Everything I know about glibc

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

glibc is an implementation of the user-space side of standard C/POSIX functions with Linux extensions.

Build

Since glibc 2.35, glibc can be built with lld as the linker. I typically create a symlink /usr/local/bin/ld to a recent lld.

On 2022-04-22, glibc switched to --with-default-link=no by default (BZ #25812). This option uses -Wl,--verbose to dump a linker script and link libc.so using the post-processed linker script. ld.lld from 15 onwards supports the used RELRO section feature in a linker script but ld.lld itself doesn't dump a linker script. For now just specify --with-default-link=yes.

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mkdir out/gcc && cd out/gcc
../../configure --prefix=/tmp/glibc/gcc --with-default-link=yes && make -j 50 && make -j 50 install && 'cp' -f /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/{libgcc_s.so.1,libstdc++.so.6} /tmp/glibc/gcc/lib/

Some tests need {libgcc_s.so.1,libstdc++.so.6}.

Since 2021-12 (milestone: 2.36), an architecture supporting static-pie (SUPPORT_STATIC_PIE) enables static-pie by default, unless disabled by --disable-static-pie.

I recommend --enable-hardcoded-path-in-tests: a test (built as part of make check) is not run with ld.so --library-path. Instead, it has .interp and DT_RPATH entries pointing to the build directory. Therefore, make install is not needed to run a test.

Cross compilation

To cross compile for aarch64:

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mkdir out/aarch64 && cd out/aarch64
../../configure --prefix=/tmp/glibc/aarch64 --host=aarch64-linux-gnu

To cross compile for i686:

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../../configure --prefix=/tmp/glibc/i686 --host=i686-linux-gnu CC='gcc -m32' CXX='g++ -m32' && make -j 50 && make -j 50 install && cp -f /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/{libgcc_s.so.1,libstdc++.so.6} /tmp/glibc/i686/

For cross compiling, run-built-tests is yes only if test-wrapper is set.

If you don't have a C++ compiler, specify CXX=.

Thanks to binfmt_misc and qemu-user, we can run make check. Unfortunately some tests may get stuck. I use the timeout program as the test wrapper.

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make -j 50 check test-wrapper='timeout -k 5 5'

# Find tests which might be killed by `timeout`.
rg -g '*.test-result' 'original exit status 124'

Misc

A very unfortunate fact: glibc can only be built with -O2, not -O0 or -O1. If you want to have an un-optimized debug build, deleting an object file and recompiling it with -g usually works. Another workaround is #pragma GCC optimize ("O0").

The -O2 issue is probably related to (1) expected inlining and (2) avoiding dynamic relocations.

To regenerate configure from configure.ac: https://sourceware.org/glibc/wiki/Regeneration. Consider installing an autoconf somewhere with the required version.

In elf/, .o objects use -fpie -DPIC -DMODULE_NAME=libc, while .os objects use -fPIC -DPIC -DMODULE_NAME=rtld.

C library code is compiled with #define _LIBC 1 (include/libc-symbols.h).

Run grep -r arch_minimum_kernel= sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux for the minimum required Linux kernel version.

Build or test one directory

In the build directory, run:

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# build
make -j50 subdirs='elf stdlib'

# test
make -j50 check subdirs='elf stdlib'

Alternatively,

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make -r -C ~/Dev/glibc/stdlib objdir=$PWD subdir=stdlib subdir_lib

To rerun tests in elf/, delete elf/*.out files and run make -j50 check subdirs=elf.

Delete all failed tests so that the next make check invocation will re-run them:

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rg -lg '*.test-result' '^FAIL' | while read i; do rm -f ${i/.test-result/.out} $i; done

The run a program with the built dynamic loader:

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$build/testrun.sh $program

# Debug a test. --direct can avoid spawning a new process.
cgdb -ex 'set exec-wrapper env LD_LIBRARY_PATH=.:./math:./elf:./dlfcn:./nss:./nis:./rt:./resolv:./mathvec:./support:./crypt:./nptl' elf/tst-nodelete --direct

Run $build/debugglibc.sh to debug ld.so.

(

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../../configure --prefix=/tmp/glibc/lld && make -j 50 && make -j 50 install && 'cp' -f /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libgcc_s.so.1 /tmp/glibc/lld/lib/
)

See Rules binaries-pie-tests for how a test is built.

GRTE

In a llvm-project build directory, build clang, lld, and clang_rt.crtbegin.o

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ninja -C /tmp/out/custom1 clang clang-resource-headers crt lld

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git checkout origin/google/grte/v5-2.27/master
mkdir -p out/clang && cd out/clang
../../configure --prefix=/tmp/grte/clang --disable-werror --disable-float128 --with-clang --with-lld --enable-static-pie CC='/tmp/out/custom1/bin/clang -Wno-implicit-function-declaration' CXX=/tmp/out/custom1/bin/clang++
make -j 30
make -j 30 install

Build with GCC:

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../../configure --prefix=/tmp/grte/gcc --disable-werror --enable-static-pie

build-many-glibcs.py

Run the following commands to populate /tmp/glibc-many with toolchains. Caution: please make sure the target file system has tens of gigabytes.

