Next: , Previous: , Up: Invoking GCC   [Contents][Index]


3.14 Options for Linking

These options come into play when the compiler links object files into an executable output file. They are meaningless if the compiler is not doing a link step.

object-file-name

A file name that does not end in a special recognized suffix is considered to name an object file or library. (Object files are distinguished from libraries by the linker according to the file contents.) If linking is done, these object files are used as input to the linker.

-c
-S
-E

If any of these options is used, then the linker is not run, and object file names should not be used as arguments. See Overall Options.

-flinker-output=type

This option controls the code generation of the link time optimizer. By default the linker output is determined by the linker plugin automatically. For debugging the compiler and in the case of incremental linking to non-lto object file is desired, it may be useful to control the type manually.

If type is ‘exec’ the code generation is configured to produce static binary. In this case -fpic and -fpie are both disabled.

If type is ‘dyn’ the code generation is configured to produce shared library. In this case -fpic or -fPIC is preserved, but not enabled automatically. This makes it possible to build shared libraries without position independent code on architectures this is possible, i.e. on x86.

If type is ‘pie’ the code generation is configured to produce -fpie executable. This result in similar optimizations as ‘exec’ except that -fpie is not disabled if specified at compilation time.

If type is ‘rel’ the compiler assumes that incremental linking is done. The sections containing intermediate code for link-time optimization are merged, pre-optimized, and output to the resulting object file. In addition, if -ffat-lto-objects is specified the binary code is produced for future non-lto linking. The object file produced by incremental linking will be smaller than a static library produced from the same object files. At link-time the result of incremental linking will also load faster to compiler than a static library assuming that majority of objects in the library are used.

Finally ‘nolto-rel’ configure compiler to for incremental linking where code generation is forced, final binary is produced and the intermediate code for later link-time optimization is stripped. When multiple object files are linked together the resulting code will be optimized better than with link time optimizations disabled (for example, the cross-module inlining will happen), most of benefits of whole program optimizations are however lost.

During the incremental link (by -r) the linker plugin will default to rel. With current interfaces to GNU Binutils it is however not possible to link incrementally LTO objects and non-LTO objects into a single mixed object file. In the case any of object files in incremental link can not be used for link-time optimization the linker plugin will output warning and use ‘nolto-rel’. To maintain the whole program optimization it is recommended to link such objects into static library instead. Alternatively it is possible to use H.J. Lu’s binutils with support for mixed objects.

-fuse-ld=bfd

Use the bfd linker instead of the default linker.

-fuse-ld=gold

Use the gold linker instead of the default linker.

-llibrary
-l library

Search the library named library when linking. (The second alternative with the library as a separate argument is only for POSIX compliance and is not recommended.)

It makes a difference where in the command you write this option; the linker searches and processes libraries and object files in the order they are specified. Thus, ‘foo.o -lz bar.o’ searches library ‘z’ after file foo.o but before bar.o. If bar.o refers to functions in ‘z’, those functions may not be loaded.

The linker searches a standard list of directories for the library, which is actually a file named liblibrary.a. The linker then uses this file as if it had been specified precisely by name.

The directories searched include several standard system directories plus any that you specify with -L.

Normally the files found this way are library files—archive files whose members are object files. The linker handles an archive file by scanning through it for members which define symbols that have so far been referenced but not defined. But if the file that is found is an ordinary object file, it is linked in the usual fashion. The only difference between using an -l option and specifying a file name is that -l surrounds library with ‘lib’ and ‘.a’ and searches several directories.

-lobjc

You need this special case of the -l option in order to link an Objective-C or Objective-C++ program.

-nostartfiles

Do not use the standard system startup files when linking. The standard system libraries are used normally, unless -nostdlib, -nolibc, or -nodefaultlibs is used.

-nodefaultlibs

Do not use the standard system libraries when linking. Only the libraries you specify are passed to the linker, and options specifying linkage of the system libraries, such as -static-libgcc or -shared-libgcc, are ignored. The standard startup files are used normally, unless -nostartfiles is used.

