faq.html   [plain text]


<title>GCC Frequently Asked Questions</title>


<h1>GCC Frequently Asked Questions</h1>

<p>The latest version of this document is always available at 
<a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/faq.html">http://gcc.gnu.org/faq.html</a>.</p>

<p>This FAQ tries to answer specific questions concerning GCC. For
general information regarding C, C++, resp. Fortran please check the 
<a href="http://c-faq.com/">comp.lang.c FAQ</a>,
<a href="http://www.comeaucomputing.com/csc/faq.html">comp.std.c++
and the <a href="http://www.fortran.com/fortran/info.html">Fortran
Information page</a>.</p>

<p>Other GCC-related FAQs: 
   <a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/libstdc++/faq/index.html">
     libstdc++-v3</a>, and 
   <a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/java/faq.html">GCJ</a>.</p>

<hr />
  <li><a href="#general">General information</a>
     <li><a href="#open-development">What is an open development model?</a></li>
     <li><a href="#support">How do I get a bug fixed or a feature added?</a></li>
     <li><a href="#platforms">Does GCC work on my platform?</a></li>

  <li><a href="#installation">Installation</a>
    <li><a href="#multiple">How to install multiple versions of GCC</a></li>
    <li><a href="#rpath">Dynamic linker is unable to find GCC libraries</a></li>
    <li><a href="#rpath">libstdc++/libio tests fail badly with --enable-shared</a></li>
    <li><a href="#gas">GCC can not find GNU as/GNU ld</a></li>
    <li><a href="#environ">cpp: Usage:... Error</a></li>
    <li><a href="#optimizing">Optimizing the compiler itself</a></li>
    <li><a href="#iconv">Why does <code>libiconv</code> get linked into <code>jc1</code> on Solaris?</a></li>

  <li><a href="#testsuite">Testsuite problems</a>
    <li><a href="#testoptions">How do I pass flags like
        <code>-fnew-abi</code> to the testsuite?</a></li>
    <li><a href="#multipletests">How can I run the test suite with multiple options?</a></li>

  <li><a href="#misc">Miscellaneous</a>
    <li><a href="#friend">Friend Templates</a></li>
    <li><a href="#dso"><code>dynamic_cast</code>, <code>throw</code>, <code>typeid</code> don't work with shared libraries</a></li>
    <li><a href="#generated_files">Why do I need autoconf, bison, xgettext, automake, etc?</a></li>
    <li><a href="#picflag-needed">Why can't I build a shared library?</a></li>
    <li><a href="#vtables">When building C++, the linker says my constructors, destructors or virtual tables are undefined, but I defined them</a></li>
    <li><a href="#incremental">Will GCC someday include an incremental linker?</a></li>

<hr />
<a name="general"></a>
<h1>General information</h1>

<h2><a name="open-development">What is an open development model?</a></h2>

<p>We are using a bazaar style
<a href="#cathedral-vs-bazaar"><b>[1]</b></a> 
approach to GCC development: we make snapshots publicly available to
anyone who wants to try them; we welcome anyone to join
the development mailing list.  All of the discussions on the
development mailing list are available via the web.  We're going to be
making releases with a much higher frequency than they have been made
in the past.</p>

<p>In addition to weekly snapshots of the GCC development sources, we
have the sources readable from an SVN server by anyone.  Furthermore we
are using SVN to allow maintainers write access to the sources.</p>

<p>There have been many potential GCC developers who were not able to
participate in GCC development in the past.  We want these people to
help in any way they can; we ultimately want GCC to be the best compiler
in the world.</p>

<p>A compiler is a complicated piece of software, there will still be
strong central maintainers who will reject patches, who will demand
documentation of implementations, and who will keep the level of
quality as high as it is today.  Code that could use wider testing may
be integrated--code that is simply ill-conceived won't be.</p>

<p>GCC is not the first piece of software to use this open development
process; FreeBSD, the Emacs lisp repository, and the Linux kernel are
a few examples of the bazaar style of development.</p>