Preparation:

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scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many checkout --shallow
scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many host-libraries

# Build a bootstrap GCC (static-only, C-only, --with-newlib).
# /tmp/glibc-many/src/gcc/gcc/configure --srcdir=/tmp/glibc-many/src/gcc/gcc --prefix=/tmp/glibc-many/install/compilers/aarch64-linux-gnu --with-sysroot=/tmp/glibc-many/install/compilers/aarch64-linux-gnu/sysroot --with-gmp=/tmp/glibc-many/install/host-libraries --with-mpfr=/tmp/glibc-many/install/host-libraries --with-mpc=/tmp/glibc-many/install/host-libraries --enable-shared --enable-threads --enable-languages=c,c++,lto ... --build=x86_64-pc-linux-gnu --host=x86_64-pc-linux-gnu --target=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu ...
scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many compilers aarch64-linux-gnu
scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many compilers powerpc64le-linux-gnu
scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many compilers sparc64-linux-gnu

  • --shallow passes --depth 1 to the git clone command.
  • --keep all keeps intermediary build directories intact. You may want this option to investigate build issues.

The glibcs command will delete the glibc build directory, build glibc, and run make check.

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# Build glibc using bootstrap GCC in <path>/install/compilers/aarch64-linux-gnu/bin/aarch64-linux-gcc
# Then build GCC using the built glibc.
# /tmp/glibc-many/src/glibc/configure --prefix=/usr --enable-profile --build=x86_64-pc-linux-gnu --host=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu CC=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-gcc CXX=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-g++ AR=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-ar AS=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-as LD=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-ld NM=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-nm OBJCOPY=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-objcopy OBJDUMP=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-objdump RANLIB=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-ranlib READELF=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-readelf STRIP=aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-strip
# Find built glibc in <path>/install/glibcs/aarch64-linux-gnu
scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many glibcs aarch64-linux-gnu
# Find the logs and test results under /tmp/glibc-many/logs/glibcs/aarch64-linux-gnu/

scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many glibcs powerpc64le-linux-gnu

scripts/build-many-glibcs.py /tmp/glibc-many glibcs sparc64-linux-gnu

For the glibcs command, add --full-gcc to build C++.

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many=/tmp/glibc-many
$many/install/compilers/aarch64-linux-gnu/bin/aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu-g++ -Wl,--dynamic-linker=$many/install/glibcs/aarch64-linux-gnu/lib/ld-linux-aarch64.so.1 -Wl,-rpath=$many/install/compilers/aarch64-linux-gnu/sysroot/lib64:$many/install/compilers/aarch64-linux-gnu/aarch64-glibc-linux-gnu/lib64 a.cc
./a.out

$many/install/compilers/x86_64-linux-gnu/bin/x86_64-glibc-linux-gnu-gcc -Wl,--dynamic-linker=$many/install/glibcs/x86_64-linux-gnu/lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 -Wl,-rpath=$many/install/compilers/x86_64-linux-gnu/sysroot/lib64:$many/install/compilers/x86_64-linux-gnu/x86_64-glibc-linux-gnu/lib64 a.c
./a.out

"On build-many-glibcs.py and most stage1 compiler bootstrap, gcc is build statically against newlib. the static linked gcc (with a lot of disabled features) is then used to build glibc and then the stage2 gcc (which will then have all the features that rely on libc enabled) so the stage1 gcc might not have the require started files"

During development, some interesting targets:

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make -C out/debug check-abi

$build/abi-versions.h

For each port, shlib-versions files describe the lowest version of each library (e.g. ld, libc, libpthread). The information is collected into $build/Versions.v, next $build/Versions.def, then $build/Versions.all, finally $build/abi-versions.h.

Run rg -g 'shlib-versions' DEFAULT to query at which glibc version each port is introduced.

Take x86_64 as an example. sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux/x86_64/64/shlib-versions says that x86_64's earliest symbol is at GLIBC_2.2.5. $build/abi-versions.h contains:

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// Macros of earlier versions expand to ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5, aka 1
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_0 ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_1 ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5
...
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_4 ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5 1
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_6 2
...
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_33 36
#define ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_34 37

// Macros of earlier versions expand to GLIBC_2.2.5
#define VERSION_libpthread_GLIBC_2_0 GLIBC_2.2.5
...
#define VERSION_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5 GLIBC_2.2.5
#define VERSION_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_6 GLIBC_2.2.6

For each library (e.g. libpthread), a macro constructed at the earliest version (ABI_libpthread_GLIBC_2_2_5) is defined as 1.

Let's see a C source file using symbol versioning.

