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Options for Code Generation Conventions

These machine-independent options control the interface conventions used in code generation.

Most of them have both positive and negative forms; the negative form of -ffoo would be -fno-foo. In the table below, only one of the forms is listed--the one which is not the default. You can figure out the other form by either removing no- or adding it.

Enable exception handling. Generates extra code needed to propagate exceptions. For some targets, this implies GCC will generate frame unwind information for all functions, which can produce significant data size overhead, although it does not affect execution. If you do not specify this option, GCC will enable it by default for languages like C++ which normally require exception handling, and disable it for languages like C that do not normally require it. However, you may need to enable this option when compiling C code that needs to interoperate properly with exception handlers written in C++. You may also wish to disable this option if you are compiling older C++ programs that don't use exception handling.
Generate code that allows trapping instructions to throw exceptions. Note that this requires platform-specific runtime support that does not exist everywhere. Moreover, it only allows trapping instructions to throw exceptions, i.e. memory references or floating point instructions. It does not allow exceptions to be thrown from arbitrary signal handlers such as SIGALRM.
Similar to -fexceptions, except that it will just generate any needed static data, but will not affect the generated code in any other way. You will normally not enable this option; instead, a language processor that needs this handling would enable it on your behalf.
Generate unwind table in dwarf2 format, if supported by target machine. The table is exact at each instruction boundary, so it can be used for stack unwinding from asynchronous events (such as debugger or garbage collector).
Return "short" struct and union values in memory like longer ones, rather than in registers. This convention is less efficient, but it has the advantage of allowing intercallability between GCC-compiled files and files compiled with other compilers.

The precise convention for returning structures in memory depends on the target configuration macros.

Short structures and unions are those whose size and alignment match that of some integer type.

Return struct and union values in registers when possible. This is more efficient for small structures than -fpcc-struct-return.

If you specify neither -fpcc-struct-return nor -freg-struct-return, GCC defaults to whichever convention is standard for the target. If there is no standard convention, GCC defaults to -fpcc-struct-return, except on targets where GCC is the principal compiler. In those cases, we can choose the standard, and we chose the more efficient register return alternative.

Allocate to an enum type only as many bytes as it needs for the declared range of possible values. Specifically, the enum type will be equivalent to the smallest integer type which has enough room.
Use the same size for double as for float.
Requests that the data and non-const variables of this compilation be shared data rather than private data. The distinction makes sense only on certain operating systems, where shared data is shared between processes running the same program, while private data exists in one copy per process.
In C, allocate even uninitialized global variables in the data section of the object file, rather than generating them as common blocks. This has the effect that if the same variable is declared (without extern) in two different compilations, you will get an error when you link them. The only reason this might be useful is if you wish to verify that the program will work on other systems which always work this way.
Ignore the #ident directive.
Do not output global initializations (such as C++ constructors and destructors) in the form used by the GNU linker (on systems where the GNU linker is the standard method of handling them). Use this option when you want to use a non-GNU linker, which also requires using the collect2 program to make sure the system linker includes constructors and destructors. (collect2 is included in the GCC distribution.) For systems which must use collect2, the compiler driver gcc is configured to do this automatically.
Don't output a .size assembler directive, or anything else that would cause trouble if the function is split in the middle, and the two halves are placed at locations far apart in memory. This option is used when compiling crtstuff.c; you should not need to use it for anything else.
Put extra commentary information in the generated assembly code to make it more readable. This option is generally only of use to those who actually need to read the generated assembly code (perhaps while debugging the compiler itself).

-fno-verbose-asm, the default, causes the extra information to be omitted and is useful when comparing two assembler files.

Consider all memory references through pointers to be volatile.
Consider all memory references to extern and global data items to be volatile. GCC does not consider static data items to be volatile because of this switch.
Consider all memory references to static data to be volatile.
Generate position-independent code (PIC) suitable for use in a shared library, if supported for the target machine. Such code accesses all constant addresses through a global offset table (GOT). The dynamic loader resolves the GOT entries when the program starts (the dynamic loader is not part of GCC; it is part of the operating system). If the GOT size for the linked executable exceeds a machine-specific maximum size, you get an error message from the linker indicating that -fpic does not work; in that case, recompile with -fPIC instead. (These maximums are 16k on the m88k, 8k on the Sparc, and 32k on the m68k and RS/6000. The 386 has no such limit.)

