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Where is my Boost lib file?

Ubuntu 19

In the realm of C++ programming, the Boost library is a crucial resource. It offers a wide range of libraries that are easy to use, portable, and efficient. However, a common query among developers is, “Where is my Boost lib file?” In this article, we will explore various methods to locate the Boost library files on your system.

Quick Answer

The Boost lib file is typically located in the /usr/lib directory after installation using the sudo apt-get install libboost-dev command. You can also use the locate command or the debfoster command to find the Boost library files. If none of these methods work, you may need to reinstall the libboost-dev package or manually download and install the Boost library from the official Boost website.

Default Installation Path

When you install the Boost library using the command sudo apt-get install libboost-dev, the library files are typically stored in the /usr/lib directory. To verify if the Boost library files are present in this directory, you can run the following command in your terminal:

ls /usr/lib/libboost*.so

This command lists all the Boost library files with the .so extension in the /usr/lib directory. The ls command is used for listing directory contents, and the *.so parameter is a wildcard that matches all files ending with .so.

Using the locate Command

If the locate command is available on your system, you can utilize it to find the Boost library files. The locate command finds files by name. Run the following command:

locate boost | grep .so

This command lists all the files containing “boost” in their name and having the “.so” extension. The grep command filters the output of the locate command for lines containing .so.

Using the debfoster Command

If you have the debfoster package installed, it can be used to list all the installed files for the libboost-dev package and its dependencies. Here’s a script that lists all the Boost library files:

debfoster -d libboost-dev | awk '! /depends on/ { for(i=1;i<=NF;i++) { printf "\n>>> %s \n",$i; system("dpkg -L "$i" | grep -P \".so($|\.)\"") } }'

This script displays the package name followed by the library files with their paths. The debfoster command shows the dependencies of the libboost-dev package. The awk command processes the output of debfoster, and the dpkg -L command lists the files installed by the package.

Reinstalling the libboost-dev Package

If none of the above methods work, or you can’t locate the Boost library files, it’s possible that the installation didn’t include the library files. In this case, you may need to reinstall the libboost-dev package or manually download and install the Boost library from the official Boost website.

Including the Library Path in Your Project

Once you have located the Boost library files, remember to include the library path in your Qt project. This can be done by adding it to the project’s .pro file using the LIBS variable. For example:

LIBS += -L/path/to/boost/lib -lboost_filesystem

Replace /path/to/boost/lib with the actual path to the Boost library files. This line tells the linker where to find the library files during the linking process.


Locating your Boost library files is an essential step in the process of setting up your C++ development environment. By following the methods outlined in this article, you should be able to find your Boost library files and include them in your projects. Remember, the Boost library is a powerful tool in your C++ programming arsenal, so ensure it’s properly installed and accessible for your projects.

What is the Boost library?

The Boost library is a collection of C++ libraries that provide support for various tasks and functionalities, such as string manipulation, multithreading, file system operations, and more. It is widely used by C++ developers to enhance their programming capabilities.

How can I install the Boost library?

The installation process for the Boost library may vary depending on your operating system. For Linux users, you can typically install the Boost library using the package manager. For example, on Ubuntu, you can run sudo apt-get install libboost-dev to install the library. Windows users can download and install the Boost library from the official Boost website.

Can I use the Boost library with my existing C++ project?

Yes, you can use the Boost library with your existing C++ project. After installing the Boost library, you need to include the necessary Boost headers in your code and link against the Boost library files during the compilation process. Refer to the Boost documentation for specific instructions on how to include and utilize the desired Boost libraries in your project.

Where can I find documentation for the Boost library?

The official Boost website ( provides extensive documentation for the Boost library. It includes detailed information about each library, tutorials, examples, and reference documentation. Additionally, there are several online resources, forums, and communities where you can find help and guidance for using the Boost library in your projects.

Is the Boost library compatible with different compilers?

Yes, the Boost library is designed to be compatible with different compilers, including GCC, Clang, and Visual C++. However, it’s important to note that certain Boost features may have specific compiler requirements or limitations. It’s recommended to consult the Boost documentation or community forums for any compiler-specific considerations when using the Boost library.

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