will have links for 1.2 and 1 so a program that
doesn't mind if it uses 1.2.3 or 1.2.4 (but does need 1.2 or greater) can link
In theory, a library's major number should change if a binary incompatability
is introduced, and that should be enough, but often programs like to require a
version of a library with a certain bugfix in, for example.

Hope that helps,

   / Ainsley Pereira       /   aka Marble on Snowplains   /
  /                       / telnet:// /

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