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3.4 Options Controlling C Dialect

The following options control the dialect of C (or languages derived from C, such as C++, Objective-C and Objective-C++) that the compiler accepts:

-ansi
In C mode, this is equivalent to -std=c90. In C++ mode, it is equivalent to -std=c++98.

This turns off certain features of GCC that are incompatible with ISO C90 (when compiling C code), or of standard C++ (when compiling C++ code), such as the asm and typeof keywords, and predefined macros such as unix and vax that identify the type of system you are using. It also enables the undesirable and rarely used ISO trigraph feature. For the C compiler, it disables recognition of C++ style ‘//’ comments as well as the inline keyword.

The alternate keywords __asm__, __extension__, __inline__ and __typeof__ continue to work despite -ansi. You would not want to use them in an ISO C program, of course, but it is useful to put them in header files that might be included in compilations done with -ansi. Alternate predefined macros such as __unix__ and __vax__ are also available, with or without -ansi.

The -ansi option does not cause non-ISO programs to be rejected gratuitously. For that, -Wpedantic is required in addition to -ansi. See Warning Options.

The macro __STRICT_ANSI__ is predefined when the -ansi option is used. Some header files may notice this macro and refrain from declaring certain functions or defining certain macros that the ISO standard doesn't call for; this is to avoid interfering with any programs that might use these names for other things.

Functions that are normally built in but do not have semantics defined by ISO C (such as alloca and ffs) are not built-in functions when -ansi is used. See Other built-in functions provided by GCC, for details of the functions affected.

-std=
Determine the language standard. See Language Standards Supported by GCC, for details of these standard versions. This option is currently only supported when compiling C or C++.

The compiler can accept several base standards, such as ‘c90’ or ‘c++98’, and GNU dialects of those standards, such as ‘gnu90’ or ‘gnu++98’. When a base standard is specified, the compiler accepts all programs following that standard plus those using GNU extensions that do not contradict it. For example, -std=c90 turns off certain features of GCC that are incompatible with ISO C90, such as the asm and typeof keywords, but not other GNU extensions that do not have a meaning in ISO C90, such as omitting the middle term of a ?: expression. On the other hand, when a GNU dialect of a standard is specified, all features supported by the compiler are enabled, even when those features change the meaning of the base standard. As a result, some strict-conforming programs may be rejected. The particular standard is used by -Wpedantic to identify which features are GNU extensions given that version of the standard. For example -std=gnu90 -Wpedantic warns about C++ style ‘//’ comments, while -std=gnu99 -Wpedantic does not.

A value for this option must be provided; possible values are

c90
c89
iso9899:1990
Support all ISO C90 programs (certain GNU extensions that conflict with ISO C90 are disabled). Same as -ansi for C code.
iso9899:199409
ISO C90 as modified in amendment 1.
c99
c9x
iso9899:1999
iso9899:199x
ISO C99. This standard is substantially completely supported, modulo bugs, extended identifiers (supported except for corner cases when -fextended-identifiers is used) and floating-point issues (mainly but not entirely relating to optional C99 features from Annexes F and G). See http://gcc.gnu.org/c99status.html for more information. The names ‘c9x’ and ‘iso9899:199x’ are deprecated.
c11
c1x
iso9899:2011
ISO C11, the 2011 revision of the ISO C standard. This standard is substantially completely supported, modulo bugs, extended identifiers (supported except for corner cases when -fextended-identifiers is used), floating-point issues (mainly but not entirely relating to optional C11 features from Annexes F and G) and the optional Annexes K (Bounds-checking interfaces) and L (Analyzability). The name ‘c1x’ is deprecated.
gnu90
gnu89
GNU dialect of ISO C90 (including some C99 features). This is the default for C code.
gnu99
gnu9x
GNU dialect of ISO C99. The name ‘gnu9x’ is deprecated.
gnu11
gnu1x
GNU dialect of ISO C11. This is intended to become the default in a future release of GCC. The name ‘gnu1x’ is deprecated.
c++98
c++03
The 1998 ISO C++ standard plus the 2003 technical corrigendum and some additional defect reports. Same as -ansi for C++ code.
gnu++98
gnu++03
GNU dialect of -std=c++98. This is the default for C++ code.
c++11
c++0x
The 2011 ISO C++ standard plus amendments. The name ‘c++0x’ is deprecated.
gnu++11
gnu++0x
GNU dialect of -std=c++11. The name ‘gnu++0x’ is deprecated.
c++14
c++1y
The 2014 ISO C++ standard plus amendments. The name ‘c++1y’ is deprecated.
gnu++14
gnu++1y
GNU dialect of -std=c++14. The name ‘gnu++1y’ is deprecated.
c++1z
The next revision of the ISO C++ standard, tentatively planned for 2017. Support is highly experimental, and will almost certainly change in incompatible ways in future releases.
gnu++1z
GNU dialect of -std=c++1z. Support is highly experimental, and will almost certainly change in incompatible ways in future releases.