<p>With GCC, we are adding new features and optimizations at a
rate that has not been done since the creation of gcc2; these
additions inevitably have a temporarily destabilizing effect.
With the help of developers working together with this bazaar style
development, the resulting stability and quality levels will be better
than we've had before.</p>

<a name="cathedral-vs-bazaar"><b>[1]</b></a> 
  We've been discussing different development models a lot over the
  past few months.  The paper which started all of this introduced two
  terms:  A <b>cathedral</b> development model versus a <b>bazaar</b>
  development model.  The paper is written by Eric S. Raymond, it is
  called ``The Cathedral and the Bazaar''.
  The paper is a useful starting point for discussions.

<hr />
<!-- The "bugreport" anchor was used in ICE messages of GCC < 2.95.3. -->
<h2 id="bugreport"><a name="support">How do I get a bug fixed or
    a feature added?</a></h2>

<p>There are lots of ways to get something fixed.  The list below may be
incomplete, but it covers many of the common cases.  These are listed
roughly in order of decreasing difficulty for the average GCC user,
meaning someone who is not skilled in the internals of GCC, and where
difficulty is measured in terms of the time required to fix the bug.
No alternative is better than any other; each has its benefits and

<li>Fix it yourself.  This alternative will probably bring results,
    if you work hard enough, but will probably take a lot of time,
    and, depending on the quality of your work and the perceived
    benefits of your changes, your code may or may not ever make it
    into an official release of GCC.</li>

<li><a href="bugs.html">Report the problem to the GCC bug tracking system</a>
    and hope that someone will be kind
    enough to fix it for you.  While this is certainly possible, and
    often happens, there is no guarantee that it will.  You should
    not expect the same response from this method that you would see
    from a commercial support organization since the people who read
    GCC bug reports, if they choose to help you, will be volunteering their

<li>Hire someone to fix it for you.  There are various companies and
    individuals providing support for GCC.  This alternative costs
    money, but is relatively likely to get results.</li>

<hr />
<h2><a name="platforms">Does GCC work on my platform?</a></h2>

<p>The host/target specific installation notes for GCC include information
about known problems with installing or using GCC on particular platforms.
These are included in the sources for a release in INSTALL/specific.html,
and the <a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/install/specific.html">latest version</a>
is always available at the GCC web site.
Reports of <a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/buildstat.html">successful builds</a>
for several versions of GCC are also available at the web site.</p>

<hr />
<a name="installation"></a>

<h2><a name="multiple">How to install multiple versions of GCC</a></h2>

<p>It may be desirable to install multiple versions of the compiler on
the same system.  This can be done by using different prefix paths at
configure time and a few symlinks.</p>

<p>Basically, configure the two compilers with different --prefix options,
then build and install each compiler.  Assume you want "gcc" to be the latest
compiler and available in /usr/local/bin; also assume that you want "gcc2"
to be the older gcc2 compiler and also available in /usr/local/bin.</p>

<p>The easiest way to do this is to configure the new GCC with
<code>--prefix=/usr/local/gcc</code> and the older gcc2 with
<code>--prefix=/usr/local/gcc2</code>.  Build and install both
compilers.  Then make a symlink from <code>/usr/local/bin/gcc</code>
to <code>/usr/local/gcc/bin/gcc</code> and from
<code>/usr/local/bin/gcc2</code> to
<code>/usr/local/gcc2/bin/gcc</code>.  Create similar links for the
"g++", "c++" and "g77" compiler drivers.</p>

<p>An alternative to using symlinks is to configure with a
<code>--program-transform-name</code> option. This option specifies a
sed command to process installed program names with. Using it you can,
for instance, have all the new GCC programs installed as "new-gcc" and
the like. You will still have to specify different
<code>--prefix</code> options for new GCC and old GCC, because it is
only the executable program names that are transformed. The difference
is that you (as administrator) do not have to set up symlinks, but
must specify additional directories in your (as a user) PATH. A
complication with <code>--program-transform-name</code> is that the
sed command invariably contains characters significant to the shell,
and these have to be escaped correctly, also it is not possible to use
"^" or "$" in the command. Here is the option to prefix "new-" to the
new GCC installed programs:</p>
<p>With the above <code>--prefix</code> option, that will install the new
GCC programs into <code>/usr/local/gcc/bin</code> with names prefixed
by "new-". You can use <code>--program-transform-name</code> if you
have multiple versions of GCC, and wish to be sure about which version
you are invoking.</p>

