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the .libs/.libs problem

we've seen some packages which use libtool try to link .libs/.libs/foo.so
i've not seen anyone explain why this happens before, so here goes.
seems to me with libtool 1.3, you had to do:

/bin/sh ./libtool --mode=link c++ -version-info 3:2 -rpath /usr/lib -o
libdb3_cxx.la cxx_app.lo cxx_except.lo cxx_lock.lo cxx_log.lo cxx_mpool.lo
cxx_table.lo cxx_txn.lo   -L.libs/ -ldb3

with libtool 1.4, specifying `-L.libs/' makes things go wrong.  Removing
it is preferable to the `creating symlinks' tactic i've heard of people
using :-)

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