Request or comment: 8071690: Include local HotSpot headers before the system headers

Volker Simonis volker.simonis at
Wed Jan 28 10:26:46 UTC 2015

On Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:29 AM, David Holmes <david.holmes at> wrote:
> Hi Goetz,
> On 28/01/2015 6:26 PM, Lindenmaier, Goetz wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> but by enforcing that rule, the effect is limited to the header
>> that includes other system headers.  You can fix the problem
>> by adding globalDefinitions.hpp in that one header foo.h, and whoever
>> includes foo.h get's it right.
> Maybe we need to back up a step - what is the rule about header files
> including other header files?

I think the problem is that there is no general rule. There are just
hints like "every header file should be self-contained", i.e. it
should include all the other headers it depends on. Following this
rule should allow any arbitrary inclusion order.

But in our case, we rely on a specific macro ("__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS")
being defined before we include a system header. So we have three
 1. define the macro at the top of every file before including anything.
 2. define the macro on the command line (actually a more elegant version of 1.)
 3. define the macro once in a local header and make sure the local
header is always included before any system header.

Solution 1 and 2 should still allow an arbitrary inclusion order if
all headers are self-contained.

The more I think about the problem the more I come to the conclusion
that for this specific issue solution 2 (defining the macro on the
command line) is the right solution. We already do this in other cases
in order to control how and what will be included from the system
headers (e.g. -D_GNU_SOURCE, -D_REENTRANT on Linux) and
-D__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS would perfectly fit into this list. It is
unclear to me why the latter was defined in a local header file.

By the way, the example you mentioned, where we rely on a system
include coming first:

    #define SOME_SYSTEM_THING xxx

can be easily solved by having a local wrapper which only includes the
system header and afterwards performs the required configuration
steps. Other files of course will have to include the local wrapper
instead of the system header.


> David
>> If fcntl.h had been added to foo.h in first place, all files that include
>> foo.h must include globalDefinitions.hpp before it ... not very easy to
>> catch.
>> Best regards,
>>     Goetz.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: hotspot-dev [mailto:hotspot-dev-bounces at] On Behalf
>> Of David Holmes
>> Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:22 AM
>> To: Volker Simonis; HotSpot Open Source Developers
>> Subject: Re: Request or comment: 8071690: Include local HotSpot headers
>> before the system headers
>> Hi Volker,
>> On 28/01/2015 3:29 AM, Volker Simonis wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I've just opened "8071690: Include local HotSpot headers before the
>>> system headers" but before I start working on it I'd like to hear what
>>> others think about the problem. If there's a consensus that it will be
>>> worth while doing this change I'll be happy to start working on it.
>> As I wrote in the bug report:
>> I don't see how you can apply this as a general rule - or at least not
>> without some further rules. If local foo.h depends on a system header
>> then it will #include it, so a file that #includes foo.h can't control
>> the order of that system header include.
>> We need to recognize (and detect!) where we have implicit ordering
>> constraints but I don't think a general rule actually helps with that.
>> And there may be cases where we rely on a system include coming first eg:
>>     #define SOME_SYSTEM_THING xxx
>> #endif
>> David
>> -----
>>> The following description is copied from the bug report for your
>>> convenience:
>>> There's no general rule in which order header files should be included
>>> but I think a good hint is to include local, project specific headers
>>> before system headers. This is mainly for two reasons:
>>> 1. It prevents that dependencies from local header files to system
>>> headers are hidden because a local header is included after a system
>>> header by chance. Instead, every local header should explicitly
>>> specify the system headers it depends on.
>>> 2. It enables the definition of local macros which control the
>>> behaviour of the system headers which are included later on.
>>> Point two may be considered bad style, but we actually use it for
>>> example in src/share/vm/utilities/globalDefinitions.hpp where we
>>> define "__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS" before we include "<inttypes.h>" in the
>>> compiler specific global definitions file.
>>> "__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS" controls the definition of the printf format
>>> macros in "<inttypes.h>" but this can only work if "<inttypes.h>" is
>>> really included AFTER the definition of "__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS". And
>>> this can only wok if every file includes the local HotSpot headers
>>> before any system headers, because otherwise "<inttypes.h>" may be
>>> indirectly included by a system header before we had a chance to
>>> define "__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS".
>>> This is exactly what happened after the integration of 8050807 which
>>> added the system include "<fcntl.h>" to vmError.cpp as follows:
>>> #include <fcntl.h>
>>> #include "precompiled.hpp"
>>> #include "code/codeCache.hpp"
>>> This change broke the build on AIX because "<fcntl.h>" indirectly
>>> included "<inttypes.h>" BEFORE we defined "__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS".
>>> To prevent such errors in the future I propose to change all HotSpot
>>> source files to always include the system headers AFTER the inclusion
>>> of the project specific HotSpot headers.
>>> I’ve attached a small Pythin script to this bug report which can be
>>> used as follows to detect the files which are currently violating this
>>> rule:
>>> find src/ \( -name "*.cpp" -o -name "*.hpp" \) -type f -exec python
>>> {} \;
>>> src/os/solaris/dtrace/generateJvmOffsets.cpp: system header #include
>>> <proc_service.h> included before local header #include
>>> "code/codeBlob.hpp"
>>> src/os/windows/vm/decoder_windows.hpp: system header #include
>>> <imagehlp.h> included before local header #include
>>> "utilities/decoder.hpp"
>>> src/os_cpu/bsd_zero/vm/os_bsd_zero.cpp: system header # include
>>> <pthread_np.h> included before local header #include
>>> "assembler_zero.inline.hpp"
>>> src/share/vm/adlc/adlc.hpp: system header #include <iostream> included
>>> before local header #include "string.h"
>>> src/share/vm/libadt/port.hpp: system header #include <string.h>
>>> included before local header #include "port_tandem.hpp"
>>> src/share/vm/runtime/os.hpp: system header # include <setjmp.h>
>>> included before local header # include "jvm_solaris.h"
>>> src/share/vm/trace/traceDataTypes.hpp: system header #include
>>> <stddef.h> included before local header #include
>>> "utilities/globalDefinitions.hpp"
>>> src/share/vm/utilities/dtrace.hpp: system header #include
>>> <sys/types.h> included before local header #include
>>> "dtracefiles/hotspot.h"
>>> src/share/vm/utilities/elfFile.cpp: system header #include <new>
>>> included before local header #include "memory/allocation.inline.hpp"
>>> src/share/vm/utilities/elfFile.hpp: system header #include <stdio.h>
>>> included before local header #include "globalDefinitions.hpp"
>>> src/share/vm/utilities/vmError.cpp: system header #include <fcntl.h>
>>> included before local header #include "precompiled.hpp"
>>> The script is written in Python intentionally such that it can be
>>> easily added as an automated hook to jcheck to prevent violations of
>>> this inclusion rule in the future.
>>> Of course we can also try to not rely on the inclusion order at all.
>>> IMHO it actually seems that this is the cleanest solution, but it may
>>> require moving some macro definitions from header files right into the
>>> command line (e.g. -D__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS for the example above). By
>>> the way, that's actually the way how I've fixed the above mentioned
>>> compile error on AIX without the need to touch any shared files.
>>> What do you think?
>>> Regards,
>>> Volker

More information about the hotspot-dev mailing list