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On AIX 5.3, even after selecting all the right options in RCB to build shared libraries it only generates static libs (*.a) and not dynamic libs (*.so). Can I rename the .a extensions to .so?
The shared library extension is .a by default on AIX 5.3. No, you cannot rename the .a to .so.
In general on UNIX systems, anylib.a is an archive of objects sections of which are pulled in to the executable, and anylib.so is a shared library where the shared library gets loaded and multiple processes could use the library simultaneously. However, on AIX, apart from these two types (.a and .so) a third type could be created with .a extension which is an archive of shared objects where sections of which are pulled into the executables but could be pulled in by multiple processes simultaneously. The difference between .so and shared .a is that .so is loaded completely into the memory whereas for the shared .a only sections of it are loaded. Hence, .so and shared .a are not the same on AIX. Rogue Wave chose to create the shared .a version of the libraries.