The runtime linker looks in two default locations for dependencies. When processing 32–bit objects, the default locations are /lib and /usr/lib. When processing 64–bit objects, the default locations are /lib/64 and /usr/lib/64. All other directories to be searched must be added to the runtime linker's search path explicitly.
When a dynamic executable or shared object is linked with additional shared objects, the shared objects are recorded as dependencies. These dependencies must be located during process execution by the runtime linker. When linking a dynamic object, one or more search paths can be recorded in the output file. These search paths are referred to as a runpath. The runtime linker uses the runpath of an object to locate the dependencies of that object.
Specialized objects can be built with the -z nodefaultlib option to suppress any search of the default location at runtime. Use of this option implies that all the dependencies of an object can be located using its runpaths. Without this option, no matter how you augment the runtime linker's search path, the last search paths used are always the default locations.
The default search path can be administrated by using a runtime configuration file. See Configuring the Default Search Paths. However, the creator of a dynamic object should not rely on the existence of this file. You should always ensure that an object can locate its dependencies with only its runpaths or the default locations.
You can use the -R option, which takes a colon-separated list of directories, to record a runpath in a dynamic executable or shared object. The following example records the runpath /home/me/lib:/home/you/lib in the dynamic executable prog.
$ cc -o prog main.c -R/home/me/lib:/home/you/lib -Lpath1 \ -Lpath2 file1.c file2.c -lfoo -lbar
The runtime linker uses these paths, followed by the default location, to obtain any shared object dependencies. In this case, this runpath is used to locate libfoo.so.1 and libbar.so.1.
The link-editor accepts multiple -R options. These multiple specifications are concatenate together, separated by a colon. Thus, the previous example can also be expressed as follows.
$ cc -o prog main.c -R/home/me/lib -Lpath1 -R/home/you/lib \ -Lpath2 file1.c file2.c -lfoo -lbar
For objects that can be installed in various locations, the $ORIGIN dynamic string token provides a flexible means of recording a runpath. See Locating Associated Dependencies.
A historic alternative to specifying the -R option is to set the environment variable LD_RUN_PATH, and make this available to the link-editor. The scope and function of LD_RUN_PATH and -R are identical, but when both are specified, -R supersedes LD_RUN_PATH.