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Title: distutils fail to determine c++ linker with unixcompiler if using ccache
Type: compile error Stage: resolved
Components: Distutils Versions: Python 3.4, Python 3.5, Python 2.7
Status: closed Resolution: out of date
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: Nosy List: Alexander.Sulfrian, Dan Mick, Joshua.J.Cogliati, Xuefer.x, dstufft, eric.araujo, erik.bray, jrincayc, mihaic, ned.deily, ronaldoussoren, steve.dower, tarek
Priority: normal Keywords: patch

Created on 2010-02-27 15:24 by Alexander.Sulfrian, last changed 2022-04-11 14:56 by admin. This issue is now closed.

File name Uploaded Description Edit
fix-distutils-with-ccache.patch Alexander.Sulfrian, 2010-02-27 15:24
fix-distutils-279.patch Joshua.J.Cogliati, 2015-02-23 18:09 Patch to remove code in Python 2.7.9
fix-distutils-342.patch Joshua.J.Cogliati, 2015-02-23 18:18 Patch to remove code in Python 3.4.2
fix-distutils-350.patch Joshua.J.Cogliati, 2015-03-17 19:54 Patch to remove code in Python 3.5.0
small_example.tar.gz Joshua.J.Cogliati, 2015-03-18 16:47 short example of distutils example that will trigger the bug
Messages (20)
msg100186 - (view) Author: Alexander Sulfrian (Alexander.Sulfrian) Date: 2010-02-27 15:24
if using ccache (CC="ccache gcc --flags", CXX="g++") distutils will try to execute something like "g++ gcc --flags" as linker for c++ libraries.

Patch attached.

msg122431 - (view) Author: Éric Araujo (eric.araujo) * (Python committer) Date: 2010-11-26 03:04
Hello Alexander, thanks for the report and patch.  Could you add a test for the fixed behavior?
msg232474 - (view) Author: Xuefer x (Xuefer.x) Date: 2014-12-11 12:53
please fix this bug. it seems the patch no longer applies to the current 2.7/3.4 code but the bug is still reproduce-able in another way

i have CXX="ccache_cxx -pthread -shared"
but what actually happen is:
ccache_cxx gcc -pthread -shared ...
x86_64-openwrt-linux-gnu-g++: error: gcc: No such file or directory
error: command 'ccache_cxx' failed with exit status 1
Makefile:511: recipe for target 'all-local' failed
make[5]: *** [all-local] Error 1

this is when building libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.17 in openwrt build system, ccache_cxx is a wrapper script and distuils make a wrong build rule
msg232475 - (view) Author: Xuefer x (Xuefer.x) Date: 2014-12-11 13:11
even with
CXX="x86_64-openwrt-linux-gnu-g++ -pthread -shared" /usr/src/xuefer/openwrt/trunk/staging_dir/host/bin/python build

it's donig
x86_64-openwrt-linux-gnu-g++ gcc -pthread -shared ....
msg236454 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-02-23 18:09
I can confirm this bug on Python 2.7.8 and Python 3.4.1, and given that the code is still in later versions, I expect that it will fail in them as well.

From Python-3.4.2/Lib/distutils/, lines 179-189:
# skip over environment variable settings if /usr/bin/env
# is used to set up the linker's environment.
# This is needed on OSX. Note: this assumes that the
# normal and C++ compiler have the same environment
# settings.
i = 0
if os.path.basename(linker[0]) == "env":
    i = 1
    while '=' in linker[i]:
        i += 1
linker[i] = self.compiler_cxx[i]

First of all, as has been noted, this will fail if len(self.compiler_cxx) > 1.  

Second of all, I do not understand how this code was supposed to work correctly in the first place.  If env is in linker[0], then variable i will be greater than 0, so why are we then using self.compiler_cxx[i]?

As I understand the code, I should be able to do something like:
export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
and then have env work.  However, when I tried this, my python build failed.

