What is gcc -s option?

Bill's LFS Login lfsbill at wlmcs.com
Thu Jan 9 10:40:36 PST 2003

On Thu, 9 Jan 2003, Farley Benn wrote:

> In article <Pine.LNX.4.44.0301090703340.27713-100000 at wlmlfs04.wlmcs.com>,
> Bill's LFS Login wrote:
> > On Thu, 9 Jan 2003, Albert Wagner wrote:
> >> On Thursday 09 January 2003 5:40 am, Tushar Teredesai wrote:
> >> > Albert Wagner wrote:
> >> <sniip>
> >> > <snip>
> >
> >> Ah.  So the man page is incomplete.  Thank you.
> >
> > Nope!
> >
> >> ><snip>
> >
> > Folks! Do not forget that gcc passes parameters to the linker. Any
> ><snip>

> > Bill Maltby
> > lfsbill at wlmcs.com

> How can you forget what you never knew?  :-)

It is a mystical side-effect of the permeation of the ether. You always
new it, but you didn't know that you new it, which you had forgotten! :P

> Thanks for clearing that up, was driving more than one of us bonkers.
> -s
>        --strip-all
>            Omit all symbol information from the output file.
> Now, if I only knew what THAT meant......

Briefly: making a non-interpretative executable involves two major steps.
Convert the source to an intermediate object format and then find the
targets of external references made by that object module and create the
final "executable".

In static compiles, the "resolutions" are done (from human viewpoint) at
compile time. All needed code is included in the final "executable" and it
can run with no services other than those provided by the OS.

A dynamic executable defers some (or all) of these resolutions until
run-time. It depends not only on the OS services, but on routines provided
by shared libraries (DLLs on M$).

Now, the nub. People write names, not numbers. Machines like numbers not
names. The numbers the machine likes are (mostly) addresses of one
form or another and are equated to names that people like

That is, essentially, what a symbol is - the name that humans use. When
linking is done statically, all the symbols have been resolved and the
human-friendly names (contained in a "dictionary") are no longer needed.
So, we can "strip" them out of the module and substantially reduce the
module size and load time (the loader doesn't have to read through all
that trash).

For dynamic executables, certain symbols are still needed at execute time
because they depend on symbols that are defined (that is, equated to a
real address) _at_the_time_of_execution.

There are alos other types of symbols (for example, those used for

Now, you can see why it is seldom a good idea to --strip-all on a shared
library or a dynamically-linked executable (as almost everything in
chapter 6 becomes).

However, the --strip-debug is always safe and the --strip-uneeded is
*usuallly* safe (but be careful - some shared libraries are not always
correctly detected and needed sysmbols may be erroneously removed. This
was on 2.2 and 2.4.pre7 kernels and related).


> Farley
> --
> 	Life is the strangest thing I've ever done.
> --
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Bill Maltby
lfsbill at wlmcs.com

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