Gearoid Murphy Gearoid Murphy - 2 months ago 20
Linux Question

Linking against an old version of libc to provide greater application coverage

Linux binaries are usually dynamically linked to the core system library (libc). This keeps the memory footprint of the binary quite small but binaries which are dependent on the latest libraries will not run on older systems. Conversely, binaries linked to older libraries will run happily on the latest systems.

Therefore, in order to ensure our application has good coverage during distribution we need to figure out the oldest libc we can support and link our binary against that.

Does anyone have any advice and/or insight as to how we should determine the oldest version of libc we can link to?

Thanks
- Gearoid

Answer

Work out which symbols in your executable are creating the dependency on the undesired version of glibc.

$ objdump -p myprog
...
Version References:
  required from libc.so.6:
    0x09691972 0x00 05 GLIBC_2.3
    0x09691a75 0x00 03 GLIBC_2.2.5

$ objdump -T myprog | fgrep GLIBC_2.3
0000000000000000      DF *UND*  0000000000000000  GLIBC_2.3   realpath

Look within the depended-upon library to see if there are any symbols in older versions that you can link against:

$ objdump -T /lib/libc.so.6 | grep -w realpath
0000000000105d90 g    DF .text  0000000000000021 (GLIBC_2.2.5) realpath
000000000003e7b0 g    DF .text  00000000000004bf  GLIBC_2.3   realpath

We're in luck!

Request the version from GLIBC_2.2.5 in your code:

#include <limits.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

__asm__(".symver realpath,realpath@GLIBC_2.2.5");

int main () {
    realpath ("foo", "bar");
}

Observe that GLIBC_2.3 is no longer needed:

$ objdump -p myprog
...
Version References:
  required from libc.so.6:
    0x09691a75 0x00 02 GLIBC_2.2.5

$ objdump -T myprog | grep realpath
0000000000000000      DF *UND*  0000000000000000  GLIBC_2.2.5 realpath

For further information, see http://www.trevorpounds.com/blog/?p=103.