PkgConfig - Pure-Perl Core-Only replacement for pkg-config


As a replacement for pkg-config

    $ ppkg-config --libs --cflags --static gio-2.0

    #outputs (lines artificially broken up for readability):
    # -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include
    # -pthread -lgio-2.0 -lz -lresolv -lgobject-2.0
    # -lgmodule-2.0 -ldl -lgthread-2.0 -pthread -lrt -lglib-2.0 can be used as an alias for ppkg-config on platforms that support it. It can also be installed as pkg-config though this is not recommended if your system has a native pkg-config.

Compare to: $ pkg-config --libs --cflags --static gio-2.0

    #outputs ( "" ):
    # -pthread -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include
    # -pthread -lgio-2.0 -lz -lresolv -lgobject-2.0 -lgmodule-2.0
    # -ldl -lgthread-2.0 -lrt -lglib-2.0

From another Perl module

    use PkgConfig;

    my $o = PkgConfig->find('gio');
    if($o->errmsg) {
        #handle error
    } else {
        my $prefix = $o->get_var('prefix');
        my @cflags = $o->get_cflags;
        my @ldflags = $o->get_ldflags;


PkgConfig provides a pure-perl, core-only replacement for the pkg-config utility.

This is not a description of the uses of pkg-config but rather a description of the differences between the C version and the Perl one.

While pkg-config is a compiled binary linked with glib, the pure-perl version has no such requirement, and will run wherever Perl ( >= 5.6 ) does.

The main supported options are the common --libs, --cflags, --static, --exists and --modversion.



    <packagename1 pkgname2..> [ --options ]


By default, a library name must be supplied unless one of --version, or --real-version is specified.

The output should normally be suitable for passing to your favorite compiler.


(Also) print linker flags. Dependencies are traverse in order. Top-level dependencies will appear earlier in the command line than bottom-level dependencies.


Prints -L/-R part of "--libs". It defines library search path but without libraries to link with.


Prints the -l part of "--libs".


Prints the part of "--libs" not covered by "--libs-only-L" and "--libs-only-l", such as "--pthread".


List all know packages.


(Also) print compiler and C preprocessor flags.


Prints the -I part of "--cflags"


Prints the parts of "--cflags" not covered by "--cflags-only-I".


Print the version of a given package.


Use extra dependencies and libraries if linking against a static version of the requested library


Return success (0) if the package exists in the search path.


Prepend PATH to the list of search paths containing .pc files.

This option can be specified multiple times with different paths, and they will all be added.


Using this option, only paths specified in PKG_CONFIG_PATH are recognized and any hard-coded defaults are ignored.


Invoke gcc and ld to determine default linker and include paths. Default paths will be excluded from explicit -L and -I flags.


Define a variable, overriding any such variable definition in the .pc file, and allowing your value to interpolate with subsequent uses.


This returns the value of a variable defined in a package's .pc file.


Print all defined variables found in the .pc files.


The target version of pkg-config emulated by this script


The actual version of this script


Print debugging information


Turn off errors. This is the default for non-libs/cflag/modversion arguments


Print errors to STDERR and takes precedence over --silence-errors


Ignored, but recognized for compatibility.


Print errors to STDOUT and takes precedence over --print-errors


the PKG_CONFIG_PATH and PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR variables are honored and used as a colon-delimited (semicolon-delimited on Windows) list of directories with contain .pc files.

Other environment variables recongized by both pkg-config and PkgConfig include:


If Win32API::Registry is installed, on Windows (but not Cygwin) PkgConfig will also consult these registry keys. The names are ignored, but the values are paths containing .pc files.


Registry support should be considered somewhat experimental, subject to change in the future, though not without good reason. The rationale for this caveat is that this feature is documented in several places, but I have yet to find a working version that implements this feature.



    my $result = PkgConfig->find($library, %options);

Find a library and return a result object. $library can be either a single name of a library, or a reference to an array of library names

The options are in the form of hash keys and values, and the following are recognized:


Prepend search paths in addition to the paths specified in $ENV{PKG_CONFIG_PATH} The value is an array reference.

the _override variant ignores defaults (like PKG_CONFIG_PATH).


