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.. _using-libcxx:
Using libc++
.. contents::
Usually, libc++ is packaged and shipped by a vendor through some delivery vehicle
(operating system distribution, SDK, toolchain, etc) and users don't need to do
anything special in order to use the library.
This page contains information about configuration knobs that can be used by
users when they know libc++ is used by their toolchain, and how to use libc++
when it is not the default library used by their toolchain.
Using a different version of the C++ Standard
Libc++ implements the various versions of the C++ Standard. Changing the version of
the standard can be done by passing ``-std=c++XY`` to the compiler. Libc++ will
automatically detect what Standard is being used and will provide functionality that
matches that Standard in the library.
.. code-block:: bash
$ clang++ -std=c++17 test.cpp
.. warning::
Using ``-std=c++XY`` with a version of the Standard that has not been ratified yet
is considered unstable. Libc++ reserves the right to make breaking changes to the
library until the standard has been ratified.
Enabling experimental C++ Library features
Libc++ provides implementations of some experimental features. Experimental features
are either Technical Specifications (TSes) or official features that were voted to
the Standard but whose implementation is not complete or stable yet in libc++. Those
are disabled by default because they are neither API nor ABI stable. However, the
``-fexperimental-library`` compiler flag can be defined to turn those features on.
.. warning::
Experimental libraries are experimental.
* The contents of the ``<experimental/...>`` headers and the associated static
library will not remain compatible between versions.
* No guarantees of API or ABI stability are provided.
* When the standardized version of an experimental feature is implemented,
the experimental feature is removed two releases after the non-experimental
version has shipped. The full policy is explained :ref:`here <experimental features>`.
.. note::
On compilers that do not support the ``-fexperimental-library`` flag, users can
define the ``_LIBCPP_ENABLE_EXPERIMENTAL`` macro and manually link against the
appropriate static library (usually shipped as ``libc++experimental.a``) to get
access to experimental library features.
Using libc++ when it is not the system default
On systems where libc++ is provided but is not the default, Clang provides a flag
called ``-stdlib=`` that can be used to decide which standard library is used.
Using ``-stdlib=libc++`` will select libc++:
.. code-block:: bash
$ clang++ -stdlib=libc++ test.cpp
On systems where libc++ is the library in use by default such as macOS and FreeBSD,
this flag is not required.
.. _alternate libcxx:
Using a custom built libc++
Most compilers provide a way to disable the default behavior for finding the
standard library and to override it with custom paths. With Clang, this can
be done with:
.. code-block:: bash
$ clang++ -nostdinc++ -nostdlib++ \
-isystem <install>/include/c++/v1 \
-L <install>/lib \
-Wl,-rpath,<install>/lib \
-lc++ \
The option ``-Wl,-rpath,<install>/lib`` adds a runtime library search path,
which causes the system's dynamic linker to look for libc++ in ``<install>/lib``
whenever the program is loaded.
GCC does not support the ``-nostdlib++`` flag, so one must use ``-nodefaultlibs``
instead. Since that removes all the standard system libraries and not just libc++,
the system libraries must be re-added manually. For example:
.. code-block:: bash
$ g++ -nostdinc++ -nodefaultlibs \
-isystem <install>/include/c++/v1 \
-L <install>/lib \
-Wl,-rpath,<install>/lib \
-lc++ -lc++abi -lm -lc -lgcc_s -lgcc \
GDB Pretty printers for libc++
GDB does not support pretty-printing of libc++ symbols by default. However, libc++ does
provide pretty-printers itself. Those can be used as:
.. code-block:: bash
$ gdb -ex "source <libcxx>/utils/gdb/libcxx/" \
-ex "python register_libcxx_printer_loader()" \
.. _include-what-you-use:
include-what-you-use (IWYU)
libc++ provides an IWYU `mapping file <>`,
which drastically improves the accuracy of the tool when using libc++. To use the mapping file with
IWYU, you should run the tool like so:
.. code-block:: bash
$ include-what-you-use -Xiwyu /path/to/libcxx/include/libcxx.imp file.cpp
If you would prefer to not use that flag, then you can replace ``/path/to/include-what-you-use/share/libcxx.imp```
file with the libc++-provided ``libcxx.imp`` file.
.. _assertions-mode:
Enabling the "safe libc++" mode
Libc++ contains a number of assertions whose goal is to catch undefined behavior in the
library, usually caused by precondition violations. Those assertions do not aim to be
exhaustive -- instead they aim to provide a good balance between safety and performance.
