pkg-config is an open source and completely free command-line program, a helper tool that is used automatically by the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) project when compiling libraries and applications under a GNU/Linux or UNIX-like operating system.
Handles library links and compile flags
The software has been engineered in such a way that it can handle library links and compile flags which work with both the autoconf and automake tools. It is designed to replace the universal *-config scripts and it’s language-agnostic.
Offers a wide range of command-line options
pkg-config boasts a wide range of command-line options, which can be viewed at a glance by running the ‘pkg-config --help’ command after installation (see out ‘Getting started with pkg-config’ section below for details).
Among these, we can mention the ability to list all known packages, to grab the value of give variables, to set a given variable to a value, to output all linker flags, to output all compiler flags and pre-processors, as well as to output linker flags for static linking.
Getting started with pkg-config
Installing pkg-config in your GNU/Linux operating system is quite easy, as this is a small program that compiles fast. Begin by heading to the download section above, download and save the latest release on your Home directory, and extract the archive’s contents.
Then, open a terminal emulator app, go to the location where you’ve extracted the archive file (e.g. cd /home/softpedia/pkg-config-0.28), run the ‘./configure && make’ command to configure and compile the program, followed by the ‘sudo make install’ command to install it system wide.
Runs on GNU/Linux, BSD, Mac and Windows
pkg-config is a cross-platform software that has been successfully tested and it works perfectly on all GNU/Linux distributions, as well as on the FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. It only requires a working C library and compiler.