The compiler may generate calls to memcmp, memset, memcpy and memmove. These entries are usually resolved by entries in libc. These entry points should be supplied through some other mechanism when this option is specified.

-nolibc

Do not use the C library or system libraries tightly coupled with it when linking. Still link with the startup files, libgcc or toolchain provided language support libraries such as libgnat, libgfortran or libstdc++ unless options preventing their inclusion are used as well. This typically removes -lc from the link command line, as well as system libraries that normally go with it and become meaningless when absence of a C library is assumed, for example -lpthread or -lm in some configurations. This is intended for bare-board targets when there is indeed no C library available.

-nostdlib

Do not use the standard system startup files or libraries when linking. No startup files and only the libraries you specify are passed to the linker, and options specifying linkage of the system libraries, such as -static-libgcc or -shared-libgcc, are ignored.

The compiler may generate calls to memcmp, memset, memcpy and memmove. These entries are usually resolved by entries in libc. These entry points should be supplied through some other mechanism when this option is specified.

One of the standard libraries bypassed by -nostdlib and -nodefaultlibs is libgcc.a, a library of internal subroutines which GCC uses to overcome shortcomings of particular machines, or special needs for some languages. (See Interfacing to GCC Output in GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) Internals, for more discussion of libgcc.a.) In most cases, you need libgcc.a even when you want to avoid other standard libraries. In other words, when you specify -nostdlib or -nodefaultlibs you should usually specify -lgcc as well. This ensures that you have no unresolved references to internal GCC library subroutines. (An example of such an internal subroutine is __main, used to ensure C++ constructors are called; see collect2 in GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) Internals.)

-pie

Produce a dynamically linked position independent executable on targets that support it. For predictable results, you must also specify the same set of options used for compilation (-fpie, -fPIE, or model suboptions) when you specify this linker option.

-no-pie

Don’t produce a dynamically linked position independent executable.

-static-pie

Produce a static position independent executable on targets that support it. A static position independent executable is similar to a static executable, but can be loaded at any address without a dynamic linker. For predictable results, you must also specify the same set of options used for compilation (-fpie, -fPIE, or model suboptions) when you specify this linker option.

-pthread

Link with the POSIX threads library. This option is supported on GNU/Linux targets, most other Unix derivatives, and also on x86 Cygwin and MinGW targets. On some targets this option also sets flags for the preprocessor, so it should be used consistently for both compilation and linking.

-rdynamic

Pass the flag -export-dynamic to the ELF linker, on targets that support it. This instructs the linker to add all symbols, not only used ones, to the dynamic symbol table. This option is needed for some uses of dlopen or to allow obtaining backtraces from within a program.

-s

Remove all symbol table and relocation information from the executable.

-static

On systems that support dynamic linking, this overrides -pie and prevents linking with the shared libraries. On other systems, this option has no effect.

-shared

Produce a shared object which can then be linked with other objects to form an executable. Not all systems support this option. For predictable results, you must also specify the same set of options used for compilation (-fpic, -fPIC, or model suboptions) when you specify this linker option.1

-shared-libgcc
-static-libgcc

On systems that provide libgcc as a shared library, these options force the use of either the shared or static version, respectively. If no shared version of libgcc was built when the compiler was configured, these options have no effect.

There are several situations in which an application should use the shared libgcc instead of the static version. The most common of these is when the application wishes to throw and catch exceptions across different shared libraries. In that case, each of the libraries as well as the application itself should use the shared libgcc.

Therefore, the G++ and driver automatically adds -shared-libgcc whenever you build a shared library or a main executable, because C++ programs typically use exceptions, so this is the right thing to do.

If, instead, you use the GCC driver to create shared libraries, you may find that they are not always linked with the shared libgcc. If GCC finds, at its configuration time, that you have a non-GNU linker or a GNU linker that does not support option --eh-frame-hdr, it links the shared version of libgcc into shared libraries by default. Otherwise, it takes advantage of the linker and optimizes away the linking with the shared version of libgcc, linking with the static version of libgcc by default. This allows exceptions to propagate through such shared libraries, without incurring relocation costs at library load time.

