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Subject[RFC PATCH] compiler.h: give up __compiletime_assert_fallback()
__compiletime_assert_fallback() is supposed to stop building earlier
by using the negative-array-size method in case the compiler does not
support "error" attribute, but has never worked like that.

You can try this simple code:

#include <linux/build_bug.h>
void foo(void)

GCC (precisely, GCC 4.3 or later) immediately terminates the build,
but Clang does not report anything because Clang does not support the
"error" attribute now. It will eventually fail in the link stage,
but at least __compiletime_assert_fallback() is not working.

The root cause is commit 1d6a0d19c855 ("bug.h: prevent double evaluation
of `condition' in BUILD_BUG_ON"). Prior to that commit, BUILD_BUG_ON()
was checked by the negative-array-size method *and* the link-time trick.
Since that commit, the negative-array-size is not effective because
'__cond' is no longer constant. As the comment in <linux/build_bug.h>
says, GCC (and Clang as well) only emits the error for obvious cases.

When '__cond' is a variable,

((void)sizeof(char[1 - 2 * __cond]))

... is not obvious for the compiler to know the array size is negative.

One way to fix this is to stop the variable assignment, i.e. to pass
'!(condition)' directly to __compiletime_error_fallback() at the cost
of the double evaluation of 'condition'. However, all calls of
BUILD_BUG() would be turned into errors even if they are called from

This commit does not change the current behavior since it just rips
off the code that has not been effective for some years.

Signed-off-by: Masahiro Yamada <>

include/linux/compiler.h | 17 +----------------
1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 16 deletions(-)

diff --git a/include/linux/compiler.h b/include/linux/compiler.h
index 42506e4..c062238f4 100644
--- a/include/linux/compiler.h
+++ b/include/linux/compiler.h
@@ -295,29 +295,14 @@ unsigned long read_word_at_a_time(const void *addr)
#ifndef __compiletime_error
# define __compiletime_error(message)
- * Sparse complains of variable sized arrays due to the temporary variable in
- * __compiletime_assert. Unfortunately we can't just expand it out to make
- * sparse see a constant array size without breaking compiletime_assert on old
- * versions of GCC (e.g. 4.2.4), so hide the array from sparse altogether.
- */
-# ifndef __CHECKER__
-# define __compiletime_error_fallback(condition) \
- do { ((void)sizeof(char[1 - 2 * condition])); } while (0)
-# endif
-#ifndef __compiletime_error_fallback
-# define __compiletime_error_fallback(condition) do { } while (0)

#ifdef __OPTIMIZE__
# define __compiletime_assert(condition, msg, prefix, suffix) \
do { \
- bool __cond = !(condition); \
extern void prefix ## suffix(void) __compiletime_error(msg); \
- if (__cond) \
+ if (!(condition)) \
prefix ## suffix(); \
- __compiletime_error_fallback(__cond); \
} while (0)
# define __compiletime_assert(condition, msg, prefix, suffix) do { } while (0)
 \ /
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