However, if I do something like:
if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx and False:
to the line in, then I can do:
export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
in the shell and have it compile.  I don't know if it would work if I actually needed BAR=FOO, but so far as I can tell this code is broken, and has been for a while, and therefore should be flat out removed.
msg236456 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-02-23 18:18
Patch for 3.4.2 that removes the code.
msg238333 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-03-17 19:54
This bug is still in Python 3.5.0a2 (but first issue 23644 needs to be fixed before g++ can be used at all)

Attached is a patch for Python 3.5.0.
msg238458 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-03-18 16:47
Here is an example to use to test for this bug.

Proper use on my computer (PYTHONPATH may need adjusting on other systems):

cd small_example
python build_ext build install --prefix=`pwd`
export PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/lib64/python2.7/site-packages
cd test
# outputs 3

cd small_example
python3 build_ext build install --prefix=`pwd`
export PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/lib64/python3.4/site-packages
cd test
# outputs 3

Clean files:
rm -Rf build/ lib/ lib64/ example/ example/example_wrap.cpp *~ example/__pycache__/

Check for the bug:
export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
export CXX="ccache g++"
Then run either the Python2 or Python3 test, and it will fail if this bug has not been fixed.
msg238462 - (view) Author: Éric Araujo (eric.araujo) * (Python committer) Date: 2015-03-18 17:18
Does the patch fix things on Mac OS X and Linux?
msg238463 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-03-18 17:25
> Does the patch fix things on Mac OS X and Linux?

So far as I can tell, the code in question is to do something so
that CXX variables like:
export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
work better.  However, it is broken for that case, and since it has
been broken since at least python 2.6, I think it would be better to
remove the code, as my patches do.

My patches do fix things for me on Linux on my case of:
export CXX="ccache g++"
and do not make things worse for the env case.

I can check on OSX if you like.
msg238467 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-03-18 19:16
On OSX 10.10.1,

With the small_example, and with python 3.4.3 and:
$ export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
$ python3 build_ext build install --prefix=`pwd`
running build_ext
building '_example' extension
swigging example/example.i to example/example_wrap.cpp
swig -python -c++ -py3 -Iexample -o example/example_wrap.cpp example/example.i
creating build
creating build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4
creating build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example
gcc -Wno-unused-result -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O3 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Iexample -I/Users/jjc/bug/py343/include/python3.4m -c example/example_wrap.cpp -o build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example_wrap.o
gcc -Wno-unused-result -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O3 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Iexample -I/Users/jjc/bug/py343/include/python3.4m -c example/example.cxx -o build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example.o
creating build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4
creating build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example
env -bundle -undefined dynamic_lookup build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example_wrap.o build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example.o -o build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/
env: illegal option -- b
usage: env [-i] [name=value ...] [utility [argument ...]]
error: command 'env' failed with exit status 1

So, as is, python 3.4.3 fails.

With the same as above, but with the fix-distutils-342.patch applied:
$ export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
$ python3 build_ext build install --prefix=`pwd`
running build_ext
building '_example' extension
swigging example/example.i to example/example_wrap.cpp
swig -python -c++ -py3 -Iexample -o example/example_wrap.cpp example/example.i
creating build
creating build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4
creating build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example
gcc -Wno-unused-result -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O3 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Iexample -I/Users/jjc/bug/py343m/include/python3.4m -c example/example_wrap.cpp -o build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example_wrap.o
gcc -Wno-unused-result -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O3 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Iexample -I/Users/jjc/bug/py343m/include/python3.4m -c example/example.cxx -o build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example.o
creating build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4
creating build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example
gcc -bundle -undefined dynamic_lookup build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example_wrap.o build/temp.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/example.o -o build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/
running build
running build_py
copying example/ -> build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example
copying example/ -> build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example
running install
running install_lib
creating /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib
creating /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4
creating /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages
creating /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example
copying build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/ -> /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example
copying build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/ -> /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example
copying build/lib.macosx-10.10-x86_64-3.4/example/ -> /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example
byte-compiling /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example/ to __init__.cpython-34.pyc
byte-compiling /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example/ to example.cpython-34.pyc
running install_egg_info
Writing /Users/jjc/bug/small_example/lib/python3.4/site-packages/example-0.5-py3.4.egg-info
$ export PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/lib/python3.4/site-packages
$ cd test
$ python3 

So with the patch, it succeeds.  

