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abi-compliance-checker - tool to compare ABI compatibility of shared C/C++ library


ABI Compliance Checker (abi-compliance-checker) Check backward compatibility of a
C/C++ library API

ABI Compliance Checker (ABICC) is a tool for checking backward binary and
source-level compatibility of a shared C/C++ library. The tool checks header files
and shared libraries (*.so) of old and new versions and analyzes changes in API and
ABI (ABI=API+compiler ABI) that may break binary and/or source-level compatibility:
changes in calling stack, v-table changes, removed symbols, renamed fields, etc.
Binary incompatibility may result in crashing or incorrect behavior of applications
built with an old version of a library if they run on a new one. Source
incompatibility may result in recompilation errors with a new library version.

The tool is intended for developers of software libraries and maintainers of
operating systems who are interested in ensuring backward compatibility, i.e. allow
old applications to run or to be recompiled with newer library versions.

Also the tool can be used by ISVs for checking applications portability to new
library versions. Found issues can be taken into account when adapting the
application to a new library version.

This tool is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the
terms of the GNU LGPL or GNU GPL.

abi-compliance-checker [options]

abi-compliance-checker -lib NAME -old OLD.xml -new NEW.xml

OLD.xml and NEW.xml are XML-descriptors:





/path1/to/header(s)/ /path2/to/header(s)/




/path1/to/library(ies)/ /path2/to/library(ies)/




Print this help.


Print complete info.


Print version information.


Print the tool version (1.99.14) and don't do anything else.

-l|-lib|-library NAME

Library name (without version).

-d1|-old|-o PATH

Descriptor of 1st (old) library version. It may be one of the following:

1. XML-descriptor (VERSION.xml file):





/path1/to/header(s)/ /path2/to/header(s)/




/path1/to/library(ies)/ /path2/to/library(ies)/




2. ABI dump generated by -dump option 3. Directory with headers and/or shared
libraries 4. Single header file

If you are using an 2-4 descriptor types then you should specify version numbers
with -v1 and -v2 options too.

For more information, please see:


-d2|-new|-n PATH

Descriptor of 2nd (new) library version.

-dump|-dump-abi PATH

Create library ABI dump for the input XML descriptor. You can transfer it anywhere
and pass instead of the descriptor. Also it can be used for debugging the tool.

Supported versions of ABI dump: 2.0<=V<=3.2

-app|-application PATH

This option allows one to specify the application that should be checked for
portability to the new library version.


Check static libraries instead of the shared ones. The <libs> section of the
XML-descriptor should point to static libraries location.

-gcc-path PATH

Path to the cross GCC compiler to use instead of the usual (host) GCC.

-gcc-prefix PREFIX

GCC toolchain prefix.

-gcc-options OPTS

Additional compiler options.

-sysroot DIR

Specify the alternative root directory. The tool will search for include paths in
the DIR/usr/include and DIR/usr/lib directories.

-v1|-version1 NUM

Specify 1st library version outside the descriptor. This option is needed if you
have preferred an alternative descriptor type (see -d1 option).

In general case you should specify it in the XML-descriptor:




-v2|-version2 NUM

Specify 2nd library version outside the descriptor.

-vnum NUM

Specify the library version in the generated ABI dump. The <version> section of the
input XML descriptor will be overwritten in this case.


Treat all compatibility warnings as problems. Add a number of "Low" severity
problems to the return value of the tool.


Check header files without shared libraries. It is easy to run, but may provide a
low quality compatibility report with false positives and without detecting of
added/removed symbols.

Alternatively you can write "none" word to the <libs> section in the





Show the symbol's return type in the report.

-symbols-list PATH

This option allows one to specify a file with a list of symbols (mangled names in
C++) that should be checked. Other symbols will not be checked.

-types-list PATH

This option allows one to specify a file with a list of types that should be
checked. Other types will not be checked.

-skip-symbols PATH

The list of symbols that should not be checked.

-skip-types PATH

The list of types that should not be checked.

-headers-list PATH

The file with a list of headers, that should be checked/dumped.

-skip-headers PATH

The file with the list of header files, that should not be checked.

-header NAME

Check/Dump ABI of this header only.


Make dumps for two versions of a library and compare dumps. This should increase
the performance of the tool and decrease the system memory usage.


Do not search in GCC standard system directories for header files.

-dump-system NAME -sysroot DIR

Find all the shared libraries and header files in DIR directory, create XML
descriptors and make ABI dumps for each library. The result set of ABI dumps can be
compared (--cmp-systems) with the other one created for other version of operating
system in order to check them for compatibility. Do not forget to specify
-cross-gcc option if your target system requires some specific version of GCC
compiler (different from the host GCC). The system ABI dump will be generated to:


-dump-system DESCRIPTOR.xml

The same as the previous option but takes an XML descriptor of the target system as
input, where you should describe it:

/* Primary sections */


/* Name of the system */



/* The list of paths to header files and/or

directories with header files, one per line */



/* The list of paths to shared libraries and/or

directories with shared libraries, one per line */


/* Optional sections */


/* List of directories to be searched

for header files to automatically generate include paths, one per line */



/* List of directories to be searched

for shared libraries to resolve dependencies, one per line */



/* List of directories with tools used

for analysis (GCC toolchain), one per line */



/* GCC toolchain prefix.

arm-linux-gnueabi arm-none-symbianelf */



/* Additional GCC options, one per line */


-sysinfo DIR

This option should be used with -dump-system option to dump ABI of operating
systems and configure the dumping process. You can find a sample in the package:

modules/Targets/{unix, symbian, windows}

-cmp-systems -d1 sys_dumps/NAME1/ARCH -d2 sys_dumps/NAME2/ARCH

Compare two system ABI dumps. Create compatibility reports for each library and the
common HTML report including the summary of test results for all checked libraries.
Report will be generated to:


-libs-list PATH

The file with a list of libraries, that should be dumped by the -dump-system option
or should be checked by the -cmp-systems option.


