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For this question I'll be using a specific example, but really this generalizes to pretty much any binary on linux that can't seem to find its' dependent libraries. So, I have a program that won't run because of missing libraries:

./cart5: error while loading shared libraries: libcorona-1.0.2.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

ldd sheds some light on the issue:

linux-vdso.so.1 =>  (0x00007fff18b01000)
libcorona-1.0.2.so => not found
libstdc++.so.6 => /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/4.4.3/libstdc++.so.6 (0x00007f0975830000)
libm.so.6 => /lib/libm.so.6 (0x00007f09755af000)
libgcc_s.so.1 => /lib/libgcc_s.so.1 (0x00007f0975399000)
libc.so.6 => /lib/libc.so.6 (0x00007f0975040000)
libz.so.1 => /lib/libz.so.1 (0x00007f0974e2b000)
/lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00007f0975b36000)

However, corona is installed:

oliver@human$ find / -name libcorona-1.0.2.so 2> /dev/null

/usr/local/lib64/libcorona-1.0.2.so
/home/oliver/installed/corona-1.0.2/src/.libs/libcorona-1.0.2.so

How do I tell the binary where to look for the "missing" library?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

For a once-off, set the variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH to a colon-separated list of directories to search. This is analogous to PATH for executables, except that the standard system directories are additionally searched after the ones specified through the environment.

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib64 ./cart5

If you have a program that keeps libraries in a non-standard location and isn't able to find them on its own, you can write a wrapper script:

#!/bin/sh
if [ -n "$LD_LIBRARY_PATH" ]; then
  LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/local/lib64
else
  LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib64
fi
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
exec /path/to/cart5 "$@"

The list of standard system directories is kept in /etc/ld.so.conf. Recent systems allow this file to include other files; if yours contains something like include /etc/ld.so.conf.d/*.conf, create a new file called /etc/ld.so.conf.d/mala.conf containing the directories you want to add. After you change /etc/ld.so.conf or an included file, run /sbin/ldconfig for your changes to take effect (this updates a cache).

(LD_LIBRARY_PATH also applies to many other unices, including FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris and Tru64. HP-UX has SHLIB_PATH and Mac OS X has DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH. /etc/ld.so.conf has analogs on most unices but the location and syntax differs more widely.)

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1  
Fantastic, thank you very much. I had no idea about /etc/ld.so.conf, and it will be very useful to me in the future. – Mala Sep 26 '10 at 6:26

If you want to avoid LD_LIBRARY_PATH, you can also do this, during linking:

gcc -o exename -L/path/to/dynamiclib/ -lnameofLib \
    -Wl,-R/path/to/dynamiclib/ sourceCode1.c ...

The -Wl,... is used to pass extra commands to the linker, and in this case, with -R you tell the linker to store this path as the "default search path" for the .so.

I keep notes of many small tips like this one, at my site:

https://www.thanassis.space/tricks.html

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