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Using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC)

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14.3 Other VMS Issues

GCC automatically arranges for main to return 1 by default if you fail to specify an explicit return value. This will be interpreted by VMS as a status code indicating a normal successful completion. Version 1 of GCC did not provide this default.

GCC on VMS works only with the GNU assembler, GAS. You need version 1.37 or later of GAS in order to produce value debugging information for the VMS debugger. Use the ordinary VMS linker with the object files produced by GAS.

Under previous versions of GCC, the generated code would occasionally give strange results when linked to the sharable `VAXCRTL' library. Now this should work.

A caveat for use of const global variables: the const modifier must be specified in every external declaration of the variable in all of the source files that use that variable. Otherwise the linker will issue warnings about conflicting attributes for the variable. Your program will still work despite the warnings, but the variable will be placed in writable storage.

Although the VMS linker does distinguish between upper and lower case letters in global symbols, most VMS compilers convert all such symbols into upper case and most run-time library routines also have upper case names. To be able to reliably call such routines, GCC (by means of the assembler GAS) converts global symbols into upper case like other VMS compilers. However, since the usual practice in C is to distinguish case, GCC (via GAS) tries to preserve usual C behavior by augmenting each name that is not all lower case. This means truncating the name to at most 23 characters and then adding more characters at the end which encode the case pattern of those 23. Names which contain at least one dollar sign are an exception; they are converted directly into upper case without augmentation.

Name augmentation yields bad results for programs that use precompiled libraries (such as Xlib) which were generated by another compiler. You can use the compiler option `/NOCASE_HACK' to inhibit augmentation; it makes external C functions and variables case-independent as is usual on VMS. Alternatively, you could write all references to the functions and variables in such libraries using lower case; this will work on VMS, but is not portable to other systems. The compiler option `/NAMES' also provides control over global name handling.

Function and variable names are handled somewhat differently with G++. The GNU C++ compiler performs name mangling on function names, which means that it adds information to the function name to describe the data types of the arguments that the function takes. One result of this is that the name of a function can become very long. Since the VMS linker only recognizes the first 31 characters in a name, special action is taken to ensure that each function and variable has a unique name that can be represented in 31 characters.

If the name (plus a name augmentation, if required) is less than 32 characters in length, then no special action is performed. If the name is longer than 31 characters, the assembler (GAS) will generate a hash string based upon the function name, truncate the function name to 23 characters, and append the hash string to the truncated name. If the `/VERBOSE' compiler option is used, the assembler will print both the full and truncated names of each symbol that is truncated.

The `/NOCASE_HACK' compiler option should not be used when you are compiling programs that use libg++. libg++ has several instances of objects (i.e. Filebuf and filebuf) which become indistinguishable in a case-insensitive environment. This leads to cases where you need to inhibit augmentation selectively (if you were using libg++ and Xlib in the same program, for example). There is no special feature for doing this, but you can get the result by defining a macro for each mixed case symbol for which you wish to inhibit augmentation. The macro should expand into the lower case equivalent of itself. For example:

#define StuDlyCapS studlycaps

These macro definitions can be placed in a header file to minimize the number of changes to your source code.

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