[vdr] Thread start functions and external C linkage (VDR starts it's threads "incorrectly")

Sascha Volkenandt lists at magoa.net
Sat Feb 11 16:22:53 CET 2006

Hi everyone, hi Klaus,

while discussing a paper about multithreading with pthreads, some people 
pointed out that it is not legal regarding standard C++ when using a static 
member of a class as a thread start function.

The reason is that a thread start function handed to pthread_create MUST have 
external C linkage, which is not guaranteed to be the case with static 
members. In fact, many compilers declare such members with the same calling 
conventions that an extern "C" function uses, but the standard doesn't 
require this. Indeed, there are (according to external informations) 
compilers that act differently here.

To fulfill the requirements of the standard, VDR's thread start function 
should have the following signature:

extern "C" void *StartThread(cThread *Thread);

class cThread {
  friend void *StartThread(cThread *Thread);
  /* ... */

Don't get me wrong, this is not a problem with current gcc versions, but... 
Since the standard doesn't require gcc to behave the way it does, future 
changes to the ABI could affect this region and could render current code 

Even worse, some implementations of pthread lack a construct that declares the 
members of pthread.h extern "C" when compiled in C++ mode. (But this won't be 
a problem here I guess, since I suppose VDR won't run on AIX, so, just for 
the record).

Sascha Volkenandt


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