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Patching autoconf to support static binutils?

Hello. I am trying to figure out how to build a statically linked version of binutils (starting with binutils source version 2.21.1). I have found some old discussions of this topic via search results, but there was never any real resolution to this issue as far as I can tell.

A while ago people were suggesting that playing with LDFLAGS during the appropriate stage of the configure/make configure-host/make sequence could do the trick, but if these instructions ever worked, they don't work any more.

I have spent hours trying to find the magic incantations that would make this work, but have failed, and I believe that there are in fact no magic incantations that will work in the current binutils configure script and makefiles.

The basic problem, as far as I can tell, is that some Makefiles within binutils use the compiler to link executables, and some Makefiles use libtool to do the same. The option that would need to be passed to the compiler (ostensibly being gcc, which accepts the -static option) are different than that which would need to be passed to libtool (-all-static); but the environment variable that can be used for specifing linker flags to the compiler, LDFLAGS, is passed to both the compiler and libtool.

Does it seem right that LDFLAGS would be passed to libtool? It doesn't seem right to me, since LDFLAGS suggest being used for the 'ld' program, and that program doesn't have compatible arguments with libtool. It would seem cleaner to use LIBTOOLFLAGS for this purpose, however, LIBTOOLFLAGS is used for several different 'flavors' of libtool invocation, some of which do not accept -all-static (e.g. libtool --mode=compile). In fact the logical conclusion of this train of thought would seem to be that there should be a separate LIBTOOLFLAGS variable in use for each of the modes of libtool invocation, e.g. LIBTOOLFLAGS_LINK, LIBTOOLFLAGS_COMPILE, etc, and additionally, as was already mentioned, there is no way to pass linker arguments just to invocations of the compiler without also passing those flags to libtool.

I believe that the following *might* be sufficient to allow static binutils to be built:

1) Make sure that all invocations of the compiler used as a linker use only LDFLAGS (not LIBTOOLFLAGS)
2) Make sure that all invocations of libtool use the appropriate flavor of the LIBTOOLFLAGS (i.e. LIBTOOLFLAGS_LINK, LIBTOOLFLAGS_COMPILE, etc), and do NOT use LDFLAGS
3) Specify LDFLAGS=-static and LIBTOOLFLAGS_LINK=-all-static when running make (and possibly when running configure)

Another alternative might be to encode the users' wishes more explicitly in a configure argument, something like --enable-static-executables, which would turn on Makefile variables that have the same effect as (1) and (2) above, without requiring that the user play with environment variables when executing configure and/or make. However, for this option, I am not clear about how this configuration option gets specified; does it only need to be specified in the top-level binutils configure, or would it need to be present in each configure of each sub-directory? Would this option be 'inherited' in some way in the sub-directories (possibly via Makefile variables), or would it need to be encoded individually in each sub-directory configure script? And if so, would it naturally be specified to executions of configure in sub-directories by the main configure script? I'm afraid that I am pretty unfamiliar with autoconf and mostly go on what I can grok by reading the scripts, and these aspects are not obvious to me. Forgive me for not RTFA, but the less I know about autoconf the happier I will be, I believe, so I'd rather rely on others' expertise in the tool than acquiring such expertise myself :)

I'm happy to do the work to make this happen and to submit patches, but I'd like some direction to ensure that I implement a solution that would be acceptable to the binutils maintainers.

Thanks, and best wishes,

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