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?


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.

  • 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
  • 2
    It specifies additional directories for the loader to look in for libraries. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 10 '11 at 9:00
  • 1
    Paths in *nix are separated by a colon (:), not a semicolon. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 10 '11 at 9:18
  • 3
    LD_LIBRARY_PATH is generally a poor choice in production. It is good for quick hacks, and things like helping uninstalled binaries find their shared libraries when running unit tests (think ./configure; make; make check). When building your binary, you can either put your library in a standard location (listed at /etc/ld.so.conf) or pass the -R flag to the linker to let the binary know where to look. – automatthias Jun 27 '12 at 4:21

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!
  • 1
    If not using make, such as when manually calling g++, try -Wl,-rpath='$ORIGIN' (note the single quotes) to prevent $ORIGIN from expanding to an empty string. – Morpork Apr 13 '17 at 2:47

To load the shared objects from the same directory as your executable, simply execute:

$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. ./binary

Note: It will not modify the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable of your system. The change only affects to this, and only this, execution of your program.


For anyone that still struggles without an answer I found one myself with the following suggestion:

You could try updating the ld.so.cache using: sudo ldconfig -v

Worked for me.

  • Worked for me as well. – Joel Mar 19 at 20:17

For anyone using CMake for their build, you can set the CMAKE_EXE_LINKER_FLAGS to the following:


This will properly propagate the linker flags for all build types (e.g., Debug, Release, etc...) to look for .so files in the current working directory first.

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