<p>If you use <code>--prefix</code>, GCC may have difficulty locating a GNU
assembler or linker on your system, <a href="#gas">GCC can not find GNU
as/GNU ld</a> explains how to deal with this.</p>

<p>Another option that may be easier is to use the
<code>--program-prefix=</code> or <code>--program-suffix=</code>
options to configure. So if you're installing GCC 2.95.2 and don't
want to disturb the current version of GCC in
<code>/usr/local/bin/</code>, you could do</p>
configure --program-suffix=-2.95.2 &lt;other configure options&gt;
<p>This should result in GCC being installed as
<code>/usr/local/bin/gcc-2.95.2</code> instead of

<hr />
<h2><a name="rpath">Dynamic linker is unable to find GCC libraries</a></h2>

<p>This problem manifests itself by programs not finding shared
libraries they depend on when the programs are started.  Note this
problem often manifests itself with failures in the libio/libstdc++
tests after configuring with <code>--enable-shared</code> and building GCC.</p>

<p>GCC does not specify a runpath so that the dynamic linker can find
dynamic libraries at runtime.</p>

<p>The short explanation is that if you always pass a -R option to the
linker, then your programs become dependent on directories which
may be NFS mounted, and programs may hang unnecessarily when an
NFS server goes down.</p>

<p>The problem is not programs that do require the directories; those
programs are going to hang no matter what you do.  The problem is
programs that do not require the directories.</p>

<p>SunOS effectively always passed a <code>-R</code> option for every
<code>-L</code> option; this was a bad idea, and so it was removed for
Solaris.  We should not recreate it.</p>

<p>However, if you feel you really need such an option to be passed
automatically to the linker, you may add it to the GCC specs file.
This file can be found in the same directory that contains cc1 (run
<code>gcc -print-prog-name=cc1</code> to find it).  You may add linker
flags such as <code>-R</code> or <code>-rpath</code>, depending on
platform and linker, to the <code>*link</code> or <code>*lib</code>

<p>Another alternative is to install a wrapper script around gcc, g++
or ld that adds the appropriate directory to the environment variable
<code>LD_RUN_PATH</code> or equivalent (again, it's

<p>Yet another option, that works on a few platforms, is to hard-code
the full pathname of the library into its soname.  This can only be
accomplished by modifying the appropriate <tt>.ml</tt> file within
<tt>libstdc++/config</tt> (and also <tt>libg++/config</tt>, if you are
building libg++), so that <code>$(libdir)/</code> appears just before
the library name in <code>-soname</code> or <code>-h</code> options.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="gas">GCC can not find GNU as/GNU ld</a></h2>
<p>GCC searches the PATH for an assembler and a loader, but it only
does so after searching a directory list hard-coded in the GCC
executables.  Since, on most platforms, the hard-coded list includes
directories in which the system assembler and loader can be found, you
may have to take one of the following actions to arrange that GCC uses
the GNU versions of those programs.</p>

<p>To ensure that GCC finds the GNU assembler (the GNU loader), which
are required by <a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/install/specific.html">some
you should configure these with the same --prefix option as you used
for GCC.  Then build &amp; install GNU as (GNU ld) and proceed with
building GCC.</p>

<p>Another alternative is to create links to GNU as and ld in any of
the directories printed by the command `<tt>gcc -print-search-dirs |
grep '^programs:'</tt>'.  The link to `<tt>ld</tt>' should be named
`<tt>real-ld</tt>' if `<tt>ld</tt>' already exists.  If such links do
not exist while you're compiling GCC, you may have to create them in
the build directories too, within the <tt>gcc</tt> directory
<em>and</em> in all the <tt>gcc/stage*</tt> subdirectories.</p>