In particular, these assertions do not change the complexity of algorithms. However, they
might, in some cases, interfere with compiler optimizations.
By default, these assertions are turned off. Vendors can decide to turn them on while building
the compiled library by defining ``LIBCXX_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS=ON`` at CMake configuration time.
When ``LIBCXX_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS`` is used, the compiled library will be built with assertions
enabled, **and** user code will be built with assertions enabled by default. If
``LIBCXX_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS=OFF`` at CMake configure time, the compiled library will not contain
assertions and the default when building user code will be to have assertions disabled.
As a user, you can consult your vendor to know whether assertions are enabled by default.
Furthermore, independently of any vendor-selected default, users can always control whether
assertions are enabled in their code by defining ``_LIBCPP_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS=0|1`` before
including any libc++ header (we recommend passing ``-D_LIBCPP_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS=X`` to the
compiler). Note that if the compiled library was built by the vendor without assertions,
functions compiled inside the static or shared library won't have assertions enabled even
if the user defines ``_LIBCPP_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS=1`` (the same is true for the inverse case
where the static or shared library was compiled **with** assertions but the user tries to
disable them). However, most of the code in libc++ is in the headers, so the user-selected
value for ``_LIBCPP_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS`` (if any) will usually be respected.
When an assertion fails, the program is aborted through a special verbose termination function. The
library provides a default function that prints an error message and calls ``std::abort()``. Note
that this function is provided by the static or shared library, so it is only available when deploying
to a platform where the compiled library is sufficiently recent. On older platforms, the program will
terminate in an unspecified unsuccessful manner, but the quality of diagnostics won't be great.
However, users can also override that mechanism at two different levels. First, the mechanism can be
overriden at compile-time by defining the ``_LIBCPP_VERBOSE_ABORT(format, args...)`` variadic macro.
When that macro is defined, it will be called with a format string as the first argument, followed by
a series of arguments to format using printf-style formatting. Compile-time customization may be
interesting to get precise control over code generation, however it is also inconvenient to use in
some cases. Indeed, compile-time customization of the verbose termination function requires that all
translation units be compiled with a consistent definition for ``_LIBCPP_VERBOSE_ABORT`` to avoid ODR
violations, which can add complexity in the build system of users.
Otherwise, if compile-time customization is not necessary, link-time customization of the handler is also
possible, similarly to how replacing ``operator new`` works. This mechanism trades off fine-grained control
over the call site where the termination is initiated in exchange for more ergonomics. Link-time customization
is done by simply defining the following function in exactly one translation unit of your program:
.. code-block:: cpp
void __libcpp_verbose_abort(char const* format, ...)
This mechanism is similar to how one can replace the default definition of ``operator new``
and ``operator delete``. For example:
.. code-block:: cpp
// In HelloWorldHandler.cpp
#include <version> // must include any libc++ header before defining the function (C compatibility headers excluded)
void std::__libcpp_verbose_abort(char const* format, ...) {
va_list list;
va_start(list, format);
std::vfprintf(stderr, format, list);
// In HelloWorld.cpp
#include <vector>
int main() {
std::vector<int> v;
int& x = v[0]; // Your termination function will be called here if _LIBCPP_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS=1
Also note that the verbose termination function should never return. Since assertions in libc++
catch undefined behavior, your code will proceed with undefined behavior if your function is called
and does return.
Furthermore, exceptions should not be thrown from the function. Indeed, many functions in the
library are ``noexcept``, and any exception thrown from the termination function will result
in ``std::terminate`` being called.
Libc++ Configuration Macros
Libc++ provides a number of configuration macros which can be used to enable
or disable extended libc++ behavior, including enabling "debug mode" or
thread safety annotations.
This macro is used to enable -Wthread-safety annotations on libc++'s
``std::mutex`` and ``std::lock_guard``. By default, these annotations are
disabled and must be manually enabled by the user.
This macro is used to disable all visibility annotations inside libc++.
Defining this macro and then building libc++ with hidden visibility gives a
build of libc++ which does not export any symbols, which can be useful when
building statically for inclusion into another library.
This macro disables the additional diagnostics generated by libc++ using the
`diagnose_if` attribute. These additional diagnostics include checks for:
* Giving `set`, `map`, `multiset`, `multimap` and their `unordered_`
counterparts a comparator which is not const callable.
