Porting to GCC 5

The GCC 5 release series differs from previous GCC releases in a number of ways. Some of these are a result of bug fixing, and some old behaviors have been intentionally changed in order to support new standards, or relaxed in standards-conforming ways to facilitate compilation or run-time performance. Some of these changes are not visible to the naked eye and will not cause problems when updating from older versions.

However, some of these changes are visible, and can cause grief to users porting to GCC 5. This document is an effort to identify major issues and provide clear solutions in a quick and easily searched manner. Additions and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Preprocessor issues

The preprocessor started to emit line markers to properly distinguish whether a macro token comes from a system header, or from a normal header (see PR60723). These new markers can cause intriguing problems for software not ready to handle them. To stop the preprocessor from generating the #line directives, use the -P option.

Consider the following snippet:


  #include <stdlib.h>
  exitfailure EXIT_FAILURE
In the past "gcc -E" used to emit:

# 2 "t.c" 2
exitfailure 1
Current GCC emits:

# 2 "t.c"
exitfailure 
# 2 "t.c" 3 4
           1
Observe how the exitfailure and 1 tokens are not on the same line anymore.

C language issues

Default standard is now GNU11

GCC defaults to -std=gnu11 instead of -std=gnu89. This brings several changes that users should be aware of. The following paragraphs describe some of these changes and suggest how to deal with them.

Some users might prefer to stay with gnu89, in which case we suggest to use the -std=gnu89 command-line option, perhaps by putting it in override CFLAGS or similarly in Makefiles.

To ease the migration process, GCC offers two new warning options, -Wc90-c99-compat and -Wc99-c11-compat. The former warns about features not present in ISO C90, but present in ISO C99. The latter warns about features not present in ISO C99, but present in ISO C11. See the GCC manual for more info.

Different semantics for inline functions

While -std=gnu89 employs the GNU89 inline semantics, -std=gnu11 uses the C99 inline semantics. The C99 inline semantics requires that if a function with external linkage is declared with inline function specifier, it also has to be defined in the same translation unit (TU). Consequently, GCC now warns if it sees a TU such as the following:


  inline int foo (void);

This example now gives the following diagnostic:

f.c:1:12: warning: inline function 'foo' declared but never defined
   inline int foo (void);
              ^

Furthermore, there is a difference between extern inline and inline:

(Fortunately static inline is the same in both C99 and GNU89.)

In other words, ISO C99 requires that exactly one C source file has the callable copy of the inline function. Consider the following program:


  inline int
  foo (void)
  {
    return 42;
  }

  int
  main (void)
  {
    return foo ();
  }

The program above will not link with the C99 inline semantics, because no out-of-line function foo is generated. To fix this, either mark the function foo as extern, or add the following declaration:


  extern inline int foo (void);

This ensures that an externally visible function be emitted. To enforce the GNU89 inline semantics, you can either use the -fgnu89-inline command-line option, or mark a function with the gnu_inline attribute. For example:


  __attribute__ ((gnu_inline)) inline int
  foo (void)
  {
    return 42;
  }

A program which used GNU89 extern inline may fail in the new standard due to multiple definition errors:


  extern inline int
  foo (void)
  {
    return 42;
  }

  int
  foo (void)
  {
    return 23;
  }

  int
  main (void)
  {
    return foo ();
  }

Some warnings are enabled by default

The C99 mode enables some warnings by default. For instance, GCC warns about missing declarations of functions:


  int
  foo (void)
  {
    return bar ();
  }

This example now gives the following diagnostic:

w.c:4:10: warning: implicit declaration of function 'bar' [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
   return bar ();
          ^

To suppress this warning add the proper declaration:


  int bar (void);

or use -Wno-implicit-function-declaration.

Another warning that is now turned on by default is the warning about implicit int, as in the following snippet:


  foo (u)
  {
    return u;
  }

This example now gives the following diagnostic:

q.c:1:1: warning: return type defaults to 'int' [-Wimplicit-int]
   foo (u)
   ^
q.c: In function 'foo':
q.c:1:1: warning: type of 'u' defaults to 'int' [-Wimplicit-int]

To suppress this warning just add the proper types:


  int
  foo (int u)
  {
    return u;
  }

or use -Wno-implicit or -Wno-implicit-int.

