These tools are still experimental (so subject to breaking changes) but with very stable syntax. We encourage the usage of it to be prepared for Conan 2.0.

Available since: 1.43.0

This tool can execute pkg_config executable to extract information from existing .pc files. This can be useful for example to create a “system” package recipe over some system installed library, as a way to automatically extract the .pc information from the system. Or if some proprietary package has a build system that only outputs .pc files.

The constructor is:

def __init__(self, conanfile, library, pkg_config_path=None):
  • conanfile: The current self instance of the conanfile using the tool

  • library: The library which .pc file is to be parsed. It must exist in the pkg_config path

  • pkg_config_path: If defined it will be prepended to PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable, so the execution finds the required files.

It can be used as:

pkg_config = PkgConfig(conanfile, "libastral", pkg_config_path=<somedir>)

print(pkg_config.provides) # something like"libastral = 6.6.6"
print(pkg_config.version) # something like"6.6.6"
print(pkg_config.includedirs) # something like['/usr/local/include/libastral']
print(pkg_config.defines) # something like['_USE_LIBASTRAL']
print(pkg_config.libs) # something like['astral', 'm']
print(pkg_config.libdirs) # something like['/usr/local/lib/libastral']
print(pkg_config.linkflags) # something like['-Wl,--whole-archive']
print(pkg_config.variables['prefix']) # something like'/usr/local'

There is a convenience method fill_cpp_info(), that can be used in the package_info() method as:

def package_info(self):
    pkg_config = PkgConfig(conanfile, "libastral", pkg_config_path=tmp_dir)
    pkg_config.fill_cpp_info(self.cpp_info, is_system=False, system_libs=["m", "rt"])


  • cpp_info first argument could be the global one or a component one.

  • is_system: if True, all detected libraries will be assigned to cpp_info.system_libs, and none to cpp_info.libs.

  • system_libs: If is_system=False, this argument allows defining some potential system libraries found that would be assigned to cpp_info.system_libs. The remaining detected libs will be assigned to cpp_info.libs.


This helper will listen to tools.gnu:pkg_config configuration to define the pkg_config executable name or full path. It will by default it is pkg-config.