* Giving an unordered associative container a hasher that is not const
Microsoft's C and C++ headers are fairly entangled, and some of their C++
headers are fairly hard to avoid. In particular, `vcruntime_new.h` gets pulled
in from a lot of other headers and provides definitions which clash with
libc++ headers, such as `nothrow_t` (note that `nothrow_t` is a struct, so
there's no way for libc++ to provide a compatible definition, since you can't
have multiple definitions).
By default, libc++ solves this problem by deferring to Microsoft's vcruntime
headers where needed. However, it may be undesirable to depend on vcruntime
headers, since they may not always be available in cross-compilation setups,
or they may clash with other headers. The `_LIBCPP_NO_VCRUNTIME` macro
prevents libc++ from depending on vcruntime headers. Consequently, it also
prevents libc++ headers from being interoperable with vcruntime headers (from
the aforementioned clashes), so users of this macro are promising to not
attempt to combine libc++ headers with the problematic vcruntime headers. This
macro also currently prevents certain `operator new`/`operator delete`
replacement scenarios from working, e.g. replacing `operator new` and
expecting a non-replaced `operator new[]` to call the replaced `operator new`.
This macro disables library-extensions of ``[[nodiscard]]``.
See :ref:`Extended Applications of [[nodiscard]] <nodiscard extension>` for more information.
This macro disables warnings when using deprecated components. For example,
using `std::auto_ptr` when compiling in C++11 mode will normally trigger a
warning saying that `std::auto_ptr` is deprecated. If the macro is defined,
no warning will be emitted. By default, this macro is not defined.
C++17 Specific Configuration Macros
This macro is used to re-enable all the features removed in C++17. The effect
is equivalent to manually defining each macro listed below.
This macro is used to re-enable `auto_ptr`.
This macro is used to re-enable the `binder1st`, `binder2nd`,
`pointer_to_unary_function`, `pointer_to_binary_function`, `mem_fun_t`,
`mem_fun1_t`, `mem_fun_ref_t`, `mem_fun1_ref_t`, `const_mem_fun_t`,
`const_mem_fun1_t`, `const_mem_fun_ref_t`, and `const_mem_fun1_ref_t`
class templates, and the `bind1st`, `bind2nd`, `mem_fun`, `mem_fun_ref`,
and `ptr_fun` functions.
This macro is used to re-enable the `random_shuffle` algorithm.
This macro is used to re-enable `set_unexpected`, `get_unexpected`, and
C++20 Specific Configuration Macros
This macro can be used to disable diagnostics emitted from functions marked
``[[nodiscard]]`` in dialects after C++17. See :ref:`Extended Applications of [[nodiscard]] <nodiscard extension>`
for more information.
This macro is used to re-enable all the features removed in C++20. The effect
is equivalent to manually defining each macro listed below.
This macro is used to re-enable redundant members of `allocator<T>`,
including `pointer`, `reference`, `rebind`, `address`, `max_size`,
`construct`, `destroy`, and the two-argument overload of `allocate`.
This macro is used to re-enable the library-provided specializations of
`allocator<void>` and `allocator<const void>`.
to ensure that removed members of `allocator<void>` can be accessed.
This macro is used to re-enable the `argument_type`, `result_type`,
`first_argument_type`, and `second_argument_type` members of class
templates such as `plus`, `logical_not`, `hash`, and `owner_less`.
This macro is used to re-enable `not1`, `not2`, `unary_negate`,
and `binary_negate`.
This macro is used to re-enable `raw_storage_iterator`.
This macro is used to re-enable `is_literal_type`, `is_literal_type_v`,
`result_of` and `result_of_t`.
Libc++ Extensions
This section documents various extensions provided by libc++, how they're
provided, and any information regarding how to use them.
.. _nodiscard extension:
Extended applications of ``[[nodiscard]]``
The ``[[nodiscard]]`` attribute is intended to help users find bugs where
function return values are ignored when they shouldn't be. After C++17 the
C++ standard has started to declared such library functions as ``[[nodiscard]]``.
However, this application is limited and applies only to dialects after C++17.
Users who want help diagnosing misuses of STL functions may desire a more
liberal application of ``[[nodiscard]]``.
For this reason libc++ provides an extension that does just that! The
extension is enabled by default and can be disabled by defining ``_LIBCPP_DISABLE_NODISCARD_EXT``.