<p>GCC 2.95 allows you to specify the full pathname of the assembler
and the linker to use.  The configure flags are
`<tt>--with-as=/path/to/as</tt>' and `<tt>--with-ld=/path/to/ld</tt>'.
GCC will try to use these pathnames before looking for `<tt>as</tt>'
or `<tt>(real-)ld</tt>' in the standard search dirs.  If, at
configure-time, the specified programs are found to be GNU utilities,
`<tt>--with-gnu-as</tt>' and `<tt>--with-gnu-ld</tt>' need not be
used; these flags will be auto-detected.  One drawback of this option
is that it won't allow you to override the search path for assembler
and linker with command-line options <tt>-B/path/</tt> if the
specified filenames exist.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="environ">cpp: Usage:... Error</a></h2>

<p>If you get an error like this when building GCC (particularly when building
__mulsi3), then you likely have a problem with your environment variables.</p>
  cpp: Usage: /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i586-unknown-linux-gnulibc1/
  [switches] input output
<p>First look for an explicit '.' in either LIBRARY_PATH or GCC_EXEC_PREFIX
from your environment.  If you do not find an explicit '.', look for 
an empty pathname in those variables.  Note that ':' at either the start
or end of these variables is an implicit '.' and will cause problems.</p>

<p>Also note '::' in these paths will also cause similar problems.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="optimizing">Optimizing the compiler itself</a></h2>

<p>If you want to test a particular optimization option, it's useful to try
bootstrapping the compiler with that option turned on.  For example, to 
test the <code>-fssa</code> option, you could bootstrap like this:</p>

<pre>make BOOT_CFLAGS="-O2 -fssa" bootstrap</pre>

<hr />
<h2><a name="iconv">Why does <code>libiconv</code> get linked into <code>jc1</code> on Solaris?</a></h2>

<p>The Java front end requires <code>iconv</code>.  If the compiler
used to bootstrap GCC finds <code>libiconv</code> (because the GNU
version of <code>libiconv</code> has been installed in the same prefix
as the bootstrap compiler), but the newly built GCC does not find the
library (because it will be installed with a different prefix), then a
link-time error will occur when building <code>jc1</code>.  This
problem does not show up so often on platforms that have
<code>libiconv</code> in a default location (like
<code>/usr/lib</code>) because then both compilers can find a library
named <code>libiconv</code>, even though it is a different

<p>Using <code>--disable-nls</code> at configure-time does not
prevent this problem because <code>jc1</code> uses
<code>iconv</code> even in that case.  Solutions include temporarily
removing the GNU <code>libiconv</code>, copying it to a default
location such as <code>/usr/lib/</code>, and using
<code>--enable-languages</code> at configure-time to disable Java.</p>

<hr />
<a name="testsuite"></a>
<h1>Testsuite problems</h1>

<h2><a name="testoptions">How do I pass flags like
  <code>-fnew-abi</code> to the testsuite?</a></h2>

<p>If you invoke <code>runtest</code> directly, you can use the
<code>--tool_opts</code> option, e.g:</p>
  runtest --tool_opts "-fnew-abi -fno-honor-std" &lt;other options&gt;
<p>Or, if you use <code>make check</code> you can use the
<code>make</code> variable <code>RUNTESTFLAGS</code>, e.g:</p>
  make RUNTESTFLAGS="--tool_opts '-fnew-abi -fno-honor-std'" check-g++

<hr />
<h2><a name="multipletests"> How can I run the test suite with multiple options? </a></h2>

<p>If you invoke <code>runtest</code> directly, you can use the
<code>--target_board</code> option, e.g:</p>
  runtest --target_board "unix{-fPIC,-fpic,}" &lt;other options&gt;
<p>Or, if you use <code>make check</code> you can use the
<code>make</code> variable <code>RUNTESTFLAGS</code>, e.g:</p>
  make RUNTESTFLAGS="--target_board 'unix{-fPIC,-fpic,}'" check-gcc
<p>Either of these examples will run the tests three times.   Once 
with <code>-fPIC</code>, once with <code>-fpic</code>, and once with 
no additional flags.</p>