Another warning that is now turned on by default is the warning about returning no value in a function returning non-void:


  int
  foo (void)
  {
    return;
  }

This example now gives the following diagnostic:

q.c:4:3: warning: 'return' with no value, in function returning non-void
   return;
   ^

The fix is either to specify a proper return value, or to declare the return type of foo as void.

Initializing statics with compound literals

Previously, initializing objects with static storage duration with compound literals was only allowed in the GNU89 mode. This restriction has been lifted and currently it is possible to do this even in C99/C11 mode. The following snippet is an example of such initialization:


  struct T { int i; };
  struct S { struct T t; };
  static struct S s = (struct S) { .t = { 42 } };

We used to reject such code in C99/C11 mode:

q.c:3:29: error: initializer element is not constant
   static struct S s = (struct S) { .t = { 42 } };
                               ^

Note that using -Wpedantic will cause a warning be emitted:

q.c:3:29: warning: initializer element is not constant [-Wpedantic]
   static struct S s = (struct S) { .t = { 42 } };
                       ^

__STDC_VERSION__ macro

As the default mode changed to C11, the __STDC_VERSION__ standard macro, introduced in C95, is now defined by default, and has the value 201112L.

Typically, this macro is used as in the following:


  #if !defined __STDC_VERSION__ || __STDC_VERSION__ < 199901L
    /* ... */
  #else
  # include <stdint.h>
  #endif

You can check the macro using gcc -dM -E -std=gnu11 - < /dev/null | grep STDC_VER.

Different meaning of the %a *scanf conversion specification

In C89, the GNU C library supports dynamic allocation via the %as, %aS, and %a[...] conversion specifications; see this for more info. In C99, the a conversion specifier is a synonym for f (float), so the compiler expects an argument of type float *. This is a change in semantics, and in combination with the -Wformat warning option the compiler may emit additional warnings:


  #include <stdio.h>

  int
  main (void)
  {
    char *s;
    scanf ("%as", &s);
  }
q.c:7:10: warning: format '%a' expects argument of type 'float *', but argument 2 has type 'char **' [-Wformat=]
  scanf ("%as", &s);
         ^

To use the dynamic allocation conversion specifier in C99 and C11, specify m as a length modifier as per POSIX.1-2008. That is, use %ms or %m[...].

New warnings

Several new warnings have been added to the C front end. Among others -Wpedantic now warns about non-standard predefined identifiers. For instance:


  void
  foo (void)
  {
    const char *s = __FUNCTION__;
  }
q.c:4:19: warning: ISO C does not support '__FUNCTION__' predefined identifier [-Wpedantic]
  const char *s = __FUNCTION__;
                  ^

The fix is either to use the standard predefined identifier __func__ (since C99), or to use the __extension__ keyword:


  const char *s = __extension__ __FUNCTION__;

C++ language issues

Converting std::nullptr_t to bool

Converting std::nullptr_t to bool in C++11 mode now requires direct-initialization. This has been changed in DR 1423.

As a consequence, the following is invalid:


  bool b = nullptr;

but the following is valid:


  bool b(nullptr);
It is recommended to use the false keyword instead of converting nullptr to bool.

Return by converting move constructor

GCC 5 implements DR 1579 which means that in a function like:


  X
  foo()
  {
    Y y;
    return y;
  }

GCC will first attempt to construct the return value as if y were an rvalue, and if that fails then it will try again for an lvalue (all C++11 compilers already do this when returning a variable of the same type as the function returns, but now they are required to do it when the types are not the same). This will change the constructor that gets called in some cases, for example it might now call X(Y&&) instead of X(const Y&).

In most cases the only observable difference will be code that runs faster (by moving instead of copying) but if it causes a problem the new behavior can be prevented by ensuring the compiler treats y as an lvalue, using return X(y); or return static_cast<Y&>(y);.

Links

Marek Polacek and Jakub Jelinek, Fedora test rebuild on x86_64-linux-gnu with gcc-5.0.0-0.5.fc22