undefined reference to `boost::program_options::options_description::m_default_line_length'

I am trying to compile a code and I get the error

undefined reference to boost::program_options::options_description::m_default_line_length

I use g++ in Ubuntu 12.04. Although I have done some C++ programming I am new to the Linux development environment (used only IDEs previously).

So I did a basic search for this trouble, and found about some linking issues. I didn't quite understand them as I am a newbie. Reading some of those solutions confused me further. My boost library folder is in /usr/include. Some solutions says that it should be in /usr/lib. But I don't have any boost folder there.

What do I need to change?


If you have installed boost from repo just use -lboost_program_options that will suffice. If you installed boost libraries in some other library, you need to specify that directoty by -L/path/to/lib

In CMake you may specify set(CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS "-lboost_program_options")

However with CMake you should use


There were changes to the <string> class in the C++11 standard which may conflict with versions of the Boost library that were compiled with a non-C++11 compiler (such as G++-4.8). Try recompiling boost or using a version of C++ compiler that was used to compile your Boost libraries.

Also double check that the setting of the pre-processor variable _GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI is identical to the setting of the variable that was used for compiling boost. The default setting of the variable may be different depending on the Linux distribution and version of the GNU compiler used.

See Dual ABI for more information.

Where are the boost libraries (files ending in .so and .a)? Find those, then add this to your link command: -L/path/to/boost/libs -lname-of-boost-lib

This has to be the most common problem people face when first starting c++. There are probably a thousand other undefined reference questions on SO. Just search for undefined reference.

The libraries are normally installed into /usr/lib (e.g. on my system, /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libboost_program_options.so.1.58.0).

In order to compile code that is going to link with those libraries, you normally use the header files, provided in /usr/include.

Unlike many libraries, Boost doesn't come with pkg-config files, so you need to add the linker flags yourself. With the usual Makefile rules, you'll need something like LDLIBS += -lboost_program_options.

Note also that, although the libboost-dev package provides the headers for program_options, you need also to install libboost-program-options-dev to get the corresponding library.

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