[cfe-dev] GCC and Clang produce undefined references to functions with vague linkage

Rafael EspĂ­ndola rafael.espindola at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 11:13:47 PDT 2012

Note1: I am not subscribed to the gcc list, please use reply-all.
Note2: I think the clang list is moderated for the first post, but it
is usually really fast. Sorry about that.

I recently implemented an optimization in LLVM to hide symbols that
the we "know" are available in every DSO that uses them. This is very
similar to a more generic optimization that is possible during LTO
when using recent versions of the gold plugin.

Unfortunately, this found a bug in both gcc and clang (or in the
itanium ABI, it is not very clear). The testcase is

$ cat test.h
struct foo {
  virtual ~foo();
struct bar : public foo {
  virtual void zed();
$ cat def.cpp
#include "test.h"
void bar::zed() {
$ cat undef.cpp
#include "test.h"
void f() {
  foo *x(new bar);
  delete x;

Both gcc (>= 4.6) and clang will produce and undefined reference to
_ZN3barD0Ev when compiling undef.cpp with optimizations:

$ ~/gcc/build/gcc/xgcc -B ~/gcc/build/gcc/ -c undef.cpp -o undef.o -O3 -fPIC
$ nm undef.o | grep D0
                 U _ZN3barD0Ev

And, when using LTO, a shared library built from def.cpp has a visible
vtable, but the destructor itself is not visible:

$ ~/gcc/build/gcc/xgcc -B ~/gcc/build/gcc/ -c def.cpp -o def.o -O3 -flto -fPIC
$ ~/gcc/build/gcc/xgcc -B ~/gcc/build/gcc/ def.o -o def.so -shared

$ readelf  -sDW def.so | grep bar
   12   7: 0000000000000931     5 OBJECT  WEAK   DEFAULT  13 _ZTS3bar
   11  10: 0000000000001ca0    40 OBJECT  WEAK   DEFAULT  24 _ZTV3bar
   13  14: 0000000000001cd0    24 OBJECT  WEAK   DEFAULT  24 _ZTI3bar
    8  15: 00000000000008b0    10 FUNC    GLOBAL DEFAULT  11 _ZN3bar3zedEv

And the final result is that we get an undefined reference when linking:

$ g++ -shared -o foo.so undef.o def.so -Wl,-z,defs
undef.o:undef.cpp:function f(): error: undefined reference to 'bar::~bar()'

I can see two ways of solving this and would like for both clang and
gcc to implement the same:

* Make sure the destructor is emitted everywhere. That is, clang and
gcc have a bug in producing an undefined reference to _ZN3barD0Ev.
* Make it clear that the file exporting the vtable has to export the
symbols used in it. That is, the Itanium c++ abi needs clarification
and so does gcc's lto plugin (and the llvm patch I am working on).

In an earlier discussion on the llvm list, it was pointed out that
* The second solution would probably be the most backward compatible
one, as gcc (even without lto) has been producing the undefined symbol
since 4.6.
* If implementing the second solution, the destructor still has to be
a weak symbol on OS X at least.
* The first solution has the advantage that it is semantically simpler
as it avoids a special case about when a function can be assumed to be
available externally.
* The first solution has the advantage that more symbols can be marked
hidden, as the gcc lto plugin does currently.


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