Pointer Targets In Assignment Differ In Signedness

Porting to gcc 4 (Warnings)


The transition from gcc version 3.3.4 (as used until VLT2008) to gcc 4.x caused a row of problems with inconsistencies and incompatibilities in our code, as described in TWiki page "Porting to gcc 4 (Mandatory Changes for VLT2009)". That page describes only the errors preventing from compiling successfully. In addition, a very large number of warnings occur, often obstructing the view of the serious errors. Just to give an idea: almost 50000 warnings were generated compiling the VLT Common Software, owing to the gcc change from version 3 to 4. Some of these warnings give hints about deprecated functionality which will no longer be supported in future compiler versions. Some of these warnings are in fact errors forced into warnings by specific compiler options just to get the code to pass the compiler. Many of these warnings are due to a lower tolerance level towards deviations from the standard.

Dangerous compiler options

gcc options and


Description of the option taken from the gcc manual (see attachment on Porting to gcc 4 (Mandatory Changes for VLT2009)):
-traditional: Formerly, these options caused GCC to attempt to emulate a pre-standard C compiler. They are now only supported with the '-E' switch. The preprocessor continues to support a pre-standard mode. See the GNU CPP manual for details.
-traditional-cpp: Try to imitate the behavior of old-fashioned C preprocessors, as opposed to ISO C preprocessors.


The option has been removed form the .

gcc option


Description of the option taken from the gcc manual (see attachment on Porting to gcc 4 (Mandatory Changes for VLT2009)):
-fpermissive: Downgrade some diagnostics about nonconforming code from errors to warnings. Thus, using '-fpermissive' will allow some nonconforming code to compile. The gcc manual discourages the usage of this option:
We do not recommend using '-fpermissive' to work around invalid code, and it will also only catch cases where functions in base classes are called, not where variables in base classes are used (...). The option was added to the to cope with certain problems caused by stricter handling of the gcc compiler.


All concerned sources have been adapted to comply with the standard and the option removed from the VLT2009 . One example for the usage of not standard-compliant code is the usage of a so called "extra qualification" in class definitions (see Warning: extra qualification on member).

gcc option


The compiler option is not supported by older compiler versions, especially not by the gcc compiler used with VxWorks 5.5.


If LCU source code is to support both VxWorks version 5.5 and 6 the settings in must not use the gcc option by default for all LCU sources. If this option is required in the then it has to be used in a case differentiation depending (explicitly or implicitly) on the used VxWorks version. The vltMakefile has been updated and the settings now depend on the WIND_BASE value. For VxWorks version 5.5 the gcc option is not used.

List of warnings

Here is a collection of warnings, extracted from the VLTSW integration and filtered for identifier name etc.

warning: 'XXX' defined but not used


The majority of this problem's occurrences is owed to the change in the rcsId handling ( ) - see also Porting to gcc 4 (Mandatory Changes for VLT2009).
The automatic conversion could add the macro only to all definitions where the file has been already included. In all other cases the decision whether to add the (missing) include file or otherwise the file must be taken by the developper.
A total of 140 files in the VLT Common Software is still affected.


Add include file or (if may not be used in specific cases) to all affected source files and add to the definition.

warning: deprecated conversion from string constant to 'char*'


Building the VLTSW this warning occured over 5121 times in 326 files. The warnings are due to declarations like: char *aVar = "aString"; or void aFunc( char *aVar) { ... } aFunc( "aString" ); And for example the definition of rcsId, which appears 187 times: ATTRIBUTE_UNUSED static char *rcsId="@(#) $Id: ...";


All source code has to be aligned to comply with the standards. The way to fix this is to replace by const char pointers : const char *aVar = "aString"; or void aFunc( const char *aVar) { ... } Ex: case rcsId : ATTRIBUTE_UNUSED static char *rcsId="@(#) $Id: ..."; should be replaced by ATTRIBUTE_UNUSED static const char *rcsId="@(#) $Id: ..."; However, the large number of ocurrences in the sources require an automated solution. For the case of rcsId, the following sed command can be used: find . -name "*.C" -exec sed -i -e 's/ATTRIBUTE_UNUSED static char \*rcsId/ATTRIBUTE_UNUSED static const char \*rcsId/' {} \;

warning: extra qualification 'XXX' on member 'YYY'


First a code example demonstrating the "extra qualification": class XXX { int XXX::YYY(int parameter); int ZZZ(int parameter); } In this example the method is defined with the preceding class name thus specifying a superfluous "extra qualification".
The second method is defined correctly. gcc 4 does not permit this "extra qualification" any longer (in contrast to earlier compiler versions) and the compilation fails with the error message .
However, the compiler can be forced to accept such non-conforming code by specifying the gcc option -fpermissive. Then the error is turned into a warning and the compilation does not fail.


Removing the "extra qualification" is an essential step to make the source code standard-compliant.

warning: pointer targets ... differ in signedness


There were 2532 warnings of this type, in different forms:
  • warning: pointer targets in assignment differ in signedness
  • warning: pointer targets in initialization differ in signedness
  • warning: pointer targets in passing argument 1 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) of 'XXX' differ in signedness
The majority of these warning are produced by the usage of vltBYTES (defined as unsigned char in vltPortGeneral.h) where a char* is expected (see SPR VLTSW20080211). For example: logManager.c:284: warning: pointer targets in passing argument 1 of 'strcpy' differ in signedness


The following has been implemented to get rid of the warning :
  • type vltINT8 changed, defined now as signed char
  • type vltBYTES unchanged, defined as unsigned char
  • type vltSTRING, defined as char (see SPR VLTSW20090007), added

warning: there are no arguments to 'XXX'....

Complete message: warning: there are no arguments to 'XXX' that depend on a template parameter, so a declaration of 'XXX' must be available


The problem is explained here: http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Name-lookup.html In short, the C++ compiler now follows the C++ standard that prescribes that all names that are not dependent on template parameters are bound to their present definitions when parsing a template function or class.
Only names that are dependent are looked up at the point of instantiation.


In order to make it clear that you want the member of the base class, you need to defer lookup until instantiation time, at which the base class is known. For this, you need to access i in a dependent context, by either using this->i (remember that this is of type Derived
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