The Stub Proto: Not Just For Stub Objects Anymore
Ali Bahrami Friday November 11, 2011
One of the great pleasures of programming is to invent something for a narrow purpose, and then to realize that it is a general solution to a broader problem. In hindsight, these things seem perfectly natural and obvious. The stub proto area used to build the core Solaris consolidation has turned out to be one of those things.
As discussed in an earlier article, the stub proto area was invented as part of the effort to use stub objects to build the core ON consolidation. Its purpose was merely as a place to hold stub objects. However, we keep finding other uses for it. It turns out that the stub proto should be more properly thought of as an auxiliary place to put things that we would like to put into the proto to help us build the product, but which we do not wish to package or deliver to the end user. Stub objects are one example, but private lint libraries, header files, archives, and relocatable objects, are all examples of things that might profitably go into the stub proto.
Without a stub proto, these items were handled in a variety of ad hoc ways:
The stub proto area offers a convenient and robust solution. Files needed to build the workspace that are not delivered to the end user can instead be installed into the stub proto. No special exceptions or custom make rules are needed, and the intent is always clear.
We are already accessing some private lint libraries and compilation symlinks in this manner. Ultimately, I'd like to see all of the files in the proto that have a packaging exception delivered to the stub proto instead, and for the elimination of all existing special case makefile rules. This would include shared objects, header files, and lint libraries. I don't expect this to happen overnight it will be a long term case by case project, but the overall trend is clear.
The Solaris product is made up of objects and files from a number of different consolidations, each of which is built separately from the others from an independent code base called a gate. The core Solaris OS consolidation is ON, which stands for "Operating System and Networking". You will frequently also see ON called the OSnet. There are consolidations for X11 graphics, the desktop environment, open source utilities, compilers and development tools, and many others. The collection of consolidations that make up Solaris is known as the "Wad Of Stuff", usually referred to simply as the WOS. None of these consolidations is self contained. Even the core ON consolidation has some dependencies on libraries that come from other consolidations.
The build server used to build the OSnet must be running a relatively recent version of Solaris, which means that its objects will be very similar to the new ones being built. However, it is necessarily true that the build system objects will always be a little behind, and that incompatible differences may exist.
The objects built by the OSnet link to other objects. Some of these dependencies come from the OSnet, while others come from other consolidations. The objects from other consolidations are provided by the standard library directories on the build system (/lib, /usr/lib). The objects from the OSnet itself are supposed to come from the proto areas in the workspace, and not from the build server. In order to achieve this, we make use of the -L command line option to the link-editor.
The link-editor finds dependencies by looking in the directories specified by the caller using the -L command line option. If the desired dependency is not found in one of these locations, ld will then fall back to looking at the default locations (/lib, /usr/lib). In order to use OSnet objects from the workspace instead of the system, while still accessing non-OSnet objects from the system, our Makefiles set -L link-editor options that point at the workspace proto areas. In general, this works well and dependencies are found in the right places.
However, there have always been failures:
The advent of the stub proto eliminated the first type of failure. With stub objects, there is no dependency ordering, and the necessary stub object dependency will always be in place for any OSnet object that needs it. However, makefile errors do still occur, and so, the second form of error was still possible.
While working on the stub object project, we realized that the stub proto was also the key to solving the second form of failure caused by makefile errors:
This was too easy to resist. I integrated
7021198 ld option to warn when link accesses a library via default pathinto snv_161 (February 2011), shortly after the stub proto was introduced into ON. This putback introduced the -z assert-deflib option to the link-editor:
PSARC/2011/068 ld -z assert-deflib option
-z assert-deflib=[libname]Note that the definition of -z assert-deflib allows for exceptions to be specified as arguments to the option. In general, the idea of using a symlink from the stub proto is superior because it does not clutter up the link command with a long list of objects. When building the OSnet, we usually use the plain from of -z deflib, and make symlinks for the non-OSnet dependencies. The exception to this are dependencies supplied by the compiler itself, which are usually found at whatever arbitrary location the compiler happens to be installed at. To handle these special cases, the command line version works better.Enables warning messages for libraries specified with the -l command line option that are found by examining the default search paths provided by the link-editor. If a libname value is provided, the default library warning feature is enabled, and the specified library is added to a list of libraries for which no warnings will be issued. Multiple -z assert-deflib options can be specified in order to specify multiple libraries for which warnings should not be issued.
The libname value should be the name of the library file, as found by the link-editor, without any path components. For example, the following enables default library warnings, and excludes the standard C library.-z assert-deflib is a specialized option, primarily of interest in build environments where multiple objects with the same name exist and tight control over the library used is required. If is not intended for general use.ld ... -z assert-deflib=libc.so ...
Following the integration of the link-editor change, I made use of -z assert-deflib in OSnet builds with
7021896 Prevent OSnet from accidentally linking to build systemwhich integrated into snv_162 (March 2011). Turning on -z assert-deflib exposed between 10 and 20 existing errors in our Makefiles, which were all fixed in the same putback. The errors we found in our Makefiles underscore how difficult they can be prevent without an automatic system in place to catch them.
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