This section describes several environment variables that affect how GCC operates. Some of them work by specifying directories or prefixes to use when searching for various kinds of files. Some are used to specify other aspects of the compilation environment.
Note that you can also specify places to search using options such as -B, -I and -L (see Directory Options). These take precedence over places specified using environment variables, which in turn take precedence over those specified by the configuration of GCC. See Controlling the Compilation Driver gcc.
The LC_CTYPE environment variable specifies character classification. GCC uses it to determine the character boundaries in a string; this is needed for some multibyte encodings that contain quote and escape characters that are otherwise interpreted as a string end or escape.
The LC_MESSAGES environment variable specifies the language to use in diagnostic messages.
If the LC_ALL environment variable is set, it overrides the value
of LC_CTYPE and LC_MESSAGES; otherwise, LC_CTYPE
and LC_MESSAGES default to the value of the LANG
environment variable. If none of these variables are set, GCC
defaults to traditional C English behavior.
If GCC_EXEC_PREFIX is not set, GCC attempts to figure out an appropriate prefix to use based on the pathname it is invoked with.
If GCC cannot find the subprogram using the specified prefix, it tries looking in the usual places for the subprogram.
The default value of GCC_EXEC_PREFIX is
prefix/lib/gcc/ where prefix is the prefix to
the installed compiler. In many cases prefix is the value
prefix when you ran the configure script.
Other prefixes specified with -B take precedence over this prefix.
This prefix is also used for finding files such as crt0.o that are used for linking.
In addition, the prefix is used in an unusual way in finding the
directories to search for header files. For each of the standard
directories whose name normally begins with ‘/usr/local/lib/gcc’
(more precisely, with the value of GCC_INCLUDE_DIR), GCC tries
replacing that beginning with the specified prefix to produce an
alternate directory name. Thus, with -Bfoo/, GCC searches
foo/bar just before it searches the standard directory
If a standard directory begins with the configured
prefix then the value of prefix is replaced by
GCC_EXEC_PREFIX when looking for header files.
If LANG is not defined, or if it has some other value, then the
mbtowc as defined by the default locale to
recognize and translate multibyte characters.
Some additional environment variables affect the behavior of the preprocessor.
PATH_SEPARATOR, is target-dependent and determined at GCC build time. For Microsoft Windows-based targets it is a semicolon, and for almost all other targets it is a colon.
CPATH specifies a list of directories to be searched as if specified with -I, but after any paths given with -I options on the command line. This environment variable is used regardless of which language is being preprocessed.
The remaining environment variables apply only when preprocessing the particular language indicated. Each specifies a list of directories to be searched as if specified with -isystem, but after any paths given with -isystem options on the command line.
In all these variables, an empty element instructs the compiler to
search its current working directory. Empty elements can appear at the
beginning or end of a path. For instance, if the value of
:/special/include, that has the same
effect as ‘-I. -I/special/include’.
The value of DEPENDENCIES_OUTPUT can be just a file name, in which case the Make rules are written to that file, guessing the target name from the source file name. Or the value can have the form ‘file target’, in which case the rules are written to file file using target as the target name.
In other words, this environment variable is equivalent to combining
the options -MM and -MF
(see Preprocessor Options),
with an optional -MT switch too.