The extended applications of ``[[nodiscard]]`` takes two forms:
1. Backporting ``[[nodiscard]]`` to entities declared as such by the
standard in newer dialects, but not in the present one.
2. Extended applications of ``[[nodiscard]]``, at the library's discretion,
applied to entities never declared as such by the standard.
Entities declared with ``_LIBCPP_NODISCARD_EXT``
This section lists all extended applications of ``[[nodiscard]]`` to entities
which no dialect declares as such (See the second form described above).
* ``adjacent_find``
* ``all_of``
* ``any_of``
* ``binary_search``
* ``clamp``
* ``count_if``
* ``count``
* ``equal_range``
* ``equal``
* ``find_end``
* ``find_first_of``
* ``find_if_not``
* ``find_if``
* ``find``
* ``get_temporary_buffer``
* ``includes``
* ``is_heap_until``
* ``is_heap``
* ``is_partitioned``
* ``is_permutation``
* ``is_sorted_until``
* ``is_sorted``
* ``lexicographical_compare``
* ``lower_bound``
* ``max_element``
* ``max``
* ``min_element``
* ``min``
* ``minmax_element``
* ``minmax``
* ``mismatch``
* ``none_of``
* ``remove_if``
* ``remove``
* ``search_n``
* ``search``
* ``unique``
* ``upper_bound``
* ``ranges::adjacent_find``
* ``ranges::all_of``
* ``ranges::any_of``
* ``ranges::binary_search``
* ``ranges::clamp``
* ``ranges::count_if``
* ``ranges::count``
* ``ranges::equal_range``
* ``ranges::equal``
* ``ranges::find_end``
* ``ranges::find_first_of``
* ``ranges::find_if_not``
* ``ranges::find_if``
* ``ranges::find``
* ``ranges::get_temporary_buffer``
* ``ranges::includes``
* ``ranges::is_heap_until``
* ``ranges::is_heap``
* ``ranges::is_partitioned``
* ``ranges::is_permutation``
* ``ranges::is_sorted_until``
* ``ranges::is_sorted``
* ``ranges::lexicographical_compare``
* ``ranges::lower_bound``
* ``ranges::max_element``
* ``ranges::max``
* ``ranges::min_element``
* ``ranges::min``
* ``ranges::minmax_element``
* ``ranges::minmax``
* ``ranges::mismatch``
* ``ranges::none_of``
* ``ranges::remove_if``
* ``ranges::remove``
* ``ranges::search_n``
* ``ranges::search``
* ``ranges::unique``
* ``ranges::upper_bound``
* ``lock_guard``'s constructors
* ``as_const``
* ``bit_cast``
* ``forward``
* ``move``
* ``move_if_noexcept``
* ``identity::operator()``
* ``to_integer``
* ``to_underlying``
* ``signbit``
* ``fpclassify``
* ``isfinite``
* ``isinf``
* ``isnan``
* ``isnormal``
* ``isgreater``
* ``isgreaterequal``
* ``isless``
* ``islessequal``
* ``islessgreater``
* ``isunordered``
* ``ceil``
* ``fabs``
* ``floor``
* ``cbrt``
* ``copysign``
* ``fmax``
* ``fmin``
* ``nearbyint``
* ``rint``
* ``round``
* ``trunc``
Extended integral type support
Several platforms support types that are not specified in the Standard, such as
the 128-bit integral types ``__int128_t`` and ``__uint128_t``. As an extension,
libc++ does a best-effort attempt to support these types like other integral
types, by supporting them notably in:
* ``<bits>``
* ``<charconv>``
* ``<functional>``
* ``<type_traits>``
* ``<format>``
* ``<random>``
Additional types supported in random distributions
The `C++ Standard <>`_ mentions that instantiating several random number
distributions with types other than ``short``, ``int``, ``long``, ``long long``, and their unsigned versions is
undefined. As an extension, libc++ supports instantiating ``binomial_distribution``, ``discrete_distribution``,
``geometric_distribution``, ``negative_binomial_distribution``, ``poisson_distribution``, and ``uniform_int_distribution``
with ``int8_t``, ``__int128_t`` and their unsigned versions.
Extensions to ``<format>``
The exposition only type ``basic-format-string`` and its typedefs
``format-string`` and ``wformat-string`` became ``basic_format_string``,
``format_string``, and ``wformat_string`` in C++23. Libc++ makes these types
available in C++20 as an extension.