I have experimented some more and I think I have isolated the problem by importing the module into python and playing with the code that uses it (eg db.py and DA.py).
Firstly I found that I had to change some of the environment variables in the Makefile.pre.in to point to where Makdrake 7 stores python (ie /usr rather than /usr/local). Then I made sure that SYBASE and LD_LIBRARY_PATH were set in my shell before compiling the code.
Next I imported sy_occ into python and started playing it (I made sure SYBASE and LD_LIBRARY_PATH were set correctly by inspecting os.environ). I found that in db.py there is a line of code "_context=sy_occ.cs_ctx_alloc()" which when called causes a segmentation fault and a core dump.  When this line is commented out Zope can start successfully and thinks that the SybaseDA is correctly installed but obviously it doesn't actually work.
I am using Jeff Rush's rpm version of Zope and have set SYBASE and LD_LIBRARY_PATH through .bashrc in user zope's home directory.  Does this sound like the right way to do it?
Can anybody help me.
>Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 01:09:21 -0600
>From: Bill Anderson <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Subject: Re: [Zope] Problems with SybaseDA

>> A J Wilson wrote:
>> Hi
>> I have installed Zope-2.1.6 on my PC (Pentium running Mandrake 7) and
>> it seems to work fine.  However, I have tried installing the SybaseDA
>> and am having trouble.  I have downloaded and installed the common
>> Sybase libraries, set the SYBASE path, complied it without errors and
>> moved the sy_occ.so up one directory.  However, when I restart Zope it
>> fails and produces a core dump.  There are no errors generated so I am
>> having trouble diagnosing what is wrong.  I can import the sy_occ.so
>> into python without error, but if I try to import db.py and DA.py I
>> get errors.  These two scripts reference modules such as DateTime,
>> zLOG, Missing, Globals, Shared.DC.ZRDB.TM, and
>> Shared.DC.ZRDB.Connection - none of I can find.
>> Can anybody please help?

> Search the archives for Sybase. It is probable that while you have teh
> variable set in your shell, it is not set in the process Zope runs. This
> should be in the docs on SybaseDA, IMO.

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