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Chapter 5: Extensions to the C Language Family

GNU C provides several language features not found in ANSI standard C. (The `-pedantic' option directs GNU CC to print a warning message if any of these features is used.) To test for the availability of these features in conditional compilation, check for a predefined macro __GNUC__, which is always defined under GNU CC.

These extensions are available in C and in the languages derived from it, C++ and Objective C. See C++ Extensions, for extensions that apply only to C++.

  • Statement Exprs Putting statements and declarations inside expressions.
  • Local Labels Labels local to a statement-expression.
  • Labels as Values Getting pointers to labels, and computed gotos.
  • Nested Functions As in Algol and Pascal, lexical scoping of functions.
  • Constructing Calls Dispatching a call to another function.
  • Naming Types Giving a name to the type of some expression.
  • Typeof typeof: referring to the type of an expression.
  • Lvalues Using `?:', `,' and casts in lvalues.
  • Conditionals Omitting the middle operand of a `?:' expression.
  • Long Long Double-word integers---long long int.
  • Complex Data types for complex numbers.
  • Zero Length Zero-length arrays.
  • Variable Length Arrays whose length is computed at run time.
  • Macro Varargs Macros with variable number of arguments.
  • Subscripting Any array can be subscripted, even if not an lvalue.
  • Pointer Arith Arithmetic on void-pointers and function pointers.
  • Initializers Non-constant initializers.
  • Constructors Constructor expressions give structures, unions or arrays as values.
  • Labeled Elements Labeling elements of initializers.
  • Cast to Union Casting to union type from any member of the union.
  • Case Ranges `case 1 ... 9' and such.
  • Function Attributes Declaring that functions have no side effects, or that they can never return.
  • Function Prototypes Prototype declarations and old-style definitions.
  • Dollar Signs Dollar sign is allowed in identifiers.
  • Character Escapes `\e' stands for the character ESC.
  • Variable Attributes Specifying attributes of variables.
  • Alignment Inquiring about the alignment of a type or variable.
  • Inline Defining inline functions (as fast as macros).
  • Extended Asm Assembler instructions with C expressions as operands. (With them you can define ``built-in'' functions.)
  • Asm Labels Specifying the assembler name to use for a C symbol.
  • Explicit Reg Vars Defining variables residing in specified registers.
  • Alternate Keywords __const__, __asm__, etc., for header files.
  • Incomplete Enums enum foo;, with details to follow.
  • Function Names Printable strings which are the name of the current function.