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Unix Version 7 - man page for ranlib (v7 section 1)

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RANLIB(1)										RANLIB(1)

       ranlib - convert archives to random libraries

       ranlib archive ...

       Ranlib  converts each archive to a form which can be loaded more rapidly by the loader, by
       adding a table of contents named __.SYMDEF to the beginning of the archive.  It uses ar(1)
       to  reconstruct	the archive, so that sufficient temporary file space must be available in
       the file system containing the current directory.

       ld(1), ar(1)

       Because generation of a library by ar and randomization	by  ranlib  are  separate,  phase
       errors  are possible.  The loader ld warns when the modification date of a library is more
       recent than the creation of its dictionary; but this means you get the warning even if you
       only copy the library.

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