dimba dimba -4 years ago 92
C++ Question

STL and release/debug library mess

I'm using some 3rd party. I'm using it's shared library version, since the library is big (~60MB) and is used by several applications.

Is there a way at application startup to find out that release/debug version of library is used respectively for release/debug version of my application?

Longer description

The library which exposes C++ interface. One of API methods return


The problem when I compile my application in debug mode, debug version of the library should be used. Same for release. If incorrect version of the library is used application is crashed.

According to gcc (see http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/libstdc++/manual/bk01pt03ch17s04.html)

but with a mixed mode standard library
that could be using either debug-mode
or release-mode basic_string objects,
things get more complicated

P.S. 1

It looks like proposal of Timbo is a possible solution - use different soname for debug and release libraries. So, what should be passed to ./configure script to change library soname?

P.S. 2

My problem is not at link time, but rather at run time.

P.S. 3

Here is question demonstrating problem I is facing with.

Answer Source

I believe that you have misread the documentation at the link you provide. In particular, you've misunderstood its purpose -- that section is entitled "Goals", and describes a number of hypothetical designs for a C++ debug library and the consequences of those designs in order to explain the actual design choices that were made. The bits of text that follow the lines you quoted are describing the chaos that would result from a hypothetical implementation that had separate designs for release-mode and debug-mode strings. It goes on to say:

For this reason we cannot easily provide safe iterators for the std::basic_string class template, as it is present throughout the C++ standard library.

(Or, rephrasing that, providing a special "debug" version of string iterators is impossible.)


With the design of libstdc++ debug mode, we cannot effectively hide the differences between debug and release-mode strings from the user. Failure to hide the differences may result in unpredictable behavior, and for this reason we have opted to only perform basic_string changes that do not require ABI changes. The effect on users is expected to be minimal, as there are simple alternatives (e.g., __gnu_debug::basic_string), and the usability benefit we gain from the ability to mix debug- and release-compiled translation units is enormous.

In other words, the design of the debug and release modes in GCC's libstdc++ has rejected this hypothetical implementation with separate designs for the strings, specifically in order to allow cross-mode linking of the sort that you are worrying about how to avoid.

Thus, you should not have problems with compiling your library once, without -D_GLIBCXX_DEBUG (or with it, if for some reason you prefer), and linking it with either mode of your application. If you do have problems, it is due to a bug somewhere. [But see edit below! This is specific to std::string, not other containers!]

Edit: After this answer was accepted, I followed up in answering the follow-up question at std::vector crash, and realized that the conclusion of this answer is incorrect. GCC's libstdc++ does clever things with strings to support "Per-use recompilation" (in which all uses of a given container object must be compiled with the same flags, but uses of the same container class within a program need not be compiled with the same flags), but that is not the same thing as complete "Per-unit compilation" that would provide the cross-linking ability you need. In particular, the documentation says of that cross-linking ability,

We believe that this level of recompilation is in fact not possible if we intend to supply safe iterators, leave the program semantics unchanged, and not regress in performance under release mode....

Thus, if you're passing containers across your library interface, you will need two separate libraries. Honestly, for this situation I've found that the easiest solution is just to install the two libraries into different directories (one for each variant -- and you'll want both to be separate from your main library directory). Alternately, you can rename the debug library file and then install it manually.

As a further suggestion -- you're presumably not running this in debug mode very often. It may be worth only compiling and linking the debug version statically into your application, so you don't have to worry about installing multiple dynamic libraries and keeping them straight at runtime.

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