Linux + Clang + execstack

Martin Buchholz martinrb at
Wed Sep 12 16:35:29 UTC 2018

On Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 4:01 AM, Magnus Ihse Bursie
<magnus.ihse.bursie at> wrote:
> On 2018-09-05 20:59, Martin Buchholz wrote:
> So ... Magnus, are you happy with the current state of the proposed patch?
> I'm sorry Martin, but I can't figure out what the current state is. I tried
> backtracking the discussion but failed. :( Can you please repost the
> currently proposed patch?

> On Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 11:50 PM, Magnus Ihse Bursie
> <magnus.ihse.bursie at> wrote:
>> For the gcc toolchain this can not be the case:
>> # Minimum supported linker versions, empty means unspecified
>> We make sure we have an ld that supports the basic flags we assume.
> feature tests are better than version tests.
> I've heard that argument many times, and I've never agreed with it. In some
> cases, feature tests work. They typically work if someone has designed a
> clear API and included a feature test in it. A lot of additional POSIX
> functionality works that way. This means that you can rest assure that if
> the feature is present, then you know what you are going to get.
> In most of the rest of the world, functionality does not raise to that
> golden standard. Gcc adds a flag in one version, but it's buggy. A later
> version fixes the bugs. A later version still changes the behavior of the
> flag. Functionality that we depend on works or does not works depending on
> the intersection of things like our code, compiler version, operating
> system, and so on.
> In my experience, it's a rare thing for a feature test to actually work.
> Version tests, on the other hand, tests against a specific setup, that can
> be tested and proven to work. The downside of version tests is that they are
> often open-ended; we say that "anything above this version is supposed to
> work", even though we have not tested with gcc 8 or 9. The alternative is to
> say that "we've tested this between gcc 4.7 and 7.3 and will only support it
> for this version span", but that is in most cases more likely to break when
> gcc 8 comes along.

Specific version tests are in principle more accurate, but they
require a level of testing and maintenance that is unlikely to be seen
in the real world.  The received wisdom is that one should prefer
feature tests whenever possible and I agree with that as well, based
on decades of experience.

Sometimes you need something in between, e.g. replacing a
configure-time check with a run-time check.

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