I get this error msg trying to compile gettext with Linux kernel 2.4

libtool: compile:  gcc -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -DEXEEXT=\"\" -DEXEEXT=\"\" -DEXEEXT=\"\" -I. -I.. -I../intl -I../intl -I.. -I.. -DDEPENDS_ON_LIBICONV=1 -DDEPENDS_ON_LIBINTL=1 -DLIBXML_STATIC -I./libcroco -g -O2 -c uniname/uniname.c  -fPIC -DPIC -o uniname/.libs/uniname.o
In file included from uniname/uniname.c:26:
string.h:893: warning: `strstr' redefined
/usr/include/bits/string2.h:1070: warning: this is the location of the previous definition
uniname/uniname.c: In function `unicode_name_character':
uniname/uniname.c:410: parse error before `words'
uniname/uniname.c:424: `wordptr' undeclared (first use in this function)
uniname/uniname.c:424: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
uniname/uniname.c:424: for each function it appears in.)
uniname/uniname.c:424: `words' undeclared (first use in this function)
make[5]: *** [uniname/uniname.lo] Error 1
make[5]: Leaving directory `/home/niklros/gettext-'
make[4]: *** [all] Error 2
make[4]: Leaving directory `/home/niklros/gettext-'
make[3]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[3]: Leaving directory `/home/niklros/gettext-'
make[2]: *** [all] Error 2
make[2]: Leaving directory `/home/niklros/gettext-'
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/niklros/gettext-'
make: *** [all] Error 2

What can I do about it?

  • 1
    Why are you compiling? It should be available from Repository.
    – user8779
    Aug 3, 2017 at 19:32
  • @arochester The machine is not connected to the internet. It is old and behind several firewall, so I scp the file to the machine. Aug 4, 2017 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


The version of gettext mentioned was released in 2016, while the Linux kernel version dates from ~2003 (with Debian, that might only be ten years older than the gettext version). Given a kernel that old, and the developer's preferences (including reliance on newer toolchain features), it's unlikely that the developer "supported" that version of Linux any longer.

On the other hand, it's likely that what you can do about it (if you're patient) is port new(er) gettext to the older system.

Alternatively (much less work): Since there was a version of gettext concurrent with Linux 2.4, you could simply install what worked with it, e.g., 0.13 or 0.14 (see ftp site).

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