skalibs configuration flags

The skalibs ./configure script comes with a few uncommon options; this page explains what they are for.


This flag tells configure that you want to install skalibs according to the slashpackage convention. If you enable it, and $v is the version of skalibs you're compiling, make install will install the skalibs header files in /package/prog/skalibs-$v/include, the static libraries in /package/prog/skalibs-$v/library, the dynamic libraries in /package/prog/skalibs-$v/ and the data files in /package/prog/skalibs-$v/etc, all prefixed by sproot it present. It will also add two more "make" targets:

If this option is not given, no slashpackage support will be provided.


If this option is given, then the low-level components of libstddjb, such as byte_copy(), will be built using independent, failsafe implementations; skalibs will avoid relying on the libc when possible.

If this option is not given, then native libc primitives such as memmove() will be used for the low-levels components of libstddjb. This is the default.

This flag should be set if your libc has known bugs or you are uncertain of it for some reason. Standard libcs on modern systems have been thoroughly tested, so it's usually safe, and faster, to stick to the default.


To understand what this flag is about - and the next three flags too - you should start by reading this page about Unix time, which David Madore wrote after a long and fairly complete discussion we had on the subject. You can also read what DJB says about Unix time. Unfortunately, when he says "the POSIX rules are so outrageously dumb (...) that no self-respecting engineer would obey them", DJB is wrong: a lot of people follow the POSIX rules. Or maybe he's right... and there are very, very few self-respecting engineers.

Basically, when you configure a Unix system, there are essentially two ways to deal with your system clock.

  1. You can set your system clock to TAI-10, which is the "right", but uncommon, thing to do:
  2. You can set your system clock to UTC, which is the common, strictly POSIX setup:

USe --enable-tai-clock if your system clock is set to TAI-10. I generally recommend this setup for computers you have full control on, on which you install and tweak the software your way, like manually administered servers or embedded boxes. If you do not run ntpd and do not mind breaking POSIX, it is the sensible choice.

Do not use this option if your system clock is set to UTC, i.e. if you're in none of the above cases: you are a POSIX freak, or your Unix distribution is running ntpd for you, or other software is assuming you're on UTC. This is the default.


This option instructs skalibs that you're using Olson's time library, i.e. "right/" timezones.

Normally, if you set --enable-tai-clock, you should also set up your timezone to a "right/" one, and set flag-tzisright. And if you don't use --enable-tai-clock, you should also use a POSIX timezone, and NOT use --enable-right-tz. Those two options should always be used together.

But some C libraries do not support the Olson time library's timezone format, and just do not provide the "right/" timezones! For instance, musl, an alternative libc for Linux, only supports POSIX timezones. And you might want to use such a libc, and still set up your clock to TAI-10, for instance in embedded environments where accurate timekeeping is important. In such cases, you'll set up a POSIX timezone, and use the --enable-tai-clock option without the --enable-right-tz one.

Be aware that setting your system clock to TAI-10 without having a "right/" timezone will cause non-skalibs-using software to display local time incorrectly; in such a setup, only skalibs-using software will understand what is going on and do the proper computations to display the correct local time. Keep your settings as consistent as possible.

By default, skalibs will consider you are using POSIX timezones (as well as a UTC system clock).


The Open Group Base Specifications, issue 7, describes gettimeofday() as obsolescent, and recommends the use of clock_gettime() with the CLOCK_REALTIME option instead. However:

If --enable-clock is set, the tain_now() and tain_setnow() functions for getting and setting time will be based on the clock_gettime() and clock_settime() functions.

Otherwise, the old-school gettimeofday() and settimeofday() interfaces will be used. This is the default, and it's usually safe.


Unless you have an accurate hardware system clock and you set it on a linear time scale such as TAI-10 instead of UTC (see above), it is generally a bad idea to trust the system clock for precise time interval measurements. Single Unix recommends the use of clock_gettime() with the CLOCK_MONOTONIC option to do such measurements: a stopwatch, not a wall clock. However:

If --enable-monotonic is set, then the absolute time given by the tain_now() call will be computed with CLOCK_MONOTONIC. This will ensure precise time arithmetic but may drift away from the system clock.

Otherwise, tain_now() will return a time based on the system clock, and not use CLOCK_MONOTONIC. This is the default.


If you set this option, then skalibs will be compiled without IPv6 support, even if your target architecture supports it. This can significantly reduce the size of your networking applications if they don't need IPv6 support.

If you don't set this option, then skalibs will include IPv6 support in the relevant networking functions if and only if the target architecture supports it. This is the default, and it is safe.


If this option is set, then the automatic sysdeps tests will assume the target architecture has a working /dev/random and will skip its autodetection.

Otherwise, /dev/random will be autodetected and tested; if entropy generation is low on the host, the compilation process might hang for several minutes. It is safe to leave this flag clear; it should only be set to speed up the compilation process in a known environment or for testing purposes.

If skalibs is being cross-compiled, this flag obviously has no effect: the presence of a working /dev/random is read from the user-provided sysdeps.


If you set this option, then the librandom functions will assume the presence of an EGD daemon listening on path, and use it to get random data.

By default, skalibs will not include EGD support.


The execvep() function uses the value of the PATH environment variable as its executable search path. Specifying this option to configure tells execvep() what executable search path to use when PATH is undefined (which should not happen often anyway). The default is /usr/bin:/bin, which is usually safe.