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I have an executable which needs to link with libtest.so dynamically,so I put them in the same directory,then :

cd path_to_dir

But got this:

error while loading shared libraries: libtest.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

How can it be unable to find libtest.so which is already in the same directory as the executable itself?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The loader never checks the current directory for shared objects unless it is explicitly directed to via $LD_LIBRARY_PATH. See the ld.so(8) man page for more details.

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echo $LD_LIBRARY_PATH is empty on my machine:( –  linuxer Jun 10 '11 at 8:58
It usually is​. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 10 '11 at 8:58
So ld can work well without $LD_LIBRARY_PATH,what's it for then? –  linuxer Jun 10 '11 at 8:59
It specifies additional directories for the loader to look in for libraries. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 10 '11 at 9:00
Paths in *nix are separated by a colon (:), not a semicolon. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 10 '11 at 9:18

While you can set LD_LIBRARY_PATH to let the dynamic linker know where to look, there are better options. You can put your shared library in one of the standard places, see /etc/ld.so.conf (on Linux) and /usr/bin/crle (on Solaris) for the list of these places

You can pass -R <path> to the linker when building your binary, which will add <path> to the list of directories scanned for your shared library. Here's an example. First, showing the problem:


void hello_world(void);


#include <stdio.h>
void hello_world(void) {
  printf("Hello world, I'm a library!\n");


#include "libtest.h"
int main(int argc, char **argv) {

Makefile (tabs must be used):

all: hello
hello: libtest.so.0
%.o: %.c
        $(CC) $(CFLAGS) -fPIC -c -o $@ $<
libtest.so.0.0.1: libtest.o
        $(CC) -shared -Wl,-soname,libtest.so.0 -o libtest.so.0.0.1 libtest.o
libtest.so.0: libtest.so.0.0.1
        ln -s $< $@
        rm -f hello libtest.o hello.o libtest.so.0.0.1 libtest.so.0

Let's run it:

$ make
cc  -fPIC -c -o libtest.o libtest.c
cc -shared -Wl,-soname,libtest.so.0 -o libtest.so.0.0.1 libtest.o
ln -s libtest.so.0.0.1 libtest.so.0
cc     hello.c libtest.so.0   -o hello
$ ./hello 
./hello: error while loading shared libraries: libtest.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

How to fix it? Add -R <path> to the linker flags (here, by setting LDFLAGS).

$ make clean
$ make LDFLAGS="-Wl,-R -Wl,/home/maciej/src/tmp"
cc   -Wl,-R -Wl,/home/maciej/src/tmp  hello.c libtest.so.0   -o hello
$ ./hello 
Hello world, I'm a library!

Looking at the binary, you can see that it needs libtest.so.0:

$ objdump -p hello | grep NEEDED
  NEEDED               libtest.so.0
  NEEDED               libc.so.6

The binary will look for its libraries, apart from the standard places, in the specified directory:

$ objdump -p hello | grep RPATH
  RPATH                /home/maciej/src/tmp

If you want the binary to look in the current directory, you can set the RPATH to $ORIGIN. This is a bit tricky, because you need to make sure that the dollar sign is not interpreted by make. Here's one way to do it:

$ make CFLAGS="-fPIC" LDFLAGS="-Wl,-rpath '-Wl,\$\$ORIGIN'"
$ objdump -p hello | grep RPATH
  RPATH                $ORIGIN
$ ./hello 
Hello world, I'm a library!
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