<p>This technique is particularly useful on multilibbed targets.</p>

<hr />
<a name="misc"></a>  

<h2><a name="friend">Friend Templates</a></h2>

<p>In order to make a specialization of a template function a friend
of a (possibly template) class, you must explicitly state that the
friend function is a template, by appending angle brackets to its
name, and this template function must have been declared already.
Here's an example:</p>
template &lt;typename T&gt; class foo {
  friend void bar(foo&lt;T&gt;);
<p>The above declaration declares a non-template function named
<code>bar</code>, so it must be explicitly defined for <b>each</b>
specialization of <code>foo</code>.  A template definition of <code>bar</code>
won't do, because it is unrelated with the non-template declaration
above.  So you'd have to end up writing:</p>
void bar(foo&lt;int&gt;) { /* ... */ }
void bar(foo&lt;void&gt;) { /* ... */ }
<p>If you meant <code>bar</code> to be a template function, you should
have forward-declared it as follows.  Note that, since the template
function declaration refers to the template class, the template class
must be forward-declared too:</p>
template &lt;typename T&gt;
class foo;

template &lt;typename T&gt;
void bar(foo&lt;T&gt;);

template &lt;typename T&gt;
class foo {
  friend void bar&lt;&gt;(foo&lt;T&gt;);

template &lt;typename T&gt;
void bar(foo&lt;T&gt;) { /* ... */ }
<p>In this case, the template argument list could be left empty,
because it can be implicitly deduced from the function arguments, but
the angle brackets must be present, otherwise the declaration will be
taken as a non-template function.  Furthermore, in some cases, you may
have to explicitly specify the template arguments, to remove

<p>An error in the last public comment draft of the ANSI/ISO C++
Standard and the fact that previous releases of GCC would accept such
friend declarations as template declarations has led people to believe
that the forward declaration was not necessary, but, according to the
final version of the Standard, it is.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="dso"><code>dynamic_cast</code>, <code>throw</code>, <code>typeid</code> don't work with shared libraries</a></h2>

<p>The new C++ ABI in the GCC 3.0 series uses address comparisons,
rather than string compares, to determine type equality.  This leads
to better performance.  Like other objects that have to be present in the
final executable, these <code>std::type_info</code> objects have what
is called vague linkage because they are not tightly bound to any one
particular translation unit (object file).  The compiler has to emit
them in any translation unit that requires their presence, and then
rely on the linking and loading process to make sure that only one of
them is active in the final executable.  With static linking all of
these symbols are resolved at link time, but with dynamic linking,
further resolution occurs at load time.  You have to ensure that
objects within a shared library are resolved against objects in the
executable and other shared libraries.</p>

<li>For a program which is linked against a shared library, no additional
precautions are needed.</li>

<li>You cannot create a shared library with the "<code>-Bsymbolic</code>"
option, as that prevents the resolution described above.</li>

<li>If you use <code>dlopen</code> to explicitly load code from a shared
library, you must do several things. First, export global symbols from
the executable by linking it with the "<code>-E</code>" flag (you will
have to specify this as "<code>-Wl,-E</code>" if you are invoking
the linker in the usual manner from the compiler driver, <code>g++</code>).
You must also make the external symbols in the loaded library
available for subsequent libraries by providing the <code>RTLD_GLOBAL</code>
flag to <code>dlopen</code>.  The symbol resolution can be immediate or


<p>Template instantiations are another, user visible, case of objects
with vague linkage, which needs similar resolution. If you do not take
the above precautions, you may discover that a template instantiation
with the same argument list, but instantiated in multiple translation
units, has several addresses, depending in which translation unit the
address is taken. (This is <em>not</em> an exhaustive list of the kind
of objects which have vague linkage and are expected to be resolved
during linking &amp; loading.)</p>

