I want to make use of a more recent GCC version. Therefore, I compiled GCC 10 and installed it into a non-standard directory /software/gcc10/. So far so good.

However, I am faced with problems when I actually want to use this new version of GCC. I modified my PATH variable to include /software/gcc10/bin/ such that gcc --version now confirms that the system finds my new GCC 10 compiler (instead of my system's GCC 8 one).

However, when I try to compile a program with this setup, I get errors about undefined references to std::filesystem, which should be part of GCC 10's libstdc++. My assumption here is that while I am now using a more recent compiler, the linker still wants to link against my system's libstdc++ instead of that in /software/gcc10/lib64.

I tried changing LD_LIBRARY_PATH to include the respective directory, but that doesn't seem to have any effect.

Inspecting the output of running gcc with the -v option, I stumbled upon the LIBRARY_PATH environment variable, which according to gcc's docs is used as follows:

The value of LIBRARY_PATH is a colon-separated list of directories, much like PATH. When configured as a native compiler, GCC tries the directories thus specified when searching for special linker files, if it cannot find them using GCC_EXEC_PREFIX. Linking using GCC also uses these directories when searching for ordinary libraries for the -l option (but directories specified with -L come first).

And indeed: Setting the LIBRARY_PATH variable accordingly allows me to compile my program successfully. However, it seems that this is a gcc-specific solution and I can't help but wonder whether there is a more standard way of doing this (that would e.g. also tell clang where to look for the C++ standard library to link against)?

Even better would be a solution that would cause my new GCC 10 compiler to always use the GCC 10 stdlib whilst invocation of the system's GCC 8 compiler would always link against the systems GCC 8 stdlib. Is there a way to tell a specific compiler binary that it has a specific stdlib that it should use?

1 Answer 1


The LIBRARY_PATH environment variable is pretty standard. It is known to majority of compilers.

You should also use C_INCLUDE_PATH and/or CPLUS_INCLUDE_PATH. These two a more gcc specific (other compilers prefer INCLUDE without language separation).

You can also ignore the environment variables completely and specify the correct libstdc++ directly in the command line.

g++ main.cpp /software/gcc10/.../libstdc++.a
  • Great! That's good to know, thank you!
    – Raven
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 18:44

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