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Old 10-22-2007, 11:33 PM   #1
pwabrahams
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Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Deerfield MA
Distribution: OpenSuSE, Kubuntu
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gdk_threads_lock -- an ancient and vexing mystery


I've encountered the undefined symbol gdk_threads_lock while trying to load Firefox, after installing OpenSuSE 10.3. (I did both an upgrade from 10.2 and a fresh install -- same problem either way.) Some googling revealed that quite a few people have encountered this same undefined symbol in a number of contexts, e.g., gftp, going back to 2004. And all the posts on the subject have gone unanswered. Yet on the install that I did on another machine, the problem didn't arise. Since the OpenSuSE world doesn't seem to be awash in reports of this problem, it must depend on some peculiarity of my environment. But what?

Does anyone know where the definition of this blasted symbol can be found?
 
Old 10-23-2007, 12:01 PM   #2
pwabrahams
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Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Deerfield MA
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The answer: a defective library somewhere

I solved this problem for Firefox by replacing the SuSE distribution version by the Mozilla version. Apparently there's a bad library floating around that has references to gdk_threads_lock, which probably doesn't exist, and some software has been compiled to use that library. Since the problem has shown up for other programs than Firefox, I assume the cause is the same, and the cure is to get a different version of the troublesome version until the problem is fixed. To check if a program has this difficulty, do this:

Code:
strings questionable-program | grep gdk_threads
If the program uses the defective library, you'll see gdk_threads_lock in the output; if it doesn't use that library, you won't see it.
 
Old 10-30-2007, 12:29 AM   #3
pwabrahams
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Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Deerfield MA
Distribution: OpenSuSE, Kubuntu
Posts: 290

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Problem solved, it seems

I had thought the problem was caused by a misconfigured library, but it turns out to be caused by a misconfigured path spec somewhere (I still don't know which one). But on my system, wiping out the entire /opt/gnome tree (I'm running KDE) caused Firefox and emacs also to come alive, and the error disappeared. I had been reloading every library in sight, with no results at all. The /opt/gnome tree was full of files not used by any package, and the remainder were all brought in by the package gnome_compat, which appeared to be of no use since I'm running KDE, not Gnome.

I don't know, though, if most of the problems reported by other people were also caused by a misconfigured path spec.
 
  


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