If your library A is supposed to be used by other library B and you want to control
the ABI of B, then you should enable this option. The tool will check for changes
in all data types, even if they are not used by any function in the library A. Such
data types are not part of the A library ABI, but may be a part of the ABI of the B

The short scheme is:

app C (broken) -> lib B (broken ABI) -> lib A (stable ABI)


Print all messages to the file instead of stdout and stderr. Default path (can be
changed by -log-path option):



Print analysis results (compatibility reports and ABI dumps) to stdout instead of
creating a file. This would allow piping data to other programs.

-report-format FMT

Change format of compatibility report. Formats:

htm - HTML format (default) xml - XML format

-dump-format FMT

Change format of ABI dump. Formats:

perl - Data::Dumper format (default) xml - XML format


Alias for: --report-format=xml or --dump-format=xml

-lang LANG

Set library language (C or C++). You can use this option if the tool cannot
auto-detect a language. This option may be useful for checking C-library headers
(--lang=C) in --headers-only or --extended modes.

-arch ARCH

Set library architecture (x86, x86_64, ia64, arm, ppc32, ppc64, s390, ect.). The
option is useful if the tool cannot detect correct architecture of the input


Show "Binary" compatibility problems only. Generate report to:



Show "Source" compatibility problems only. Generate report to:


-limit-affected LIMIT

The maximum number of affected symbols listed under the description of the changed
type in the report.


Run internal tests. Create two binary incompatible versions of a sample library and
run the tool to check them for compatibility. This option allows one to check if
the tool works correctly in the current environment.


Test ability to create, read and compare ABI dumps.


Debugging mode. Print debug info on the screen. Save intermediate analysis stages
in the debug directory:


Also consider using --dump option for debugging the tool.


If your header files are written in C language and can be compiled by the G++
compiler (i.e. don't use C++ keywords), then you can tell the tool about this and
speedup the analysis.


Set this option if input C header files use C++ keywords.

-p|-params PATH

Path to file with the function parameter names. It can be used for improving report
view if the library header files have no parameter names. File format:

func1;param1;param2;param3 ... func2;param1;param2;param3 ...


-relpath PATH

Replace {RELPATH} macros to PATH in the XML-descriptor used for dumping the library
ABI (see -dump option).

-relpath1 PATH

Replace {RELPATH} macros to PATH in the 1st XML-descriptor (-d1).

-relpath2 PATH

Replace {RELPATH} macros to PATH in the 2nd XML-descriptor (-d2).

-dump-path PATH

Specify a *.abi.tar.gz or *.abi file path where to generate an ABI dump. Default:



Enable sorting of data in ABI dumps.

-report-path PATH

Path to compatibility report. Default:


-bin-report-path PATH

Path to "Binary" compatibility report. Default:


-src-report-path PATH

Path to "Source" compatibility report. Default:


-log-path PATH

Log path for all messages. Default:


-log1-path PATH

Log path for 1st version of a library. Default:


-log2-path PATH

Log path for 2nd version of a library. Default:


-logging-mode MODE

Change logging mode. Modes:

w - overwrite old logs (default) a - append old logs n - do not write any logs


Generate file with the list of incompatible symbols beside the HTML compatibility
report. Use 'c++filt @file' command from GNU binutils to unmangle C++ symbols in
the generated file. Default names:

abi_affected.txt src_affected.txt

-component NAME

The component name in the title and summary of the HTML report. Default:


-title NAME

Change library name in the report title to NAME. By default will be displayed a
name specified by -l option.

-extra-info DIR

Dump extra info to DIR.


Create extended ABI dump containing all symbols from the translation unit.


Try to use this option if the tool doesn't work.

-tolerance LEVEL

Apply a set of heuristics to successfully compile input header files. You can
enable several tolerance levels by joining them into one string (e.g. 13, 124,
etc.). Levels:

1 - skip non-Linux headers (e.g. win32_*.h, etc.) 2 - skip internal headers (e.g.
*_p.h, impl/*.h, etc.) 3 - skip headers that iclude non-Linux headers 4 - skip
headers included by others


Enable highest tolerance level [1234].


Check completeness of the ABI dump.


Quick analysis. Disable check of some template instances.

-skip-internal-symbols PATTERN

Do not check symbols matched by the pattern.

-skip-internal-types PATTERN

Do not check types matched by the pattern.

Compatibility report will be generated to:


Log will be generated to:

logs/LIB_NAME/V1/log.txt logs/LIB_NAME/V2/log.txt

0 - Compatible. The tool has run without any errors. non-zero - Incompatible or
the tool has run with errors.


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