> Does the patch fix things on Mac OS X and Linux?
msg238473 - (view) Author: Éric Araujo (eric.araujo) * (Python committer) Date: 2015-03-18 21:37
Thanks for the patch and the testing.  I’m not in a position to commit the patch; if no core developer does it in the coming week, feel free to ping python-dev to get action.  You can also hop onto IRC at any time and see if someone here can finish this.
msg238488 - (view) Author: Ned Deily (ned.deily) * (Python committer) Date: 2015-03-19 02:58
The code in question was added a long time ago by Ronald as part of the initial OS X universal build support (3078fdb7cf3d for Issue1488098).  I'm not exactly sure what problem it was trying to solve ao I'm not sure that it's 100% safe to totally remove rather than try to fix it.  Ronald, do you recall?
msg238535 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-03-19 15:38
Looking at the patch (3078fdb7cf3d for Issue1488098) it has:
                 if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
-                    linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]

One possibility is that that the problem was:
 linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]
which would also cause a compiler_cxx like:
export CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
to fail.  Possibly the code:
 linker[i] = self.compiler_cxx[i]
managed to hit on an index value that worked better for the CXX that Ronald had on his system.

I think the root cause is the special casing of

if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:

and I think that few enough people use a c++ for extensions and of those, most use CXX="g++" or something similar where the complicated but incorrect version that is in Python works.

Basically, if you have something like CXX="g++" then both the version before 3078fdb7cf3d and after 3078fdb7cf3d work.
If you have something like CXX="env BAR=FOO g++"
then the version before 3078fdb7cf3d would not have worked.

I think it is likely that if 3078fdb7cf3d had completely eliminated:
-                if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
-                    linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]
instead of adding new code to try and work around the problem it also would have fixed the problem that Issue1488098 encountered.

I am guessing this problem really started with changeset 771b6f521b95 in 2002.  This codes purpose is:
 ( Included target_lang parameter, and made linker command use compiler_cxx, if target_lang is 'c++'. 
and that change is the one that added:
 linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]
msg239934 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-04-02 17:49
Let me try and explain what is trying to be done in the original code, 
what the fix was, and then discuss some possible better solutions.

Original code:
if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
    linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]

Current code:
if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
    i = 0
    if os.path.basename(linker[0]) == "env":
        i = 1
        while '=' in linker[i]:
            i += 1
    linker[i] = self.compiler_cxx[i]

Basically, what we have, is two variables, linker, and self.compiler_cxx.

By default on my linux system these are:
linker=['gcc', '-pthread', '-shared']
self.compiler_cxx=['g++', '-pthread']

So under the current code, since self.compiler_cxx[0] != "env"
i=0 so
linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]
so linker=['g++', '-pthread', '-shared']

So the goal is to switch the linker to something that works better with c++.  

In the original code:
linker[0] = self.compiler_cxx[0]
improves things if the first element in the linker variable is the linker executable, and the first element in compiler_cxx is a compiler executable, and the compiler executable works better at linking c++ code than the c linker executable.

Next we switch to the current code.  

I am guessing that Ronald had something like this:
linker=['env','BAR=FOO','gcc', '-pthread', '-shared']
self.compiler_cxx=['env','BAR=FOO','g++', '-pthread']
and so with the current code we end up with i=2, and the linker variable ends up with:
linker=['env','BAR=FOO','g++', '-pthread', '-shared']

Now, what is the problem we are encountering with the current code?

