Adding pkg-config not provided by upstream when packaging a library?

Eric Smith spacewar at
Sun Jun 15 21:32:47 UTC 2014

Because a new version of the Free42 calculator has switched to the Intel
decimal floating point library (an implementation of the decimal part of
IEEE-754), I'm working on packaging it:

Intel supplies it as portable code intended to be linked directly with an
application, and builds and tests all 16 combinations of four binary
compile-time options, with the name of the resulting library based on the
values of those options.  It is essential that the program making use of
the library use the correct defines to match the specific library variant
being used.

When I've packaged other libraries for Fedora that didn't include
pkg-config files, it seemed desirable to add them.  However, in this case
Michael Schwendt commented in the package review that I "am adding to the
API here", and that it "results in incompatibilities".

Since there are sixteen variants of the library, I am providing sixteen
corresponding pkg-config files.  When another program uses the library, by
using pkg-config in their Makefile (or other build system), it will ensure
that they are getting the right C preprocessor defines for the chosen
library variant.

I don't really understand how this is "adding to the API" or results in
incompatibilities.  Do other people think that doing this is a mistake?
Would it actually be better for the package not to provide pkg-config files?

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