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11.6. Fixed Header Files

GCC needs to install corrected versions of some system header files. This is because most target systems have some header files that won't work with GCC unless they are changed. Some have bugs, some are incompatible with ISO C, and some depend on special features of other compilers.

Installing GCC automatically creates and installs the fixed header files, by running a program called fixincludes (or for certain targets an alternative such as fixinc.svr4). Normally, you don't need to pay attention to this. But there are cases where it doesn't do the right thing automatically.

  • If you update the system's header files, such as by installing a new system version, the fixed header files of GCC are not automatically updated. The easiest way to update them is to reinstall GCC. (If you want to be clever, look in the makefile and you can find a shortcut.)

  • On some systems, in particular SunOS 4, header file directories contain machine-specific symbolic links in certain places. This makes it possible to share most of the header files among hosts running the same version of SunOS 4 on different machine models.

    The programs that fix the header files do not understand this special way of using symbolic links; therefore, the directory of fixed header files is good only for the machine model used to build it.

    In SunOS 4, only programs that look inside the kernel will notice the difference between machine models. Therefore, for most purposes, you need not be concerned about this.

    It is possible to make separate sets of fixed header files for the different machine models, and arrange a structure of symbolic links so as to use the proper set, but you'll have to do this by hand.

  • On Lynxos, GCC by default does not fix the header files. This is because bugs in the shell cause the fixincludes script to fail.

    This means you will encounter problems due to bugs in the system header files. It may be no comfort that they aren't GCC's fault, but it does mean that there's nothing for us to do about them.

 
 
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