Basically, people want to use things like CXX="ccache g++"
So if 
linker=['gcc', '-pthread', '-shared']
self.compiler_cxx=['ccache', 'g++']
we have i=0, 
linker[0]=self.compiler_cxx[0] = 'ccache'
resulting in
linker=['ccache', '-pthread', '-shared']
which will fail, because ccache expects the first argument to be the compiler executable (that is 'g++' not '-pthread')

So, how can we fix this?

If the linker can link c++ code, then the optimal solution is to do nothing, 
as in remove the entire 
if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
(The fix-distutils-* patches I have created do this solution)

We could special case ccache:
if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
    if os.path.basename(self.compiler_cxx[0]) == "ccache":
        linker[0:1] = self.compiler_cxx[0:2]
    elif os.path.basename(linker[0]) == "env":

We could hope that what we actually want is the entire compiler_cxx:
if target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
    linker[0:1] = self.compiler_cxx[:]

Maybe we could special case c++ a little earlier (since linker_exe is just cc by default):
if target_desc == CCompiler.EXECUTABLE and target_lang == "c++" and self.compiler_cxx:
    linker = self.compiler_cxx[:]
elif target_desc == CCompiler.EXECUTABLE:
    linker = self.linker_exe[:]
    linker = self.linker_so[:]

None of these solutions make me feel awesome.  

The real problem is that we have no way to set the c++ linker.  I don't see any variable listed like this Make's implicit variables section.

A secondary problem is that we string concatenate the LDSHARED and LDFLAGS 
(in the line: ldshared = ldshared + ' ' + os.environ['LDFLAGS'] in

Another secondary problem is that we don't look for a CXXFLAGS varible, and so people stuff parameters into CXX instead.

If the two secondary issues did not exist we could reasonably reliably do something like
linker = cxx + ldflags
which might actually work for all the cases that are currently covered and work where cxx=['ccache','g++']

The current code is broken, how do we want to fix it?
msg240288 - (view) Author: Joshua J Cogliati (Joshua.J.Cogliati) * Date: 2015-04-08 22:08
I looked and the autoconf variable for the c++ linker is CXXLINK, so I think the proper way to fix this would be to change to look at both CXXFLAGS and CXXLINK, and create those and use it to define a cxxlink variable, and only if they are missing should we actually try to do some of the magic that is currently used.

Also, my patches (fix-distutils-*.patch) do not always work, because sometimes the c compiler cannot link the c++ code.
msg242111 - (view) Author: Ronald Oussoren (ronaldoussoren) * (Python committer) Date: 2015-04-27 11:27
I don't recall exactly why the universal build support is done the way it is, adding it is too long ago.  

The reason is likely no longer relevant with any reasonably up-to-date toolset. The patch was created around the time x86 support was added to OSX and at the time there were numerous rough edges (and IIRC I worked on this using a Developer Transition Kit at work, that is before Apple shipped consumer hardware with x86 support, let alone non-beta software with x86 support)
msg263049 - (view) Author: Dan Mick (Dan Mick) Date: 2016-04-08 23:03
So the original author of the code says it's "likely no longer relevant", and it's clearly wrong, but no one has touched this in six years?

Even moving the "linker[i] = self.compiler_cxx[i]" inside the if that checks for "env" would *still* limit the exposure of this bug significantly without affecting the mystery-reason-for-the-workaround...

We probably spent a man-week on this bug.

Small wonder why Python packaging continues to be met with utter terror.
msg263663 - (view) Author: Erik Bray (erik.bray) * (Python triager) Date: 2016-04-18 13:07
I'm also inclined to agree that the buggy code (and it *is* buggy even if it was meant to fix something originally) should be removed outright.  Nobody can point to a real world issue that it fixes anymore, yet we can point to real world consequences caused by this bug still.

