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Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2022 20:49:17 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
To: Rui Ueyama <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Explicitly pass the -fno-common flag

On Sun, Jan 09, 2022 at 12:25:36AM +0100, Szabolcs Nagy wrote:
> * Rui Ueyama <> [2022-01-08 16:45:51 +0900]:
> > Common symbol is a special type of symbol that allows a linker to merge
> > multiple common symbols into one and turn it into a defined symbol.
> > This feature was used in C to allow tentative definitions. That is,
> > you can write `int foo;` instead of `extern int foo;` in a header file.
> > 
> > Common symbols are discouraged these days because they can easily
> > hide unintentional duplicate symbol errors. For that reason, GCC
> > (
> > and Clang (
> > now default to `-fno-common`.
> > 
> > That means, musl libc's global variables are compiled to common symbols
> > or regular defined symbols depending on the compiler. That's not an issue
> > per se, but it's unnecessary churn.
> > 
> > This patch always passes the `-fno-common` flag to the compiler.
> building x86_64 musl with -fcommon i see these symbols in COM section:
> obj/src/malloc/replaced.lo:
>  __aligned_alloc_replaced
>  __malloc_replaced
> obj/src/malloc/mallocng/malloc.lo:
>  __malloc_lock
> obj/src/misc/getopt.lo:
>  __optpos
>  optarg
>  optopt
> obj/src/env/__stack_chk_fail.lo:
>  __stack_chk_guard
> obj/src/env/__init_tls.lo:
>  __thread_list_lock
> obj/src/aio/aio.lo:
>  __aio_fut
> obj/src/locale/locale_map.lo:
>  __locale_lock
> obj/src/internal/libc.lo:
>  __hwcap
>  __libc
> obj/src/internal/defsysinfo.lo:
>  __sysinfo
> obj/src/signal/sigaction.lo:
>  __eintr_valid_flag
> obj/src/exit/abort_lock.lo:
>  __abort_lock
> obj/src/network/h_errno.lo:
>  h_errno
> obj/src/time/getdate.lo:
>  getdate_err
> i'm not sure how this can cause trouble (maybe static linking?), but
> if we care then another solution is to change
>  int x;
> to
>  int x = 0;
> instead of forcing -fno-common.

I don't really see a need for us to care whether these are commons or
bss. Having them be bss would give slightly better ability to error on
build-time UB in static linked programs, but doesn't do anything at
all for dynamic linking, and for static linking the problem is only
diagnosable when the data object is in a file that's pulled in for an
undefined symbol other than that of the data object (e.g. a function
or other data object in the same TU).

The one time bss is significantly preferable to common is for
zero-initialized const objects (rare but they might appear in some
places) since commons don't actually get made const. I don't think we
have any of those that are commons now though.


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