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Houdini not booting - libfontconfig undefined symbol


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Just seeing if anyone might know what this issue might be, I update my system pretty much every time I boot it up but have only run Houdini today to find it won't start. I'm running antergos and it's up to date.

The error is: 

/opt/hfs16.5/bin/houdini-bin: symbol lookup error: /usr/lib/libfontconfig.so.1: undefined symbol: FT_Done_MM_Var

I tried rolling back my fontconfig version as I noticed in my pacman.log it had been updated a few days ago but this stops my desktop from starting on boot. I've read about having various versions of fontconfig installed that can conflict but I've only got the version from the official repo. 

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Replying to this for completeness, I got it running again by downgrading to the previous libfontconfig, making a copy of that and putting it in a folder before upgrading back to latest so my system is not partially upgraded. I then made a symlink and used LD_PRELOAD to force houdini to load that particular library. Doing this, I was able to get houdini to boot again with some fontconfig errors but it's running and working.

Hopefully I can track down the actual culprit on my system but it's a temp fix in the meantime.

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I had the same problem and found this via Google. This is also just a reply for completeness to make the solution by Carlo above more explicit.


Fontconfig had been updated like this according to /var/log/pacman.log: 2.12.6+5+g665584a-1 -> 2.13.0+10+g58f5285-1.1

So I did

sudo pacman -U /var/cache/pacman/pkg/fontconfig-2.12.6+5+g665584a-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz



sudo cp /usr/lib/libfontconfig.so.1.10.1 /usr/lib/libfontconfig.so.1.10.1.backup4houdini

followed by

sudo pacman -S fontconfig

This last part is necessary because otherwise you'd need to downgrade all other packages depending on the newer fontconfig as well.


Finally, to start Houdini

cd /opt/hfs16.5.405
source houdini_setup
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libfontconfig.so.1.10.1.backup4houdini hindie # or houdinifx, depending on which Houdini you have


Edited by quryo
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It's very much a temporary fix as on my machine the old libfontconfig has some other dependencies that are broken with new libraries. Essentially I'm able to use Houdini but unable to render using mantra, I'm hoping there'll be a fix soon I'm going to have to install hou on windows to get stuff rendered out in the meantime.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/11/2018 at 7:15 AM, trandzik said:


maybe this is even better solution to libfontconfig incompatibility... Just copy libfontconfig.so.1 binary from fontconfig-2.12.6+5+g665584a-1 to /opt/hfs16.5/dsolib/. Then there is no need for LD_PRELOAD.


Adding the file to dsolib still required the use of LD_PRELOAD. Is there anything else I need to do?

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3 hours ago, trandzik said:

Hi Tralen,

I have done just that - for me nothing else was needed to run Houdini as normal (without LD_PRELOAD)... Are you sure you copied libfontconfig.so.1 to dsolib - not libfontconfig.so.1.10.1?

You are exactly right, I had copied the wrong file.

Thank you, trandzik.

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