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GNU Libtool is a GNU programming tool from the GNU build system used for creating portable compiled libraries. To quote the introduction in the Libtool Manual:
|| In the past, if a source code package developer wanted to take advantage of the power of shared libraries, it was necessary to write custom support code for each platform on which the package ran. It was also necessary to design a configuration interface so that the package installer could choose what sort of libraries were built.
GNU Libtool simplifies the developer's job by encapsulating both the platform-specific dependencies, and the user interface, in a single script. GNU Libtool is designed so that the complete functionality of each host type is available via a generic interface, but nasty quirks are hidden from the programmer.
GNU Libtool's interface aims to be consistent. Users are not expected to read low-level documentation in order to have a source package build shared libraries. They should only have to run the package's configure script (or equivalent), and Libtool should take care of the details.
Libtool is typically used with Autoconf and Automake, two other tools of the GNU build system.