Building libmbim 1.26 or earlier with GNU autotools

How to build and install the libmbim library using GNU autotools.

The last stable series with support for building with the GNU autotools suite is 1.26. All the new stable series after 1.26 will exclusively use the meson build system.

Building from a release source tarball

The basic build and installation of the project can be done from an official release source tarball, in the following way:

  $ wget
  $ tar -Jxvf libmbim-1.26.0.tar.xz
  $ cd libmbim-1.26.0
  $ ./configure --prefix=/usr
  $ make

Optional switches

Additional optional switches that may be given to the configure command above would be:

  • In Debian/Ubuntu systems the default location for libraries depends on the architecture of the build, so instead of the default /usr/lib path that would be in effect due to --prefix=/usr, the user should also give an explicit --libdir path pointing to the correct location. E.g. on a 64bit Ubuntu/Debian build, the user would use --prefix=/usr --libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu.
  • If the documentation should be rebuilt, the additional --enable-gtk-doc switch should be given. Omitting this switch will imply auto-detecting whether the documentation can be rebuilt with the already installed dependencies.
  • If the introspection support should be included in the build, the additional --enable-introspection switch should be given. Omitting this switch will imply auto-detecting whether the introspection can be built with the already installed dependencies.
  • When developing changes to the library or debugging issues, it is recommended to build with debug symbols so that running the program under gdb produces useful backtrace information. This can be achieved by providing user compiler flags like these: CFLAGS="-ggdb -O0"

An example project build using all the above optional switches could be:

  $ ./configure                          \
      --prefix=/usr                      \
      --libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu \
      --enable-gtk-doc                   \
      --enable-introspection             \
      CFLAGS="-ggdb -O0"
  $ make

Running ./configure --help will show all the possible switches that are supported.

Building from a git checkout

When building from a git checkout, there is one single additional step required to build the project: running the included in order to setup the GNU autotools project and generate a configure script:

  $ git clone --depth 1 --branch 1.26.0
  $ cd libmbim
  $ ./configure --prefix=/usr
  $ make

The same optional switches may be given to the configure script when building from a git checkout.


The installation on the prefix selected during configure can be done with the following command:

  $ sudo make install

Please note that the command above will install the library in the system default path for libraries, possibly overwriting any previous libmbim library that may already exist from a package manager installed package. See the FAQ section for comments on how to install in /usr/local instead.


If you have manually installed the project with the steps above, it can be uninstalled in the same way:

  $ sudo make uninstall

If the manual install overwrote the package manager installed files, it is suggested to force a re-install of the corresponding packages at this point, so that the system is not left with missing files.