Verified Commit 42b9152b authored by Allan McRae's avatar Allan McRae
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Updates to build flags

Signed-off-by: Allan McRae's avatarAllan McRae <>
parent 33d8b5fd
Updates to build flags
- Date proposed: 2020-03-04
Updating our buildflags will improve our packages security
Compiler security features have advanced since we last updated our buildflags.
While we have enabled some of these by default in our compilers, there is
further improvements to be made.
This RFC puts forward a set of compiler flags that have seen real world usage
in other distributions. e.g. [1] [2]
We will change the distributed makepkg.conf to the following:
CFLAGS="-march=x86-64 -mtune=generic -O2 -pipe -fno-plt -fexceptions \
-Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2,-D_GLIBCXX_ASSERTIONS -Werror=format-security"
DEBUG_CFLAGS="-g -fvar-tracking-assignments"
Details of new additions:
* Move ``-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2`` from CPPFLAGS to CFLAGS using -Wp
Unfortunately, there are still build systems which use CFLAGS but not CPPFLAGS.
Or configure tests that use CPPFLAGS and not CFLAGS which creates errors due to
fortify source needing optimisation. Ultimately, we can cover more code with
this workaround.
* Add ``-fexceptions``
Provide exception unwinding support for C programs. This also hardens cancellation
handling in C programs, and makes it possible to unwind the stack (using C++ throw
or Rust panics) from C callback functions
Enable lightweight assertions in the C++ standard library. This flag is added to
both CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS; C compilations will simply ignore it.
* Add ``-Werror=format-security``
Turn on format string warnings and treat them as errors. This catches a set of
readily exploitable bugs. This can occasionally result in compilation errors,
but this should be minimal as it is widely used by other distributions.
Alternatives Considered
* Add ``-grecord-gcc-switches`` to our debug builds
This is the default in GCC.
* Add ``-fasynchronous-unwind-tables`` to our debug builds
This is the default in GCC, at least for x86_64.
Moving ``-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2`` is zero cost.
Adding ``-Werror=format-security`` may cause limited build issues, but patches are
readily available.
There is a minimal performance overhead of adding ``-Wp,-D_GLIBCXX_ASSERTIONS``,
though many of the added checks are optimised away by the compiler.
Adding ``-fexceptions`` can produce some data size overhead in C programs, though
does not affect execution. GCC enables it by default for C++.
Unresolved Questions
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