Position-independent code requires special support, and therefore works only on certain machines. For the 386, GCC supports PIC for System V but not for the Sun 386i. Code generated for the IBM RS/6000 is always position-independent.

If supported for the target machine, emit position-independent code, suitable for dynamic linking and avoiding any limit on the size of the global offset table. This option makes a difference on the m68k, m88k, and the Sparc.

Position-independent code requires special support, and therefore works only on certain machines.

Treat the register named reg as a fixed register; generated code should never refer to it (except perhaps as a stack pointer, frame pointer or in some other fixed role).

reg must be the name of a register. The register names accepted are machine-specific and are defined in the REGISTER_NAMES macro in the machine description macro file.

This flag does not have a negative form, because it specifies a three-way choice.

Treat the register named reg as an allocable register that is clobbered by function calls. It may be allocated for temporaries or variables that do not live across a call. Functions compiled this way will not save and restore the register reg.

It is an error to used this flag with the frame pointer or stack pointer. Use of this flag for other registers that have fixed pervasive roles in the machine's execution model will produce disastrous results.

This flag does not have a negative form, because it specifies a three-way choice.

Treat the register named reg as an allocable register saved by functions. It may be allocated even for temporaries or variables that live across a call. Functions compiled this way will save and restore the register reg if they use it.

It is an error to used this flag with the frame pointer or stack pointer. Use of this flag for other registers that have fixed pervasive roles in the machine's execution model will produce disastrous results.

A different sort of disaster will result from the use of this flag for a register in which function values may be returned.

This flag does not have a negative form, because it specifies a three-way choice.

Pack all structure members together without holes. Usually you would not want to use this option, since it makes the code suboptimal, and the offsets of structure members won't agree with system libraries.
Generate instrumentation calls for entry and exit to functions. Just after function entry and just before function exit, the following profiling functions will be called with the address of the current function and its call site. (On some platforms, __builtin_return_address does not work beyond the current function, so the call site information may not be available to the profiling functions otherwise.)
          void __cyg_profile_func_enter (void *this_fn,
                                         void *call_site);
          void __cyg_profile_func_exit  (void *this_fn,
                                         void *call_site);

The first argument is the address of the start of the current function, which may be looked up exactly in the symbol table.

This instrumentation is also done for functions expanded inline in other functions. The profiling calls will indicate where, conceptually, the inline function is entered and exited. This means that addressable versions of such functions must be available. If all your uses of a function are expanded inline, this may mean an additional expansion of code size. If you use extern inline in your C code, an addressable version of such functions must be provided. (This is normally the case anyways, but if you get lucky and the optimizer always expands the functions inline, you might have gotten away without providing static copies.)

A function may be given the attribute no_instrument_function, in which case this instrumentation will not be done. This can be used, for example, for the profiling functions listed above, high-priority interrupt routines, and any functions from which the profiling functions cannot safely be called (perhaps signal handlers, if the profiling routines generate output or allocate memory).

Generate code to verify that you do not go beyond the boundary of the stack. You should specify this flag if you are running in an environment with multiple threads, but only rarely need to specify it in a single-threaded environment since stack overflow is automatically detected on nearly all systems if there is only one stack.

Note that this switch does not actually cause checking to be done; the operating system must do that. The switch causes generation of code to ensure that the operating system sees the stack being extended.

Generate code to ensure that the stack does not grow beyond a certain value, either the value of a register or the address of a symbol. If the stack would grow beyond the value, a signal is raised. For most targets, the signal is raised before the stack overruns the boundary, so it is possible to catch the signal without taking special precautions.

For instance, if the stack starts at absolute address 0x80000000 and grows downwards, you can use the flags -fstack-limit-symbol=__stack_limit and -Wl,--defsym,__stack_limit=0x7ffe0000 to enforce a stack limit of 128KB. Note that this may only work with the GNU linker.

Specify the possible relationships among parameters and between parameters and global data.

-fargument-alias specifies that arguments (parameters) may alias each other and may alias global storage.
-fargument-noalias specifies that arguments do not alias each other, but may alias global storage.
-fargument-noalias-global specifies that arguments do not alias each other and do not alias global storage.

Each language will automatically use whatever option is required by the language standard. You should not need to use these options yourself.

This option and its counterpart, -fno-leading-underscore, forcibly change the way C symbols are represented in the object file. One use is to help link with legacy assembly code.

Be warned that you should know what you are doing when invoking this option, and that not all targets provide complete support for it.