However, if a library or main executable is supposed to throw or catch exceptions, you must link it using the G++ driver, as appropriate for the languages used in the program, or using the option -shared-libgcc, such that it is linked with the shared libgcc.

-static-libasan

When the -fsanitize=address option is used to link a program, the GCC driver automatically links against libasan. If libasan is available as a shared library, and the -static option is not used, then this links against the shared version of libasan. The -static-libasan option directs the GCC driver to link libasan statically, without necessarily linking other libraries statically.

-static-libtsan

When the -fsanitize=thread option is used to link a program, the GCC driver automatically links against libtsan. If libtsan is available as a shared library, and the -static option is not used, then this links against the shared version of libtsan. The -static-libtsan option directs the GCC driver to link libtsan statically, without necessarily linking other libraries statically.

-static-liblsan

When the -fsanitize=leak option is used to link a program, the GCC driver automatically links against liblsan. If liblsan is available as a shared library, and the -static option is not used, then this links against the shared version of liblsan. The -static-liblsan option directs the GCC driver to link liblsan statically, without necessarily linking other libraries statically.

-static-libubsan

When the -fsanitize=undefined option is used to link a program, the GCC driver automatically links against libubsan. If libubsan is available as a shared library, and the -static option is not used, then this links against the shared version of libubsan. The -static-libubsan option directs the GCC driver to link libubsan statically, without necessarily linking other libraries statically.

-static-libstdc++

When the g++ program is used to link a C++ program, it normally automatically links against libstdc++. If libstdc++ is available as a shared library, and the -static option is not used, then this links against the shared version of libstdc++. That is normally fine. However, it is sometimes useful to freeze the version of libstdc++ used by the program without going all the way to a fully static link. The -static-libstdc++ option directs the g++ driver to link libstdc++ statically, without necessarily linking other libraries statically.

-symbolic

Bind references to global symbols when building a shared object. Warn about any unresolved references (unless overridden by the link editor option -Xlinker -z -Xlinker defs). Only a few systems support this option.

-T script

Use script as the linker script. This option is supported by most systems using the GNU linker. On some targets, such as bare-board targets without an operating system, the -T option may be required when linking to avoid references to undefined symbols.

-Xlinker option

Pass option as an option to the linker. You can use this to supply system-specific linker options that GCC does not recognize.

If you want to pass an option that takes a separate argument, you must use -Xlinker twice, once for the option and once for the argument. For example, to pass -assert definitions, you must write -Xlinker -assert -Xlinker definitions. It does not work to write -Xlinker "-assert definitions", because this passes the entire string as a single argument, which is not what the linker expects.

When using the GNU linker, it is usually more convenient to pass arguments to linker options using the option=value syntax than as separate arguments. For example, you can specify -Xlinker -Map=output.map rather than -Xlinker -Map -Xlinker output.map. Other linkers may not support this syntax for command-line options.

-Wl,option

Pass option as an option to the linker. If option contains commas, it is split into multiple options at the commas. You can use this syntax to pass an argument to the option. For example, -Wl,-Map,output.map passes -Map output.map to the linker. When using the GNU linker, you can also get the same effect with -Wl,-Map=output.map.

-u symbol

Pretend the symbol symbol is undefined, to force linking of library modules to define it. You can use -u multiple times with different symbols to force loading of additional library modules.

-z keyword

-z is passed directly on to the linker along with the keyword keyword. See the section in the documentation of your linker for permitted values and their meanings.


Footnotes

(1)

On some systems, ‘gcc -shared’ needs to build supplementary stub code for constructors to work. On multi-libbed systems, ‘gcc -shared’ must select the correct support libraries to link against. Failing to supply the correct flags may lead to subtle defects. Supplying them in cases where they are not necessary is innocuous.


Next: , Previous: , Up: Invoking GCC   [Contents][Index]