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// __asm__ (".symver " "__new_sem_init" "," "sem_init" "@@" "GLIBC_2.34");
versioned_symbol (libc, __new_sem_init, sem_init, GLIBC_2_34);

#if OTHER_SHLIB_COMPAT(libpthread, GLIBC_2_1, GLIBC_2_34)
// __asm__ (".symver " "__new_sem_init" "," "sem_init" "@" "GLIBC_2_2_5");
compat_symbol (libpthread, __new_sem_init, sem_init, GLIBC_2_1);
#endif

#define _OTHER_SHLIB_COMPAT(lib, introduced, obsoleted) checks whether ABI_##lib##_##obsoleted is 0 (undefined) or (ABI_##lib##_##introduced - 0) < (ABI_##lib##_##obsoleted - 0) (obsoleted is greater than the earliest version). When the condition is true, the version range [introduced, obsoleted) overlaps the version range of the port, and therefore _OTHER_SHLIB_COMPAT expands to true.

compat_symbol (libpthread, __old_sem_init, sem_init, GLIBC_2_0); sets __old_sem_init to "sem_init" "@" "VERSION_libpthread_GLIBC_2_1" which expands to "sem_init" "@" "GLIBC_2.2.5". Ideally ,remove should be used (https://sourceware.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=28197).

Startup sequence for a dynamically linked executable

In rtld (ld.so):

  • sysdeps/x86_64/dl-machine.h:_start
  • elf/rtld.c:_dl_start
  • elf/libc_early_init.c:__libc_early_init
  • sysdeps/x86_64/dl-machine.h:_dl_start_user
  • elf/dl-init.c:_dl_init: Shared objects' (if ELF_INITFINI is defined) DT_INIT and DT_INIT_ARRAY elements are executed (with argc, argv, env) using a reverse dependency order (computed by _dl_sort_maps). call_init skips the executable.
  • _dl_start_user jumps to the main executable e_entry

In the main executable (-lc pulls in libc_nonshared.a):

  • sysdeps/x86_64/start.S:_start
  • csu/libc-start.c:__libc_start_main (the SHARED branch): Call __cxa_atexit with _dl_fini. Call call_init
  • call_init: (if ELF_INITFINI is defined) Run DT_INIT. Run DT_INIT_ARRAY
  • sysdeps/nptl/libc_start_call_main.h:__libc_start_call_main: Call main then exit

Let's see an example. For an executable tst-initorder with the following link-time dependencies:

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tst-initorder: tst-initordera4.so tst-initordera1.so tst-initorderb2.so
tst-initordera4.so: tst-initordera3.so
tst-initordera2.so: tst-initordera1.so
tst-initorderb2.so: tst-initorderb1.so tst-initordera2.so
tst-initordera3.so: tst-initorderb2.so tst-initordera1.so
tst-initordera4.so: tst-initordera3.so

The original BFS-order maps processed by dl-deps.c:_dl_map_object_deps looks like:

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exe
tst-initordera4.so
tst-initordera1.so
tst-initorderb2.so
libc.so.6
libdl.so.2
libpthread.so.0
tst-initordera3.so
tst-initorderb1.so
tst-initordera2.so
ld-linux-x86-64.so.2

After _dl_sort_maps => _dl_sort_maps_dfs (post-order traversal, The top-level maps is iterated backwards), l_initfini[] looks like:

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exe
tst-initordera4.so
libdl.so.2
libpthread.so.0
tst-initordera3.so
tst-initorderb2.so
tst-initorderb1.so
tst-initordera2.so
tst-initordera1.so
libc.so.6
ld-linux-x86-64.so.2

elf/dl-init.c:_dl_init iterates l_initfini[] backwards and skips the executable.

  • exit
  • stdlib/exit.c:__run_exit_handlers calls stdlib/cxa_thread_atexit_impl.c:__call_tls_dtors then atexit handlers.
  • elf/dl-fini.c:_dl_fini is the last handler: obtain maps[] from the list GL(dl_ns)[ns]._ns_loaded, call _dl_sort_maps to get a topological order, iterate the maps and call destructors if l_init_called is non-zero. DT_FINI_ARRAY elements nad (if ELF_INITFINI is defined) DT_FINI are executed.

pthread_mutex_lock

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#define _GNU_SOURCE
#include <dlfcn.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
printf("pthread_mutex_lock: %p (via RTLD_DEFAULT)\n", dlsym(RTLD_DEFAULT, "pthread_mutex_lock"));
printf("pthread_mutex_lock: %p (via RTLD_NEXT)\n", dlsym(RTLD_NEXT, "pthread_mutex_lock"));
printf("__pthread_mutex_lock: %p (via RTLD_DEFAULT)\n", dlsym(RTLD_DEFAULT, "__pthread_mutex_lock"));
printf("__pthread_mutex_lock: %p (via RTLD_NEXT)\n", dlsym(RTLD_NEXT, "__pthread_mutex_lock"));
}
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% ./with-glibc-2.35
pthread_mutex_lock: 0x7fdc5cc8aaa0 (via RTLD_DEFAULT)
pthread_mutex_lock: 0x7fdc5cc8aaa0 (via RTLD_NEXT)
__pthread_mutex_lock: (nil) (via RTLD_DEFAULT)
__pthread_mutex_lock: 0x7fdc5cc8aaa0 (via RTLD_NEXT)
% ./with-glibc-2.36
pthread_mutex_lock: 0x7fb2d1d1e540 (via RTLD_DEFAULT)
pthread_mutex_lock: 0x7fb2d1d1e540 (via RTLD_NEXT)
__pthread_mutex_lock: (nil) (via RTLD_DEFAULT)
__pthread_mutex_lock: (nil) (via RTLD_NEXT)