Linux Tips

Compiler

For ICU4C 50 or newer the configure script picks clang if it is installed, or else gcc. Clang produces superior error messages and warnings.

Most Linuxes should have clang available to install. On Ubuntu or other Debian-based systems, install it with
sudo apt-get install clang


Debug builds must use compiler option -g and should not optimize (-O0 is the default). A future version of gcc might support -Og as the recommended optimization level for debugging.

Release builds can use -O3 for best performance. See http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Optimize-Options.html

clang might even benefit from -O4 where "whole program optimization is done at link time". See http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/Darwin/Reference/Manpages/man1/clang.1.html

Other build flags

On a modern Linux you can configure with CPPFLAGS="-DU_CHARSET_IS_UTF8=1".

Debugging

gdb should work with both out-of-source and in-source builds. If not, double-check with "make VERBOSE=1" that both .c and .cpp files are compiled with -g and either -O0 or no -Oanything at all.

kdbg is a reasonable GUI frontend for gdb. It keeps the source code in sync and updates views of variables & memory etc.

  • kdbg versions below 2.5.2 do not work with gdb 7.5; you get a message box with "GDB: Reading symbols from..."
  • As a workaround,
    • Create a ~/.gdbinit file with "set print symbol-loading off"
    • Start kdbg, open Settings/Global options and remove the --nx argument to gdb.


Portability Testing

GitHub pull requests are automatically tested on Windows, Linux with both clang & gcc, and Macintosh. The build results show up as check results on the status page.
Build errors will block the pull request. It's also useful to check the build logs for new warnings on platforms other than the one used for development.

Clang sanitizers

Clang has built-in santizers to check for several classes of problems. Here are the configure options for building ICU with the address checker:

CPPFLAGS=-fsanitize=address LDFLAGS=-fsanitize=address ./runConfigureICU --enable-debug --disable-release Linux --disable-renaming

The other available sanitizers are thread, memory and undefined behavior. At the time of this writing, thread and address run cleanly, the others show warnings that have not yet been resolved.

Heap Usage (ICU4C)

HeapTrack is a useful tool for analyzing heap usage of a test program, to check the total heap activity of a particular function or object creation, for example. It will show totals by line in the source, and can move up and down the stack to see more detail.

To install on Linux,
sudo apt install heaptrack
sudo apt install heaptrack-gui


Quick Scripts for small test programs

I use the following simple scripts to simplify building and debugging small stand-alone programs against ICU, without needing to set up makefiles. They assume a program with a single .cpp file with the same name as the directory in which it resides.

b:  build
r:  run
d: debug
v: run under valgrind

You will probably need to modify them to reflect where you keep your most commonly used ICU build, and whether you routinely use an out-of-source ICU build.

$ cat `which b`
#! /bin/sh
if [[ -z "${ICU_HOME}" ]] ; then
    ICU_HOME=$HOME/icu/icu4c
fi
DIR=`pwd`
PROG=`basename $DIR`
clang++ -g -I $ICU_HOME/source/common -I $ICU_HOME/source/i18n -I $ICU_HOME/source/io -L$ICU_HOME/source/lib -L$ICU_HOME/source/stubdata -licuuc -licui18n -licudata -o $PROG $PROG.cpp


$ cat `which r`

#! /bin/sh
if [[ -z "${ICU_HOME}" ]] ; then
    ICU_HOME=$HOME/icu/icu/icu4c
fi
DIR=`pwd`
PROG=`basename $DIR`
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ICU_HOME/source/lib:$ICU_HOME/source/stubdata ICU_DATA=$ICU_HOME/source/data/out ./$PROG 


cat `which d`
#! /bin/sh
if [[ -z "${ICU_HOME}" ]] ; then
    ICU_HOME=$HOME/icu/icu/icu4c
fi
DIR=`pwd`
PROG=`basename $DIR`
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ICU_HOME/source/lib:$ICU_HOME/source/stubdata ICU_DATA=$ICU_HOME/source/data/out gdb ./$PROG


$ cat `which v`

#! /bin/sh
if [[ -z "${ICU_HOME}" ]] ; then
    ICU_HOME=$HOME/icu/icu/icu4c
fi
DIR=`pwd`
PROG=`basename $DIR`
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ICU_HOME/source/lib:$ICU_HOME/source/stubdata ICU_DATA=$ICU_HOME/source/data/out valgrind --leak-check=full ./$PROG

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