Arun Arun - 1 month ago 10
C++ Question

g++ How to get warning on ignoring function return value

lint produces some warning like:

foo.c XXX Warning 534: Ignoring return value of function bar()

From the lint manual

534 Ignoring return value of function

'Symbol' (compare with Location) A
function that returns a value is
called just for side effects as, for
example, in a statement by itself or
the left-hand side of a comma
operator. Try: (void) function(); to
call a function and ignore its return
value. See also the fvr, fvo and fdr
flags in §5.5 "Flag Options".

I want to get this warning, if there exists any, during compilation. Is there any option in gcc/g++ to achieve this? I had turned on
but that apparently did not detect this.


Thanks to WhirlWind and paxdiablo for the answer and comment. Here is my attempt to put the pieces together into a complete (?) answer.

-Wunused-result is the relevant gcc option. And it is turned on by default. Quoting from gcc warning options page:


Do not warn if a caller of a function marked with attribute warn_unused_result (see Variable Attributes) does not use its return value. The default is -Wunused-result

So, the solution is to apply the warn_unused_result attribute on the function.

Here is a full example. The contents of the file unused_result.c

int foo() { return 3; }

int bar() __attribute__((warn_unused_result));
int bar() { return 5; }

int main()
    bar();    /* line 9 */
    return 0;

and corresponding compilation result:

$gcc unused_result.c 
unused_result.c: In function ‘main’:
unused_result.c:9: warning: ignoring return value of ‘bar’, declared with attribute warn_unused_result

Note again that it is not necessary to have -Wunused-result since it is default. One may be tempted to explicitly mention it to communicate the intent. Though that is a noble intent, but after analyzing the situation, my choice, however, would be against that. Because, having -Wunused-result in the compile options may generate a false sense of security/satisfaction which is not true unless the all the functions in the code base are qualified with warn_unused_result.