-fgnu89-inline
The option -fgnu89-inline tells GCC to use the traditional GNU semantics for inline functions when in C99 mode. See An Inline Function is As Fast As a Macro. This option is accepted and ignored by GCC versions 4.1.3 up to but not including 4.3. In GCC versions 4.3 and later it changes the behavior of GCC in C99 mode. Using this option is roughly equivalent to adding the gnu_inline function attribute to all inline functions (see Function Attributes).

The option -fno-gnu89-inline explicitly tells GCC to use the C99 semantics for inline when in C99 or gnu99 mode (i.e., it specifies the default behavior). This option was first supported in GCC 4.3. This option is not supported in -std=c90 or -std=gnu90 mode.

The preprocessor macros __GNUC_GNU_INLINE__ and __GNUC_STDC_INLINE__ may be used to check which semantics are in effect for inline functions. See Common Predefined Macros.

-aux-info filename
Output to the given filename prototyped declarations for all functions declared and/or defined in a translation unit, including those in header files. This option is silently ignored in any language other than C.

Besides declarations, the file indicates, in comments, the origin of each declaration (source file and line), whether the declaration was implicit, prototyped or unprototyped (‘I’, ‘N’ for new or ‘O’ for old, respectively, in the first character after the line number and the colon), and whether it came from a declaration or a definition (‘C’ or ‘F’, respectively, in the following character). In the case of function definitions, a K&R-style list of arguments followed by their declarations is also provided, inside comments, after the declaration.

-fallow-parameterless-variadic-functions
Accept variadic functions without named parameters.

Although it is possible to define such a function, this is not very useful as it is not possible to read the arguments. This is only supported for C as this construct is allowed by C++.

-fno-asm
Do not recognize asm, inline or typeof as a keyword, so that code can use these words as identifiers. You can use the keywords __asm__, __inline__ and __typeof__ instead. -ansi implies -fno-asm.

In C++, this switch only affects the typeof keyword, since asm and inline are standard keywords. You may want to use the -fno-gnu-keywords flag instead, which has the same effect. In C99 mode (-std=c99 or -std=gnu99), this switch only affects the asm and typeof keywords, since inline is a standard keyword in ISO C99.

-fno-builtin
-fno-builtin-function
Don't recognize built-in functions that do not begin with ‘__builtin_’ as prefix. See Other built-in functions provided by GCC, for details of the functions affected, including those which are not built-in functions when -ansi or -std options for strict ISO C conformance are used because they do not have an ISO standard meaning.

GCC normally generates special code to handle certain built-in functions more efficiently; for instance, calls to alloca may become single instructions which adjust the stack directly, and calls to memcpy may become inline copy loops. The resulting code is often both smaller and faster, but since the function calls no longer appear as such, you cannot set a breakpoint on those calls, nor can you change the behavior of the functions by linking with a different library. In addition, when a function is recognized as a built-in function, GCC may use information about that function to warn about problems with calls to that function, or to generate more efficient code, even if the resulting code still contains calls to that function. For example, warnings are given with -Wformat for bad calls to printf when printf is built in and strlen is known not to modify global memory.

With the -fno-builtin-function option only the built-in function function is disabled. function must not begin with ‘__builtin_’. If a function is named that is not built-in in this version of GCC, this option is ignored. There is no corresponding -fbuiltin-function option; if you wish to enable built-in functions selectively when using -fno-builtin or -ffreestanding, you may define macros such as:

          #define abs(n)          __builtin_abs ((n))
          #define strcpy(d, s)    __builtin_strcpy ((d), (s))

-fhosted
Assert that compilation targets a hosted environment. This implies -fbuiltin. A hosted environment is one in which the entire standard library is available, and in which main has a return type of int. Examples are nearly everything except a kernel. This is equivalent to -fno-freestanding.
-ffreestanding
Assert that compilation targets a freestanding environment. This implies -fno-builtin. A freestanding environment is one in which the standard library may not exist, and program startup may not necessarily be at main. The most obvious example is an OS kernel. This is equivalent to -fno-hosted.

