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  <title>LLVM gold plugin</title>
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<div class="doc_title">LLVM gold plugin</div>
<ol>
  <li><a href="#introduction">Introduction</a></li>
  <li><a href="#build">How to build it</a></li>
  <li><a href="#usage">Usage</a>
  <ul>
    <li><a href="#example1">Example of link time optimization</a></li>
    <li><a href="#lto_autotools">Quickstart for using LTO with autotooled projects</a></li>
  </ul></li>
  <li><a href="#licensing">Licensing</a></li>
</ol>
<div class="doc_author">Written by Nick Lewycky</div>

<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_section"><a name="introduction">Introduction</a></div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_text">
  <p>Building with link time optimization requires cooperation from the
system linker. LTO support on Linux systems requires that you use
the <a href="http://sourceware.org/binutils">gold linker</a> which supports
LTO via plugins. This is the same system used by the upcoming
<a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/wiki/LinkTimeOptimization">GCC LTO</a>
project.</p>
  <p>The LLVM gold plugin implements the
<a href="http://gcc.gnu.org/wiki/whopr/driver">gold plugin interface</a>
on top of
<a href="http://llvm.org/docs/LinkTimeOptimization.html#lto">libLTO</a>.
The same plugin can also be used by other tools such as <tt>ar</tt> and
<tt>nm</tt>.
</div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_section"><a name="build">How to build it</a></div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_text">
  <p>You need to build gold with plugin support and build the LLVMgold
plugin.</p>
<ul>
  <li>Build gold with plugin support:
    <pre class="doc_code">
mkdir binutils
cd binutils
cvs -z 9 -d :pserver:anoncvs@sourceware.org:/cvs/src login
<em>{enter "anoncvs" as the password}</em>
cvs -z 9 -d :pserver:anoncvs@sourceware.org:/cvs/src co src
mkdir build
cd build
../src/configure --enable-gold --enable-plugins
make all-gold
</pre>
    That should leave you with binutils/build/gold/ld-new which supports the
<tt>-plugin</tt> option.

    <li>Build the LLVMgold plugin: Configure LLVM with
    <tt>--with-binutils-include=/path/to/binutils/src/include</tt> and run
    <tt>make</tt>.
</ul>
</div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_section"><a name="usage">Usage</a></div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_text">
  <p>The linker takes a <tt>-plugin</tt> option that points to the path of
  the plugin <tt>.so</tt> file. To find out what link command <tt>gcc</tt>
  would run in a given situation, run <tt>gcc -v <em>[...]</em></tt> and look
  for the line where it runs <tt>collect2</tt>. Replace that with
  <tt>ld-new -plugin /path/to/LLVMgold.so</tt> to test it out. Once you're
  ready to switch to using gold, backup your existing <tt>/usr/bin/ld</tt>
  then replace it with <tt>ld-new</tt>.</p>
  <p>You can produce bitcode files from <tt>llvm-gcc</tt> using
  <tt>-emit-llvm</tt> or <tt>-flto</tt>, or the <tt>-O4</tt> flag which is
  synonymous with <tt>-O3 -flto</tt>.</p>
  <p><tt>llvm-gcc</tt> has a <tt>-use-gold-plugin</tt> option which looks
  for the gold plugin in the same directories as it looks for <tt>cc1</tt> and
  passes the <tt>-plugin</tt> option to ld. It will not look for an alternate
  linker, which is why you need gold to be the installed system linker in your
  path.</p>
</div>

<!-- ======================================================================= -->
<div class="doc_subsection">
  <a name="example1">Example of link time optimization</a>
</div>

<div class="doc_text">
  <p>The following example shows a worked example of the gold plugin mixing
  LLVM bitcode and native code.
<pre class="doc_code">
--- a.c ---
#include &lt;stdio.h&gt;

extern void foo1(void);
extern void foo4(void);

void foo2(void) {
  printf("Foo2\n");
}

void foo3(void) {
  foo4();
}

int main(void) {
  foo1();
}

--- b.c ---
#include &lt;stdio.h&gt;

extern void foo2(void);

void foo1(void) {
  foo2();
}

void foo4(void) {
  printf("Foo4");
}

--- command lines ---
$ llvm-gcc -flto a.c -c -o a.o              # &lt;-- a.o is LLVM bitcode file
$ ar q a.a a.o                              # &lt;-- a.a is an archive with LLVM bitcode
$ llvm-gcc b.c -c -o b.o                    # &lt;-- b.o is native object file
$ llvm-gcc -use-gold-plugin a.a b.o -o main # &lt;-- link with LLVMgold plugin
</pre>
  <p>Gold informs the plugin that foo3 is never referenced outside the IR,
  leading LLVM to delete that function. However, unlike in the
  <a href="http://llvm.org/docs/LinkTimeOptimization.html#example1">libLTO
  example</a> gold does not currently eliminate foo4.</p>
</div>

<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_section"><a name="lto_autotools">Quickstart for using LTO with autotooled projects</a></div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_text">
  <p><tt>gold</tt>, <tt>ar</tt> and <tt>nm</tt> all support plugins now, so everything should be
  in place for an easy to use LTO build of autotooled projects:</p>
  <ul>
    <li>Follow the instructions <a href="#build">on how to build libLLVMgold.so</a>.</li>
    <li>Install the newly built binutils to <tt>$PREFIX</tt></li>
    <li>Copy <tt>Release/lib/libLLVMgold.so</tt> to
    <tt>$PREFIX/libexec/gcc/x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/4.2.1/</tt> and
    <tt>$PREFIX/lib/bfd-plugins/</tt></li>
    <li>Set environment variables (<tt>$PREFIX</tt> is where you installed llvm-gcc and
    binutils):
    <pre class="doc_code">
export CC="$PREFIX/bin/llvm-gcc -use-gold-plugin"
export CXX="$PREFIX/bin/llvm-g++ -use-gold-plugin"
export AR="$PREFIX/bin/ar"
export NM="$PREFIX/bin/nm"
export RANLIB=/bin/true #ranlib is not needed, and doesn't support .bc files in .a
export CFLAGS="-O4"
</pre>
     </li>
     <li>Or you can just set your path:
    <pre class="doc_code">
export PATH="$PREFIX/bin:$PATH"
export CC="llvm-gcc -use-gold-plugin"
export CXX="llvm-g++ -use-gold-plugin"
export RANLIB=/bin/true
export CFLAGS="-O4"
</pre>
     </li>
     <li>Configure &amp; build the project as usual: <tt>./configure &amp;&amp; make &amp;&amp; make check</tt> </li>
   </ul>
   <p> The environment variable settings may work for non-autotooled projects
   too, but you may need to set the <tt>LD</tt> environment variable as well.</p>
</div>

<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_section"><a name="licensing">Licensing</a></div>
<!--=========================================================================-->
<div class="doc_text">
  <p>Gold is licensed under the GPLv3. LLVMgold uses the interface file
<tt>plugin-api.h</tt> from gold which means that the resulting LLVMgold.so
binary is also GPLv3. This can still be used to link non-GPLv3 programs just
as much as gold could without the plugin.</p>
</div>

<!-- *********************************************************************** -->
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  <a href="mailto:nicholas@metrix.on.ca">Nick Lewycky</a><br>
  <a href="http://llvm.org">The LLVM Compiler Infrastructure</a><br>
  Last modified: $Date: 2009-01-01 23:10:51 -0800 (Thu, 01 Jan 2009) $
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