How to resolve ‘Cannot open Shared object file: No such file or directory’ on Debian

If you’re seeing the error Cannot open Shared object file: No such file or directory when trying to start an application on your Debian-based operating system, there are several potential solutions to the problem depending on the type of application you’re trying to start. In this guide, I’ll explain how to use the Debian init system to help resolve the error.

Boot sequence

Before getting into the solutions, let’s review how Debian starts programs at boot. The boot sequence in Debian begins with the kernel, which determines the root filesystem to mount and then attempts to mount it. Once the mount is successful, the init system begins the boot process. During the init step, various programs and services are started. Depending on the configuration, some of these programs may be unable to run, causing various errors to be thrown.

The /etc/ file

The most common cause of the ‘Cannot open Shared object file: No such file or directory’ error is an incorrect or missing shared library. In this case, the best bet is to edit or create the /etc/ file to include the location of the shared library. This file contains a list of directories to search for shared libraries, and is parsed by the dynamic linker/loader on startup and boot.

To edit the /etc/ file, you’ll need root access. Once logged in as root, you can view the contents of the file with the following command:

cat /etc/

If the shared library location is not present in the list of paths present in the /etc/ file, you can add it by appending the desired location to the end of the file. Here’s an example of adding the path to a new shared library:

echo "/usr/local/lib" >> /etc/

Once you have added the path to the shared library, you’ll need to update the environment with the ldconfig command:



The ‘Cannot open Shared object file: No such file or directory’ error can be frustrating to solve. If you’re seeing this error, the best solution is to use the init process to solve it. By editing the /etc/ file and reloading it with ldconfig you can solve the error and get your application running again.

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