[FFmpeg-devel] [PATCH 1/8] Deprecate avcodec_get_pix_fmt_name() in favor of the new av_get_pix_fmt_name().

Ramiro Polla ramiro.polla
Mon Nov 8 21:41:53 CET 2010

On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM, Tomas H?rdin <tomas.hardin at codemill.se> wrote:
> Basically what needs to be done for that is have the import libraries
> also export global variables and not just the functions, thus exposing
> the entire API. That or add getter functions for all global variables
> (basically make our own stubs).

Global variables are always exported. The problem is that MSVC is not
capable of using globals from a DLL unless they're marked as
__declspec(dllimport). I consider that a bug, not worth working around
on our code with dllimports and such. Also I don't like the API
clutter of adding getters for each global variable (specially since
that's only a problem when linking to shared libraries with MSVC), but
that's not up to me to decide.

I'll try to give a more in-depth explanation of the issue regarding
dllimport to clear up any confusion:
When linking statically (without dllimport), MSVC knows the address
the variable will end up in, so it emits:
mov    <address of variable>,%eax
DLLs export pointers to the variables. When linking against DLLs, MSVC
doesn't know the address the variable will end up in. It will fail to
link if you haven't used dllimport. If you do use dllimport, it keeps
a pointer in a known location, and when it loads the DLL it updates
that pointer. The linker then emits:
mov    <address of pointer>,%eax
mov    (%eax),%ecx
But if you use dllimport while compiling statically, it will also emit
the 2 movs instead of one (which is a bad thing).

GCC linking statically (without dllimport) also knows the location of
the data and emits only one mov. GCC linking to a DLL (without
dllimport) uses a trick that updates all occurrences of the variable
in the app, so it doesn't need to keep a pointer and use the variable
indirectly like MSVC does. It will then also use only one mov.
If compiled with dllimport, GCC will try to look for the indirect
pointer variable (_imp__<variable name>) to issue 2 movs. If linking
to a DLL, that will work, but if linking to a static library it will
not find the indirect variable and will fail to link, and even if it
did work, it would also have an unnecessary mov.

Summing up:
if we don't use dllimport, we get that the shared MSVC link will fail.
If we use dllimport under #ifdef _WIN32, we get that the static GCC
link will fail, and the static MSVC build will have an useless
If we use dllimport under #ifdef _MSC_VER, we get that the static MSVC
build will have an useless indirection.

One option would be to export to avconfig.h if the build was
shared-only, and use "#if defined(_MSC_VER) && BUILD_SHARED" to set
__declspec(dllimport). This has a few problems:
1. It is possible to build both shared and static libraries at the
same time, so the define would be wrong with either the shared or the
static library when used under MSVC.
2. Installed headers would be differ between builds possibly for the
same library (only static, or static+shared), which is not good.
3. It would add hacks to our configure and headers, and we don't like hacks.
Point 1 could be worked around if we explicitly asked users to add
some configure switch to enable this, which is an even worse hack.

Another option would be to add an user-defined macro and leave it up
to the MSVC user with shared builds to define it prior to including
the headers, like:
extern DLLIMPORT int blah;
As a downside, this also adds a hack for us, which even if documented
I don't know how many people would find and use.

And finally, if someone has to go through all the trouble of looking
up a macro, a configure switch, or adapting to any hack in our
codebase, he can instead go through the trouble of updating the header
files for his own app (which is the current documented and suggested

Maybe there is a simple solution and I just don't see it. If someone
finds that solution, please send us a (clean) patch! Otherwise I don't
think it's worth going on and on about this issue...

Ramiro Polla

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