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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++ and Objective C) that the compiler accepts:

Support all ANSI standard C programs.

This turns off certain features of GNU C that are incompatible with ANSI C, such as the asm, inline 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 ANSI trigraph feature, and disallows `$' as part of identifiers.

The alternate keywords __asm__, __extension__, __inline__ and __typeof__ continue to work despite `-ansi'. You would not want to use them in an ANSI 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-ANSI programs to be rejected gratuitously. For that, `-pedantic' 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 ANSI standard doesn't call for; this is to avoid interfering with any programs that might use these names for other things.

The functions alloca, abort, exit, and _exit are not builtin functions when `-ansi' is used.

Do not recognize asm, inline or typeof as a keyword. These words may then be used as identifiers. You can use the keywords __asm__, __inline__ and __typeof__ instead. `-ansi' implies `-fno-asm'.
Don't recognize builtin functions that do not begin with two leading underscores. Currently, the functions affected include abort, abs, alloca, cos, exit, fabs, ffs, labs, memcmp, memcpy, sin, sqrt, strcmp, strcpy, and strlen.

GCC normally generates special code to handle certain builtin functions more efficiently; for instance, calls to alloca may become single instructions that 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.

The `-ansi' option prevents alloca and ffs from being builtin functions, since these functions do not have an ANSI standard meaning.

Support ANSI C trigraphs. You don't want to know about this brain-damage. The `-ansi' option implies `-trigraphs'.
Attempt to support some aspects of traditional C compilers. Specifically:

You may wish to use `-fno-builtin' as well as `-traditional' if your program uses names that are normally GNU C builtin functions for other purposes of its own.

You cannot use `-traditional' if you include any header files that rely on ANSI C features. Some vendors are starting to ship systems with ANSI C header files and you cannot use `-traditional' on such systems to compile files that include any system headers.

In the preprocessor, comments convert to nothing at all, rather than to a space. This allows traditional token concatenation.
In preprocessor directive, the `#' symbol must appear as the first character of a line.
In the preprocessor, macro arguments are recognized within string constants in a macro definition (and their values are stringified, though without additional quote marks, when they appear in such a context). The preprocessor always considers a string constant to end at a newline.
The predefined macro __STDC__ is not defined when you use `-traditional', but __GNUC__ is (since the GNU extensions which __GNUC__ indicates are not affected by `-traditional'). If you need to write header files that work differently depending on whether `-traditional' is in use, by testing both of these predefined macros you can distinguish four situations: GNU C, traditional GNU C, other ANSI C compilers, and other old C compilers. See Standard Predefined, for more discussion of these and other predefined macros.
The preprocessor considers a string constant to end at a newline (unless the newline is escaped with `\'). (Without `-traditional', string constants can contain the newline character as typed.)
Attempt to support some aspects of traditional C preprocessors. This includes the last five items in the table immediately above, but none of the other effects of `-traditional'.
Allow conditional expressions with mismatched types in the second and third arguments. The value of such an expression is void.
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.

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'.

These options control whether a bitfield is signed or unsigned, when the declaration does not use either signed or unsigned. By default, such a bitfield is signed, because this is consistent: the basic integer types such as int are signed types.

However, when `-traditional' is used, bitfields are all unsigned no matter what.

Store string constants in the writable data segment and don't uniquize them. This is for compatibility with old programs which assume they can write into string constants. The option `-traditional' also has this effect.

Writing into string constants is a very bad idea; ``constants'' should be constant.

Do not promote single precision math operations to double precision, even when compiling with `-traditional'.

Traditional K&R C promotes all floating point operations to double precision, regardless of the sizes of the operands. On the architecture for which you are compiling, single precision may be faster than double precision. If you must use `-traditional', but want to use single precision operations when the operands are single precision, use this option. This option has no effect when compiling with ANSI or GNU C conventions (the default).