However, I could also agree that this should come with better support for CXXFLAGS and CXXLINK.  It's no wonder these variables are ignored by CPython--it doesn't use any c++.  That said, extension module compilation is tied, through distutils, to CPython. And there are plenty of c++ extension modules in the wild that are affected.  So it's worth addressing how these variables are used--or rather not used properly--by distutils.

I'd be happy to take a look at that if that sounds like a good approach?  Otherwise I'd push for accepting some versions of the existing patches by Joshua.J.Cogliati that remove the buggy code.
msg386367 - (view) Author: Steve Dower (steve.dower) * (Python committer) Date: 2021-02-03 18:21
Distutils is now deprecated (see PEP 632) and all tagged issues are being closed. From now until removal, only release blocking issues will be considered for distutils.

If this issue does not relate to distutils, please remove the component and reopen it. If you believe it still requires a fix, most likely the issue should be re-reported at
Date User Action Args
2022-04-11 14:56:58adminsetgithub: 52275
2021-02-03 18:21:51steve.dowersetstatus: open -> closed

nosy: + steve.dower
messages: + msg386367

resolution: out of date
stage: patch review -> resolved
2016-07-11 21:41:47mihaicsetnosy: + mihaic
2016-04-18 13:08:00erik.braysetmessages: + msg263663
2016-04-18 12:40:37erik.braysetnosy: + erik.bray
2016-04-08 23:03:36Dan Micksetnosy: + Dan Mick
messages: + msg263049
2015-04-27 11:27:56ronaldoussorensetmessages: + msg242111
2015-04-08 22:08:13Joshua.J.Cogliatisetmessages: + msg240288
2015-04-02 17:49:29Joshua.J.Cogliatisetmessages: + msg239934
2015-03-19 15:38:35Joshua.J.Cogliatisetmessages: + msg238535
2015-03-19 09:23:12vstinnersetnosy: - vstinner
2015-03-19 02:58:11ned.deilysetnosy: + ned.deily, ronaldoussoren
messages: + msg238488
2015-03-18 21:37:46eric.araujosetnosy: + dstufft
messages: + msg238473
components: - Distutils2
2015-03-18 19:16:16Joshua.J.Cogliatisetmessages: + msg238467
2015-03-18 17:25:10Joshua.J.Cogliatisetmessages: + msg238463
2015-03-18 17:18:06eric.araujosetassignee: eric.araujo ->
messages: + msg238462
versions: - 3rd party, Python 3.1, Python 3.2
2015-03-18 16:47:07Joshua.J.Cogliatisetfiles: + small_example.tar.gz
nosy: + vstinner
messages: + msg238458

2015-03-17 19:54:01Joshua.J.Cogliatisetfiles: + fix-distutils-350.patch

messages: + msg238333
versions: + Python 3.5
2015-02-23 18:18:03Joshua.J.Cogliatisetfiles: + fix-distutils-342.patch

messages: + msg236456
2015-02-23 18:09:18Joshua.J.Cogliatisetfiles: + fix-distutils-279.patch
versions: + Python 3.4
nosy: + Joshua.J.Cogliati, jrincayc

messages: + msg236454
2014-12-11 13:11:25Xuefer.xsetmessages: + msg232475
2014-12-11 12:53:02Xuefer.xsetnosy: + Xuefer.x
messages: + msg232474
2010-11-26 03:05:04eric.araujosetmessages: - msg113050
2010-11-26 03:04:31eric.araujosetversions: + 3rd party
nosy: + eric.araujo, - terry.reedy
messages: + msg122431

assignee: tarek -> eric.araujo
components: + Distutils2
2010-08-05 20:46:36terry.reedysetnosy: + terry.reedy
messages: + msg113050
2010-08-05 03:32:59BreamoreBoysetstage: patch review
versions: + Python 3.1, Python 2.7, Python 3.2, - Python 2.6
2010-02-27 15:24:01Alexander.Sulfriancreate