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Subject: Re: [PATCH] Give --gc-sections to the linker

Re: [PATCH] Give --gc-sections to the linker

From: Boris Gjenero <>
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2011 12:22:32 -0500

On 03/12/2011 6:22 PM, RafaŽl Carrť wrote:
> It fixes binsize increase after 93b6ca91696109be904448d23763f41b64bd7b8c^W r31127
> That flag is used already for android, bootbox, codecs, chessbox, goban,
> imageviewer, lua, pictureflow, rockboy, zxbox, overlays
> Tested on Clip Zip
> ---
> tools/configure | 2 +-
> 1 files changed, 1 insertions(+), 1 deletions(-)
> diff --git a/tools/configure b/tools/configure
> index 80c6380..6117f4f 100755
> --- a/tools/configure
> +++ b/tools/configure
> _at__at_ -9,7 +9,7 _at__at_
> #
> # global CC options for all platforms
> -CCOPTS="-W -Wall -Wundef -O -nostdlib -ffreestanding -Wstrict-prototypes -pipe -std=gnu99"
> +CCOPTS="-W -Wall -Wundef -O -nostdlib -ffreestanding -Wstrict-prototypes -pipe -std=gnu99 -Wl,--gc-sections"
> # global LD options for all platforms

Wouldn't this only help with the the r31127 binsize increase when
-ffunction-sections is defined? Also, it can remove needed stuff, and
that needs to be prevented by putting KEEP() around that stuff in the
linker script.

For example, if I add -Wl,--gc-sections to GCCOPTS in the r31138 5G iPod
Makefile, size of .text of lcd-16bit.o remains the same, but vectors are
discaded, creating a non-working binary. If I fix the vectors issue by
adding KEEP( ) around *(.vectors) in, then there is only a 144
byte binary size decrease from 3 small discards listed in
Without -ffunction-sections, the linker can only discard all of .text
from lcd-16bit.o, and that won't happen because other functions are used.

Also, I think -Wl,--gc-sections probably belongs in GLOBAL_LDOPTS.

I'm in favor of adding necessary KEEP() to linker scripts and using
-ffunction-sections and -Wl,--gc-sections. It's a very easy way to get a
binsize decrease, and I don't notice a linking time increase. I'm not
suggesting -fdata-sections because added alignment padding is larger
than the binsize decrease from removing unused data. Yes, preprocessor
conditionals could take care of this stuff, but that could get messy,
and I'm not sure if anyone wants to do all that work. For example,
here's the list of functions which are unused or only used inline on the
Archos targets:

There is one catch here: this can resolve what would otherwise be
linking errors. For example, suppose a non-static function a() is
unused, and it calls another non-static function b() which is removed
via preprocessor conditionals. Normally, that's a linking error, because
the linker puts a() in the output, resulting in an undefined reference
to b(). However, with -ffunction-sections and --Wl,--gc-sections, the
compiler puts a() in its own section, and the linker discards that
section because there are no references to it. So, there is no undefined
reference to b(), and linking succeeds. Various bootloaders already fail
to build without --gc-sections due to this.



PS Thanks to Torne for telling me about -ffunction-sections,
-fdata-sections and --gc-sections in a comment at FS#12378
Received on 2011-12-04

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