<p>If you are worried about different objects with the same name
colliding during the linking or loading process, then you should use
namespaces to disambiguate them. Giving distinct objects with global
linkage the same name is a violation of the One Definition Rule (ODR)

<p>For more details about the way that GCC implements these and other
C++ features, please read the <a
href="http://www.codesourcery.com/cxx-abi/">ABI specification</a>.
Note the <code>std::type_info</code> objects which <i>must</i> be
resolved all begin with "_ZTS". Refer to <code>ld</code>'s
documentation for a description of the "<code>-E</code>" &amp;
"<code>-Bsymbolic</code>" flags.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="generated_files">Why do I need autoconf, bison, xgettext, automake, etc?</a></h2>

<p>If you're using diffs up dated from one snapshot to the next, or
if you're using the SVN repository, you may need several additional programs
to build GCC.</p>

<p>These include, but are not necessarily limited to autoconf, automake,
bison, and xgettext.</p>

<p>This is necessary because neither diff nor cvs keep timestamps
correct.  This causes problems for generated files as "make" may think
those generated files are out of date and try to regenerate them.</p>

<p>An easy way to work around this problem is to use the <code>gcc_update
</code> script in the contrib subdirectory of GCC, which handles this
transparently without requiring installation of any additional tools.</p>

<p>When building from diffs or SVN or if you modified some sources,
you may also need to obtain development versions of some GNU tools, as
the production versions do not necessarily handle all features needed
to rebuild GCC.</p>

<p>In general, the current versions of these tools from <a
href="ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/">ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/</a> will work.
At present, Autoconf 2.50 is not supported, and you will need to use
Autoconf 2.13; work is in progress to fix this problem.  Also look at
<a href="ftp://gcc.gnu.org/pub/gcc/infrastructure/">
ftp://gcc.gnu.org/pub/gcc/infrastructure/</a> for any special versions
of packages.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="picflag-needed">Why can't I build a shared library?</a></h2>

<p>When building a shared library you may get an error message from the
linker like `assert pure-text failed:' or `DP relative code in file'.</p>

<p>This kind of error occurs when you've failed to provide proper flags
to gcc when linking the shared library. </p>

<p>You can get this error even if all the .o files for the shared library were
compiled with the proper PIC option.  When building a shared library, gcc will
compile additional code to be included in the library.  That additional code
must also be compiled with the proper PIC option.</p>

<p>Adding the proper PIC option (<tt>-fpic</tt> or <tt>-fPIC</tt>) to the link
line which creates the shared library will fix this problem on targets that
support PIC in this manner.  For example:</p>
	gcc -c -fPIC myfile.c
	gcc -shared -o libmyfile.so -fPIC myfile.o

<hr />
<h2><a name="vtables">When building C++, the linker says my constructors, destructors or virtual tables are undefined, but I defined them</a></h2>

<p>The ISO C++ Standard specifies that all virtual methods of a class
that are not pure-virtual must be defined, but does not require any
diagnostic for violations of this rule [class.virtual]/8.  Based on
this assumption, GCC will only emit the implicitly defined
constructors, the assignment operator, the destructor and the virtual
table of a class in the translation unit that defines its first such
non-inline method.</p>

<p>Therefore, if you fail to define this particular method, the linker
may complain about the lack of definitions for apparently unrelated
symbols.  Unfortunately, in order to improve this error message, it
might be necessary to change the linker, and this can't always be

<p>The solution is to ensure that all virtual methods that are not
pure are defined.  Note that a destructor must be defined even if it
is declared pure-virtual [class.dtor]/7.</p>

<hr />
<h2><a name="incremental">Will GCC someday include an incremental linker?</a></h2>

<p>Incremental linking is part of the linker, not the compiler. As
such, GCC doesn't have anything to do with incremental linking.
Depending on what platform you use, it may be possible to tell GCC to
use the platform's native linker (e.g., Solaris' ild(1)).</p>