C++ Boost: undefined reference to boost::system::generic_category()

I am trying to include Boost libraries in my project and have been facing issues in the same. I am on Ubuntu 12.10 with Codeblocks IDE and tried installing the libraries manually reading instructions from the site, but was getting error's with header as well as to-be-built-before-use libraries.

I then installed the libraries via terminalby sudo apt-get install libboost-all-dev. After this, in my programs on Codeblocks, I can include headers like #include <boost/regex.hpp> but when I try to include the header for the Filesystem library ( #include "boost/filesystem/operations.hpp" ), I am getting the following error:

/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp|214|undefined reference to boost::system::generic_category()'|

I am not sure how to resolve this error (specifically in Codeblocks on Linux). I really could use some help here.

Compiler : Gcc Program code: Only tried inlcuding the above file system operations.hpp file.

Build log from Codeblocks:

Build started on: 20-11-2012 at 18:02.53
Build ended on: 20-11-2012 at 18:02.54
-------------- Build: Debug in libopenFrameworks ---------------
Target is up to date.
-------------- Build: Debug in reader1 ---------------
make -s -f Makefile Debug
linking i686 bin/reader1_debug linux
obj/i686Debug/src/testApp.o: In function `__static_initialization_and_destruction_0':
/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp:214: undefined reference to `boost::system::generic_category()'
/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp:215: undefined reference to `boost::system::generic_category()'
/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp:216: undefined reference to `boost::system::system_category()'
obj/i686Debug/src/main.o: In function `__static_initialization_and_destruction_0':
/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp:214: undefined reference to `boost::system::generic_category()'
/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp:215: undefined reference to `boost::system::generic_category()'
/usr/include/boost/system/error_code.hpp:216: undefined reference to `boost::system::system_category()'
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make: *** [bin/reader1_debug] Error 1
Process terminated with status 2 (0 minutes, 1 seconds)
6 errors, 0 warnings


You should link in the libboost_system library. I am not sure about codeblocks, but the g++ command-line option on your platform would be


Depending on the boost version libboost-system comes with the -mt suffix which should indicate the libraries multithreading capability.

So if -lboost_system cannot be found by the linker try -lboost_system-mt.

It's a linker problem. Include the static library path into your project.

For Qt Creator open the project file .pro and add the following line:

LIBS += -L<path for boost libraries in the system> -lboost_system

In my case Ubuntu x86_64:

LIBS += -L/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu -lboost_system

For Codeblocks, open up Settings->Compiler...->Linker settings tab and add:


to the Link libraries text widget and press OK button.

I searched for a solution as well, and none of the answers I encountered solved the error, Until I found the answer of "ViRuSTriNiTy" to this thread: Undefined reference to 'boost::system::generic_category()'?

according to that answer, try to add these lines to your cmake file:

find_package(Boost 1.55.0 REQUIRED COMPONENTS system filesystem)
include_directories(... ${Boost_INCLUDE_DIRS})
link_directories(... ${Boost_LIBRARY_DIRS})
target_link_libraries(... ${Boost_LIBRARIES})

Same problem on building a simple boost example, solved after i changed the g++ compiler flag from -std=c++14 to -std=c++11.

And I noticed that it's a C++11 Example...

This answer actually helped when using Boost and cmake.

Adding add_definitions(-DBOOST_ERROR_CODE_HEADER_ONLY) for cmake file.

My CMakeLists.txt looks like this:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.12)


set(SHARED_DIR "${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}/../shared")

set(BOOST_LATEST_DIR            "${SHARED_DIR}/boost_1_68_0")
set(BOOST_LATEST_BIN_DIR        "${BOOST_LATEST_DIR}/stage/lib")
set(BOOST_SYSTEM                "${BOOST_LATEST_BIN_DIR}/libboost_system.so")
set(BOOST_FS                    "${BOOST_LATEST_BIN_DIR}/libboost_filesystem.so")
set(BOOST_THREAD                "${BOOST_LATEST_BIN_DIR}/libboost_thread.so")

set(HYRISE_SQL_PARSER_DIR           "${SHARED_DIR}/hyrise_sql_parser")
set(HYRISE_SQLPARSER                "${HYRISE_SQL_PARSER_BIN_DIR}/libsqlparser.so")


set(BOOST_LIBRARYDIR "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/")


find_package(Boost 1.68.0 REQUIRED COMPONENTS system thread filesystem)

add_executable(proj main.cpp row/row.cpp row/row.h table/table.cpp table/table.h page/page.cpp page/page.h
        processor/processor.cpp processor/processor.h engine_instance.cpp engine_instance.h utils.h
        meta_command.h terminal/terminal.cpp terminal/terminal.h)

    target_link_libraries(proj PUBLIC Boost::system Boost::filesystem Boost::thread ${HYRISE_SQLPARSER})

You could come across another problem. After installing Boost on the Linux Mint I've had the same problem. Linking -lboost_system or -lboost_system-mt haven't worked because library have had name libboost_system.so.1.54.0.

So the solution is to create symbolic link to the original file. In my case

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libboost_system.so.1.54.0 /usr/lib/libboost_system.so

For more information see this question.

I had the same problem and also use Linux Mint (as nuduoz) . I my case problem was solved after i added boost_system to GCC C++ Linker->Libraries.


g++ -c main.cpp && g++ main.o /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libboost_system.so && ./a.out 

/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ is the location of the boost library

use find /usr/ -name '*boost*.so' to find the boost library location

g++ -lboost_system -lboost_filesystem userentry.cpp -o userentry

worked perfectly under debian. (boost c++ libraries installed with apt-get).

Il the library is not installed you should give boost libraries folder:


g++ -L/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu -lboost_system -lboost_filesystem prog.cpp -o prog

After testing the proposed solutions described above, I found only these few of lines would work.

I am using Ubuntu 16.04.

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.13) project(myProject)

set(CMAKE_CXX_STANDARD 11) add_executable(myProject main.cpp)

find_package(Boost 1.58.0 REQUIRED COMPONENTS system filesystem) target_link_libraries(myProject ${Boost_LIBRARIES})

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