See Language Standards Supported by GCC, for details of freestanding and hosted environments.

-fopenmp
Enable handling of OpenMP directives #pragma omp in C/C++ and !$omp in Fortran. When -fopenmp is specified, the compiler generates parallel code according to the OpenMP Application Program Interface v4.0 http://www.openmp.org/. This option implies -pthread, and thus is only supported on targets that have support for -pthread. -fopenmp implies -fopenmp-simd.
-fopenmp-simd
Enable handling of OpenMP's SIMD directives with #pragma omp in C/C++ and !$omp in Fortran. Other OpenMP directives are ignored.
-fcilkplus
Enable the usage of Cilk Plus language extension features for C/C++. When the option -fcilkplus is specified, enable the usage of the Cilk Plus Language extension features for C/C++. The present implementation follows ABI version 1.2. This is an experimental feature that is only partially complete, and whose interface may change in future versions of GCC as the official specification changes. Currently, all features but _Cilk_for have been implemented.
-fgnu-tm
When the option -fgnu-tm is specified, the compiler generates code for the Linux variant of Intel's current Transactional Memory ABI specification document (Revision 1.1, May 6 2009). This is an experimental feature whose interface may change in future versions of GCC, as the official specification changes. Please note that not all architectures are supported for this feature.

For more information on GCC's support for transactional memory, See The GNU Transactional Memory Library.

Note that the transactional memory feature is not supported with non-call exceptions (-fnon-call-exceptions).

-fms-extensions
Accept some non-standard constructs used in Microsoft header files.

In C++ code, this allows member names in structures to be similar to previous types declarations.

          typedef int UOW;
          struct ABC {
            UOW UOW;
          };

Some cases of unnamed fields in structures and unions are only accepted with this option. See Unnamed struct/union fields within structs/unions, for details.

Note that this option is off for all targets but i?86 and x86_64 targets using ms-abi.

-fplan9-extensions
Accept some non-standard constructs used in Plan 9 code.

This enables -fms-extensions, permits passing pointers to structures with anonymous fields to functions that expect pointers to elements of the type of the field, and permits referring to anonymous fields declared using a typedef. See Unnamed struct/union fields within structs/unions, for details. This is only supported for C, not C++.

-trigraphs
Support ISO C trigraphs. The -ansi option (and -std options for strict ISO C conformance) implies -trigraphs.


-traditional
-traditional-cpp
Formerly, these options caused GCC to attempt to emulate a pre-standard C compiler. They are now only supported with the -E switch. The preprocessor continues to support a pre-standard mode. See the GNU CPP manual for details.
-fcond-mismatch
Allow conditional expressions with mismatched types in the second and third arguments. The value of such an expression is void. This option is not supported for C++.
-flax-vector-conversions
Allow implicit conversions between vectors with differing numbers of elements and/or incompatible element types. This option should not be used for new code.
-funsigned-char
Let the type char be unsigned, like unsigned char.

Each kind of machine has a default for what char should be. It is either like unsigned char by default or like signed char by default.

Ideally, a portable program should always use signed char or unsigned char when it depends on the signedness of an object. But many programs have been written to use plain char and expect it to be signed, or expect it to be unsigned, depending on the machines they were written for. This option, and its inverse, let you make such a program work with the opposite default.

The type char is always a distinct type from each of signed char or unsigned char, even though its behavior is always just like one of those two.

-fsigned-char
Let the type char be signed, like signed char.

Note that this is equivalent to -fno-unsigned-char, which is the negative form of -funsigned-char. Likewise, the option -fno-signed-char is equivalent to -funsigned-char.

-fsigned-bitfields
-funsigned-bitfields
-fno-signed-bitfields
-fno-unsigned-bitfields
These options control whether a bit-field is signed or unsigned, when the declaration does not use either signed or unsigned. By default, such a bit-field is signed, because this is consistent: the basic integer types such as int are signed types.