Specifies the full path of the of the .pc file that you wish to load. It does not need to be in the search path (although any dependencies will need to be). Useful if you know the full path of the exact .pc file that you want.


Some .pc files specify default compiler and linker search paths, e.g. -I/usr/include -L/usr/lib. Specifying them on the command line can be problematic as it drastically changes the search order.

The above options will either append or replace the options which are excluded and filtered.

The default excluded linker and compiler options can be obtained via @PkgConfig::DEFAULT_EXCLUDE_LFLAGS and @PkgConfig::DEFAULT_EXCLUDE_CFLAGS, respectively.


Also specify static libraries.


Do not recurse dependencies. This is useful for just doing version checks.


Define a hashref of variables to override any variable definitions within the .pc files. This is equivalent to the --define-variable command-line option.

A PkgConfig object is returned and may be queried about the results:


An error message, if any. This is a string and indicates an error.


Boolean value, true if the package exists.


The version of the package



Returns compiler and linker flags, respectively.

In list context, these methods return a list with each argument split on unescaped spaces.

In list context returns a list of compiler and linker flags, respectively.

In scalar context returns a string of compiler and linker flags with spaces and quotes escaped correctly.


Get the variable with the given name.


This is a class method, and will replace the hard-coded default linker and include paths with those discovered by invoking ld(1) and cpp(1).

Currently this only works with GCC-supplied ld and GNU ld.


The Makefile.PL that comes with PkgConfig can take one or more --script options to change of the name of the script or scripts that are installed.

--script ppkg-config

This is the default and works on all platforms


This is installed by default on all platforms except for Windows, where the .pl may confuse the shell and cause the script to be opened in a text editor.

--script pkg-config

This is the default name of the real pkg-config and so you have to specifically enable it if you want it.

--script none

Don't install any scripts.

Example, install all script names:

 % perl Makefile.PL --script ppkg-config --script --script pkg-config

Example, don't install any scripts:

 % perl Makefile.PL --script none

You can also set the environment variable PERL_PKG_CONFIG_SCRIPTS to the desired --script value (separating each script name with a comma ,) to ensure that upgrades of PkgConfig do the same.


On Strawberry Perl ppkg-config acts like Strawberry is the system. This means that

  • The .pc files that are bundled with Strawberry are searched by default.

  • The Strawberry include and lib directories are used to compute the exclusion lists.

As of Strawberry PkgConfig is bundled with Strawberry and pkg-config is installed by default (in addition to ppkg-config, though the ppkg-config alias is NOT bundled with Strawberry itself).

For details on how to patch the .pc files bundled with older Strawberries, see the README.win32 that comes with this Distribution.


The order of the flags is not exactly matching to that of pkg-config. From my own observation, it seems this module does a better job, but I might be wrong.

Unlike pkg-config, the scripts --exists function will return nonzero if a package or any of its dependencies are missing. This differs from the behavior of pkg-config which will just check for the definition of the package itself (without dependencies).



The original C implementation


An alternative C implementation


Perl bindings for libpkgconf, the same library that pkgconf is built on.


A wrapper around the pkg-config binary that can be used in your Makefile.PL or Build.PL.

Another perl implementation of pkg-config


Pure Ruby implementation.


A Python implementation.


Original Author: M. Nunberg
Current maintainer: Graham Ollis <>

Other contributors include:

Vladimir Timofeev (vovkasm)
Sanel Zukan
Breno G. de Oliveira (garu)
Gregor Herrmann
Ilya Pavlov (ILUX, Ilya33)
Shawn Laffan (SLAFFAN, shawnlaffan)
Ari Jolma (AJOLMA)


Copyright (C) 2012 M. Nunberg

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.